The earliest reflection began with water. People looked upon calm water to see their reflection and legend says the reflection is the soul of a person it reflects. Mirror was then discovered, replacing water as a form of medium for reflection. There are many myths and superstition beliefs related to mirror such as breaking a mirror will cause 7 years of bad luck to the person and some says that the mirror is a portal that links to another world.
Have you ever wondered what is behind the mirror? Are the reflections really just reflections or something more evil mimicking our every movement, waiting to strike when we turn away? The dimension beyond the mirror is mysterious and at the same time creepy, as you never know when your reflection is not you.
“Reflection” is a card game inspired by the Chinese mythology, Fauna of Mirrors. The myth describes a time where the world was connected to and alternate dimension linked through the mirror. Inhabitants or the two worlds lived peacefully together and were able to travel freely between the worlds. One day, an invasion started by the mirror people rages throughout the land, burning everything that stands in their way. Huang Di, also known as the Yellow Emperor, defended the land with his people in a fierce battle and managed to force the mirror people back to the mirror realm, sealing them in the mirror. As punishment, the mirror people lost their form and forced to mimic every movement of people, now known as reflection. One day, the seal loses its power and the evil forces will return from the depths of the mirror seeking revenge.
Firstly, black and white was chosen as the colour theme for the design. The colour black represents form and the colour white formless. The characters in black are people from the real world while the white characters are souls of the mirror people who lost their form. Souls or spirits are often depicted in white misty form, like a form in gaseous state. The white colour also creates a mysterious aura for the mirror people with the misty effect. The colour theme was also inspired by traditional Chinese paintings, as they are often painted with black ink in white paper. The background design of the card were made from ink splatters. The black splatter on white creates an illusion of a portal, which links to the concept of mirror as a portal to the world beyond. The ink splatter also helps to give a more Chinese feel to the cards.
The design of the cards also displayed the nature of a mirror, in a way that the characters are reflections of one another. The characters of the mirror world are inverted copies of the original characters. This is to show the idea of the inverted world behind the mirror. The idea of reflection is also present during the gameplay when both players play cards of the same grade, as are reflection of each other.
The storytelling factor of the game solely depends on both players, as they are free to play whichever card they like and in any order they like. When players are given a choice in making decisions, it creates a stronger storytelling system to the game as compared to a given storyline where players will play through the game with a given scenario. By having no storyline, players are free to do whatever they like with their own strategies using the “army” in their hands to battle each other. This form of storytelling makes the outcome unpredictable may change the end game result. In games, the protagonists are usually the winner at the end of the game but in this card game, the antagonist will also be able to win the game. This also creates a fair system and the end results of the game are never pre-determined.
- Set of 24 playing cards
- Deck box and rule book
- Promotion video showcasing the cards
Playing cards and packaging
The initial design of the card backs for the two side are suppose to be reflection of each other as well to match with the concept of the characters. However, it is not possible to have different card back designs is because of a power card – the spirit mirror, which the player will be able to take one card away from the opponent for own use. With a different card back design, it will be obvious to the player which card in the hand of the opponent belongs to him/her.
Black card designs – Yellow Emperor and his royals.
White card designs – the people of the mirror world.
Game rule book
Chinese texts are used for the grades of the cards as it suits more to the overall outlook of the cards. The grade is an important element for this game as it determines the winner of the game. In consideration to that, the translation is provided in the instruction manual.
A short motion graphic video showcasing the cards. The video serves as a teaser, to capture the attention of the viewers and make them interested to find out more about the game itself. Therefore the video purely showcase the cards rather than having narrative.
This project have made me look deeper into my own design, where every little details in a design are carefully thought out and not by chances. It has also given me an opportunity to look into my area of interest, which is on myth and supernatural. Fauna of Mirrors is an interesting myth and I enjoy designing the characters for the cards and coming up with a gameplay for it. The motion graphic video is a challenge to me, as I am new to the software and it took me some time to learn it. Overall, I did something new in this project and it is one that is so different from the usual assignments that I had taken before.