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Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game» Forums » General

Subject: How Important is Art to your Enjoyment of a Game? rss

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Nathan Lambes
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I've been following this game for a few month now, after finally taking the plunge with Legendary Encounters: Alien and finding that our whole group loves it. I'm also a huge fan of Firefly, so Legendary + Firefly seemed like a perfect combination - like peanut butter and chocolate. To say that I was excited for it would be an understatement.

Then I got a good look at that art.

I will readily admit to being the kind of person who will buy a game almost entirely for its art. That's what pushed me over the edge with Mice and Mystics, Legends of Andor, and ALL of Ryan Laukat's games. A game doesn't have to look good for me to enjoy it, but it does play a role in my personal enjoyment of a game. And now that I look at the cards in Legendary Encounters: Firefly... I'm questioning whether or not I want the game.

I take that back. I DO want the game... I just don't want to be embarrassed by it.

Does anyone else have this problem? I know a lot of people are turned off by the art, but it is impacting your decision to purchase the game? If you found out that Upper Deck was going to release a revised version with updated art, would you postpone your purchase? Or are you going to purchase the game regardless?

While I don't want to come off as a complainer, I do think that Upper Deck should take criticism such as this into account when considering another print run or when commissioning art for future games.
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John Van Wagoner
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Aerin Rainier wrote:


I've been following this game for a few month now, after finally taking the plunge with Legendary Encounters: Alien and finding that our whole group love it. I'm also a huge fan of Firefly, so Legendary + Firefly seemed like a peanut butter and chocolate combination that I was super excited to try.

Then I got a good look at that art.

I will readily admit to being the kind of person who will buy a game almost entirely for its art. That's what pushed me over the edge with Mice and Mystics, Legends of Andor, and ALL of Ryan Laukat's games. A game doesn't have to look good for me to enjoy it, but it does play a role in my personal enjoyment of a game. And now that I look at the cards in Legendary Encounters: Firefly... I'm questioning whether or not I want the game.

I take that back. I DO want the game... I just don't want to be embarrassed by it.

Does anyone else have this problem? I know a lot of people are turned off by the art, but it is impacting your decision to purchase the game? If you found out that Upper Deck was going to release a revised version with updated art, would you postpone your purchase? Or are you going to purchase the game regardless?

While I don't want to come off as a complainer, I do think that Upper Deck should take criticism such as this into account when considering another print run or when commissioning art for future games.
i would def wait for a 2nd edition...
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Marco Schaub
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Aerin Rainier wrote:
If you found out that Upper Deck was going to release a revised version with updated art, would you postpone your purchase?


Yes! And I sure hope that they do. Because the art doesn't look bad on all the cards, but some are just abysmally ugly.

However, I can enjoy a game despite the questionable art, like the original Ascension, the first edition of Saint Petersburg, or the very bland looking The Castles of Burgundy. But at least there, the art is consistent.
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There has never been a second edition of any Legendary game, and I don't expect that to change.
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Brian Baier
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Aerin Rainier wrote:
is it "impacting your decision to purchase the game?

Yes.

Aerin Rainier wrote:
If you found out that Upper Deck was going to release a revised version with updated art, would you postpone your purchase?

Yes.

Aerin Rainier wrote:
Or are you going to purchase the game regardless?

No.

It's not just that the art is bad, but that it is supposed to be representing known imagery and does so poorly. It's less concerning than games with lower quality artwork featuring new and original content.

What really bugs me is that I own some bad to mediocre games with much better artwork than we're seeing with Firefly and BTiLC. I can't understand, with such popular properties coming from a successful company, how the art quality could be so substandard.
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Justin G
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Is Upper Deck aware of this? Seems like they rushed to get this out once the art came in, instead of working to get the art consistent and of high quality. It's a real shame, because the buzz is this is the best Encounter game yet when looking at game play and mechanics.
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Tom Eklund
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Who wouldn't like the art to be better? But it won't prevent anyone in our playgroup to enjoy the game, I'm sure about that. After all, during the game of Alien of Predator, the art is not important at all. Everyone focuses on the gameplay. People should stop their endless complaints about the art and enjoy the game, for there won't be a "second" edition with better art for sure.
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Darth Ed
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Aerin Rainier wrote:
is it "impacting your decision to purchase the game?

No.

Aerin Rainier wrote:
If you found out that Upper Deck was going to release a revised version with updated art, would you postpone your purchase?

Yes, but I really doubt that will happen, so don't get your hopes up. It's been like 5 years since Marvel Legendary was released, and they haven't released a second edition of that with different artwork for all the cards.

Aerin Rainier wrote:
Or are you going to purchase the game regardless?

Already did.

elucidarian wrote:
What really bugs me is that I own some bad to mediocre games with much better artwork than we're seeing with Firefly and BTiLC. I can't understand, with such popular properties coming from a successful company, how the art quality could be so substandard.

Upper Deck was clearly more concerned with meeting a production schedule (and budget), and the artwork was rushed to meet that schedule. Some of the artwork is clearly unfinished. They should've also contracted with better artists to begin with and/or switched artists after getting the first samples back. Shame on Upper Deck for releasing a subpar product.

That said, the gameplay is really good. I'll play the game regardless of the artwork, but I'm not happy about it.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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I will personally eat my own hat if Upper Deck decides to invest the money to "redo" the art for a second edition. It is a pipe dream. This game is going to sell well regardless of the art (which I personally dislike quite a bit) and the profit margins in the gaming industry are not large enough for them to recommission this much art to satisfy a handful of people.

The art will not tip me over into purchasing the game, but the theme and a significant number of good reviews may very well do so in the long run.
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Brendan McGuire
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I don't think the value of aesthetics can be quantified in any general sense like "board games (should be / don't need to be) attractive to look at". This is mostly because art is highly subjective, but it also has to do with what that art is trying to convey. Therefore, the only way to answer this is with the cop-out response "depends on the person/game".

I like to use wargames as an example of this, because I know a lot of people that can't get into them because they "look ugly". But, to a lot of other people wargames are downright beautiful (as evident by several geeklists on the subject of great looking wargames). A non-wargamer looking at chits with strange symbols representing units on a mono-color hex map might feel there is no immersion of being in the battle. Yet, to a wargamer, this perfectly represents the feeling of being immersed in the war-room (or commander's tent) where all the strategy is taking place.

To put it simpler, if you could only buy one chess set (assuming you even want one), would you get a classic one where the pieces are abstract representations of a king's court, or would you get a fancy thematic one where the pieces are highly detailed (or would you get the standard plastic pieces on red and black checkered cardboard)?

For me, I value art above a lot of things and will generally purchase games because they look pretty. However, I have to admit my favorite game of all time is very ugly to look at, so for certain games it shows I relax in valuing art to represent theme. Again, we have to look at what the art is trying to convey. Is it the driving factor of the game, or just an enhancer? (and again-again, this in itself is a question rooted in subjectivity).

Now, all that said. I am a huge fan of the TV series, movie, and comics. I would buy this game on that point alone IF the art was even remotely passable. The reason for this is that the characters were so amazingly rounded that I fell in love with them all, and as such would love to have a representation of them in time much like a photograph of a loved one at a family reunion. Luckily, it appears that there is a solid game here, so it will at least have value to those that can get past the art.

For me however, when they failed to represent the characters, I failed to see any theme in this game. Therefore, I will pass until I can either get past the art, or they update the art. It is the equivalent of getting a civil war chess set only to find it is a standard abstract set with the pieces painted blue and grey.


Sorry for the long-winded rant. I've recently tried to become a lurker and am finding it quite difficult.
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Mark Blasco

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Azikin wrote:
Who wouldn't like the art to be better? But it won't prevent anyone in our playgroup to enjoy the game, I'm sure about that. After all, during the game of Alien of Predator, the art is not important at all. Everyone focuses on the gameplay. People should stop their endless complaints about the art and enjoy the game, for there won't be a "second" edition with better art for sure.


I have to disagree with you here. The art is important, and people shouldn't stop complaining. Upper Deck needs to know that they really screwed up here, and that people are not happy. Firefly is a franchise that is beloved, with fans who are immensely devoted. Upper Deck could have easily delayed the game for a month or two and had the bad artwork replaced, but instead they chose to release a sub-par product. The complaining shouldn't stop, so that people who haven't purchased the game yet are informed of just how bad it is, since there's nothing on the box that would indicate anything is wrong. Some will choose to purchase it anyway, but they should have every opportunity to be informed before making that choice.

It's true, there is pretty much no chance for a second print run with different art. I think the best we're going to get is if someone with some artistic talent makes new images for a custom deck from artscow or one of the other print sites.

I think (obviously) some of the artwork is just amazingly terrible. My preorder should arrive tomorrow, and if it bothers me too much when playing, I will probably sleeve the cards, and print out some alternate images for those cards to slip inside. Maybe I'll just draw some stick figures, for some of the images that would be better. Maybe it won't end up bothering me, in which case I won't worry about it. In either case, I'm hoping to enjoy the game as much as I enjoyed the Aliens version.
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Clint Pewtress
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Sculder_8P wrote:
It is the equivalent of getting a civil war chess set only to find it is a standard abstract set with the pieces painted blue and grey!


Sums it all up nicely!

Huge Firefly fan, won't play a game where the components actively disrupt the suspension of belief or immersion into the theme.

Clint
 
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Jay Johnson
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some of the art could be much better, sure. But it doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the game. Once I start play, I'm mostly focused on the cards and what they do rather than sitting there staring at the pictures.
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Dan Kennedy
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I'm not pleased with the art don't get me wrong. There are some cards I downright think are awful. Everyone complained about the FF Legendary art but it was pretty good still.

Honestly, there is a 0-1% chance Upper Deck actually reprints this with updated art. Art commission is a major cost for games like this with original art (just as it is for Marvel Legendary where they get original art).

People have been clamoring for a reprint of the Legendary core set using different art for the different rarities and Upper Deck has barely acknowledged that people want it. People have complained about that for years!

Holding off your purchase hoping for better art may send them a signal that people want a more quality produce but it will most likely just affect new versions of the game.

If we really want more quality art for future expansions and games we should, instead of complaining and protesting, come up with a list of card art-work artists we can recommend for future expansions. Honestly upper deck should have a art director akin to the director FFG has to organize the original artwork for all their games but maybe we can helps them out.

One of my favorite realistic artists is Blake Hendriksen (http://pinkhavok.deviantart.com/) He's done a lot of cool art of FFG's LCG's.

Heck if they want more insight into what FFG's art director's do there's a public interview with one for the Star Wars LCG podcast Table Flip.

http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/podcasts/_/star-wars-tab...
 
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Yih Yang Chee
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I concur.

Sidetracking a bit: I owned both DC Comics DBG and Marvel Legendary. My group unanimously loved the DC DBG, despite it's extremely simple gameplay. The art was a hit. Legendary on the other hand... let's just say only one guy still owns it, and he's a serious Marvel fanboy. Everyone else including me, hated the artwork, and the totally dull card template designs. I am a Marvel fan - guess my expectations just got murdered cruelly?

Only the art in Legendary Encounters got a borderline pass for me: I thought it was slightly better than the rest (not saying much). Said friend just showed off his Legendary Firefly set last week. And yes, I was similarly unimpressed. Lazy and just so unattractive.

I played a lot of World of Warcraft TCG (Upper Deck too), which featured some of the finest art ever commissioned for any game cards. Maybe that's a reason. Forgive me for being continuously perplexed at how they're handling the aesthetics for the Legendary franchise so far. OTOH, I just tried out UDE's VS 2PCG. Much better art, with some cards even looking gorgeous. Perhaps there's a cost / copyrights reason here, hmm.

(I'm still buying DC DBG sets because they look so pretty. Zero Legendary purchases so far...)
 
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Dan Kennedy
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yihyang wrote:

Sidetracking a bit: I owned both DC Comics DBG and Marvel Legendary. My group unanimously loved the DC DBG, despite it's extremely simple gameplay. The art was a hit. Legendary on the other hand... let's just say only one guy still owns it, and he's a serious Marvel fanboy. Everyone else including me, hated the artwork, and the totally dull card template designs. I am a Marvel fan - guess my expectations just got murdered cruelly?

Only the art in Legendary Encounters got a borderline pass for me: I thought it was slightly better than the rest (not saying much). Said friend just showed off his Legendary Firefly set last week. And yes, I was similarly unimpressed. Lazy and just so unattractive.


This is really surprising. Everyone I know loves the artwork in Marvel Legendary. They just hate that the core set only has one image for all versions of the character. In all future expansions each version of the character had new original artwork (and each character is usually drawn by a single artist to give it a theme). This has been a huge hit for my friends even the DC ones.

On the other hand everyone has been loathing the DC deckbuilding art. Mainly because they just use lazy screen caps from already published comic art. In our group original art is much better than reprinted or screen capped images, but it has to be quality original art. This was missed by the firefly team.
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Deavon Church
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For me it can certainly impact my decision to buy. I tend to read the occasional comic and graphic novel and find that there is no one single art style I prefer but can find value and pleasure in many. What matters in the game is if it fits the theme, is competently carried out and provides any information in a clear manner. Since firefly is an established property, it becomes extremely important to provide art that fits with tv and movie. Sadly in this respect, while the art is appropriate, it is far from competently carried out. For this game, it would be a major strike against purchasing.
 
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Brennan Sheremeto
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It's a huge thing for me. There are more games out now than I can buy and play, so why would I waste time/money on an ugly game? sure it might be a good game, but I can get other games that are good AND look good.

The importance of good art also at least doubles for me with a card game. I see artistic/design value in chits/tokens/meeples but with cards, all they have to work with is the art.
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Stephen Mills
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Well to pitch in I was never going to buy this game for myself but for a birthday present, so when I saw the art I started to have doubts, in the end I pre-ordered it, then Gen Con came and we saw everything. I nearly cancelled my order but last night I saw Nick's, BoardGameBrawl, review and his enthusiasm fired my commitment to buy it.

So I would like UD to take notice of how everyone is feeling and the impact their decision to go with the art has made on the fans of the TV series and their products. It can't be good for them, trust has been lost. I'm disappointed.

So my answer to the OP is, yes art is important, that's why I bought Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn and Evolution, as examples. But good mechanics and great ideas have won out on this one. I'll fire my imagination rather than rely on someone else's pictures and I know I'll have a lot of fun playing this soon.

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Brett Leeson
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The art in this is definitely not helping sway me into buying it. It's so, so bad. It's bad enough that there's legitimate discussion about whether or not they somehow got the rights to use the Firefly license but not the actors' likenesses.

One of my friends picked it up, we played over the weekend strikes, and the Player Strike art is the worst of all. There's one where somebody has been stabbed with what looks like some kind of a Reaver blade, in the arm or shoulder.

The art is so awful that not only does it look like a 70 year old Walter Koenig is being stabbed by Reavers, but I'm legitimately unsure which character it's even supposed to be. I'd say there's about a 60% chance it's Mal, 30% chance it's Simon, and beyond that it could be Shepherd Book for all I can tell.

Not every game needs to be Scythe in terms of the art it uses, don't get me wrong. But with the Marvel Legendary, we're so used to seeing different interpretations of different characters that you can see four Spider-Man cards, all done by different artists, and still have no question in your mind they are all Spider-Man.

You may prefer one artist, you may feel like they're not all equally good, but most likely you're going to be pretty clear who you're looking at. The problem with Firefly is twofold; the art doesn't look anything like the actors (in most cases), and the characters are wildly inconsistent from card to card.

It's a problem when you have card A that barely looks like Mal/Nathan Fillion, and card B that barely looks like the actor or character, and neither card looks anything like the other. It's just so, so bad. It's definitely hard not to look at your hand and just wince at some of the art.
 
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Clyde W
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jgunnz wrote:
Is Upper Deck aware of this? Seems like they rushed to get this out once the art came in, instead of working to get the art consistent and of high quality. It's a real shame, because the buzz is this is the best Encounter game yet when looking at game play and mechanics.
How can they not be? You'd have be all but blind not to.
 
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Brendan Little
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I'm not buying the game solely because of how awful the art is.

I'm going to see what I can do to get a custom version printed.
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Brett Lamb

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John_VW wrote:
i would def wait for a 2nd edition...

Complain about the art all you like, but
A) Complain to Upper Deck. Complaining in the forums will do no good if Upper Deck isn't paying attention.

But more importantly, B) please don't encourage people to wait for a mythical "second edition." It's not going to happen, for all the reasons enumerated in this thread, plus the fact that no game company is going to re-make a game that didn't sell in the first place.
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Aerin Rainier wrote:
I take that back. I DO want the game... I just don't want to be embarrassed by it.


That, for me, is why I don't like this game. The art does not look professional. There are games out there (such as Ascension Deck Building Game) that have art that is not pretty, but it is clearly done by a professional. This game does not. It suggests that the publisher did not pay for good artists to do good work. If that corner was cut, did the publisher also not pay an editor to make sure that all the cards have good wording? Did they run enough play tests?

I might think so, but every time I want to get a new person to play the game, I have to convince that person that it is only the art that is bad.


In general, with art, I only care about it at either end of the spectrum. Games that are very aesthetically pleasant, such as Ashes or Sushi Go!, encourage others to play them, because they want to look at the pretty art while they play. The look of a game can set a mood even before we start playing it.

Equally, bad aesthetics also set a mood. They say that the publisher did not care about the game. They work against the theme of the game, as with this game, since the players are thinking about why they are playing as a burn victim and a goblin instead of a ship mechanic and a courtesan.
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I have to say that while not all the art in the previous Legendary Encounters games was "great" to me, I'd say the majority of it was good, some excellent.

UD had me dead to rights, I'm a huge Alien, Predator, and Firefly fan, but after seeing the card art for LE: Firefly, my enthusiasm has been completely destroyed. I hope that UD didn't pay the artist(s) too much ... then again, perhaps they got what they paid for.

I agree with one of the previous posts, there are too many good games now fighting for my hard-earned money. If I pick it up, it would be if it goes on sale. A big sale.

Unfortunately, I've got the Aliens Expansion on pre-order and suffice to say... I'm a little bit worried.

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