Recommend
29 
 Thumb up
 Hide
94 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: The Next Step in Wargame Production Quality . . . Suggestions? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There has been a really great movement over the past 5-10 years of getting wargame publishers to move away from "paper" maps and toward "mounted" maps. This has had mixed success, owing largely to the additional costs of mounted maps along with the added shipping prices for the extra weight.

I go back and forth as to whether paper or mounted maps are better, and I don't want to re-litigate that issue, here. The point is that the consumers were largely successful in getting a component upgrade that a large chunk of them desired - mounted maps.

I was thinking today of what the next step could be . . . for me, I would like to see boxes with an extra 1" of space in them so that I can store my counter trays and/or storage boxes *in* the gamebox. I would pay more for this. I have several games that come to mind in which the game box sits on the shelf, and next to it 2 or 3 GMT storage containers, or a plastic Plano to hold them.

The costs of this added feature are minimal in terms of *materials* but probably quite a bit higher in terms of shipping costs (paying for volume, not necessarily weight).

GMT now produced quite a few 3" deep game boxes, and I think they are brilliant. Anyone who owned a first edition Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan understands the value in it.

Would you like deeper game boxes to hold your organizers and such? How much more would you pay for that? What other production quality improvements would you like to see?
27 
 Thumb up
4.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Larger counters - I don't like squinting at half inch counters. This might mean bigger maps, which I also don't mind.
58 
 Thumb up
0.12
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Richbourg
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
This is Kyoshi, our adopted Shiba Inu.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good topic, Chris. I hope you get some good responses.

I'm planning to include both a mounted and a paper map if/when I produce a game.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The real question about improving production quality is not just *what* consumers want, but figuring out their price threshhold for that feature. For thick boxes capable of holding component storage, I would be willing to pay an additional $5-8 per game.

Larger counters I am less enthusiastic about - I think counter size touches on more than just component quality because it factors into the game's footprint, as well, which is a concern for some.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neal Durando
France
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I wish that counter design would become a little less busy. I think having larger counters has been, for some, an excuse for increased decoration. If, for example, nationality is conveyed by color, I don't see why it is necessary or desirable to watermark the image with a national emblem. You can get away with a smaller counter if the information design is well thought out.
27 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I don't care about mounted maps or large counters - indeed they can be disadvantageous for storage purposes, but having the ability to fit all needed counter trays into the box is a Good Thing indeed.

In terms of simple realistic proposals for improved quality (albeit non-physical quality), I would like improved average quality of rulebooks, i.e. proofreading & playtesting, consistent use of terminology, clear concise well-structured writing, index, glossary...

If we're blue-sky dreaming, then clacky bakelite tiles instead of cardboard counters could be cool.
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
DefLing wrote:
I wish that counter design would become a little less busy. I think having larger counters has been, for some, an excuse for increased decoration.

Agreed in general, but:
Quote:
If, for example, nationality is conveyed by color, I don't see why it is necessary or desirable to watermark the image with a national emblem.

Colorblindness.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neal Durando
France
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Color blindness? Avoid red and green. And consider multimodal semiology. Watermark layers behind an illustration are rarely very legible, even for those with normal sight. Frankly, I can't think of any overt offenders of poor palette selection for colorblindness in recent games, though I doubt it will be long before someone else can provide an example. Watermarks, however...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Fair enough about watermarks specifically not being a good solution. I was just meaning that color alone is not necessarily sufficient.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darrell Hanning
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
We will meet at the Hour of Scampering.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Seems to me that if we get mounted mapboards, larger counters (and thus more mounted mapboards, to accommodate the larger maps), and room for counter trays (which will, of course require more counter trays, since the counters are larger)...

...I'm going to end up getting game boxes that are so, damn thick I'm going to have to give up three, old games for every one, new game I get, just to keep them from taking over the house.

Please - stop trying to make my gaming life better, would you?
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
O B
United States
Mountainview
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:

If we're blue-sky dreaming, then clacky bakelite tiles instead of cardboard counters could be cool. :)


This is hardly blue sky. Recent advances in low cost laser cutting and etching mean this is right around the corner!

In fact my newest favorite counters are from Victory Point Games of all places! Once known for nifty but cheaply produced "ziploc" games, recent VPG games come with full color laser cut counters that are not cardboard, but a dense fiberboard that's almost like masonite. They're not quite as heavy as a nice poker chip or a Scrabble tile, but way more dense, solid and weighty than cardboard counters. IMO they're the next best thing to wooden blocks.
Check out the thickness of those tiles next to the penny!





I hope more publishers shift to this style of counter ... oh did I mention they're basically pre-rounded and practically self punching?

49 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Follow me for wargames!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How about including counter trays with games? Roughly 1 tray per 3 countersheets should be a sufficient ratio.

If Victory Games could do it 30 years ago, why not now?
24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dune Tiger
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Storage is huge. Baggies are fine and dandy, but I'd like to see storage solutions built into the box. Not flimsy one-insert-fits-all, but purpose-made, with a lid so stuff doesn't go flying. Wishful thinking, yes, but why not? Nothing pains me more than to see a box that doesn't close right or having to dump and sort everything every time I want to get a game going.

And while we're on it, find some way for VPG to deliver a game without soot! lol
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
adorablerocket wrote:
russ wrote:

If we're blue-sky dreaming, then clacky bakelite tiles instead of cardboard counters could be cool.


This is hardly blue sky. Recent advances in low cost laser cutting and etching mean this is right around the corner!

In fact my newest favorite counters are from Victory Point Games of all places! Once known for nifty but cheaply produced "ziploc" games, recent VPG games come with full color laser cut counters that are not cardboard, but a dense fiberboard that's almost like masonite. They're not quite as heavy as a nice poker chip or a Scrabble tile, but way more dense, solid and weighty than cardboard counters. IMO they're the next best thing to wooden blocks.

Yeah, I've got various of those new-style VPG games, and I admit I'm less enamored of them than you, although they are not bad.

There's the dirty soot problem and the occasional visible brown toasty discolored edges from the laser cutting.

And the material is still basically some kind of layered cardstock of some sort (just denser/heavier/thicker), as far as I can tell (I had to glue a few separating/peeling layers back together on a few counters.) Still a long way to go before clacky bakelite!

(Also their registration of printed edges and physical edges is not as precise as it should be.)

Quote:
I hope more publishers shift to this style of counter ... oh did I mention they're basically pre-rounded and practically self punching?

They are prerounded, BUT (my pet peeve aesthetic problem!) they have little side nubs! yuk

I honestly prefer "normal" GMT/etc style counters with corner nubs I can easily clip away. mb!

PS: nestorgames is doing lasercut acrylic pieces, including laser engraving of images, but it's not yet economically feasible to do games with huge numbers of pieces like wargames. E.g.:

And the laser cutting does still leave little visible nubs, alas. For truly pleasing bakelite goodness, it seems molds are the way to go. At least I assume that's how games like Hive & Trax achieve their smooth clacky pieces.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allen Dickerson
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In my view, the way to increasing production quality is retrograde. There's still no way in hell to beat the elegance of the average Redmond A. Simonsen SPI package design. Once SPI got beyond the "black and blue" 2-color limitation in the mid 1970s, they started turning out games that are still standards that are unbeaten today.

But nowadays, with digital printing processes, we're seeing too many "slick" designs that are just HORRIBLE. Too many colors, too little art direction skill and usually, too little restraint.

Case in point: Multi-Man Publishing. My God, where do I start with these clowns???? I just had a nice debate on a FB enthusiast page on the horrible maps for their operational D-Day game and their games on Operation Market Garden. These titles are so visually offensive to me that I will not buy them, solely based on the physical package. The subject matter actually intrigues me. But they've art directed themselves out of a sale, as far as I'm concerned. Here's why:

The map colors are kind of pastel, and are just not very evocative of the actual terrain. Some interesting farm fields aeriel view graphics and building clusters do add a bit of flavor, but still, the net effect on the maps is egregious. They also have adopted either using a white hex grid overlay or a corners-only 'suggestion' of the hex grid which does nothing but annoy the eyes. Then, even worse, they've convinced themselves that putting a small colored dot in the center of each hex is better than simply using color or texture throughout the hex to tell what terrain the hex consists of. (They even have a fancy name for it: "Planimetrics") Talk about BASS-ACKWARDS. You have to **lean in more** to see the little dots (which themselves detract from the map when viewed as a whole), while, with a better design, you can tell the terrain type easily from across the room or the table.

Then, there's the counters.... ugh. We've either got art designers trying to evoke Myst computer games or paint the Sistene Chapel on a counter; or a cartoon farce that doesn't even rise to the seriousness of Sgt. Rock and his Howlin' Commandos.



Then there's fonts.... to my eye, on small counters, you should ALWAYS.... repeat, **ALWAYS** use a sans serif font. Anything more ornate results in variable, or super-thin lines that don't always print properly when displayed at 6 or 7 points or, the serifs just add additional pixels that can "plug in" letters and inhibit readability. You'll usually find these frou-frou fonts on Napoleonic games, trying to elicit the big hats and fancy uniforms of the period.... but you can just as easily add that "class" with tasteful color backgrounds.

Below are some new counters for the DG reboot of Wellington's Victory 2nd Edition. These aren't nearly the outrage of the counters in the screenie above, but I think you could easily improve these immeasurably with better color choices and use of a sans-serif font. In any case, they don't even come close to supplanting the original SPI WV counters just below them (although, in truth, these tempt fate a bit with a fairly reserved variable weight font themselves).





Two examples of more modern components that I think really work are:

Great Battles of the American Civil War (GMT). The amount of info they pack into these counters is huge, yet they're always readable, and even better, stand out on the map, and add the desired sense of drama and sweep of seeing lines and columns of men locked in mortal combat. Colored bands for Divisions and smaller colored boxes around the cohesion ratings suggest at a glance the Corps/Division/Brigade organizations crucial to ACW formations, and there's just enough artwork to inform, but not attempt to bedazzle.



And the maps work hard, too, with clear textures and symbology, plus color height gradations.

Musket & Pike Series (GMT). Again, tasteful restraint results in eye-pleasing designs on the map and counters, so you get some period flavor without a migraine headache or a need for a magnifying glass.

27 
 Thumb up
0.34
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thom Boerman

Maynard
Massachusetts
msg tools
"Stick with me folks...I got all the answers."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LARGER HEXES...I am currently playing D-Day at Omaha Beach on a map that is much larger (hexes are about twice the size of normal map) and it is wonderful. Space to put multiple counters in a hex without stacking them, spatial awareness is better because of, well, more space. I simply enjoy the game experience much better. I had the map printed for 10 bucks at Staples and it is the same resolution as the original (if you know the game) VERY busy map.
So many game would benefit from larger hexes...just my observation.
19 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul C
England
Lancashire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:

In terms of simple realistic proposals for improved quality (albeit non-physical quality), I would like improved average quality of rulebooks, i.e. proofreading & playtesting, consistent use of terminology, clear concise well-structured writing, index, glossary...

Indeed- otherwise investment on physical component quality might be like putting lipstick on a pig. On the other hand, I'd always welcome deluxe components in a reprint, if the original was physically Spartan but played well.

russ wrote:

If we're blue-sky dreaming, then clacky bakelite tiles instead of cardboard counters could be cool.

That's just reminded me that I loaned out what I took to be a Bakelite Mah Jong set 30 odd years ago- unfortunately I've completely lost touch with the person.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Drake
United States
Springfield
Missouri
flag msg tools
I like pizza!
badge
I LIKE IT!!! ????
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am perfectly fine with paper maps and have no problem putting down plexi-glass to protect said map, I would rather not see the price of a game go up $5-$10 dollars (or more) for a mounted map.

The same goes for counter trays. Some games I use counter trays with, usually the larger games such as Day of Days and some I use the small plastic bags for counter storage for games with a smaller counter footprint.

Granted I will not put off purchasing a game that has these upgrades but I prefer to keep our cost down if possible and I prefer to decide how I want to organize my counters.

I will say that a little bigger box would be nice for the games with oodles of counters but it is not a deal breaker. (I guess I want my cake and to be able to eat it to)
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Hobden
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Larger counters and larger hexes.

cool
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Averett
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
flag msg tools
uh...whose turn is it?
badge
I spent 100gg for this?!?!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm all for easier to punch and less fuzzy counters. That would be the evolution that I would like to see next.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ek T
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Okay, going to get pie in the sky on y'all:

Maps and counters employing nanotechnology (I think it would be nanotechnology) that when touched, will reference rules to an associated smart phone or tablet. So, for example, if one touches a river hexside, your smartphone will bring up all the rules that reference "rivers".

Also, if you touch two opposing stacks of counters at the same time, your smartphone or tablet will show you the odds ratio between the two stacks/counters.

8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
flag msg tools
mbmb
Mallet wrote:

Larger counters and larger hexes.

cool


So less hexes and areas? Or over sized maps that don't fit my table? There is a trade off here.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the sturdier boxes that GMT and some others are using. A feature that is pretty common in euros but not seen often enough in wargames is inserts for the storage of components. Counter trays are a step in the right direction but can be inadequate if the game also includes cards or other parts besides counters.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Barber
United States
Richmond
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
spektacles wrote:

Also, if you touch two opposing stacks of counters at the same time, your smartphone or tablet will show you the odds ratio between the two stacks/counters.



Something like this would be possible using QR codes or barcodes and the phone camera. Someone has released an app for Android that scans barcodes to assist the gameCodenames. This does require printing your own cards. Now imagine a wargame that somehow incorporates a QR code or something onto the chit fronts, a calculating app is totally possible!

However, there are two issues I could see with the idea is fitting a code onto a small chit. First is simply making it fit without being obnoxious. Second would be the the speed of scanning. The app for Codenames currently requires you to scan all 25 cards one by one which is quite a bother for such a short game. Perhaps scanning two codes at once is doable, I am no phone engineer so I can't say.


edit: looks like a QR code meant to be scanned from 5.9 inches away should be 1.34 inches across....so that's out! (I got the number from this site: http://www.qrstuff.com/blog/2011/01/18/what-size-should-a-qr... )
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Hoyt

Butte
Montana
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm thinking in terms of what would encourage me to actually buy the thing, an important consideration from the Publisher POV I assume. In order

1) Interesting Subject (which is not helpful, since it means different things to different people, I realize. But I put it #1 for completeness, the subject is what I'm interested in and all else is a very distant second)

2) Clear, Complete rules with examples. Errata free may be too much to hope for but I love Red Winter in large part for that rulebook. (#1 still applies though, I don't have much interest in Operation Dauntless, even though I'm sure the quality will be just as high)

3) Larger counters. Aging eyes means that all else being equal, larger counters with an emphasis on legibility are just easier for me to play with.

4) Larger maps. Often, but not necessarily, driven by larger counters. See Band of Brothers for large counters and small maps with large hexes that works just fine.

5) Larger Box. Into the land of "it depends" here. Sometimes a larger box would be helpful to get everything back in after punching, but shelf space is precious and I don't need a lot dead air.

6) Storage solutions. No thanks. I get by just fine with a combination of baggies and counter trays. Odds are pretty good that I wouldn't like the solution the publisher includes and would just toss it anyway. Don't waste your money, or mine

7) Electronic anything. No thanks. I don't want to read rules on my tablet or phone, I don't need interactive counters. I can't watch the tutorial videos. Just don't need it.

8) Miniatures. I like the look and feel of minis, so in theory this could be a win, but in practice I have yet to see a game with minis where the mini's really added anything to the game play and since they are much less efficient at conveying information than a counter, I have trouble seeing how they would be used to a benefit. I'll keep an open mind, but not something I'm really waiting for

So I guess my bottom line is that I don't need big changes in the components, the basic box, map, counters, rulebook works for me, my advice/request would be in better and better execution of those basics.
16 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.