This month, I made icons based on actual card effects in Love Letter and the core set of Dominion. This moves beyond the hypothetical generic icons I've made so far, resulting in some interesting challenges for iconography. It's very tempting to pack as much information into a single icon as possible, but in the end I focused on breaking down card effects into their constituent actions.
In some cases, this forced me to make new icons for new "nouns," which most often appear in deckbuilding games or CCGs. These include the "trash" where cards are removed from the game completely or the "store" where cards are purchased. For Dominion in particular, I had to distinguish the act of "buying" from the store from simply "gaining" a card from the store without paying money. Tricky!
See the image above of some ideas of how you can bridge icons with simple language-neutral elements like parenthesis, question marks, and dividing lines. These aren't perfect, and in some cased border on hieroglyphs, but hopefully it gives you some ideas for your own language-neutral games.
Here's a direct link to the whole archive so far. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rd046kk42ma3fih/AAA9bl4acaMxU4zw9ecyxwUfa?dl=0
Happy designing in the new year, Patrons!