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Subject: Interest in a playmat? rss

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Joe S
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After rattling through getting an order in through Pinter Studio for a set of cards, I found myself pondering a playmat (with the layout as shown on the kickstarter page) for two players.

Is there any interest for something like this? Other than spaces for Player Hands, Draw Pile, Discard Pile and River, what would folks want on there? Rules / abilities references perhaps?
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Ted Barnes
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I for one would just prefer individual player mats for banked cards that had clearly labeled spaces for each suit. This would make using swords much easier as you could quickly scan your opponents mat to see which suits they had and quickly scan your mat to see which suits you need. I figure that the layout could either be just 10 across, or 2 rows of 5.

I don't really need any indicator for the draw pile, bust pile, or player's current draw.

I also don't really like using a single playmat for all players as it makes it harder to set up on smaller tables.

Just my opinion.
 
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Joe S
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Yeah, I'm in the same boat with the one mat for multiple players boat, because of the table thing. I've started templating out something for a player similar to how you described:

Two rows of five, with a space for each suit. There's a photo in the gallery that shows play that way, and it just makes good sense. Ten across is a little unwieldy, I think. I'm thinking of including a score tracker of some sort as well, probably just a series of small numbered circles that you can track with a chit or bead or die or whatever. 0-77 since 7 is the max score for all suits save Mermaids, which max at 9 and there is a skill that can give 5 bonus points to Mermaids. However, as play can be pretty quick, it might actually be more of a pain to track on the fly than it's worth.
 
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Ted Barnes
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Yeah, score keeping in this game is kind of difficult on the fly. I figure that while you're playing, you're not so interested in your opponent's TOTAL score, but more over just the amount that you can deduct during that particular play.

For example, I get a Cannon and I survey my opponent's cards. He has a 3 or Anchors, a 2 & 6 of Swords, and a 4 of Maps. Now, I don't really NEED to know that my opponent has a total of 13 points to make my play. Instead I would look at where I could do the most damage, which in this case would be either Swords or Maps to reduce their score by 4. Although in that particular case I would go for the 6 of Swords, because it will 1) Do as much damage to their score as Maps, 2) It won't free up a suit slot for them to use a Sword on me later, and 3) It will add a 6 to the bust pile instead of a 4 and I have a chance of getting it later with a key/chest or a Map.

So as you can see in that example the TOTAL score isn't that important until the end of the game. Unless you wanted to play some sort of variant that relies on score, such as first to 50 points wins or beat your opponent without going over 60 points.

Likewise, knowing my own score during play isn't vitally important either. While deciding whether to take another draw or bank my cards, I can fairly quickly decide my risk vs. reward.

For example, I have already drawn a 3 of Cannons, a 3 of Keys, a 5 of Mystics, and a 4 of Mermaids. Now I am trying to decide if I should draw again. I look at my banked cards and see that I already have a 5 of Cannons, a 4 of Keys, a 4 of Mystics and a 7 of Mermaids. So my total potential points in my hand right now is 1 from the 5 of Mystics. So now I weigh my odds, 1) I have a 60% chance of NOT busting, 2) Of the cards that WON"T bust me their are 5 SAFE cards and 1 RISKY card (the Kraken), 3) If I get an Anchor than my 1 point is secure, if I get a Map or Sword I am pretty much almost guaranteed 1 additional card, if I get a Chest or a Hook (and I have a Chest in my banked cards) then I will get 5-6 extra cards from the bust pile, 4) If I do draw the Kraken there is still a slim chance that I won't bust, but if I did, I would only lose 1 point.

In that example I would definitely draw another card, as the chance for reward is far greater than my risk. So as you can see, once again my TOTAL score didn't matter at all, only my individual suit high cards, which I can quickly look at.

So in my opinion, a score tracker would not only be difficult to use and slowdown the gameplay, it would also be fairly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.
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Joe S
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Couple of other ideas that came to mind in the shower:

1) A spot on the mat for character cards. I'm thinking to one side of the stacks or in a corner (all depends on the size of the mats, really). The idea being to keep those in a semi standard place for everyone to reference.

2) Doing the mats in something like the eyeglass cloths (from artscow) or just straight up fabric. That way you could easily make four of them for the max players and have them take up a minimal volume of space.

I agree on the scores part. There are some variants in the iOS version where with score dependent win conditions, like winning w/out going over 60 points. But for the most part, I'm not greatly worried about my total score at a given moment, nor my opponent's. I may stick something on the mats just to see how it looks. If it's not total crap, it may be nice to have as an option to use for folks who want it. I was pondering instead of circles, using the outline of a piece of eight (or other piratically themed, old timey coin). Then I could pick up a foursome of replica coins to use as trackers, too. Again, this all relies on it not being a cluttered mess.
 
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Joe S
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What do you think about adding the Suit Abilities info to the playmat? I'm thinking maybe two rows of six cards. The first five in each row are the suits, the last two are the spot for the character card and the Suit Abilities. While there's a card with that info in the deck, there is only one, this would keep it handy for each player.
 
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Mark Mitchell
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You'd just need a double row for the 2 top scoring cards of a suit so the other player can quickly see where you could be hurt most. If he cannons or steals the card the one below goes top and the next lowest moves up onto the second row. I agree that score tracking isn't important and could be cumbersome.
 
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Joe S
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By double row, do you mean that each stack should show the full top card and a portion of the next card down so you could see the score? Or did you mean two rows of 10 so there was a spot for your top card and your next highest?
 
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Joe S
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Here's what I've got so far. Watermarked and small because I'd rather not have my crappy roughs end up being printed, hehe. No worries, I'll happily share the final when it's done. The white border is so that when it's printed through Spoonflower you can easily get multiple mats on a yard of fabric (by quick check, you can get 6 mats on a yard of the cotton linen canvas which is $27 a yard). Once the design is finalized, I will also consider doing other sizes (like for someplace like inkedplaymats, though you'll have a LOT of empty space). The mat is 20" x 10" through the black background. The white adds another inch (21" x 11"). That will probably also be tweaked so there's not a lot of waste.



What do folks think? My only real concern is the legibility of the Suit Abilities, but until I see it on fabric I can't say for certain how clear or muddy it gets. The card back would be the spot for the optional character card.
 
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Ted Barnes
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I do agree that being able to see both the top card in a stack AND the card below it would definitely be highly beneficial to game play. Even in the iOS version, I have to move each of my opponents cards while using a Cannon so that I can see which stack will lose the most points. So having that information always available would really speed up game play for me. However, I am not sure how you would best achieve that on a play mat without making it too unwieldy.
 
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Joe S
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Yeah, I'm forever doing the same thing (dragging the top card aside). Doing that while playing might be a hassle, but it's not a huge, huge hassle.

I could either do something similar to what you see here on the bottom row of one of my prototype Netrunner playmats with the offset stack.



Or I could go with the two rows idea I tossed out: one row for top card, one row for the stack with the next highest card on top.

My worry with either of those options (offset or two rows) is that when you get into certain abilities, you'll be doing a LOT of card juggling to re-organize everything back into stacks.

See http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1071620/kraken-and-play-card... for some discussion on the shuffling and suchlike.
 
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Alberto R
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I would recommend doing it through artcow, they did pretty good job with a playmat/mousepad/eyeglasses cloth for Dungeon Roll. Also why not stack the cards a little closer together like in the IOS?
 
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Joe S
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Unfortunately, Artscow doesn't make an eyeglass cloth large enough for a playmat (the rough up there is 20" x 10"). And doing a playmat through someplace like Inkedplaymats wouldn require a different design to hit the 24" x 14" dimensions. Also, I'm trying to avoid thick / foam rubber mats, since you'll need up to 4 of them. Something like Spoonflower, which can custom print fabric, may be the simples way to go. If I make the image correctly, you'll be able to tile several of them onto a single yard.

As far as stacking them more closely like in the iOS version, that's just a fan of cards, which would be a pain in the butt to manage on a playmat every time you had to tuck in another card. You could play the cards totally in hand, which defeats the need for a playmat. The playmat idea goes off of the layout suggested by Stardock themselves of having individual stacks for each suit. Having monkeyed around with a printed version of the cards, it's fairly efficient that way.

All that said, I'm not touching the playmat design until cards and rules and such are all finished up (there's lots of discussion on some other threads) so that I don't constantly have to keep redesigning the playmat to reflect changes.
 
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Joe S
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Updated Playmat with offset stacked cards and tokens for the Traits. New size is 23" x 13" including the white border area.

 
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Alberto R
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Really nice, you can also MTG clear counter beads on the top row to show which trait you are using instead having the character card.
 
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Joe S
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Archangelrey wrote:
Really nice, you can also MTG clear counter beads on the top row to show which trait you are using instead having the character card.


That was the plan, each player should have two tokens to mark which traits they are using. The two spots on the right are sort of general use spots. There's the suit abilities card (which I'm realizing I need to update, this has the original one) and a card back, which gets the game logo nicely on the mat someplace.

The two spots can then be used for trait cards (if you use one of the variants of play that use those, instead of the tokens along the top) or for a place to put one of the updated Character cards.
 
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Joe S
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Here's the playmat with the updated Suit Abilities card. This is still a lower resolution (150dpi, lower quality) version. Once we're set on the design, I'll upload a nice high res version to the files section.

 
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Ted Barnes
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I really like the look of the Play mat. I love the offset stacks to allow both the High card and next highest card to show.
 
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