From Prototype to Finished Game - Photo Comparisons of Well-Known Games
Rob Bartel
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This Geeklist is inspired by a recent Art in Prototypes thread. The basic question (and one that comes up fairly frequently among new designers) was "How much effort should be put into the art for a prototype before it gets submitted to publishers?" There are various answers to that question of course (and I'd encourage you to reply to the original thread with yours) but it prompted an interesting journey through the BGG image gallery.

This Geeklist provides some side-by-side image comparisons of original prototypes and the now-familiar games that they became.
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1. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Rob Bartel
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Edmonton
Alberta
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2. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:36]
Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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3. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Brendon Russell
New Zealand
Auckland
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The evolution of a couple of RftG cards (from Wei-Hwa Huang):


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4. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:68]
sébastien dujardin
Belgium
Grandmetz
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Only cards for the first prototype

At the begining, there were 3 resources: wood, iron and wheat! No neutral player, 9 yellow dice,cathedral is on 3 cards,..

Board of the last prototype


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5. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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6. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:129]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
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Early prototype :


Later prototype :


Late prototype :


Published game :
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7. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:157]
Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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8. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:219]
Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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9. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:249] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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Not well-known yet, but soon.

See a prototype from 2008 compared with the final product:

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10. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
Alexander Bulgakov
Russia
Astrakhan
Astrakhan Region
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It's a prototype...


And it's a prototype! Incredible!


And finished game:


And again...
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11. Board Game: Vinhos [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:293]
Vital Lacerda
Portugal
Oeiras
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2010 - Vinhos, 2012 - CO2, 2014 - kanban, 2015 - The Gallerist, 2016 - Vinhos Deluxe, 2017 - Lisboa, 2018 - Escape Plan, CO2 Second Chance and Dragon Keepers - Maybe: 2019 - ROTW Portugal and On Mars, 2020 - Kanban Deluxe Edition
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First approach of the game



Early prototype



Last Prototype



Final version

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12. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:319]
Christopher Murphy
United States
Winter Springs
Florida
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From Bruno Faidutti's website:



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13. Board Game: Carson City [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:332]
Xavier Georges
Belgium
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14. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:362]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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You might call the original edition (under the title Wabash Cannonball) a prototype as it really looks like one.

Some say the new board is not really usable; maybe I'd say the same but having played the game I just can't agree. It looks really nice and still functions very well.

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15. Board Game: Jamaica [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:400]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
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The prototype :


The published game :
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16. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:421]
Kristian Amundsen Østby
Norway
Langhus
Unspecified
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This video shows three different iterations of the prototype - and has the prototype sound track.





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17. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:500]
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
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Testing an early prototype at EuroQuest in 2004. The game was still called Trivia Casino at the time. Dan Karp is the one with glasses in the back right. DomCrap (me) is the one with glasses on the top left. We mostly see the back of Satish on the far left.


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18. Board Game: Stronghold [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:550]
Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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19. Board Game: La Città [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:554]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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Okay, I don`t have the photos right here, but on its designer`s homepage under "Historie" you can see two prototypes.

The first, "Alpha Centauri" was a Sci-Fi game taking place in the galaxy of the same name, ...

... after this it took place in antique Greece ...

http://lacitta.freepage.de/

... and then here:

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20. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:612]
 
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
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The prototype :


The published game, european edition :
 


The published game, US edition :
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21. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:634]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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First it was "Oklahoma" ...

...then "Parys" ...
 

...then "Metropolys":

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22. Board Game: Power Grid: Factory Manager [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:687]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
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The prototype :


The published game :

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23. Board Game: Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:759]
Stefano Crespi
Italy
Bologna
Italy
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The first one wasn’t actually a prototype, but rather the first (indie published) version. I would like to add this game anyway to stress the visual improvements brought by Asmodee. Stunning.




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24. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:787] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Andrea Angiolino
Italy
Rome
European Union
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My first prototype:



The one showed to would-be publishers:



The published stuff:

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25. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:811]
Rob Bartel
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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