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Subject: North/South/East/West or Top/Bottom/Left/Right? rss

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Eriek Douraan
Mexico
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Hi, do you all think it's better to refer to the edges of a board with "compass" directions like North/South/East/West or regular directions like Top/Bottom/Left/Right?
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Old Timer Gamer
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I think it all depends on the nature of the map.

If you have a map that is based on reality, like a map of a specific country or place, then having a "compass rose" printed on the map to indicate geographic directions is useful.

A "compass rose" marking helps anyone that is playtesting a geographic map. I once playtested a game based on a "real world" location that had "real world" map locations in the wrong places, both relative to each other and to reality.

If you have an "abstract" map, like a game that "plays in space", then directions are either "meaningless" or "relative to a point of reference".
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George Monnat Jr
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Austin
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I agree with the old timer, plus it depends on where the players are sitting. If they are all around the board, then left and right mean something different to different players (why ships use port and starboard).
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Pickles2000 wrote:
Hi, do you all think it's better to refer to the edges of a board with "compass" directions like North/South/East/West or regular directions like Top/Bottom/Left/Right?


depends on the board.

maps do well with N S E W ... and as old timer says, a compass rose reinforces it.

almost everything else will have to make do with top/bottom/left/right ... reinforce it by having labels on the board that suggest a certain "this side up" orientation, regardless of where the player is sitting.

If you've got a grid, it might be better to label the grid, like Chess has.

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John Breckenridge
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If you do print compass directions, make sure you get them right, unlike the first edition of Police Precinct
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Old Timer Gamer
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Looking at the original question for this thread from a different point of view than my first post in this thread.....

If the rules of a game make references to "north south east west", then having a "compass rose" printed on the map is extremely useful.

I have seen more than a few games that forget to add the "compass rose" then make references in their rules to a location or "victory goal" based on directions.

A recent example of the "flaw" or "failure" to print a "compass rose" on a game map is: "October War" in Decision Game's "Modern War, Issue 25". I looked over that map, both of them (it's a "special edition" game after all), and never found the "compass rose". Now I know why it's "special"

The printed "compass rose" removes all doubt and discussion regarding rules that refer to directions. That also emphasizes the importance of making the printed "compass rose" an obvious item on the map, not buried off to a map corner or printed in such a small format that it is easily overlooked.

As another post in this thread has noted, getting the "compass rose" pointed correctly is important.


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Nathaniel Grisham

Indiana
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Even if you go the "top/bottom/left/right" rule, it can be confusing unless it is very clear where the top and bottom are. Remember, games with more than one player usually have at least one player facing a different direction than the others.

Keep in mind that in our three dimensional world, "top and bottom" could also refer to vertical position relative to the table or the floor, the "top card" could mean the card on top of the deck, or the card closest to the "top" of the board. That's English for you...

There are also some people who get confused with left/right, or with directions in general. It could be useful to have landmarks or symbols on your map/board and have your instructions reference those.

I also agree that if you are going to use N/S/E/W directions, you must have a compass rose on the map.
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Eriek Douraan
Mexico
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Hmm, so what's a better, less confusing way to refer to the edges of the board?

(Those were the only two I could think of.)
 
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Nathaniel Grisham

Indiana
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Pickles2000 wrote:
Hmm, so what's a better, less confusing way to refer to the edges of the board?

(Those were the only two I could think of.)

I think maybe we all overloaded you a bit with various concerns and anecdotes, which made this look like a bigger problem to you than it really is.

I think most of us were trying to say that you can use any naming convention that you want, as long as the semantics are clear.

I think that the suggestion to go with North, South, East, and West, with a compass rose on the board is a simple solution that meets your needs.

If you want or need more ideas than that, then say so and people will be happy to share more thoughts and ideas.
 
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