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Common vs. Uncommon Backs

Description of Unique Backs Universally each card in a deck of cards has a different image on the front, while the backs tend to have the same image as not to give away what image, number, action is on the front of the card. However, games with card counts higher than 55 may have different card back designs throughout their card count.

Common Backs

Common backs is a card manufacturing term that refers to your entire deck using one image on the backside of your cards. A traditional poker deck is the perfect example of cards with common backs. If all your cards require the same back image then you have common backs or “1 back”.

Uncommon Backs

Uncommon backs (unique backs) is a card manufacturing term that refers to your deck having multiple images used for your card backs. Typically, different images are used to distinguish between different decks within your game. The photo to the right shows a card game that requires two decks to play, a “starter card” and “bomb card”. This game has uncommon backs or “2 backs”.

Please Note: Different backs refers to color as well. If all your backs have the exact same design but one is blue and the other is red then you have two different backs.

Why Does it Matter?

The number of card backs in your deck highly influences the price of your game because of the printing process. Depending on the size of your cards and your core choice a specific number of cards can fit on each sheet of paper.

The more parent sheets and printing plates you need for your order, the more expensive your game becomes as a result of extra setup required. This typically affects games with high card counts.

For example, 300gsm Blue Core poker cards are printed 55 to a parent sheet. This requires the manufacturing of two printing plates, one plate for the 55 front images and one for the 55 back images. In this case, two different backs will not affect your price because all your cards fit on one sheet.

However, if your card count is 110 you’ll need two parent sheets to hold all your cards. Two printing plates will be produced with all 110 different front images and two printing plates will be produce to contain your different backs. If your backs are all the same, only one plate would need to be manufactured. As you add multiple backs and card count rises the potential for additional plates does as well.

When plates are manufactured, the amount of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black necessary to create the final colors of your artwork are taken into consideration. Changing between colors requires different levels of ink to be distributed, which is why a new printing plate needs to be made even if the design itself is the same.