Scott Garrity
United States
Williamsville
New York
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Hello, my name is Scott, and I'm currently working on my first project called The 12 Towers. This is an in progress RPG game I've been designing for almost 2 years.

WIP thread
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/25759543#25759543

First, I'd like to get a general consensus on the overall appeal of the game itself. The images are from my most recent printed version (3rd), all of the artwork is original and my own.

Second, I'd like some recommendations on how to make the game look somewhat more professionally done. I'm well aware my art style looks somewhat cartoony (used Autodesk Sketchbook and a Huion tablet). Obviously if I had the time I'd take classes in graphic design, or the money to hire, so I'm just kinda sitting in my own boat with whatever resources I have available.

I have four images to show (many more if needed for further opinions) I'll give an overall description on what's in the picture.


This is the full game and all of it's components.


This is the game board, It comes apart into 13 pieces (12 Tower regions, 1 central battlefield). Each region has it's own color scheme that matches the colors of it's Tower and game cards.


Game cards: Items (There are 576 cards total, took 4 months to do this part). I'm a sucker for symmetry, the boarders of the cards, card artwork, they're all symmetrical. It's a cheap trick, but it saved me a ton of time.


Game cards: Spells. These were fun to do. For a while I had no idea what to do for spell artwork, so I went with neon lighting and a spellbook behind it. Again, cheap trick, but turned out ok.

I have a logo as well, but I'll get to that one another time. If you have any questions regarding the game or artwork, please post or check out the link provided. Thank you!
 
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kSwingrÜber
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Double check your use of "it's" vs "its" ... I see it misused a few times in your posts, so there might be (minor) problems on card texts as well.
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Scott Garrity
United States
Williamsville
New York
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Thanks, I have a stack of cards set aside from the game that need text and grammar corrections.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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I actually think it looks pretty cool, I personally like the art.
But then, I'm not a professional either, so maybe people who are more experienced with art and graphic design would find concrete things to improve.
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Philip Kitching
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I've no real problem with the card appearance, pictures and icons...apart from the hammers. I'm guessing that the neon spell images have no game effect, so the fact that they do not always have enough contast to be seen in these illustrations does not matter, although rethinking some of the colour combinations would help.

On the other hand "Grip and Toss".
shake

Small caps body text + centred + effects text wrapping on to multiple lines does not help.

Typically, lowercase text takes less horizontal space, is easier to read and increases your chance of each effect being on a single line.

The TC effect on the bottom line could do with more separation from the block of text that is the Break Effect/spell description. As it is often a damage effect, possibly add the damage effect to a circle at the top?

What is the small icon in a circle below and to the right of the number in the ellipse?

I'm guessing that there is a correlation between colour and the symbol in ther bottom right, no idea what the icon in the bottom left means.
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Chris Ferejohn
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I think this looks pretty nice. Certainly better than many print and play games, and frankly better than some professional ones (*cough*Thunderstone*cough*).

I agree with the earlier post about not centering wrapping text. I'm not a huge fan of centering in general, so I'd look at some more left aligned things (see Magic cards, which have no centering).

The numbers and symbols at the bottom of the card seem like they might be a bit large relative to everything else. If they are that important, maybe find a way to put that information on the top line a little smaller (like magic does card name/cost on the top, which makes them easy to see when fanning cards - using the left margin can help with this too).

I don't know how the board works, but the tiny hexes makes me worried that keeping whatever is supposed to be in them difficult for my fat fingers.

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Scott Garrity
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Williamsville
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Thank you everyone for the reviews so far, lots of notes taken.

To clarify a couple of things, the icons on the bottom left indicate the type of card (weapons are pretty self explanatory, spells have four types: Melee, Ranged, AoE and Heal. Kinda just winged it with the icons).

The Icons on the right connect that card with a Tower. To make a long rulebook story short, there are 12 Towers, each with their own symbols and icons. When you control a Tower, and a card with the matching Icon, it becomes stronger (TC Effects = "Tower Controller" effects)

Centering definitely needs work, everything in the game was done with free hand art, I'm sure a program exists out there that could help with centering, but I haven't found one yet.

The board spaces definitely turned out smaller than I hoped, but for now it works fine as a demo game. Currently I'm borrowing figurines from the game Talisman until I get my own done. They're slightly bigger than the spaces, but it gets the job done.

Finally, here's an unaltered file image of some cards. The images above were from an iphone taking a pic of physical cards. Hopefully this one can help as well.

 
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kSwingrÜber
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kswingruber wrote:
Double check your use of "it's" vs "its" ... I see it misused a few times in your posts, so there might be (minor) problems on card texts as well.

Whoops! I made this criticism, but neglected to say that the game looks pretty cool.
I like how the art is not too "busy" - nice, clean looking, and I suspect very function.
 
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Jordan Svien
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You've done a very nice job on your own! But I will give you my thoughts since that's what you're looking for.

I find the font on the cards hard to read. Philip pointed out the centered justification plus text wrapping is awkward, and I agree. I'm also not a fan of the icons behind the text - the red, blue, and purple ones for example make the cards difficult enough to read that players may get annoyed with and have a negative reaction to those cards.

I'm also not a fan of the spell cards that use stick figures. It looks a little amateurish.

Finally, regarding the art patterns, using the same layout (i.e. spell book for spells, weapon oriented bottom left to top right for weapons) drains the cards of their originality and may make them all blur together. I don't know your game, but if some cards are supposed to be better or more exciting than others, the best ones lack a "wow" factor because they look so similar to all the others.
 
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yaakov Buchsbaum
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Looks Great


I would try some small changes to the hex board:

1. the hexagon can be changed to Circles it would have a more clean look

2. try to border the hexagon with white or some other light color in the darker tower regions and maybe in the main battle field in the brown area

3. the hexagon color should can have an opaqueness to it revealing the background from behind.


I know less then nothing about art and graphics and my comments are a result of my observation but no professional experience so feel free to disregard anything you feel is wrong
 
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Scott Garrity
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Williamsville
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Two more images to add, the first is the set of Legendary Weapons. These are in the category of Siege Engines, much more powerful than normal weapons, but a limited amount of uses (break limit tokens).

I already know the secondary line on the card title is very hard to read, they turned out meh in the printing process. Stuck with the same orientation style as the rest of the items and such, but I spent a little more time on detailing. Overall I like this set, but needs works.


(Kudos to those who get the jokes on the cards!)

The second is some box art (or something) I did in about a day when I was bored. It turned out quite nice, but this is something I would absolutely pay a professional to remake. I like this style, but again, my stuff tends to look cartoony with thick black lines.

If you have recommendations for the box art, or can recommend an artist to contact, let me know!

 
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Les Parker
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Your post caught my eye as I'm currently designing a game with some similar mechanics (mine also contains fantasy weapon and spell cards with colors to distinguish magic types, and a symmetrical circular hex board with colored pie wedge divisions --my color scheme for magics is six colors as opposed to your twelve) I'm happy to report that the games appear to be different enough to be very distinct- my game rests on a lot of dice mechanics, and is titled around a mechanic that I don't see in your game, so rest assured.

I'm also doing my own art for my game (at least for the pitch submission) which is very cartoony and does not take itself very seriously.

For your game box art I would suggest ignoring the color variants on the logo towers, as they compete with the title. Taking that out of the mix, I created this suggestion to demonstrate what I mean:

 
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Steven Tu
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1. Why are there such distinct separations between tiers of the concentric circles on the board? If they are physically separate board pieces, okay I get it, but otherwise it looks unintegrated. There are better ways to create visual distinction than that.

2. The overall artworks (board, card frames, weapons, etc) is stuck between two worlds - the very prominent vector lines everywhere say vector art, but the also prominent use of gradients and colours seem unintegrated and the whole thing seems cliparty because of that. Or 90s public domain computer games.

3. Card text seems tiny and difficult to read, doubly so because of the crest that's behind them, which I would say is pretty unnecessary.

4. Margins. Top header, number in oval, etc, could do with more breathing room around them. Margins separate the thrown-together design with the well-considered design.

5. I can definitely see a lot of effort that went into it, but sitting the game next to most games on the market and you'll definitely be able to tell which was "professionally made". The devil's in the details, and even making something with "a different style to the typical" requires those details to be heeded. For the design to be comfortable and cohesive.

I'm an artist myself, will DM you about cover if you're interested
 
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Scott Garrity
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Williamsville
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Awesome input, thank you for this. I'll explain each part as best as I can.

1. Why are there such distinct separations between tiers of the concentric circles on the board?

The base image I used for the board was a simple dodecagon I found on google. I spent many, MANY hours and days trying to make it myself, but again, lack of technology/software to do it perfectly. I basically just filled in the spaces with my artwork. For a while I tried incorporating walls and gates over the lines, but it got messy fast.

Once the final product is in the works, I'll make sure there's a much cleaner and visually pleasing structure, rather than black lines.

2. The overall artworks (board, card frames, weapons, etc) is stuck between two worlds - the very prominent vector lines everywhere say vector art, but the also prominent use of gradients and colours seem unintegrated and the whole thing seems cliparty because of that. Or 90s public domain computer games.

That pretty much sums up how I draw lol, I tried many different ways and styles, but it all loops back to the same look. I'd love to be able to accomplish the shiny smooth look of metallic weapons, but the program I used is essentially MSpaint on steroids (Autodesk Sketchbook). It's good, and I used it to as much extent as I could, but I'm no pro just yet.

3. Card text seems tiny and difficult to read, doubly so because of the crest that's behind them, which I would say is pretty unnecessary.

I've heard that quite a few times, the 2nd edition cards didn't have the background image behind the text, and I felt like there was something missing, but now that it's there, it's far too cramped. Definitely noted.

For your game box art I would suggest ignoring the color variants on the logo towers, as they compete with the title. Taking that out of the mix, I created this suggestion to demonstrate what I mean:

I really like this design! Simple and elegant, once I have the funds I'd love to get something done for box art.
 
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Steven Tu
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Bonskoffa wrote:
Once the final product is in the works


Well... If you know this to be the case, asking for input to make it "more professional" seems like a moot point? It's like you're asking for input, getting input, then telling me "this wasn't ready yet"...?
 
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Scott Garrity
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That's a fair point, basically what I'm trying to accomplish is this; I'm pretty much on my own for the time being to do all of the artwork, so until I have the funds to hire artists, I'd like my project to be as complete as I can get it before it's handed over to professionals. I've heard some rough horror stories of local designers getting their artwork done, and it was nothing close to what they wanted and paid for. Just something I want to avoid if I can, that's all!
 
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Steven Tu
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Bonskoffa wrote:
That's a fair point, basically what I'm trying to accomplish is this; I'm pretty much on my own for the time being to do all of the artwork, so until I have the funds to hire artists, I'd like my project to be as complete as I can get it before it's handed over to professionals. I've heard some rough horror stories of local designers getting their artwork done, and it was nothing close to what they wanted and paid for. Just something I want to avoid if I can, that's all!


Don't quite see how these coincide:

Making whatever you have now as professional as possible.
and
Telling people who give you input that what you have now "It wasn't ready yet"
and
Making sure when you pay some artist their work will be good.

 
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Karsten Schulmann
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It's definitely a good starting point. Two things besides others mentioned should be changed.

1. Let the text breathe. Especially the headlines are too narrow. Give some padding to them.

2. The images/objects on the cards don't pop. If this is a creative decision, everything's fine. If not, use more and richer colors to separate them more from the background.
 
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