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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » General

Subject: More Praise for RFTG: Iconography Done Right!! rss

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Warren Smith
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I got a chance to play San Juan (second edition) and was very impressed. There's a beauty to it's gameplay that easily justifies a purchase for RFTG lovers and haters alike.

I noticed, however, that as I worked with the cards in my hand and tableau, I was often reading the text on the cards or reciting them mentally from memory. That's how my brain works when there are words staring me in the face - I read them. The effect of this is that looking at each card takes a second longer than it does in RFTG.

Three Praises
1.) I don't "read" the RFTG icons, I just look at them and know what they mean.
2.) Icons are consistent in terms of their meanings. You'd be surprised how many games use different icons to mean the same thing, or the same icons to mean slightly different things, because they think they can get away with it (ie. there's text to explain what they actually mean.)
3.) Text, nevertheless, on RFTG cards to help you with every non-common icon. Do people realize this? (BTW, non-common is not a game term you need to know; I just mean that there are only a handful of icons in RFTG that you need to memorize right away.)
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Mil Myman
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Yes! I see people complain (whine) about the icons in RFTG frequently. But they're very well designed, clear, simple, and intuitive.

San Juan, being a much simpler game, has far less need of icons. The production buildings are color-coded, and that color code is all the "icon" you need for those buildings. The other buildings could have had icons, but because there are far fewer different ones than in RftG, it's not a big deal.
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h00sha wrote:
I got a chance to play San Juan (second edition) and was very impressed. There's a beauty to it's gameplay that easily justifies a purchase for RFTG lovers and haters alike.

I noticed, however, that as I worked with the cards in my hand and tableau, I was often reading the text on the cards or reciting them mentally from memory. That's how my brain works when there are words staring me in the face - I read them. The effect of this is that looking at each card takes a fraction of a second longer than it does in RFTG.

Three Praises
2.) Icons are consistent in terms of their meanings. You'd be surprised how many games use different icons to mean the same thing, or the same icons to mean slightly different things, because they think they can get away with it (ie. there's text to explain what they actually mean.)
There are a few exceptions of inconsistencies*, but that withstanding, I feel the icons are well done and thought out.

*
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1) the III bonus on the III action card and the likes such as Terraforming Robots look identical, but when you look at the rulebook, Improved Logistics does NOT give you a bonus card rebate from the III action card of the 2nd world in that phase. Every else is a go.

2) for some reason, Uplift Gene Breeders V icon and the one at the top right of the card (upside down) are different. The latter's missing a "green good" icon
 
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Tom Lehmann
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ackmondual wrote:
There are a few exceptions of inconsistencies, but that withstanding, I feel the icons are well done and thought out.

Thanks.

Quote:
1) the III bonus on the III action card and the likes such as Terraforming Robots look identical, but when you look at the rulebook, Improved Logistics does NOT give you a bonus card rebate from the III action card of the 2nd world in that phase.

I agree that this is awkward, but we just didn't want to complicate the Settle bonus icon with a concept (placing multiple worlds in one phase) that didn't exist in the base game. I belive this was the right decision from a pedagogical standpoint, even though it means that the Settle bonus icon and the Draw-after-Settling power icon are not identical in meaning, despite being identical in appearance.

Quote:
2) for some reason, Uplift Gene Breeders V icon and the one at the top right of the card (upside down) are different. The latter's missing a "green good" icon

This *is* consistent with how we treat card draws on production worlds, such as Lost Species Ark World in the base set. It's production reminder doesn't have a good.
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
Quote:
1) the III bonus on the III action card and the likes such as Terraforming Robots look identical, but when you look at the rulebook, Improved Logistics does NOT give you a bonus card rebate from the III action card of the 2nd world in that phase.

I agree that this is awkward, but we just didn't want to complicate the Settle bonus icon with a concept (placing multiple worlds in one phase) that didn't exist in the base game. I belive this was the right decision from a pedagogical standpoint, even though it means that the Settle bonus icon and the Draw-after-Settling power icon are not identical in meaning, despite being identical in appearance.


I C. Not a game breaker (Given the larger sampling of folks I've run into, that would go to the Improved Logistics card itself, but that's for another thread, or one of the many existing ones). I have to explain this card anyways, so I be sure to sneak in that clause.

These sorts of things have been easier to spot when you know more of the game's nitty gritty details.

Ohh, new word to vocabulary achievement!


Tom Lehmann wrote:
Quote:
2) for some reason, Uplift Gene Breeders V icon and the one at the top right of the card (upside down) are different. The latter's missing a "green good" icon

This *is* consistent with how we treat card draws on production worlds, such as Lost Species Ark World in the base set. It's production reminder doesn't have a good.
By golly you're right TBH, I never really looked at them since we used to put the good underneath as to not obscure the function of the card, and thus, can just look at the phase V section. We eventually hit a transition point where we've memorized the cards by then.
 
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Todd McCorkle
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FWVLIW...

I played the game around 150 times before noticing that Public Works develop power (draw a card after playing a development card) was described in a text box. The icon was so intuitive (to me) that I never bothered to look at the lower right corner.

There are a few other card examples where this happened. Whenever I hear someone say (whine) "they should have used text!", I want to smack them up side the head and yell "they did use text! Way more than they needed to!"

Given my experience with CCGs, I probably would not have been able to play RftG if they did not use icons.
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kusinohki wrote:
FWVLIW...

I played the game around 150 times before noticing that Public Works develop power (draw a card after playing a development card) was described in a text box. The icon was so intuitive (to me) that I never bothered to look at the lower right corner.

There are a few other card examples where this happened. Whenever I hear someone say (whine) "they should have used text!", I want to smack them up side the head and yell "they did use text! Way more than they needed to!"

Given my experience with CCGs, I probably would not have been able to play RftG if they did not use icons.
I tell newcomers if the box containing the roman numeral is dark/black, then consult your player aid. If it's white/light, then there's going to be a text box on the card describing it.

And a running joke we had with one group is you punish people by giving them player aids
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Todd McCorkle
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ackmondual wrote:
I tell newcomers if the box containing the roman numeral is dark/black, then consult your player aid. If it's white/light, then there's going to be a text box on the card describing it.

I never noticed that until I read about it on BGG. I think that's why I finally noticed the text box on public works... "Why is that II light? OMG THERE'S A TEXT BOX ON THIS CARD!!"

Maybe I'm just blind/unobservant...
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Erik R.
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I think the iconography is good at condensing and expediating a rich game into a bunch of cards....but it's obvious that many people disagree. The difference could be in how people teach the game, so I have to ask: what is the best way to teach Race for the Galaxy?
 
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karkador wrote:
I think the iconography is good at condensing and expediating a rich game into a bunch of cards....but it's obvious that many people disagree. The difference could be in how people teach the game, so I have to ask: what is the best way to teach Race for the Galaxy?
It varies per group and individual.

One way could be to point them to Keldon's AI, with the links to the rulebooks.

What I do in many games is go "top down"...
-space + sci-fi theme
-played out over several rounds. Goes as long as it needs to
-each round, each player picks action cards simultaneously
-play out the appropriate rounds
-explain what happens in each phase
 
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John
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The only problem with the icons is that I'm now even less tolerant of having to read lots of text in other games!
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