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Subject: A poll about icons rss

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michael brown
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<Edit>
In response to some comments, I have made a third option (one that was not included in the original poll). The new option is available to see in this post. Continue to answer the original question, however the discussion might also concern the new option as well.
</Edit>

I posted a thread a week or so about making the symbols on player mats in my game better. After the thread ran its course, I had the following for my mat:


I showed the results to my wife, and she said that words could make it even easier to understand. This comment made me think a bit, so I made the following:


Poll
Which of these is better?
The first (the one with more icons)
The second (the one with more text)
      73 answers
Poll created by theTrueMikeBrown


Thanks!

<Edit>
For those who don't want to scroll, here is the other option:

</Edit>
 
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Joe H
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If you can swing it, use both sides of the mat with one side text intensive and one side symbol intensive. Targi does this with its border cards.
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L S
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I'd prefer the second one if you revise spacing/macrotypology. For example
Quote:
Place 1sauron and use 1goo
to gain 2robot.

instead of
Quote:
Place 1sauron and use 1goo to
gain 2robot.
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Kelly Bass
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I like the first one more. I don't think you need the number 1 in front of an icon.
Quote:
Place sauron and use goo
to gain 2robot
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But the drumbeat strains of the night remain in the rhythm of the newborn day.
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To new players that first board translates to "play something else."

Undoubtedly the second. Somebody lays that first mat in front of me and I'll set it aside and ask for a text translation.

I want my brain working on gameplay. I"ll write down the text describing the concepts and use it, then throw it in the box for next time. I'd rather spend the time replacing the component once than have to break focus on gameplay to translate each time.

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Perry Fergin
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I'm a visual person, so I prefer just the icons. I think these particular icons are a bit clunky and hard to read, though. They just seem to big, and don't have enough space between them. I think some formatting fixes (like shrinking them a bit) would make it more clear.
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TTDG
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It bugs me to have squares and rectangles that don't have 90 degree angles, for no good reason. I first noticed this on the Canoes, but I also see it on Catch Fish and Move Village. Now you might use circles on the latter 2, and a canoe shape on the 1st, but don't fake at rectangles and then leave us with unadjustable skewness.
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Enoch Gray
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If you want to do the icons, it would help A LOT to color them each a different color. I prefer the text, but if the icons were different colors and more clear, I might be swayed.
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James Arias
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The 2nd for me. I tend to like a mix of icons and text, where icons have different shapes and colors, and there is a meaningful pattern (e.g. all circles are a damage effect, anything red affects move, etc.). There must also be a small number of icons or I can't remember them all.

Walls of text are bad, but so are too many icons that turn it into an algebraic expression or hieroglyphics.
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michael brown
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Thanks guys, it looks like I just have a weird love of icons that is just not shared by the rest of the community as a whole. I will go with the wordy version.

I totally prefer to make a game that people can play easily and enjoy more than a game that is exactly what I want it to be. Playing the game with people is the goal, not making a beautiful but unused game.
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Matt Lee
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How large are these play mats?

Using icons would make it more language independent, but then it needs to be much clearer with the icons. Instead of a number in front of the icons, if it's large enough, the mats would be clearer, for example, if the 6 people would show two rows of three people like:

***
***

but taking up the small space of a single icon. Icon based references work best when there are fewer of them to learn and when they are easily distinguished from each other, otherwise you may as well use plain text.

Also, the two different statue icons are really hard to distinguish here. Colors or some other, more easily distinguished icons would help a lot.

The Move Village space isn't very understandable at all on the first playmat at first glance, and using the clarification makes it worse. You need a "most" identifier to make it more understandable.
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michael brown
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klz_fc wrote:
How large are these play mats?

They are 4x8 inches, so I could reasonably put smaller icons on them. I just want them to be easily readable to older people (as some of my group are older).

I think I might actually try the idea from

Joe H
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and make dual sided mats, so I appreciate everyone's ideas as to how to make both versions better. If I can't get dual sided mats, I will still go with the word versions, since the poll has always been about 4:1 in favor of that.
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Simon Maynard
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At first glance I thought the second board but after I recovered from my initial "shock" I realised that the icons on the first board were pretty easy to decipher.
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Dimitri Sirenko
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theTrueMikeBrown wrote:
I posted a thread a week or so about making the symbols on player mats in my game better. After the thread ran its course, I had the following for my mat:


I showed the results to my wife, and she said that words could make it even easier to understand. This comment made me think a bit, so I made the following:


Poll
Which of these is better?
The first (the one with more icons)
The second (the one with more text)
      73 answers
Poll created by theTrueMikeBrown


Thanks!


i voted 2nd but i still feel your icons are way too tiny.
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Andreas Pelikan
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What is the purpose of the tableau?
a) quick reference to look up cost details
b) comprehensive rules summary

a) needs iconography. Text hides the essential information, hindering quick data access. That said, the current icon language is terrible. Take building costs, for instance. Scattered around several boxes, and written as "with a pickaxe and one labor you can build a small moai" (resource-sided view) rather than "a small moai costs a pickaxe and one labor" (target-oriented view).

Build Cost Labor
cool coal 1
arrrh 4coal 4
mintcamel wood 1
2meeple clove 1
6meeple mintcamel 2


b) needs text. Concise and comprehensive text. Think whether a casual player would be able to teach the rules just using this tableau if they haven't played the game for a long time. Be careful with your choice of words (I have a feeling that "use" should be "discard/consume/pay/use up", but I may be wrong).

Also, I have a feeling that the various boxes on the tableau are worker placement spots. If so, it would be a good idea to provide designated spaces to put the workers on and not to force players to cover up information.
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michael brown
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Puschl wrote:
What is the purpose of the tableau?
a) quick reference to look up cost details
b) comprehensive rules summary


A is the correct answer. The rules are elsewhere.

Puschl wrote:
Also, I have a feeling that the various boxes on the tableau are worker placement spots. If so, it would be a good idea to provide designated spaces to put the workers on and not to force players to cover up information.


Between this and a comment that one of my local playtesters made, I am considering a big redesign of the player mat.

One problem that the redesign tries to fix is that the mat does require players to place meeples on it, and cover up the rules. The other problem is that the mat has a lot of math.

Other BGG users have commented on the math problem as well, but I didn't know how to fix it until my playtester said that I should use a grid based placement system and dispense with the algebra in favor of a look-up type approach

Here is a rough draft of the type of grid that I am talking about:



This will (of necessity) be bigger than the original mat, however it will allow places for the workers to be placed and (hopefully) make the effects of placing each worker obvious.

For every worker that you place you must consume any resource that is in the space in order to gain the benefit of the text above the space. If there is text left of the space, it tells you what the benefit is in regards to.

Players may not fill spaces that have empty spaces to their left until they fill the space to the left first.

For spaces that have gray dividers - a number of workers equal to the spaces that were created by the divider must be placed before any benefit is gained.

Finally, if there is no limit to the number of workers that can work on a task, there are ellipses and arrows ( ...-> ) to indicate this.

For Example: if a player places a worker in the upper left space on the mat, he consumes one tree, and moves a statue one space.

By placing an additional worker to the right of the first, the statue instead moves 2 spaces, and one tree is still consumed.

By placing the additional worker below the first, then two trees are consumed and two statues will move one space each.

What do you guys think? Does this make it easier to do the math, and provide obvious places for the workers to be placed?
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Andreas Pelikan
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First impression: OMG, this looks fiddly.
Second impression: wow, this does a fantastic job to help teaching the rules.

I don't like the ellipses. There's nothing wrong with an absolute cap to certain actions. Do you really need to build 10 moais in one round? Maybe you should have built some of them in the previous round. Your canoe storage is limited anyway, so why not limit every action.

Why is the action where you spend fish and labor to recruit more workers called "catch fish"? IMHO, either the action should be renamed (feast?) or the fish tokens changed (harpoons)?

I like the new mat, but it looks intimidating. A good artist could probably design a background landscape that makes it more inviting. Fishermen at sea in the north, builders at work in the center, movers towing moai in the east, a harbor in the west, etc.
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michael brown
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Puschl wrote:
First impression: OMG, this looks fiddly.
Second impression: wow, this does a fantastic job to help teaching the rules.


Thanks for that feedback. It does totally look intimidating - I will try to figure out a way to make it less so. I will probably also hire my favorite artist to help me out with background art if this is the way that I am going to go.

Puschl wrote:
I don't like the ellipses. There's nothing wrong with an absolute cap to certain actions. Do you really need to build 10 moais in one round? Maybe you should have built some of them in the previous round. Your canoe storage is limited anyway, so why not limit every action.


True - I was just trying to represent the rules as they currently stand, however it doesn't seem likely that people will build more than three moai in a turn, so it would make sense to limit that action.

Puschl wrote:
Why is the action where you spend fish and labor to recruit more workers called "catch fish"? IMHO, either the action should be renamed (feast?) or the fish tokens changed (harpoons)?


The action is called "catch fish" because when performing it the player takes fish from the community pool of fish and removes them from the game (their dudes caught and ate some of the fish - preventing other players from getting them). The game is supposed to highlight the idea of the 'tragedy of the commons', so players are all competing for limited resources.

The trees and stone work in a similar fashion - the only resource that is private are canoes.

I could change it, however do you think that with that explanation it makes sense?
 
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Andreas Pelikan
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theTrueMikeBrown wrote:
"catch fish" ... takes fish from the community pool of fish and removes them from the game
...
'tragedy of the commons'
...
the only resource that is private are canoes.
...
however do you think that with that explanation it makes sense?

Forget my comment above. With that piece of information, "catch fish" makes a lot of sense. Plus my interest level for the game just skyrocketed.
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Jared
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I prefer B. as A is overwhelming but you could make the symbols larger in B. And pit the number inside the silhouette.
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michael brown
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Puschl wrote:
my interest level for the game just skyrocketed.

That is awesome, especially coming from you! I love your game Isle of Skye.

I had a really fun time making the game - the archaeologists have tons of interesting ideas about the downfall of the Rapa Nui civilization on Easter Island, but most think that they destroyed themselves by cutting down all their trees (to move statues with) and then not being able to fish in the deep waters because they could no longer build canoes. It is such a compelling story to me.

The game tries to make everyone feel the looming destruction, and makes the end come quicker as players use up all the resources. There is a balancing game that players play because those that use more resources can gain more points, but those that take fewer are rewarded by selecting actions first and gaining access to the resources first.

Players have to figure out if being a large or small consumer is better for them on any given turn (it changes based on how many resources are left, how large their tribe is, as well as other factors), and also they have to play a game of brinkmanship against each other at the same time - preserving the island when they are behind and trying to finish it off when they are on the top.

Not a game goes by where someone doesn't scold someone for taking too many fish or trees.

I will probably post the rules of the game soon, but I am going through a round of revisions after my recent playtesting efforts, so I don't think that they are ready at the moment.
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