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Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: Really ugly board! rss

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Gláucio Reis
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I understand that the board seen at GenCon is not the final product, but it does get me worried. I certainly expect the actual board to be bigger, but I'm more concerned about the artwork. The plastic miniatures are great (although I would like to see different buildings for different nations), but they need to be complemented by a visually attractive board. The main reason of my concern is that I'm reminded of another game from the same designers: "Marvel Heroes" also had very nice miniatures - and an extremely dull board.

The current artwork in this "Age of Conan" board is very bland, and from the review I've read, the garish colors seem unnecessary. I'd love to see a realistic map full of terrain features. "War of the Rings" had a pretty board, although with some functionality problems. From my understanding, "Age of Conan" is not very demanding in terms of functionality, and it shouldn't be too hard to make a board that is both beautiful and functional.

Of course, I'm also concerned about the gameplay, specially having disliked both games mentioned. But again from the review, "Age of Conan" does seem better than the designers' previous releases, and not nearly as fiddly.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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If what you saw isn't the final product, I see no need to worry.

I think War of the Ring (First Edition) was a tremendous accomplishment. If Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game captures Howard to the same degree that War of the Ring (First Edition) captured Tolkien, I will be ecstatic.
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Francesco Nepitello
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GSReis wrote:
The current artwork in this "Age of Conan" board is very bland, and from the review I've read, the garish colors seem unnecessary.


Well, in AoC the board is divided in four areas. Each region must be recognized immediately as part of one area, as Strategy cards played for intrigue are keyed to areas. And, when playing with less than four players certain areas are out of the game for most playing purposes. So, I think there are ample reasons for making the areas quite distinguishable.
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Gláucio Reis
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Quote:
Each region must be recognized immediately as part of one area

OK, but can't that be accomplished in a more discreet, non-interfering way? Since regions of the same color are grouped together, outlines in the respective colors, as someone has already suggested, should be enough. Like in "War of the Ring", but just make them thicker. Check Brazilian game Angus: Batalhas Medievais for an example, as it uses that approach for player starting regions. I know that you don't have the final word on the graphic design (or even no word), but it's no harm to try... Also, in response to Sphere's comment, I didn't want to wait until it was too late to express my concerns.
 
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GSReis wrote:
Also, in response to Sphere's comment, I didn't want to wait until it was too late to express my concerns.


That makes good sense. We all want the game to be a success.
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Francesco Nepitello
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GSReis wrote:
OK, but can't that be accomplished in a more discreet, non-interfering way? Since regions of the same color are grouped together, outlines in the respective colors, as someone has already suggested, should be enough. Like in "War of the Ring", but just make them thicker.Check Brazilian game Angus: Batalhas Medievais for an example, as it uses that approach for player starting regions.


Wotr's board has been amply criticized, and coloured outlines would not work at all here, as multiple coloured lines would run along the same borders (the areas are contiguous in our board), creating an effect of 'coloured stripes' that was not good at all.

In the end a lot depends on personal taste, I think... for example, I personally find the board solution you linked as an example to be really bad, much worse than what was used on AoC's board.

In any case, the colours on AoC's board are much less dense as you would say from seeing the print used at Gencon. The colours are transparent and 'sparse', showing texture below. Certainly you won't have a painted map like that in Wotr... but on the other hand, we received a lot of criticism for that too!

GSReis wrote:
I know that you don't have the final word on the graphic design (or even no word), but it's no harm to try... Also, in response to Sphere's comment, I didn't want to wait until it was too late to express my concerns.


There is no problem in showing your concern. I thank you for that. On my part I was just highlighting the gaming reasons behind the choice. When gaming components are concerned, graphic designers must try to find the right balance between playability and appeal, not forgetting budget and deadlines, and even when they succeed at getting the best possible solution, someone will disagree anyway (with their own good reasons to do so).

Francesco
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Gláucio Reis
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Quote:
Wotr's board has been amply criticized,

And I wholehearted agree with the criticism. I did say it was not functional. For the relevant part, the colored outlines are too thin and there are similar colors, if I recall correctly. Also, I believe much of the criticism is related to other functionalities, such as very small regions, hard-to-find names, graphic elements that are too similar, etc.

Quote:
and coloured outlines would not work at all here, as multiple coloured lines would run along the same borders (the areas are contiguous in our board), creating an effect of 'coloured stripes' that was not good at all.

But you don't need to use color outlines for each area. You may just outline the regions. That would be functional and non-interfering.

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I personally find the board solution you linked as an example to be really bad, much worse than what was used on AoC's board.

OK, probably not the best example, but I couldn't come up with a better one and thought it would be cool to link to a game from fellow Brazilian designers. To tell you the truth, I think the outlines there are too thick, and not really necessary, as they are used only to mark starting positions.

Quote:
In any case, the colours on AoC's board are much less dense as you would say from seeing the print used at Gencon. The colours are transparent and 'sparse', showing texture below.

That's good to hear. However, there is a lot less detail in the map than I would like to see. And as I commented before, from the pictures I saw, the artwork itself looks very bland. Is it the real artwork to go into production?

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Certainly you won't have a painted map like that in Wotr... but on the other hand, we received a lot of criticism for that too!

It is important to stress that the criticism was directed at the functionality, not appearance. I still think a beautiful painted map can be functional.

While we are at it, will the final board be that small?
 
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Francesco Nepitello
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GSReis wrote:
That's good to hear. However, there is a lot less detail in the map than I would like to see. And as I commented before, from the pictures I saw, the artwork itself looks very bland. Is it the real artwork to go into production?


Sort of. The art director is experimenting some final moment changes, some of which might go in the direction of making the colours seem less 'solid'.

GSReis wrote:
While we are at it, will the final board be that small?



It is the size of one half of Wotr board, so I guess the answer is yes. The reasons are many, from production costs (gone to crazy standards), to the fact that a possible expansion will add a second eastern half to the map, for a complete view of the world of Conan. The publisher wanted the art director to consider this from the start, and knowing this you will see that the graphics support the possibility.

Francesco
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Gláucio Reis
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
Sort of. The art director is experimenting some final moment changes, some of which might go in the direction of making the colours seem less 'solid'.

I don't know, but I'm contemplating the possibility of making my own map. I'm really not glad with the sparse line-drawing artwork.

Quote:
It is the size of one half of Wotr board, so I guess the answer is yes. The reasons are many, from production costs (gone to crazy standards),

Well, it will be one of those huge FFG boxes, supposedly with a corresponding price tag, thus I expected the board to be larger. In fact, I'd really like to see the game in a box the size of WotR, at most.

Quote:
to the fact that a possible expansion will add a second eastern half to the map, for a complete view of the world of Conan. The publisher wanted the art director to consider this from the start, and knowing this you will see that the graphics support the possibility.

I guessed that. I dislike the way it looks, as if the map has been cut in half, and that alone may "force" me to buy the expansion (assuming I like the game). I'm not fond of expansions, either, but I suppose it's inevitable with FFG. I just hope there will be only one.
 
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Tom Shydler
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As I posted on a thread during Gencon: the test gameboard colors are too strong and too contrasting. They effectively obscure the "famous" contours of Hyboria. I fear this could be a significant distraction from the "atmosphere" of Conan's world.

I should state that I have high confidence in the quality of Nexus products. Like others, I feel it's better to comment now than complain later.
 
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Cédric Billette
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GSReis wrote:
Well, it will be one of those huge FFG boxes, supposedly with a corresponding price tag, thus I expected the board to be larger. In fact, I'd really like to see the game in a box the size of WotR, at most.


Are you sure? Where did you hear that? I was expecting a box the same size as WotR (which is still pretty big, BTW), and nothing I've heard from FFG points otherwise. In fact, since it's not even developed in-house, but rather at Nexus Editrice, I don't see why they would use the big coffin-sized boxes for Age of Conan.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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No, I'm not sure. Just guessing from the picture:



The proportions seem right for the typical FFG huge box. No way to know if it is the final box, though. It would be really good if it was the same size as WotR, with a nice plastic tray to keep the components neatly organized (instead of the awful cardboard inserts they put into those huge boxes).
 
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Barry Kendall
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The relatively small board size had also concerned me, particularly with the photo showing so many pieces crammed on it. I'm sorry to hear that production costs have imposed this kind of limit on board size and can imagine this being a practical problem in play, though experience may prove otherwise.

I do appreciate the mention of an expansion board; presumably this will not double the actual number of components in play but might spread out activity, particularly if such is linked to the presence of Conan.

Time will tell; however, I'd like to say that my only complaint with the WOTR board had to do with the drab coloration of most of Middle Earth (I'd hoped for more green in the unspoiled lands). Boundary definition was never an issue for play in my experience.
 
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C Lloyd
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Funny, I actually like the look of the board. The size (both dimensions and number of territories) seemed a bit small, but the right edge of the board immediately struck me as being prepped for an expansion. Seems like I'm late to the party here, as expansion(s) have already been mentioned. I'm definitely eager to buy this once it's available, and if it's good, will certainly consider any expansions. Keep up the great work guys!
 
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