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Subject: Information design in Euros rss

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DB
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Madison
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Last night I played Three Kingdoms Redux for the first time. I will admit it's a heavier game than the Euros I typically enjoy, but I struggled with getting into it. One of the issues I had was the information design: iconography, text, and layout. Like any medium-to-heavy Euro there is a lot to absorb about the game state, but I found much of the presentation unhelpful:

- Icons are small, semi-realistic drawings with a very limited palette of browns.
- Tokens that represent armies have un-activated and activated sides (a very important distinction!) but the activated symbol is just a slightly darker version of the same shape, easily confused on the table.
- Tokens for the worker placement aspect represent individual historical figures with specific game attributes; the text is quite small and hard to distinguish even at a seated distance.
- There's the usual "a number in this shape means VP" symbology, but it isn't used consistently and in one specific case (border area VPs) an entirely different symbol is used.

I actually think 3KR would benefit from more thematic art, moving from modern realism to the style of traditional Chinese painting, with its prominent linework and bright, simple colors. Done well, with proper attention to the information design, it'd be a major improvement.

I don't mean to pick on this specific game, but playing it did get me thinking -- hobby gaming as a whole struggles with information design, and it's especially important in Euros. What I'm wondering is, which heavier Euros are regarded as having particularly good information design? Which are particularly bad?
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Juan García
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I consider La Granja to have a good information design, it has many small details that help you remember all the many different things.

Many people consider Race for the Galaxy iconography to be difficult to get into, I disagree though
 
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Ryan Keane
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Most will probably disagree with me because of its hotness, but Scythe is one I find has poor design choices. When I compare the player board for Scythe to say Hansa Teutonica, the latter just looks like a much more elegant, readable design to me.





These aren't really heavy though.

My common complaint is that demand for language-independence has driven heavier games to have more and more complex iconography to capture abilities and remind players of effects that could be done more simply with text. Again, not a heavy example, but I much prefer to teach 7 Wonders using the first edition that uses text to explain on the special Wonder abilities, rather than using later editions with iconography that I have to keep reminding new players what the icon means.
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