Rick Lorenzon
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Hi folks, I have a Work in Progress thread up for my game Chrysopoeia

The play-testing has gone great lately, but I'm hung up on a good way to display each player's upgrades as they build them. Here's the original way I had it (each player has their own control panel board)


It was fun to put gears along the edge of the boards (both left side and right side) to indicate you have built certain upgrades, but there isn't much room for the labels - the name and the benefits gained from each upgrade. Some upgrades are easy, like the defense bonuses at the bottom of the picture - I just put +2, +3 etc. You can see 2 gears that were placed on those first two Defense upgrades.

But it's not so easy for upgrades that say "Roll 3 D8 for Defense (instead of 2 D8)" or "Draw your choice of a bonus Apparatus card or Strategy card each turn". The player boards are already 12"x12" so I don't want them any bigger to make room for more info.

My latest solution is to replace the gear tokens with these "Ingot Tokens", which have an icon/graphic (for visualization) and a specific gear (to indicate which type of resource is used to build the upgrade).


On the backside of each Ingot is the name, cost, and a brief description:


So the sections of the player boards that have the labels in the first photo would be removed, leaving empty spaces to place the Ingots. There are 4 categories of upgrades, and each category has a level I, II, and III upgrade.

The designs, colors, fonts, etc aren't set in stone - I can mess with those later, but I'm wondering if there's a better solution that anyone might have for this aspect of my game, or anything similar you folks might've seen in other games. Eventually, people remember what everything does, and it's all in the manual, but still, it would be nice if I had a simple, organized way for newer players to keep track of what does what, without too much clutter.
 
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Rick Lorenzon
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I had also started making 2 double-sided cards, so I could have the 4 upgrade categories listed on those, but I'd either have one set of those cards for players to pass around as needed for reviewing, or each player would have their own pair of cards.

Problem there is that I already have a lot of different cards in the game - don't really want more! The ingot tokens will at least eventually be out of the way as you build them and place them on the board.

I like the ingot style tokens, but we kind of miss the gears! I feel like I'm missing something, or need a new perspective, so I hope someone out there might get me thinking in a new direction! (Like vertical maybe...??)
 
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Graham Muller
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I like the ingots,
but they could also sit attached to the board.
Small world comes to mind with the race powers, if you have could have them slide next to the board.

To make things a little easier you could also include the upgrade cost for the next tile on the current ingot.

There are two design elements which come to mind here though:
The first is new players who want to read ahead and understand the upgrades to be coming, they will be the greatest users of the text, but a player reference may also work for this.
More experienced players will already understand the upgrades and so iconography can work for them, saving space.

So I would think about those two elements and who would you want to lean more towards? With the feel of the design currently I would say it lends itself more towards experienced players and so iconography and a reference sheet.
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Ryan Byrd
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If the upgrades always progress the same, then I would extend the player board to show the whole progress path (with description) and use a single token to track the current level of the upgrade. Or use the token to mark the current upgrade if not a fixed progression. This would work if there is space to detail out each upgrade. The benefit here is that it is all in front of the individual as a reminder, and less tokens.

Alternately, making a space on the mat for the "current" upgrade (if not a fixed progression) would allow for a large token/card to be placed next to the stat with all the details of that upgrade.

Either way, I am a big fan of having the details in front of me instead of using a reference in a book or elsewhere. It is harder to forget the rules if they are in front of me, particularly if I have played a game a lot but have not used all the parts a lot, or have not played in a while.
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Rick Lorenzon
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gmuller wrote:

There are two design elements which come to mind here though:
The first is new players who want to read ahead and understand the upgrades to be coming, they will be the greatest users of the text, but a player reference may also work for this.
More experienced players will already understand the upgrades and so iconography can work for them, saving space.

So I would think about those two elements and who would you want to lean more towards? With the feel of the design currently I would say it lends itself more towards experienced players and so iconography and a reference sheet.


I heard about small world but never played - just watched a video on it though - cool! I do want to keep the upgrades on the board to conserve the table space required to play.

Good point about the two types of players - there's usually at least one "rule-savy" player who gets into all the details, but for the more casual player, they do need easy to reference reminders.

ryan_c_byrd wrote:
If the upgrades always progress the same, then I would extend the player board to show the whole progress path (with description) and use a single token to track the current level of the upgrade. Or use the token to mark the current upgrade if not a fixed progression. This would work if there is space to detail out each upgrade. The benefit here is that it is all in front of the individual as a reminder, and less tokens.

Alternately, making a space on the mat for the "current" upgrade (if not a fixed progression) would allow for a large token/card to be placed next to the stat with all the details of that upgrade.

Either way, I am a big fan of having the details in front of me instead of using a reference in a book or elsewhere. It is harder to forget the rules if they are in front of me, particularly if I have played a game a lot but have not used all the parts a lot, or have not played in a while.


When we first started play testing, I had 4 upgrades in each category, but was able to cut out one from each to streamline the game. Still, there are enough unique things attached to most of the individual upgrades that, in spite of a linear progression, a sliding token might make it too easy to forget to use your bonuses each turn from the earlier upgrades.

I do agree that I'd rather have something in front of players for quick reminders & reference. The large upgrade panels I used early on were separate from the board, and players would pass them around and shuffle thru them, trying to figure out what they want to build next, etc. It's come a long way since then!

Good thoughts so far - keep them coming! I kind of feel like I've been thinking inside a box of my own making, so I appreciate you guys out there helping me to think outside the box.
 
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Rick Lorenzon
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BTW, the photo in the OP also shows a gauge with a sliding pointer needle "token" to give you an easy way to track your cumulative defense bonus (there's also a strike gauge on the right side of the board). Of course that only works for numerical bonuses - other types of bonuses need to be described, like in the examples I used in my OP.
 
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Rick Lorenzon
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I've been thinking over the suggestions so far, and I realized that, instead of having the upgrades printed on the player boards/mats, I could make reference cards for each of the 4 categories, and have players place the 4 cards at the 4 corners of the control panel. This way, they are still ON the board, no need to have more table space to keep these cards. They would be double-sided, which allows me to keep them small (since I can put the details on the back of the cards). As Players build the upgrades, they just place the gear tokens on the card.

It might be slightly annoying to move a gear or two off if you need to flip a card and refresh your memory of the details on the back, but I don't think it would be too big of a deal. Here's a concept pic using the ingot images I had already been working on:


And the back side:

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Rick Lorenzon
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Here's a pic of a player's Domain board, with the 4 categories of upgrades at the 4 corners of the Control Panel area. These have gear images on them, but let's just imagine those to be your gear tokens, thus showing that all 12 upgrades have been built.

 


I just pasted my "ingot token" images together in their 4 areas, but we're looking at each group as a single "card". Maybe I should do a border around each set of 3, to make it look more finished like this:



Anyway, these are still just my "prototype" graphic ideas. What do you think??
 
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