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Subject: BLACKBEARD: Seeking Comments on Visuals rss

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Richard H. Berg
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The preliminary artwork for the new BLACKBEARD is up and viewable, and we are seeking some comments, Vox Populi style, as to your reactions, suggestions . . .whatever you wish to throw in. It all helps us to give you the game you want to see . . .

RHB
 
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Eric Chantigny
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Hi,

I really like the art. It looks very good. The only thing I'm worried about is that you say you don't want to compare it to a "wargame" and yet, the box does look like one. I understand that GMT must have some rules, but I'm sure you could make it a bit more "friendly" to non-wargamers, more piratish maybe!?

I don't know, just my 2 cents!

But seriously, the artist as talent!

Edit:
After talking to a non-gamer graphic artist, the Beige in the background is a sinker. You need to punch a little bit more. You need to put a bit more emphasis on the Blackbeard signature and the painting, even if it's very very nice, could be a bit more lively.
 
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Daniel Val
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I love the new artwork!

I have the original version of the game and this new one constitutes a huge improvement. On the other hand, I noticed... no more hex grid? So now it's an area movement game?

 
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Steven Packard
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I really like the look of the artwork. I think it captures the flavor of the topic well.

I understand that it might be drab to a non-gamer, but I think a bright box or map might give it a Hollywood Pirate feel rather than evoking the historical pirates that I believe the game is about. (I've never played the original before, although I've always wanted to. Now I'm torn between still wanting to try out the first one, or waiting for the new one. But this new one seems pretty darn cool.)

Understand that I'm speaking well outside my area of expertise, but for me as an individual, I really like the look of the artwork you've posted here, and it makes me even more eager to play this.
 
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Olivier Lamontagne
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I really like what I see, much better than the 1st Edition

Much more pirate-style than many games prentending to be pirate games arrrh

Will the pirate bios will be included in the rulebook?
 
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Van Overbay
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Richard,
My thoughts would be to have the graphics convey a much more dark, sinister and ominous emotion much akin to those that Blackbeard himself conjures in one's mind. His Roger evokes that kind of feeling and the famous descriptions of his appearance do also.

Some thoughts that I would have in mind when designing the logo and graphics would be quotes such as:

“...his eyes naturally looking fierce and wild, made him altogether such a figure, that imagination cannot form an idea of a fury, from hell, to look more frightful.”

Speaking of his beard, “like a frightful meteor, covered his whole face and frightened America more than any comet that has appeared there in a long time.

And, “some of his frolics of wickedness, were so extravagant, as if he aimed at making his men believe he was a devil incarnate.”

Extravagant wickedness sounds like a good combination for the package design. Just my two cents.

—Vanderdecken

——————————————
"I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until Doomsday!" — The Flying Dutchman
 
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Mark Mahaffey
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Van, I tried some pretty dark and evil cover designs (believe me), but none conveyed piracy in general very well. In the end, the game really isn't just about Blackbeard - and focusing too much on him for the cover design seemed counterproductive. At any rate, the box is by far the least likely to be final, so for now the more important questions are on the board, counters, cards, and shiplogs...
 
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Christian Marcussen
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arrrh

If I may comment, it looks good to me - Mark does some nice stuff!

I dont think it looks particularily "wargamish" - it just does not look family oriented, which as I understand it Blackbeard isen't.

One thing though - I'm not too fond of the white logo text. It seems a bit too noble for Blackbeard imho. Blackish/Redish, while more cliché, also seems more appropriate

[edit] Hi Mark. Seems your comments also applies to my thoughts.
 
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Eric Chantigny
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Hi,

I my first comment I only talked about the box because I like the rest very much. I actually think you should try to bring up a couple of the color elements on the cards and tokens on the cover.

Keep up the good work!
 
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Van Overbay
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Hello Mark, my compliments on your work. As for the other components I would consider a slightly more "aged" look with texture, lighting effects and edge shading much like your treatment on the board for Hammer of the Scots. It would just give more of that "Old World" pirate feel. Same with the box wrap.

—Vanderdecken

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"I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until Doomsday!" — The Flying Dutchman
 
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Trevor Murphy
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On the whole, I like the art very much because it isn't afraid to be very 'adult'. The box in particular is excellent because it shows some restraint, a great relief in a field where half the box covers feature a 'Where's Waldo?' of Roman legions and civil war artillery.

There are some niggling details, though:

1) The woodcuts at either end of the 'jubilation' and 'mutiny' track on the ship cards are so tiny that they barely register. I like the idea of them, and those images could perhaps be larger?

2) The map is very elegant and in a unique style, but the wide margin of grayish border around the edge makes it seem a bit sterile, as do the big tectonic lines dividing areas.

3) All the art looks very computer-designed. While the effects are very state-of-the-art right now, I feel like this map is going to appear quite dated in ten years. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

3) Once again, the box is very nice. It doesn't look like a wargame to me, but also doesn't look like a standard bookshelf euro.

Edited: for make setences read gooder.
 
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David Seddon
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I like the art VERY much (some of the best I've seen for a while), but think the box top is a just a tad too held-back. I think it needs a bit more of the rich colouring that is inside it.
 
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Richard H. Berg
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Good to see Mark M has joined in here . . . this - all your comments -
should be very helpful to him in making any changes, additions, etc. etc . . .

"...the painting, even if it's very very nice, could be a bit more lively."
'
Oh, i don't know . . . it's a famous painting by Frank Schoonover; you have to see it in its ful lsize (as i do, fairly, often, as it is hanging in a local restaurant/museum, "Queen Anne's Revenge", to fully appreciate the power and evocation it has.

RHB
 
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Lee Kennedy
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I think the artwork looks great overall. A few comments:

1) The port boxes: I like the old-world look of the map, especially the way the area boxes are subtly overlaid without jumping out. They look like they could be a natural part of the map (like fold lines or something). The port boxes in contrast are glaring and clearly not part of the map. Maybe instead of containing them in sharply defined boxes the port color could fade away at the edges into the map background and be slightly irregularly shaped. I do like the fact that the ports stand out and a large amount of information is displayed in a clear manner.

2) The Blackbeard label: It looks like Blackbeard has conquered S. America and setup camp.

3) Mutiny and Jubilation tracks: I agree with earlier comments that the icons could use some colour. Even a sepia tone instead of black and white would tie in better with the rest of the display.

4) The Attack History counters: The faction colour bar is not very prominent because the sword is over top. The Letters of Marque counters on the other hand have the faction colour uninterrupted and so it stands out more. I've never played Blackbeard so I have no idea how important that is. If you could move the sword behind the bar (maybe too hidden to identify?) or have it behind the text label (maybe too hard to read the text?) the colour would stand out more.

5) Cover: I love the picture on the cover. I would make it bigger

Now, when do we get to see the rules? arrrh
 
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Michael Lawson
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Concerning the artwork:

Positives: It has the feel of a mixture of period artwork and design with illustrations out of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel. The map is clear and uncluttered. The counters don't try to overwhelm you with data. (Considering this isn't a consim, that's a good thing.) There's a judicious mixture of color without being garish, and the sepia tone of the artwork lends itself well to subject matter.

Negatives: The land masses could use a slight blue border like, say Spilsbury's. (http://www.mapsofpa.com/18thcentury/1761spilsbury.jpg is an example.) Maybe that would give it a touch more of a period feel. (Okay, I'm reaching for that one, but if that's the only flaw I can think of, then things look good.)

Overall opinion: I like the artwork very much; and contributed to my adding to the P500 order. This might be the pirate boardgame that I've been looking for, since I've investigated the other boardgames and really didn't find what I was looking for in them.
 
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Stephen Waits
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Generally, I like the direction it's going. My one complaint, which may come off as a bit vague, is that the style is quite varied across each of the counters and card backs. The card fronts flow quite nicely though.

A good recent example of a common style across all elements is Iliad. Check that out.

--Steve
 
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Mark Mahaffey
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First of all, I wanted to thank all of you for the universal (if qualified) acclaim for the graphics work on this project so far. Thank you for taking the time to comment and offer your thoughts up.

That said, let me share my rationale on some of the issues that have been raised. I'm happy to consider changes of course, but I obviously had opinions that inseminated the design decisions in the first place.


Eric, I agree that the game title would stand out more on a traditional boardgame box, but I think the subtlety there is one of its strengths. I always have and will always continue to argue for that beige look to period games wherever possible. It instantly communicates a historical feel, and I think enhances the game's appeal It also sets the box apart from the Disney view of pirates this design seeks to avoid. I will seek to keep the graphics as "drab" as they will allow... and now I see Steven agreed with that.

Van, I would love to consider going totally "Old World" on the design, but I don't think that's practical. Despite my attempts at drabness and aged looks, the pirates must have their splashes of color. What a terrible tightrope I'm walking, but hopefully I've achieved a happy medium to satisfy all gamers of taste...

Trevor, I agree the woodcuts on the mutiny track could be more pronounced. at 1/2" size, they are difficult to make out. I'll play around with some ideas to do just that, because both woodcuts fit very well. The "jubilation" one show pirates drinking, carousing, and dancing onshore, and the "mutiny" one shows a pirate marooned whilst his vessel slowly and depressingly sails away. The wide margin is there on the map largely for printer's bleed. It would be significantly less on the production copy. Of course, you could always trim it further if you so desire, or even just cut out the map portions treasure-map style…

Lee, the sharp port distinctions is definitely a function of this being a game map rather than a wall hanging. These are simply crucial to play and need to stand out as the "game" part of the map. One must consider that the map will be covered with cards and playing pieces and cheez doodles and all, so the critical game information needs to cut through all that noise. Thanks for your comment on the Attack History counters, I'll revisit those a bit to see if we can make it clearer…

Michael, I'm placing my tongue firmly into my cheek at this point and whining: but everyone seems to put blue borders on the maps. OK, remove tongue from cheek. In all seriousness, this idea is a function of maps from a time when printing the entire map in color was impractical. I agree it can often have a nice clarifying effect, but since in this game the coastlines themselves are technically irrelevant, I felt no need to highlight them…

If you're still reading, thanks for bearing with my brain, and know that I appreciate your overwhelming and wonderfully positive response, and am glad to be trying to help bring the best pirate game possible to the table in an age of so many. So happy sailing!
arrrh
 
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Sterling Babcock
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I like the colors. Personally, I like the brighter colors.

A few minor comments:

- The box does not have the # of players, age range, or time on the side, which it should.

- Take a look at the Alea games for examples of how each side is different, which allows you to put it on the shelf in multiple ways. Thus one long/one short edge is sideways, one long/one short is vertical text. It makes it very flexible.

- Make sure you consider what each edge will look like without the cover. Think about some of the unfortunate things the Alea line has, like disembodied hands on the front cover. Heaven forbid that an edge has a portion of a map that looks like something bad. (Not to say it is true in the preliminary image, but just to think about.)

- I will say it again, as I have said it before: In construction, I would like to see designers think about what happens to the game AFTER it is de-sprued. What happens to the counters if I set the game on the side. Or, more to the point, will the pieces all fall out all over the place when the sprues are removed. Can one put the sprues below the insert to bring it to the top so things don't fall out.

- Can you design it so that the cards fit in a slot, and THEN something (Like a bar of cardboard or a bag of pieces) goes OVER the cards. Not just a well barely able to fit the cards so that they go sliding all over the box when you tip it on its side and the box starts to fall open. If I put the cards in a small ziplock bag, can I still get the bag in the card slot? (Sorry about heading into a rant there.)
 
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Mark Mahaffey
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GMT just doesn't do that with their physical box designs - no inserts at all, just the box itself, old AH bookcase game style. That may change someday, but doubtful for now. Their playing time and such details are listed on the back cover...



 
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Christophe Sancy
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Lovely map ! You avoided two extreme (and usual) mistakes: being so close to the XVIIIth century aesthetics that it becomes a "pastiche" that you can't even read , or making of it a kind of Disneyland-parody full of cliches and bad taste colours.

About the cards, I love the B&W/gravure illustrations and the typography. I'm a little bit more concerned by some realistic elements on some cards & counters: the gun,the sword, the warship guns, the gold... They seem to me nearly "photographic" compared to the beautiful ship drawing. It makes the illustration style a little bit inconsistant. Colours: I understand that people love it, but I do prefer a limited range. To give you an idea of the kind of illustration work that I do appreciate: Friedrich.

 
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Roger Bordelon
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The new map looks like Serenessima / Méditerranée board.
See http://jeuxstrategie.free.fr/Mediterranee_complet.php
It gives a much less wargame look and a more simple approach. It shows the cards are having more importance and the board less.
Being a fan of Blackbeard 1992, I find the new map design lacks personality, details and beauty. I personally liked the 6 sided die to move a certain number of hexagons. It allowed a pursuit feeling of cat and mouse, a disadvantage for slow heavy armed vessels against fast light vessels with minimum cargo space. The hexagon layout allowed for some random events based on radius, for the storm for example.
But this is just my feedback.

Edit: looking at the tokens, they're very good looking. But the Attack counter are showing the hilt of a sword that looks like a cavalry saber from the Napoleonic wars (1800+). I've imagined a saber more like in "Tintin and the secret of the Licorn" (1700+). About the French flag, I'm surprised to see the symbol chosen because I think this one with the axe on the top is quite recent, after the French Revolution (1789). A more accurate would be with Lys flowers symbols like http://www.eagleflag.com/hist/fleurdlis.html (1590-1790).
Just my comments to help the schlimblick.



TsarRiri
 
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James Blair
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Looks great...


Definitly strikes the 'historical' feel required, rather than looking like Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean!


However, I've never been disapointed with GMT products, so I'm confident that the final look will 'feel' right and capture the correct historical tone.
 
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Chris Barnard
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I like the general look of this game in general but think the map on the box looks a bit simplistic and plain. Also couldn't help noticing that the symbol for English/British controlled ports bears a striking resemblance to that used by the English Football Association (apologies if this was just being used for temporary artwork). Perhaps the Union flag of the period (cross of St George combined with cross of St Andrew) or an alternative historical crest could be used instead.
 
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Mark Mahaffey
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As stated, the historical symbols are definitely not final yet, and temporary indeed. (Go Tottenham!)
 
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