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Subject: So how important is the board? rss

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No Echo Games
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Hey gang,

Just a quick question on what you guys think. I'm currently designing my first game that is coming to Kickstarter in a few weeks and the game has morphed from an original game with no board to now I'm using one. The board is necessary in that it makes the game flow better, and players can keep track of their 'steps' easier, but all in all the board has no real advantages as far as game play is concerned necessarily. I have some other games that are being developed that focus strongly on the board, so I know how important those games will be. My question is for games that don't require the board but rather it's a tool that makes your job easier, how much detail do you like in your board? Hope this question makes sense, and I have a good board coming, but just kind of curious what others have done who may be in the same boat. Thanks!

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B C Z
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What do you mean by 'detail'?

Artwork that detracts from the mechanical record keeping that the board is meant to expidite?

A space for every possibility even if only 60% of them are ever used?



The answer, not seeing your board, game, rules or tokens, is that the board should make play flow better, and not get in the way. If it is too big, you are requiring large tables and making an implication about the game play. If it is too small, then not everyone can see everything, especially if you are relying on very small print that can be hard on old eyes.


Graphics might help ask your question.
 
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Luke Denby
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So is it something like the player mat for a game like Thunderstone or Legendary?


From your description it sounds like it might just be a bit of round tracker. Do all players move along the different steps at the same time or is it something done differently for each player.

It might make sense to look at smaller player boards to track as an option as well.

But hard to say without knowing more info.
 
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No Echo Games
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Thanks for the response guys, and I can give a little more detail. I had originally looked at a chip board (9x9) but I realized I could do an quad fold (18x18) board at a cost that wasn't much over what a chip board was. My game moves players along spaces to reach a destination, but the board itself has no impact on the game. What I mean is that there are no spaces that you land on and then something bad happens, or even something good, etc., it's just a board that moves you along, and allows players to see where everyone is at in relation to the end.

My question is just more of what you think a board should have when it comes to detail. Since the board is not affecting gameplay, but just allows for keeping track, how much detail do you think should go into it. This really is more of an abstract question.

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Evan Mitchell
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If the board adds no effect to how the game is played, and it has been deemed necessary purely to ease organization of turn steps and phases, then I would say you should reconsider the mechanics of your game to begin with. It sounds like things have grown rather complex since your game's inception; feature creep of this kind is common in board game design, particularly from first-time designers. One of the most important lessons I've learned in my local play circle is that simplicity is a feature, and if your board-less game cannot smoothly be played without the addition of a board and tracker components, there might be a larger issue at hand. EDIT: This is just how it appears without knowing much about your game. More details couldn't hurt of course.

Extra components such as this can also drive up costs. If you feel strongly that an organizational tool is required, also consider the following options:

1. Create a board game assistant app for your players. (See discussions on the pros and cons of this.)
2. Offer the organizer template for download and print. (I imagine it doesn't have to be on chipboard to get the job done.)

Hope this helps. Best wishes in designing your game!
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Dan
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If you are going to do a board to keep track of certain things:
Form follows function. Must be functional first, but then put some nice art on it related to the theme of the game.

If you have to have this big tracker thing on the table, make it look good!

Also, people may be willing to pay more for a "board" game rather than a "card" game. I see this all the time in how companies market games. For instance, CV, the box is 75% air. But they package it in a medium size box so it doesn't get consigned to the $10 card game section of a shop. Also it has a board for organising the cards.



Another board example with not much going on, but art to suit:





 
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No Echo Games
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Thanks guys! This was some good feedback, and my details on my game are thus: You are an old person in an assisted living home trying to get to the window seat in the cafeteria. The board simply keeps track of how many 'steps' you've taken along your journey, and you have cards to play against opponents. You have Attack, Boost, and Event cards that all affect gameplay, and the mechanics of the game are sound, it's been play-tested quite a bit. In the future though I would like to get more input on play-testing by players outside of my normal realm, and I'm new to BGG so is there a forum or thread that allows for people to do this? I'd be willing to ship games in the future for play-testing. Thanks again!
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Evan Mitchell
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NoEcho wrote:
Thanks guys! This was some good feedback, and my details on my game are thus: You are an old person in an assisted living home trying to get to the window seat in the cafeteria. The board simply keeps track of how many 'steps' you've taken along your journey, and you have cards to play against opponents. You have Attack, Boost, and Event cards that all affect gameplay, and the mechanics of the game are sound, it's been play-tested quite a bit. In the future though I would like to get more input on play-testing by players outside of my normal realm, and I'm new to BGG so is there a forum or thread that allows for people to do this? I'd be willing to ship games in the future for play-testing. Thanks again!


Ah, gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. Your intent is to use the board more for visualization than organization—I think that's completely fine, and as mentioned already there are many games that do this. When the board's whole purpose is to help the players visualize how close they are to the win objective, I'd say what's most important is definitely the art. Have the ending step be right next to the window. Have the beginning step be near the food bar. Have empty chairs and tables in between. Highlight exactly where the steps are, so players know how many steps there are and where to place their tokens, but I'd say let the artwork engulf the board entirely—give players a full-fledged view of the cafeteria and those two cooky old men playing checkers in the corner.

No other details are necessary beyond that. If we were talking about an organizational board, however, I'd have a different answer.

Really fun idea for the game premise—would love to see how it turns out. For play testers, there's a board here on BGG solely dedicated to that purpose here.
 
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alex bermudez
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I gotta say I love the theme.
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Matthew Harrell
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NoEcho wrote:
Thanks guys! This was some good feedback, and my details on my game are thus: You are an old person in an assisted living home trying to get to the window seat in the cafeteria. The board simply keeps track of how many 'steps' you've taken along your journey, and you have cards to play against opponents. You have Attack, Boost, and Event cards that all affect gameplay, and the mechanics of the game are sound, it's been play-tested quite a bit. In the future though I would like to get more input on play-testing by players outside of my normal realm, and I'm new to BGG so is there a forum or thread that allows for people to do this? I'd be willing to ship games in the future for play-testing. Thanks again!


Sounds like the board from munchkin deluxe. Gives a visual representation of how close you are to the max level, but unneeded for actual game play. I personally like it, but I am a visual person and it helps me keep track of who is in the lead.
 
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JT Schiavo
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Reminds me of the Galaxy Trucker board, which doesn't track the journey so much as the player spacing. It's just a big circular track with no end point, but enables players to track relative position.

As others have said, keep it simple, clean, easy to read, and with some light thematic art that isn't too distracting.

As far as quad-fold board goes, just because you can afford it doesn't mean it is the best option. If too much board is wasted space, or if you need room for other things around the board such as draw/discard/in play areas, it could actually be a detractor instead of a benefit. Not everyone has a big table.
 
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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One interesting contrast is Dale of Merchants vs. Quests of Valeria. In the former you get a board with artwork, but it only serves to provide the card cost modifier for the "market" slots. The latter instead uses small tiles with the cost modifier on that you place above the market card on the table. Less space needed in the game box, but also less "ambience" in the end result...
 
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Brendan Riley
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NoEcho wrote:
...In the future though I would like to get more input on play-testing by players outside of my normal realm, and I'm new to BGG so is there a forum or thread that allows for people to do this? I'd be willing to ship games in the future for play-testing....


You should start a thread about your game in the Works in Progress forum.
https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/1530033/boardgamegeek/works-...
 
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No Echo Games
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I'll close this thread out by saying "Thank You" for the positive feedback as well as the links to the other forums. I really appreciate it! I had started this little company with one of my best friends and he passed away unexpectedly and it has been so difficult to pick up the slack that two of us were doing, but I'm getting to a point where I can now focus solely on the company and the games. Trying to do it all and take part in the BGG community has been tough but with the help I've received here it gives me hope for the future, so thanks again guys!

 
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