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Subject: Why not a few lines of historical flavor text? rss

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fightcitymayor
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So I can see Table Battles as a decent wives-&-girlfriends game (not just filler for grognards) and at some point someone might want to know, "So just who are The Maryland 400?" There is more than enough space on the cards to toss in some flavor text to give a little historical background to these otherwise faceless names on cards we are pushing around the table.

I also wouldn't mind some Horse & Musket: Dawn of an Era style art pieces, but I would settle for the historical flavor text. It wouldn't take long to whip up.

And for the curious:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
from Wiki:
The Maryland 400 were members of the 1st Maryland Regiment who repeatedly charged a numerically superior British force during the Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War, sustaining heavy casualties, but allowing General Washington to successfully evacuate the bulk of his troops to Manhattan.


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Tom Russell
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fightcitymayor wrote:
So I can see Table Battles as a decent wives-&-girlfriends game (not just filler for grognards) and at some point someone might want to know, "So just who are The Maryland 400?" There is more than enough space on the cards to toss in some flavor text to give a little historical background to these otherwise faceless names on cards we are pushing around the table.


I don't know if there's really "more than enough space" on the cards, though.

I mean, here's three cards from that same scenario - I'd have a hard time finding somewhere to put any text or art on the card that wouldn't affect the playability/readability of the actual in-game text, and I don't know if it'd make sense to do so for some and not others.



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Andrew Kluck
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Blue vs. Gray figured it out, and I think they had as much game play information on their cards.



Though I do like the clean art style of TB.
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Martin Gallo
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No flavor text means fonts READABLE by a slightly older generation. I am grateful.
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Tom Russell
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Sitnam wrote:
Blue vs. Gray figured it out, and I think they had as much game play information on their cards.




True, but the gameplay information in this case involves actions that can vary quite a bit from scenario to scenario and expansion to expansion. I could have gone all Race for the Galaxy with lots of special icons, but then I run into problems with the expansions when I want to introduce something new, because it wouldn't then be referenced in the rulebook, or you'd have to search for some special card for that expansion, etc. Whereas keeping it text-based keeps things flexible, and allows for the expansions to just be the new cards, with no rules sheet or box or anything like that.

Quote:
Though I do like the clean art style of TB.


Thanks!
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Tyler Gingrich
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martimer wrote:
No flavor text means fonts READABLE by a slightly older generation. I am grateful.


Me too!
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fightcitymayor
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tomrussell wrote:
Dice values font gets knocked down maybe 1 or 2, text box gets shortened to eliminate white space, leaving enough space to add "Clinton's idea was to flank Washington's position in Brooklyn."

tomrussell wrote:
Shift up the main body of boxes to eliminate a lot of space under the red bar, eliminate white space in the top text box, leaving enough space to add "Hessians bayoneted surrendering Americans at Battle Pass."

tomrussell wrote:
Plenty of text box white space to eliminate to easily add "Sullivan's bravery meant his men escaped to Brooklyn Heights, despite his capture."

And I just went through the deck and found:
31 of 42 b-side cards
and
33 of 42 a-side cards
have 1/4 to 1/2 card space available for flavor text. That count can be increased by simply compressing the unused white text boxes to allow more room. No drastic font changes necessary, nor any significant change to the layout. This added info draws players into the game, adding to the immersion factor.

tomrussell wrote:
...and I don't know if it'd make sense to do so for some and not others.
Magic cards sometimes have flavor text, sometimes not, depending on card space.
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Mark Kwasny
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I like the way the cards look as they are. Easy to read, not over-crowded or cluttered with text that has no game function - I can easily go look up the history of these battles and learn about them in a matter of minutes. Ease of use is much more important to me!
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Jeffrey D Myers
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While we 'mericans want flavor text, the Brits want flavour text....
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fightcitymayor
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mvkwasny wrote:
I like the way the cards look as they are. Easy to read, not over-crowded or cluttered with text that has no game function - I can easily go look up the history of these battles and learn about them in a matter of minutes. Ease of use is much more important to me!
The point is you aren't losing anything. Even the fonts stay the same for 90% of the cards (or 100% of the cards, if you just skip flavor text on the wordy cards like Clinton.) In a game where the cards are the game, it's a waste of space (literally) to have either completely empty space or large white text boxes containing one word. So make that space work for you.

If we go by your logic, why label the cards with names at all? Why do I need to know it's Clinton or the Hessians? Why not "BRITAIN#1" and "BRITAIN#2" That doesn't affect gameplay other than historical flavor. So all flavor text does is enhance that same idea.

 
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Tom Russell
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fightcitymayor wrote:
mvkwasny wrote:
I like the way the cards look as they are. Easy to read, not over-crowded or cluttered with text that has no game function - I can easily go look up the history of these battles and learn about them in a matter of minutes. Ease of use is much more important to me!
The point is you aren't losing anything. Even the fonts stay the same for 90% of the cards (or 100% of the cards, if you just skip flavor text on the wordy cards like Clinton.) In a game where the cards are the game, it's a waste of space (literally) to have either completely empty space or large white text boxes containing one word. So make that space work for you.


I get what you're saying, and I certainly appreciate the feedback. My point of view on this: The large text boxes sometimes contain one or two words, and sometimes they contain substantially more than that. The box needs to be big enough to handle all cases - I don't agree that the box size should be changing or scaled, because I find that extremely inelegant.

I think what it comes down to though is, I personally like the way the cards look. It was an aesthetic choice informed by the things I prioritized in the design. The cards look the way I want them to look, and do what I want them to do. It certainly could have been the wrong choice; Lord knows I've made them before.

Thank you again for the feedback.

Quote:
If we go by your logic, why label the cards with names at all? Why do I need to know it's Clinton or the Hessians? Why not "BRITAIN#1" and "BRITAIN#2" That doesn't affect gameplay other than historical flavor. So all flavor text does is enhance that same idea.


It's the same reason why you would label a counter with a unit's historical designation. It's for flavor, sure, and to inspire further research on the part of interested players.
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Sean McCormick
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Sitnam wrote:
Blue vs. Gray figured it out, and I think they had as much game play information on their cards.



Though I do like the clean art style of TB.


I love the game, but I always found the cards in BvG far too busy, and while the text was worth reading once, it just clogged up the card for every subsequent play.

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Jeffrey D Myers
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One could take a page from the POG-like games, and have a section of the rulebook or a playbook that gives historical text for each card.
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Rick Thompson
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peacmyer wrote:
One could take a page from the POG-like games, and have a section of the rulebook or a playbook that gives historical text for each card.


This sounds like a good idea. Maybe a downloadable PDF with some info on the battles and the units?
 
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Mark Kwasny
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fightcitymayor wrote:

The point is you aren't losing anything. Even the fonts stay the same for 90% of the cards (or 100% of the cards, if you just skip flavor text on the wordy cards like Clinton.) In a game where the cards are the game, it's a waste of space (literally) to have either completely empty space or large white text boxes containing one word. So make that space work for you.

If we go by your logic, why label the cards with names at all? Why do I need to know it's Clinton or the Hessians? Why not "BRITAIN#1" and "BRITAIN#2" That doesn't affect gameplay other than historical flavor. So all flavor text does is enhance that same idea.


I understand your preference, mine is just different! My preference is clean cards, and I like the space. And I agree with what Tom Russell said in his response - I find it very aesthetically pleasing that each box has the same spacing. There is a regularity to that! As for generic labels for cards, that would then make it almost impossible for most people to do their own research. With unit names, and the name of the battle, I can look them up and learn a little or a lot, how much I choose! As another said, they read about Bosworth before playing. There is the historical flavor!
 
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fightcitymayor
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tomrussell wrote:
Quote:
If we go by your logic, why label the cards with names at all? Why do I need to know it's Clinton or the Hessians? Why not "BRITAIN#1" and "BRITAIN#2" That doesn't affect gameplay other than historical flavor. So all flavor text does is enhance that same idea.
It's the same reason why you would label a counter with a unit's historical designation. It's for flavor, sure, and to inspire further research on the part of interested players.
And I think this is where we differ: You see Table Battles as "just filler for grognards" whereas I see Table Battles as a potential breakout hit with casual gamers. It's got enough of the familiar in it (Yahtzee, Elder Sign, Magic The Gathering) and plays fast enough that with just a smidgen more "finishing touches" to welcome the gamer in, you could crank out ten volumes of these for battles large & small throughout history AND sell out every print run. So I say: "Think BIG, and escape the grognards-only ghetto!"

Ultimately, I will keep playing & await the next volume (which I might buy Day-1 like I did this time.)
And you seem okay too.
So I guess I will cut short my evening itinerary of burning Table Battles in the street, with a large protest sign declaring "BOYCOTT HOLLANDSPIELE!" and "DOWN WITH TOM RUSSELL!" and "NO FLAVOR TEXT, NO PEACE!"

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Queen Carlotta
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I like clean uncluttered components, I like these cards.

Yet the mayor isn't wrong in his perception that as a product this could do with a tiny bit extra to make it a well-rounded thing that's compelling to a wider audience in the sense of seeing it as fully developed.
And the one thing that was noticable absent for me as well was indeed that one paragraph of background info on each battle.
And where does that paragraph belong?
Not on the playing cards, no, obviously on the scenario cards, on the _backside_!

There, solved the problem. Next!
 
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Tom Russell
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The backside is the way it is to enable players to randomly choose a battle via a shuffle.

I understand where y'all are coming from, I really do. We listen to our customers very carefully and take their feedback very seriously, though this doesn't always mean that we'll be following those suggestions. For example, people have said that some of our rules are difficult to digest, and as a result we've not only put a greater emphasis on things like play examples where appropriate, but we've also begun using much more detailed Player Aid Cards, like the sort in our new Charlemagne game. On the other hand, there are folks who have wanted us to use rectangular counters for Horse & Musket, but that's just not economically feasible, as that would result in a $100 pricetag on the consumer's end.

In this case, we're unlikely to changing the Table Battles format all that much. In the first expansion, Wars of the Roses, we've managed to squeeze in a bit of flavor text on a few of the cards, especially in cases where the interactions of the cards might not be entirely obvious, or where I just found this or that to be really interesting.
 
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Queen Carlotta
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Yeah, I had thought about the requirement for randomisation might get in the way.

Tom, what are you doing, answering customer quibbles this time of year?
Go away!
Merry so-and-so and happy whatever!
 
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Tom Russell
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Alois_Schimmerlos wrote:
Yeah, I had thought about the requirement for randomisation might get in the way.

Tom, what are you doing, answering customer quibbles this time of year?
Go away!
Merry so-and-so and happy whatever!


Heh. Just came back from the family festivities, and here I am at it again. :-)
 
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Paul Miles
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I love the game and the layout of the cards the way they are but it would be neat if there were separate cards that just had a paragraph or two on the battle that you could lay out to the side and read to your opponent. Or barring that, a description in the rulebook of the battle. Slightly ashamed to admit, I had only heard of two of the battles covered in the game, so I ended out copying a bunch of wikipedia pages and throwing them in the box.
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German Mike
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The scenario cards would have been the perfect place for a historical paragraph or two.
 
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I found the cards legible and easy to read. I can’t stress that enough. Aging eyes and all that.

The "Blue vs Gray” approach seems cluttered and harder to read. And the “tighten up the spacing” solution also works against legibility even if the fonts remain the same size. Looser leading helps legibility. And space between elements. That’s my opinion anyway. You may disagree, but I’m a trained illustrator and graphic designer so at least it’s an informed opinion.

My only quibble with the cards is that the Screen Target list is comma separated, just like the Attack Target list, when the two list types are treated differently, i.e., all vs sequential. I’d like to have seen a text treatment that called attention to the difference, e.g., “Schulemburg & Lottum & Orkney” for the Screen Target list, though I appreciate that the available space is limited and my solution would add three characters (actually character spaces) to an already long line.
 
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