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Okay, this is the final attempt.

DOTR is my favorite game. don’t know why – I guess it somehow touches some little D&D kid memories. And it’s a great, great game: it’s everything Pandemic is, but reducing the alpha player syndrome by injecting ameritrashy dice luck into the mathy formula.

unfortunately, the graphic design is lacking. some people (like me) say it’s an hommage to the 80’s, others say it’s unfortunately done by someone who was stuck in the 80s. even BGG forums are full of critics who claim they wouldn’t even try a game with such a design. which is a shame.

despite me liking the style, I don’t like the point-to-point movements. Sir Richard Launius stuffed this baby full of atmospheric fluff, and ever since purchasing Small World I know that an area map was my favourite atmospheric approach to fantasy worlds.

so 6 years ago I tried to redesign the map, but failed on the graphic front. 2 years later I tried to learn a map making tool, but failed on the technical front. this time, I’m getting help. I asked for an artist here on BGG, and got many great responses! so, this time... *drum roll*

it’s really happening.

I’m so excited! for years now, I acquired every single expansion. I replaced and painted the miniatures. I translated & redesigned every single card (approx. 400). I scratchbuilt portals, fires, crystals. the map has ever been my end boss, the last milestone to end my project of projects

I just thought I share this. if you’re interested, I can post some of the process here. I’ll definitely post the result.
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... totally interested! meeple

please, keep us posted!
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woodoo03 wrote:
it’s everything Pandemic is, but reducing the alpha player syndrome by injecting ameritrashy dice luck into the mathy formula.
I enjoy the game well enough, though I wouldn't rate it "great" - but that's OK, if we all rated the same games 10 there wouldn't be much variety on game night! But I find it interesting that you say it "fixes" Pandemic's alpha-math-nerd issue by using dice: we perform a huge amount of probability maths when we play DotR, simply because it's possible to work out how many dice "on average" you need to defeat a General. We rarely attack unless we have at least that many dice, or we're desperate. Failing an attack is usually disastrous.

I get what you mean about the "location badge and connector" layout of the map, if they were regions with connection indicators there would be more room for the armies of minions
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mccrispy wrote:
But I find it interesting that you say it "fixes" Pandemic's alpha-math-nerd issue by using dice: we perform a huge amount of probability maths when we play DotR, simply because it's possible to work out how many dice "on average" you need to defeat a General.

I understand what you mean. my group does the same. but with the luck of dice there comes a gambling aspect as well: "I know the odds are against it, but it would be SOOO beneficial if I just have luck here... should I try?". this STAYS the decision of the active player.

In Pandemic, its a pure calculation, and the alpha player knows the best outcome (no odds, no gambling). his options:
a) inform the active player of the optimal turn - boring for the active player
b) witness the active player doing the optimal turn - boring for the alpha
c) witness the active player doing a sub-optimal turn - painful for the alpha

this three-way dilemma is avoided by introducing dice into the fights.
 
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but back to the map project! what are my big 3 guidelines/motivations?

IMPROVED FUNCTIONALITY
a) I want the areas as big as possible (lots of minions, 28mm figs for heroes & generals)
b) I want the board as recognizable as possible (i.e. for colorblind players)

NEW LOOK AND FEEL
c) I want to leave the 80s charme - no Elmore in the new map, sorry!!!
d) I want to translate all names into German

BACKWARD COMPATABILITY
e) I want the other game material (cards, box etc.) usable with this map

---

from these guidelines derive some decisions:

a) => change from point-to-point movement to area movement, make use of the whole map space
b) => area types should not only be recognized by color, but by type too (trees = forest = green area)
b) => use big clear borders (like in Small World)
c) => use "modern" area maps (like in Small World or Legends of Andor) generally as style models
d) => do a language independent map, label it later
e) => when labeling later, you can decide to keep the original names
e) => try to keep the 4 original colors (blue, black, red, green)
e) => keep the map size, so one can glue it to the back of the original board

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starting with decision a), I began by analysing the board into all important area information (mechanic-wise). here's my comprehensive list:

# Name Colour Connected to Seaside Searchable Contains

1 Amarak Peak blue 13 17 23 36 - -
2 Ancient Ruins red 19 21 38 - -
3 Angel Tear Falls black 6 12 16 29 30 yes -
4 Blizzard Mountains blue 21 40 - -
5 Blood Flats red 7 30 32 37 - -
6 Bounty Bay blue 3 19 24 26 yes yes
7 Brookdale Village black 5 15 29 31 33 37 - -
8 Crystal Hills blue 16 24 42 - -
9 Cursed Plateau red 22 40 42 - -
10 Dancing Stone black 19 26 28 38 - -
11 Dark Woods black 18 39 - -
12 Dragons Teeth Range blue 3 - -
13 Eagle Peak Pass blue 1 28 38 - -
14 Enchanted Glade black 31 37 - - Eagle Nest Inn
15 Father Oak Forest green 7 26 29 33 41 - -
16 Fire River black 3 8 24 yes -
17 Ghost Marsh red 1 - -
18 Golden Oak Forest green 11 31 - -
19 Greenleaf Village green 2 6 10 26 27 - -
20 Gryphon Forest green 34 35 - - Gryphon Inn
21 Heavens Glade green 2 4 38 - -
22 Land of Amazons black 9 24 27 42 - yes
23 McCorm Highlands black 1 35 - yes
24 Mermaid Harbour black 6 8 16 22 42 yes yes
25 Minotaur Forest green 34 41 yes -
26 Monarch City no colour 6 10 15 19 28 41 yes yes
27 Mountains of Mist blue 19 22 40 - -
28 Orc Valley red 10 13 26 41 - -
29 Pleasant Hill red 3 7 15 30 - yes
30 Raven Forest green 3 5 29 32 - -
31 Rock Bridge Pass blue 7 14 18 33 39 - -
32 Scorpion Canyon red 5 30 - -
33 Seabird Port black 7 15 31 39 yes yes
34 Seagaul Lagoon blue 20 25 41 yes -
35 Serpent Swamp red 20 23 - -
36 Thorny Woods green 1 - -
37 Unicorn Forest green 5 7 14 - -
38 Whispering Woods green 2 10 13 21 - -
39 Windy Pass red 11 31 33 - -
40 Withered Hills red 4 9 27 - - Chimera Inn
41 Wolf Pass blue 15 25 26 28 34 yes -
42 Wyvern Forest green 8 9 22 24 - -


can anybody confirm if Wolf Pass is indeed connected to the sea?
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using this table, I spanned a mesh of the fields. I dragged and dropped a lot, a) trying to spread the areas equally in size, b) introducing "impassable terrain" to forbid certain connections of otherwise adjacent areas.


this diagram is everything the artist needs, I'd think... using it as guideline for areas and connections.

Here is one possible approach the artist could use (you see why I need one):
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Frederick Soued
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I am very interested in your board redesign project for DOTR. Please feel free to send me a personal email about it so we can keep in touch and maybe give you some support for it as well. rjsoued@gmail.com

Best regards -- Rick Soued, retired CEO of Eagle Games, publisher of DOTR
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I'll look forward to results! This is very interesting.
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I agree that DotR "fixes" Pandemic. In my mind there are two main factors that contribute to the mathiness of the latter:

1 - You always know exactly how successful your efforts will be on any given turn. I mean, you could plan 3 or more rounds in advance if you wanted to. Of course, the farther out you plan, the more dangerous the board is likely to become in the meantime, but it doesn't really change what you would accomplish on your turn. If you could drive through Europe and treat 20 diseases along the way, no amount of card draw is going to change that. The only thing that might change is whether another area becomes more pressing.

2 - The Infection deck is pretty much set once the second Epidemic card is drawn. At that point, very few new cities are going to be activated, so you can calculate the probabilities for the rest of the game, as far as resource deployment.

DotR fixes both of these issues:

1 - Very few things are guaranteed. A hero may eventually become The ____ Slayer and automatically defeat those minions, and a couple of hero abilities may guarantee a certain amount of victory (e.g., The Assassin), but it's nothing close to what we see in Pandemic. For the most part, victory in DotR is unpredictable, and so only the most generalized strategy can be made beyond the current round.

2 - The entire Darkness Spreads deck is active throughout the entire game. Even counting cards is of limited use since you don't know when the deck will be reshuffled. As a result, the hotspots during the Mid-War period may be completely switched by the time Late-War rolls around.

So while DotR may still lend itself to playing probabilities, they are nowhere near the levels of probability present in Pandemic. That's why I haven't even touched Pandemic since we purchased DotR. For me, the only thing it has going for it is a shorter playtime. But if that's what we're concerned about, we'll just play Forbidden Island.
 
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It's always good to see someone Defending the Realm. You might wish to check out Defenders of the Last Stand for some ideas.

I think this is a great idea if the publisher (ricks) and designer (Richard Launius) approve. If you do a good enough job, you might be asked to help make it "official".
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Hi Rick,

this is a great statement! Again I'm impressed of your community support.

My dream is that we get a great map which is downloadable for every DOTR owner to pimp his copy. Don't know if this possible, as it would certainly need serious copyright concessions from Eagle Games in order to use the region names. Any help there would be extremely appreciated!

I'll gladly pm you to make sure everybody is fine. Thank you so much!


ricks wrote:
I am very interested in your board redesign project for DOTR. Please feel free to send me a personal email about it so we can keep in touch and maybe give you some support for it as well. rjsoued@gmail.com

Best regards -- Rick Soued, retired CEO of Eagle Games, publisher of DOTR
 
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Hi Nick,

thank for pointing me to DOTLS. I completely missed this route as I'm not into the post-apocalyptic setting. I really like its area oriented map, and I especially dig the numbering (motivation #1: improved functionality). I consider something similar for the DOTR map, but I'm tending more towards a coordinate system on the hero/darkness cards (A-F, 1-4), as I regard numbers on the map as a little anti-thematic.

I try to make the map as professional as possible, of course hoping for "official" approval by designer & publisher. this is why I pay hard cash for a professional artist. but these are only hopes, no expectations - it's still a private project for private use only, and I'm happy for everything on top.

Autoduelist wrote:
It's always good to see someone Defending the Realm. You might wish to check out Defenders of the Last Stand for some ideas.

I think this is a great idea if the publisher (ricks) and designer (Richard Launius) approve. If you do a good enough job, you might be asked to help make it "official".
 
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If it doesn't get official approval, I think you could offset the cost for a professoinal artist by asking for "tips" from anyone who would like the printable files.

I for one would easily pay, say, 5 bucks for the files if they the illustrations are well done.

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Totally interested in this project, I see you have payed a lot of attention on playable regions but please explore to make unpassable regions not just mountains with some variations like unending falls, toxic/magical mists/vortices, lava rivers/ponds, perpetual ice, or why not: 'the wall in the North' a la game of thrones, or the void/nothing in unending story that was eating out parts of the world.
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You could also make the project pass/fail (eg - if this sum of money is pledged, there's enough to pay the artist, otherwise the map won't be made.)

I don't know if you have a specific artist in mind, but if not, then perhaps users like

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could give you a few pointers about where to look and how to estimate project costs since they published their own games recently.

Make sure you and the artist are okay with the idea of your work possibly being used by Eagle Games in an for-profit capacity with no compensation. Also figure out if you're okay eating all the costs of the project if people back out on their promised support. If this is a huge concern, you might consider some type of commercial pledge manager.
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Hi Stephan,

thanks for the idea - but I don't plan to sell/give away for "tips" anything - especially not if it doesn't get official approval. but I thank you for the interest and will definitely share with you whatever the result is :O)
Celtic Joker wrote:
If it doesn't get official approval, I think you could offset the cost for a professoinal artist by asking for "tips" from anyone who would like the printable files.

I for one would easily pay, say, 5 bucks for the files if they the illustrations are well done.

 
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Hi Boost3r,

this is what we are testing right now. fluff-wise it's totally recommended to have lots of variations, and you have brought many inspiring ideas here.
my only concern is the loss of clearness - I don't want the players wonder what type of area this is, or if this is passable, or if this is a seashore etc.

Boost3r wrote:
Totally interested in this project, I see you have payed a lot of attention on playable regions but please explore to make unpassable regions not just mountains with some variations like unending falls, toxic/magical mists/vortices, lava rivers/ponds, perpetual ice, or why not: 'the wall in the North' a la game of thrones, or the void/nothing in unending story that was eating out parts of the world.
 
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Maybe a unified border (black? red?) around impassable regions could help avoid confusion?

woodoo03 wrote:
Hi Boost3r,

this is what we are testing right now. fluff-wise it's totally recommended to have lots of variations, and you have brought many inspiring ideas here.
my only concern is the loss of clearness - I don't want the players wonder what type of area this is, or if this is passable, or if this is a seashore etc.

Boost3r wrote:
Totally interested in this project, I see you have payed a lot of attention on playable regions but please explore to make unpassable regions not just mountains with some variations like unending falls, toxic/magical mists/vortices, lava rivers/ponds, perpetual ice, or why not: 'the wall in the North' a la game of thrones, or the void/nothing in unending story that was eating out parts of the world.
 
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Hi Neil,

these are all very professional recommendations. I didn't target this level of professionality with my project.

I made contact with several professional artists here. I'm happy to announce that I have more than one artist interested in this project. I cooperate "officially" (including fee) with one of them, from my personal budget, just because it's worth for ME. others are just joining for fun, the good cause, or immortal reputation! this is great news

this means: a) I don't start any kind of pledge projects, as I want this to happen in any case (or - if you will - I'm the only pledger). b) I already know how much budget it is, because the deal is done c) there are no guarantees that the result will be great or even good. d) I don't need any approval from anybody for anything as this is my own private project.

here's what I will do:
- I work out with the artist(s) whatever we can achieve.
- If we get any result, I'll post it here in minor resolution just for info
- if the artist(s) and Richard Launius agree, I post the results here (without area names) in good resolution
- if Eagle Games agree, I post the results here in good resolution and with area names

on the good side, I'll post the results without charging money from anyone. on the "bad" side, if the results are unsatisfying, nobody has the right to complain

Autoduelist wrote:
You could also make the project pass/fail (eg - if this sum of money is pledged, there's enough to pay the artist, otherwise the map won't be made.)

I don't know if you have a specific artist in mind, but if not, then perhaps users like Scott Everts or Tristan Hall could give you a few pointers about where to look and how to estimate project costs since they published their own games recently.

Make sure you and the artist are okay with the idea of your work possibly being used by Eagle Games in an for-profit capacity with no compensation. Also figure out if you're okay eating all the costs of the project if people back out on their promised support. If this is a huge concern, you might consider some type of commercial pledge manager.
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Honestly I like the map how it is. I would not change it at all. But to each their own.
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Here are some thoughts I shared with the artists about COLOURS and AREA TYPES:

Defenders of the Realm (DOTR) uses 4 colours (red, black, blue, green) in two ways. First, as area type. Second, as army type (the players have to defeat Generals and Minions, all of them in 4 coloured armies.) the only game-wise connection is that areas spawn minions of the same colour. Fluff-wise, there is no connection:

Green areas are fluff-wise forests, green minions are orks.
Blue areas are fluff-wise mountains or hills, blue minions are dragonkin.
Red areas have fluff-wise no special meaning, red minions are demons.
Black areas have fluff-wise no special meaning, black minions are undead.

This means for the map: The area types are not decided yet! My suggestions (forest, hills, meadows and plains) were just inspired by Small World.

There are „darkness cards“ and „hero cards“ that refer to the areas on the board. They use the same colours (black, blue, red, green). It would be neat if the area types resemble somehow those colours, but it’s not necessarily a must.

So we need 4 area types:

1. Forests with some kind of green (easy, I’d guess)
2. Mountains or Hills with some kind of blue
3. Any other type with some kind of red (or earth or tan, for instance plains)
4. Any other type with some kind of black (no idea yet).

The artists can freely develop own ideas for these 4 terrain types. These types should be easy recognizable and easy to differentiate. I think, if we switch one colour, this would be okay to digest (for instance: yellow corn fields for black areas). But we shouldn’t switch 2 colours or more.

There are two more impassable area types on board:

1. The „sea“: Rulewise, there are certain areas at the seashore. The sea is ONE connected water area, and it has to be water. To avoid confusion, no other water may be seen on the map (for instance, no water border like in Small World). Only the designated areas are allowed to touch the sea.
2. The no-pass barriers: When switching from „connected points“ to „adjacent areas“, I had to introduce terrain that hinders the players to go directly from one area to an adjacent but non-connected area. In my first draft, these were REALLY high mountains, but the artists could come up with any other coherent idea for no-pass terrain (lava lakes, anyone?)
 
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Hi Stephan,

good idea. the borders are the last thing I plan to incorporate. I'll definitely try out some variants including your suggestion.
Celtic Joker wrote:
Maybe a unified border (black? red?) around impassable regions could help avoid confusion?
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Hi Tyrell,

I hear you. I too like the map as is. there are a number of minor quibbles that just some up for me:
- wanted more space at the regions
- wanted a German map
- wanted the map suitable for colorblinds
every little thing is no reason for a new map. together they were.
tyrellrwood wrote:
Honestly I like the map how it is. I would not change it at all. But to each their own.
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Red regions seemed to be ruins mostly, and black regions swamps or dead forests talking from memory.
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