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Spearpoint 1943» Forums » General

Subject: Visual appeal rss

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Matt Jourdan
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First of all I should probably give a little background to my post. I'm an avid gamer, but I don't always post much on the geek. I currently do Graphic Design for various player run gaming projects. I've done work on player expansions for Star Wars Epic Duels, and I am part of the players committee who currently runs the Star Wars CCG (Decipher). I love card games and I love WWII era based games.

When I look at a game the first thing I see is the artistic design, and then the component quality. Normally it is in that order, but sometimes that depends on the game. If a game doesn't look good in images, or if the components aren't good, then I may pass it over. This has no basis on how good the game is, it's just an unfortunate result of the artistic appeal of the game.

So why am I bringing this up? Well this game looks interesting to me, especially at the 30 minute play time mark that is listed here on the Geek. However, the visual presentation to me is just... blah... It's not all bad, but overall, I would normally just pass over this game.

What do I like about the artwork?
I like the cover art image. This was a good choice to go with. It's visually appealing, and I would see this and expect some good artwork on the cards too. Anyone expecting the same though on the cards, I think would be dissapointed.

I also, can really get into the black and white imagery on the photographs. Very cool, and I think this was a good decision to go with those.

I also sorta like the file folder/tabbed look of areas on the card. I'm not entirely thrilled with the artistic look of the boxes, I can respect and understand the reasoning behind it.

Now what i think is missing is detail in the actual graphics. Where is the texture to the backgrounds? At the very least fades could have been used. The cards to me just look like slightly decorated playtesting cards. Infantry could have had uniform texture used for the background. Tanks could have armor types of texture. If a neutral all encompassing texture needed to be made, that could have been done too. All these are very simple basic tasks to do in photoshop. Any low level GDer could do it. The hit cards could have had a scorched look to them. the text boxes could look more like manilla folders. Text font could have been done in a slightly older looking font if you like, however, this is debateable. Sometimes font just needs to be simple.

My point is that this just seems to really be lacking in artistic flare. Yes it is supposed to look simple and old reminiscent of WWII, but there is so much missing that could have been done. The game just looks like a playtest version to me.

I wish the designers the best, but I hope they see this as just feedback. My intent is to provide my thoughts and hopefully improvements can be made from there.

I think you have a cool idea, and good luck with it!



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Byron Collins
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Hey Matt, thanks for your feedback

The art you're seeing is the final art, but as we're not yet in production, I'm always open to suggestions up until we tell the printer "go"- as long as those suggestions don't interfere with playability and simplicity.

I messed around with textures and it seemed to muddy up the information- now maybe I didn't do a good enough job with them- So, based on your post, I will take another look at the solid backgrounds.

I've run the card design by several graphic designers, and while different styles appeal to different people, the designer's comments were all in agreement that simplicity for this game's art was best, esp. considering the amount of information that needs to be communicated.

Unlike say a Fantasy CCG, where the art really IS the focus (at least this is true for a lot of great CCGs), this being a wargame, wargamers expect simplicity and clarity first and foremost, and generally, art second. I don't want the art to get in the way of that. Finding that balance is tough and I'm sure you deal with it all the time in your work.

The cards present a lot of information to players- as long as the art doesn't get in the way of the information clarity- I'm definitely open to suggestions about it.

Thanks for your post
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Matt Jourdan
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Thanks for replying. I'm glad you didn't take me as just being overly critical. My intent was to just give some graphic insight to it.

Keeping it simple is good, but I think you could do a little more with it, just to make it pop. The cardbacks in my opinion could look a little nicer. You could apply a armor plating type of texture to the back that doesn't scream at you. Like say go with something that makes the whole back look like one piece of metal that is riveted/bolted to the back of the card. You can even use that in say 3-4 different colors for your various decks. The silhouette look is ok, and you might try different variations of color on that. White might be your favoriate, but black might not look bad either in certain situations. All that would be based on the look of the backs. I would keep the unit silhouettes to just the Unit cards. Then give the Command cards something more General like. or something more command like. Not sure yet what specifically would go well there... Maybe a General's hat? Thinking of the image from Hogan's Heroes with the two hats... something like that or just one of them could work. Likewise the Damage cards could use an image that looks like Damage. Maybe a big bullet hole in the card? the very trite look would be an explosion image. Maybe some Barbed wire to accent the damage? Just tossing out ideas...

The fronts of the cards I would use the background of the backs as an echoe, and maybe just darken it so it drops away from the folder areas. Then give the folders a coloring that echoes that of a manilla folder. You could even do some very light coloring to give the folders a used worn look. The icons are generally servicable that you have used to represent things. Simplicity is here... Although I'm not a fan of the shading on the shield. I think in this case the attempt to make it pop a little works against the rest of your simplicity. I'ld try just making the shield grey, and possibly add a black border around it. Debateable on the border.

Hope that helps. I'm open to discussing more, if you like. I'm normally on messenger most of the day, so I can chat anytime. GM me and I can provide you with my messenger.

 
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Tim Harrison
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I have to agree. If you haven't gone to print yet, please consider these examples from similar games:











I don't think any of the above are absolutely fantastic, but I do think they are better.

If you don't think you could do something like this, I might be able to give it a shot if you'd like.

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Eric Bouchard
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If I may, even though I think the overall card design is good and I think the game rules are awesome, would you prefer something along the lines of the Italian Campaign Introduction?



Just curious
 
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Byron Collins
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Thanks for the feedback

Mark Mahaffey (the box cover artist) is taking a look at the card art to see if we can spice up the BG's a bit as a minimum. I think we can. I'm anxious to see what he comes up with
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Matt Jourdan
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If you'ld like my input on it just GM if you need it private or just post the pics up here and I'll comment on them. Glad you're willing to make changes.
 
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