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Subject: Mob Ties Game Board - Please comment rss

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Nathan Isaac
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We finished the final draft of the game board for our upcoming release Mob Ties, and I'm posting it below for comments. We appreciate any and all comments, positive and negative. The design isn't set in stone. A couple of the designers on the team aren't satisfied with the river dividing the city of North Plains. I'm actually quite pleased with the way it turned out. Anyway, I'd love to hear what the BGG community thinks, as well as any suggestions.

Please forgive the blurriness. The original image file is rather large (our illustrator did these as high resolution images, and he's mounted them on 6 foot by 6 foot canvases for a music festival in Norway where his work was featured). Suffice to say, I had to compress the image in order to upload it to the forums and it lost some quality. The original, however, is extremely crisp.

Also, without reading the rules obviously the context of the game board might be difficult to discern. We should have the rules posted to the BGG forums for review early next week. The design of the game board is meant to be that of a police evidence board. Players move their game pieces (Capo, Made Man, Hit Man, Associate and Driver) among the six locations (these are the color photographs, and each location holds a maximum of five game pieces). Pieces that are "killed" or eliminated are place face up on the Morgue photo. Pieces that are "pinched" by the Feds are placed on the Prison location. The Airfield location allows the subsequent Mob Ties game expansions (other cities) to be connected (players can actually travel between cities and game boards). The thermometer in the upper right hand corner is an abstract representation of the "Heat Meter" which regulates the number of Feds placed on the board each turn, and also tracks the end of the game (which occurs when three times the number of players + 1 game pieces are off the board, either killed or pinched). Hopefully that gives a little context.

Please comment away. Here's the game board.



Cheers,
Nathan Isaac
Hostage Entertainment, Ltd.
"Games that just won't let you go."
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James Honeyfield
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Nice concept cool looking forward to seeing the rules.

Congrats
 
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-=[Ran Over]=-
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I think the mug stains are a little overdone. I'd ditch them except for the one (and the spill) nearest the Little Italy image.
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Peter Chilton
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rgmnetid wrote:
I think the mug stains are a little overdone. I'd ditch them except for the one (and the spill) nearest the Little Italy image.


I agree that there may be too many stains, but also how did they get there in the first place? AFAIK wouldn't a police evidence board be stored vertically as opposed to an a table, so mugs couldn't be rested on it?
Other than that I think it's really attractive and a clever design, fits well with the game by the sound of it. Looking forward to reading the proper rules - sounds an interesting game!
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Nathan Isaac
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Yeah, the coffee stains on the photos definitely stand out since its supposed to be vertical on a wall. Originally the illustration spec we sent to the artist described the evidence board as being "yellowed from smoke, torn and tattered, with a couple of cigarette burns and coffee stains." The stains were just supposed to be on the map (and therefore beneath the photos). But he put the coffee stains on the map and the photos as if it was all lying on the table. Definitely something we'd like to fix. Thanks for the comment.
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Peter
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Looking to have a playable prototype at GenCon?
 
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Brian Franzman
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One honest critique coming up -- hope it's not too harsh!

Overall, I think it's a great look and a great idea for a game. It certainly does evoke a 1950's/1960's gangster feel overall... Except for that photo of "Kitty's", WTF? I realize the appeal of tossing in a strip club a la the Bing from The Sopranos, but to me this is going too far... That photo almost begs for a PG-13 rating. surprise I'd have thought some sort of smoky lounge with appropriately dressed cocktail waitress would be more appropriate for the feel/time period.

I agree that a coffee stain or two should come off. And that is one beat up map on the wall! I would think adding more creases, tears & pinholes would be more believable than the tattered edges it's got now.

Anyway, my two cents (you asked)... That said, I can't wait to see your game once it's out. And, of course, the necessary Las Vegas expansion! devil


Edited to name the right era...
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Grant
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Bokrug wrote:
One honest critique coming up -- hope it's not too harsh!

Overall, I think it's a great look and a great idea for a game. It certainly does evoke a 1950's/1960's gangster feel overall... Except for that photo of "Kitty's", WTF? I realize the appeal of tossing in a strip club a la the Bing from The Sopranos, but to me this is going too far... That photo almost begs for a PG-13 rating.


I'm guessing you never saw the other game art and the discussion that followed in this thread.
 
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Brian Franzman
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grant5 wrote:
Bokrug wrote:
One honest critique coming up -- hope it's not too harsh!

Overall, I think it's a great look and a great idea for a game. It certainly does evoke a 1950's/1960's gangster feel overall... Except for that photo of "Kitty's", WTF? I realize the appeal of tossing in a strip club a la the Bing from The Sopranos, but to me this is going too far... That photo almost begs for a PG-13 rating.


I'm guessing you never saw the other game art and the discussion that followed in this thread.


You would be correct!wow I didn't know about the hullaballoo going on about this game, or that shocking artwork seems to be the entire point of it being produced.
 
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Dan Keith
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Bokrug wrote:

You would be correct!wow I didn't know about the hullaballoo going on about this game, or that shocking artwork seems to be the entire point of it being produced.

I see nothing overly shocking to a fan of The Soprano's, Godfather movies or Goodfellas. Relatively rude accusing the guy of making his game purely to use shocking art. If your not a fan its easy enough to not view or purchase the game.
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Nathan Isaac
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We'd love to have our initial print-run ready by GenCon but we'd be cutting it pretty close. A playable prototype will definitely be finished by then. And we hope to be there. If we have a table set up, I invite all the BGGers to come try the game out.
 
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Brian Franzman
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Dirg wrote:
Bokrug wrote:

You would be correct!wow I didn't know about the hullaballoo going on about this game, or that shocking artwork seems to be the entire point of it being produced.

I see nothing overly shocking to a fan of The Soprano's, Godfather movies or Goodfellas. Relatively rude accusing the guy of making his game purely to use shocking art. If your not a fan its easy enough to not view or purchase the game.


OK, maybe I should be a little more clear... I don't mind the violence. I am a Sopranos, Godfather, and Scarface fan (still haven't seen Goodfellas, dagnabbit!). I even bought the Fight Klub game, how's that for enjoying blatant graphic violence? angryarrrhdevil

I think I would enjoy this game, but I don't think anyone else I play with would go for the violent artwork. And before I had read that other thread, I didn't understand why the "Kitty's" pic was included on the board when all I had seen was the board. Now that I've seen the cards, I get that it is fitting to the game.

The card artwork shown on the other thread is pretty good, IMHO. But it seems to me that Nathan may be just trying to get some buzz going about his game without necessarily considering making any changes based on the views/opinions/suggestions "requested" on these threads. I probably shouldn't say the game was created just to showcase artwork depicting graphic violence, but it seems to me to be an integral part of the marketing plan.
 
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Isaiah Tanenbaum
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No particular order here:

The red text is a little hard to read. Also, the prison, airport, and morgue look like they might be playable locations, but aren't labeled which makes me think they are just decoration. Make them smaller still? Cross them out? Cover them up more with clippings? EDIT: Re-read the OP; now I see what you're going for. Maybe if they were a different aspect ratio? Or consider moving them together, along one side or the bottom or something.

I agree that the Kitty's art stands out as a bit out of character with the rest of the map. But it works with the over-the-top card art we've already seen (which I found a bit much for my tastes -- clearly it's what you're shooting for, though; best of luck to you).

I would definitely move the coffee stains to under the photos. And add a lot more "stuff" to the map -- circles, x's, mugshots, scribbled notes, clippings, and little flags/thumbtacks... I would want it to look like it's been worked over, covered with 20 years' worth of cases. Creases, rips, too. Right now it looks a little too perfect and photoshopped -- there's no way it would be that worn around the edges without also showing significantly more wear in the middle.

Does the thermometer serve a game purpose? Or is it just decoration? It's hard to tell and it could be pushed either way to clarify it, depending on what you're going for. The number chart next to it could use some "theming" up as well -- put it on a slip of paper, make it hand-written, etc. EDIT: Re-read the OP, so the themometer is obviously meant to serve a game purpose. It's a little abstract but maybe works ok. The numbers next to it though still need theming.

The river takes up a lot of space that could be used for streets, which are more interesting. I wouldn't remove it completely though.
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Grant
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ilta wrote:
No particular order here...


I second all of your suggestions. The board looks cool but could definitely be improved.

I will be very interested to see if any of this is actually changed, or if, as another person said, this post is not to actually get input but to create buzz for the game.

BTW, I posted the link to the other thread so that people not familiar with the other artwork could see it. If you want to continue the argument about the appropriateness of the imagery I think it should be done in that thread. This one is for feedback on the game board. That one specifically asked for feedback on the use of violent images in games.
 
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Isaiah Tanenbaum
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Quote:
BTW, I posted the link to the other thread so that people not familiar with the other artwork could see it. If you want to continue the argument about the appropriateness of the imagery I think it should be done in that thread. This one is for feedback on the game board. That one specifically asked for feedback on the use of violent images in games.


True. I didn't want to get into another discussion about the appropriateness of the images per se, and in any case I think all the possible angles have been covered in that thread.

But since the other pictures on the map are more staid, I felt the strip club image stood out, on a purely design consistency basis. On the other hand, it's within the sphere already established by the card designs so maybe it's not so bad. I suppose you could also spice up the other images on the board to get them to the same "shock" level as the strip club image, but that wouldn't be my preference. Shocking images are less effective the more you see them, and players will be staring at the board during the entire game, as opposed to the cards, which come out one at a time.
 
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Doctor X

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I think the board is stylish and drips with good theme. That said, it doesn't really tell me anything about what the game does - that is, without the rulebook, the mechanics aren't revealed at all by the board.

But that's OK for now - I realize this is still in the works, and this is apparently a card-driven game in some way as we knew from the first thread. (It is also a mature-themed game that should be avoided by children or those with a distaste for graphically violent material.)

Also, would we be correct to guess that the game will include bits/tokens of some sort and not just cards? The thermometer seems to scream "put token here." If not, then I'm not sure if its inclusion makes sense.

The coffee stains don't bother me as they seem to have some other posters. Adds to the theme, but that's just my taste.

 
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Doctor X

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Bokrug wrote:

OK, maybe I should be a little more clear... I don't mind the violence. I am a Sopranos, Godfather, and Scarface fan (still haven't seen Goodfellas, dagnabbit!). I even bought the Fight Klub game, how's that for enjoying blatant graphic violence? angryarrrhdevil



You've really never seen Goodfellas? surprise
 
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Peter
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Unfortunately I won't be at GenCon Indy this year, but would like to see pics of the game being played.
 
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Joe Niezelski
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Yeah, I think the Kitty's picture is a bit much for something that's always out on the board. It would be fine for a card, but it would be a little weird staring at that stripper's ass for the whole game, every game.
 
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Mark Delesdernier
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To nit-pick a little. The ship at the docks shouldn't have the name on the side of the ship and definitely shouldn't have it twice. The name of the ship always goes on the stern (with homeport underneath) and on either side of the bow.
 
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Nathan Isaac
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I want to thank everyone for their comments. I know it's been suggested that these comments will have little effect on the development of the game, but that isn't the case. One of my designers (we have six in the company) created a (non-professional and very rough) mock-up of the game board moving the river from the center of the board to the lower left hand corner. He and one of the other designers feel that the placement of the river in the center of the game board doesn't work. However, I actually like the placement of the river running through the center. The version with the river relegated to the lower left hand corner just seems like a very uninteresting map. I feel like the river as it was placed by our illustrator is much more interesting. I'd like to know what the BGG community thinks. Our illustrator will be making final revisions on July 22nd. Should we move the river? Or is it more interesting where it is.

Here's the professional, possible final draft of the game board:




Here's the non-professional mock-up by one of our designers moving the river to the lower left hand corner:




Again, we appreciate any and all comments.

Cheers,

Nathan Isaac
Hostage Entertainment, Ltd.
http://www.hostage-entertainment.com
"Games that won't let you go."
 
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Nathan Isaac
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Also, here's a peek at our "Kitty" cash (referencing the location of Kitty's, a strip club, on the game board).



Thanks,
Nathan
 
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Alan
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I like the river in the original image because it breaks up the monotony of the center of the board. That being said, you can also break it up by including more writing (notes/scrawls, circles, arrows -- make it look like they really use this map for keeping track of mob activities), more landmarks (parks, subway stations, street names, hospitals) and more color.

Color seems like the biggest reason to go with the first map over the second, but you can address that in other ways as noted above. The river just makes it an easy job since a swath of blue is easier than individual elements on a city map.

I do like how the gray photos are pushed to the corners of the board and made smaller. That helps set them off better from the color photos while still making them look a part of the game.

With the exception of the coffee stains, I thought your first map was pretty good. Sure, you can always add more to it, but you don't want it to become too noisy and garish or distract the players. Those graphics are supposed to be background for the photos, the places on the board that the players really care about. I wouldn't worry too much about it so long as the players can clearly distinguish the photo locations.

Fyi, a board like this is used in the movie American Gangster. Granted, the one in the movie consists entirely of photos of people over a map, but it's the same atmosphere I think you're looking for. Check it out if you have the chance.
 
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Brian Franzman
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I agree, the river going across the center of the board is more appealing to me as well. Not only does it give a swath of color and add interest to the board's center, it also gives a more organic feel to the map's look. The flowing shoreline contrasts well with the straight line and angles of all those city streets and photo edges.
 
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Andreas Krüger
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I like the river at the side better - looks more tidy, somehow.
 
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