Scott's Corner

A blog focusing on my boardgame player aids, graphic designs, and miniature painting.

Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4 

Recommend
47 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Old School Merchant of Venus

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!

Board Game: Merchant of Venus

Merchant of Venus
In my last blog I briefly mentioned my "Old School Edition" Merchant of Venus upgrade. Thought I'd cover it a bit more. Now that we know that the game is getting a 2nd edition with Fantasy Flight Games, seems like a good time to show off my old version upgrade.

This was a strange project and in retrospect not sure why I did it. I bought a mint copy of the The Avalon Hill Game Co edition a few years back and it was very popular with my gaming group. We don't play it much since it takes a long time to setup and play, but when we do it's always a hit. Since I enjoy pimping my favorite games I decided it deserved an upgrade. Originally I was going to build Michael Christopher's (Dathkadan) version but doing the hundreds of counters didn't sound fun so decided to upgrade my original copy. And like usual for me, I went overboard and did pretty much everything except the counters and gameboard. So in the end, I put in more effort then it would of taken to just build Michael's version!

The graphic design is purposely not "new school". I wanted it to work with the original gameboard, ship designs, and race portraits. So all the elements share a common spacescape background and deep blues with simple boxes & lines. It's not a perfect match but I don't think it clashes with the map. The original counters are boring as hell but fit in fine with the simple design. This is not something you want to print on an inkjet unless you got a big stack of cartridges!
Read more »
Twitter Facebook
11 Comments
Mon Jul 2, 2012 2:28 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
87 
 Thumb up
55.55
 tip
 Hide

Perry Rhodan - In Space No One Can Hear You Graphic Design

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!

Board Game: Merchant of Venus

Merchant of Venus
I'm a huge fan of Merchant of Venus. I bought a mint copy a few years ago and we've played it several times. It doesn't get a lot of play but when the mood strikes we pull it out. I did do a big "old school" graphic redesign for it which I was pretty happy with. It has player boards, market boards, tokens for player ships and planets. And works pretty well with the original simple graphic design.

Board Game: Merchant of Venus
Board Game: Merchant of Venus
Board Game: Merchant of Venus
Board Game: Merchant of Venus


Some people asked me why I didn't build Michael's amazing redesign. I've certainly considered it but its a daunting task. Mostly it's the counters. There are so many. My old school edition required far less work to do and since I already own a nice copy it seemed to be a less time consuming and costly alternative. I was really disapointed to hear that Stronghold Games won't be publishing the new edition. Since they were going to use Michael's art I was really excited to buy it. Plus I think they would of been more respectful of the design. Guess we'll see once the FFG edition comes out. But I do love Michael's whimsical design. I expect FFG's edition will be more traditional.


Board Game: Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League

Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League
Since we don't get to play Merchant of Venus very often I was looking for a quicker trading game. Back in 2007 a German 2 player game called Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League came out. It promised to be a fast scaled down version of Merchant of Venus but just for 2 players. I tracked one down and we loved it! Then the designer added a 3 player variant and I loved it more! I actually prefer the 3 player version since it adds an interesting dynamic to the game. The game has "screw you" cards called Interventions that allow you to trade places with players or steal their cargo. So it's not multiplayer solitaire at all. Those cards are really an important part of the game. Nothing worse then getting ready to drop a cargo on a planet and find your hold empty!

The game was meant to be small and portable. And it certainly is. The planets are cardboard discs you set out on the table. You have to imagine their movement lines as you move your cardboard standee ships. The sun is also the scoring track. I nice idea that keeps the components light. The sun is important since moving away from it is more expensive then moving towards it.

Since we play it more often then Merchant of Venus, I wanted to pimp it out. I've wanted a real gameboard for awhile that has all the movement points clearly shown and a place to store the goods cards.

Normally I try to match the existing graphic design at least in part so the new components don't clash with it. Sometimes that means making it not look as great as I want. As an example, see my gameboards for Peloponnes. I worked hard to get them to match the very simple game components but it certainly is dull!

With Perry, the graphic design is quite simple. Their planet discs are illustrations with cargo goods illustrations on them. The sun image is actually a Hubble telescope image of our sun that was heavily touched up. The cards have a simple silver and gold border to tell them apart and very few icons. So I decided to go in a completely different direction with my design since there wasn't really enough to work with. I tried to make it look like a computer readout panel inspired by the various interfaces you see on TV and movies. The background is a heavily reworked Hubble star image and the sun is the same Hubble image enhanced in Photoshop.
Read more »
Twitter Facebook
43 Comments
Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:28 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
52 
 Thumb up
1.01
 tip
 Hide

Recent Graphic Design Projects & the Ogre Conundrum

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!
Here's we are again and several months have passed since my last blog update. I really am amazed by those people that can keep a blog updated on a regular basis. I guess I enjoy doing graphic design so much more then writing so I put it off. Plus, the big blogs like the last one took me many hours to write so another good reason to put it off!

This blog entry will just update on what I've been working on the past few months. And a new surprise graphic design project I'm doing for a friend's game. I also wanted to write about my feelings on Ogre and the new edition. Going to stray from my normal graphic design only blog on that subject.

Read more »
Twitter Facebook
15 Comments
Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:30 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
92 
 Thumb up
28.00
 tip
 Hide

Player Aids & Add-Ons (Pimping) I've done for fun! - PART 1

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!
One of the things I like to do for a short project is make player aids & add-ons (pimping) to my favorite games. Sometimes I go a bit overboard and make a ton of player aids. If you ever checked the file section of Mecanisburgo you'll see I've done a huge amount of stuff for that game. And I've only played it twice!! But I get attached to some games even if I can't ever get them back to the table. It's fun to make these things and there's always the chance another fan will download them and help make their first play smoother and more entertaining!

A problem that plagues my game group is we are constantly overwhelmed with new titles to try. So we don't often get a game back to the table. It might be months or years between plays. That's why player aids are so important. Sure, if you play something over and over you don't really need them. But that first play or long delay between plays means relearning it all again. So a good player aid can really speed things up. It amazes me why so many game companies don't offer good aids. It's rather annoying to constantly have to flip through a manual every 5 minutes. Something as simple as a card with the turn sequence and icon definitions would at least help alittle!

With my player aids I try to match the graphic design of the source game as close as possible. This can be time consuming but looks nicer when used with the game. Tracking down the original fonts helps. And I sometimes scan in parts of the components to make it easier to size/color match. Unfortunately every printer prints colors a bit differently so getting a perfect match is near impossible. So I get as close as I can.

I also try to make them easy to read with as large of font as possible. Nothing worse then having to squint to make it out. The whole point is helping the players play the game in the first place!

One concession of mine is I generally recommend they be printed on a laser printer. Especially the ones with lots of black. That's easy and cheap to do now with Stables, Office Max, Fedex Office, etc. You can even get them laminated. I realize many of mine just don't print well on inkjets but when I try to match the original graphic design I can't always choose colors. I do realize that my earlier aids tended to be light text on dark which doesn't always print or read well. I've attempted on my later ones to keep dark text on light. Even on laser printers, I've had trouble so I'm more aware of this issue.

Here's some of my favorite designs-
Read more »
Twitter Facebook
19 Comments
Mon Jan 2, 2012 12:36 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
34 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Sometimes things just don't work out...

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!
I was going to be more active on my blog but it really amazes me how long it takes to make these. My Dune and Chitin: I blogs took hours & hours to put together. I was thinking maybe it's a better idea to make smaller, more frequent blogs instead of doing mega-size blogs with long dry spells.

This one will be a short one but hopefully still interesting!

So far I've not had the opportunity to work on a big boardgame title. I've done lots of small stuff and free stuff. I suppose I could be more proactive contacting companies and "shaking the bushes" so to speak. But having a full time job, I worry about making a commitment on a big title that will be hard to keep on schedule. My day job can be slow and it can be super busy. When I was working on the Dune project I was really busy but didn't have to worry about any deadlines for that!

Several years ago Chris Taylor (I), Tom Decker, and I decided to try getting a game published. We had about a dozen ideas and started playtest on the most promising ones. At the time I wasn't working so had lots of free time. So while one of the promising ideas was being worked on, I started graphic design. Now, this is not a good idea. You should have a very solid game before you go nuts on the art. The reason is the game will change and change drastically. As we playtested the design we kept making huge revisions that affected the card layout. I'd work on the layout, then stats would come and go which screwed up all the careful spacing. While we fine tuned the game I'd have to rework big sections. As you can imagine, this got frustrating. Though having so much free time meant I could keep working on it over and over. By the end I had made more than 50 versions of the card layout!

But eventually we decided to shelve the project. There were many reasons. The first one was the most obvious, we all were concerned about investing thousands printing a game. We've all heard horror stories of designers self funding a game and having a storage unit filled with unsold copies. The other problem was finding illustrators to do the card art. The game had a minimum of 40 illustrations necessary to make the game. That was the least we wanted to do, and would of preferred even more. During early design we had a friend do two sample illustrations for free which helped give us a visual style. But finishing the rest at the quality level he set would of cost us tens of thousands of dollars!

Even more of a problem was playtesting wasn't going well. None of us had done this before and we found the game overly complex and slow to play. We wanted a fantasy combat game using cards and dice but it needed to be fast in keeping with the theme of a dice based combat game of team gladiatorial combat.

Eventually we decided to shelve the project and hoped to revisit it in the future with fresh eyes. So far it remains in the drawer and maybe it will come out again in a revised format. Since then my two designer friends have published multiple titles with Victory Point Games and Tom has a game (Circus Train) on the P500 at GMT Games. We have learned a lot since that original project. Future titles I've learned to wait until playtest before putting too much work into art. I will come up with a style and then start making final designs once the game is near final. I think at the beginning it can be very exciting but once you revise that over months and months it can sap all your enthusiasm. I also find that you start to make bad choices and not want to make large changes even though you probably should. It's easy to get used to a design you've been hammering on for awhile and not "bit the bullet" and make that big change necessary to make it all work.

From gallery of ScottE


This was the final version of the card art before we shelved the project. I think it would of been beautiful if we could keep the illustration quality at this level. But the cost involved in doing that much art would of required a large number of sales to justify the cost. I do hope someday to use this design for a future game. I think it turned out pretty well and still holds up after all this time.
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Tue Dec 6, 2011 7:20 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
45 
 Thumb up
3.05
 tip
 Hide

Chitin: I Graphic Redesign – Bugs in fabulous COLOR!

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!
Board Game: Chitin: I
Board Game: Chitin: I

Original 1st & 2nd Edition Covers

Background

Way back in the mists of time (around 1977) I discovered the Series: Microgames (Metagaming). I first discovered them in a game magazine (probably Space Gamer) and mail ordered Ogre from an ad I saw in it. For the young in the audience, back in the day you had to use checks which you put in an envelope and then waited patiently 4-6 weeks for delivery. Ah, the good old days! Fortunately I got the second edition which featured a beautiful color cover by Clark Bradley (still my favorite cover). That game got me hooked and I bought every microgame they released.

Chitin: I was the second in the series and one of the most intriguing to me. I thought the whole concept of intelligent bugs fighting over the Fall harvest was a neat idea and making dead units food even more interesting.

Read more »
Twitter Facebook
19 Comments
Tue Oct 4, 2011 1:46 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
238 
 Thumb up
25.00
 tip
 Hide

Dune Graphic Redesign – What I worked on to relax during Fallout: New Vegas development

Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
Avatar
Microbadge: Video Game ArtistMicrobadge: Obsidian Entertainment fanMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: 1984 fan - Big Brother is watching you!Microbadge: I love America!
I’ve worked in the video game industry for close to 20 years and though it can be fun, it’s also very hard work. I worked on the original Fallout (1997) & Fallout 2, both great games and tough to complete. Especially Fallout 2 which we had to finish in only a year. I figured after Bethesda bought the development rights to the Fallout series years ago I’d never work on a Fallout game again. Then my company signed a contract to do Fallout: New Vegas! There’s several people I work with that worked on the originals so we already had a good head start on making the new game. But it was a tight schedule so we really had to work hard to complete it by the release date. Meant some long hours, especially for our programming team that really burned the candle on both ends.

I love working on boardgames as a hobby and I’ve made a lot of free player aids & sometimes do graphic designs for friend’s games. My favorite published game so far is Forlorn: Hope which was really fun to do. I hope someday we can do a fancy 2nd edition with nice bits (potential publishers take note!) But most of the stuff I do is for free download just for fun.

Back on August 29, 2009 I played my first game of Dune (thanks BGG for tracking my game plays!) I was really impressed with the game! Though no one in my game group owned it. A friend of a friend came by and brought his copy. He trashed us since he was an expert. I wanted to try it again with a group of newbie’s like me but because of the eBay value of the original game we didn’t feel comfortable asking to borrow it. So I debating about making my own copy. There were quite a few versions available on BGG. None of them were perfect but I figured I could cobble something together from several different versions. Then work was getting a bit busy with Fallout NV so shelved the project. Fast forward about 3 months...

I really enjoyed working on Fallout NV but was very busy and I needed some project of my own to wind down each night. The one great thing about having your own personal projects is no deadlines and no one but you decides the direction. So I went through my various on-hold projects and remembered my interest in building my own Dune game. I had already compiled some folders of various images and designs others had made. Wasn’t sure how fancy I wanted to get so decided the first thing to do was the map.

Read more »
Twitter Facebook
88 Comments
Mon Jun 6, 2011 3:25 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4 

Subscribe

Categories

Contributors