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Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

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Anonymous

Just wondering if a 26" square board is out of the question.

I ask because I'm wondering if this is prohibitive in some way; I need grid squares probably no smaller than 1", so my board really can't get too much smaller than this..

I'm hoping it's no big deal because I don't want to have to design to cater to a size!

thx
Andrew

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Well it can be a problem, but I think it all depends on the person. For example: A couple months ago I purchased Sid Meier’s Civilization board game and the board is extremely large, not to mention all the pieces :x. At first I was quite perturbed at how I had to play on the floor but I eventually got over it probably because it 4:00AM (The game is very long!). Overall I’m not the type to judge a board game by its size. If you plan to sell your game it might get expensive.

Regards,
Garret

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

IF it do not fit my living room table, i wont buy it.
But thats just me.

phpbbadmin
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Re: Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Turner wrote:
Just wondering if a 26" square board is out of the question.

I ask because I'm wondering if this is prohibitive in some way; I need grid squares probably no smaller than 1", so my board really can't get too much smaller than this..

I'm hoping it's no big deal because I don't want to have to design to cater to a size!

thx
Andrew

Remember, with Quad-Fold technology ( :D ), that's really only 13" square, and I don't think that's unheard of. It just makes sort of a cumbersome square box (probably 13.5" square). I'm trying to think which games I have with similar dimensions and the only one I can think off of the top of my head is Usurppe. I personally like games with bigger boards, and to be perfectly honest, I would consider 26"x26" to be more along the lines of a medium sized board.

Just my thoughts.
-Darke

jwarrend
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Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

I don't think anything is really "out of the question", but your game should justify the large size and the associated higher costs a big board will bring. Why can't your grid squares be smaller than 1"? Could you make the pieces smaller? Could you get away with 0.75" squares (it would save you 6"!).

Personally, I don't think 26" is too big of a board -- there are much bigger boards out there. Of course, I am also working on a game with a 24" square board, so I'm a bit biased!

It depends what stage you're at. If you're just designing the game, think more about the mechanics and the gameplay, and make a fun game so that you have something to worry about! If, on the other hand, your game is almost done, these may be issues you will want to think about more.

Good luck!

IngredientX
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Re: Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Darkehorse wrote:

Remember, with Quad-Fold technology ( :D ), that's really only 13" square, and I don't think that's unheard of. It just makes sort of a cumbersome square box (probably 13.5" square). I'm trying to think which games I have with similar dimensions and the only one I can think off of the top of my head is Usurppe.

Scanning my collection, I see that Evo, Can't Stop, Robo Rally, and Lord of the Rings (the Knizia co-op) all have square boxes at least 13" long. So there is a precedent.

As Darke said, as long as it can fold back into a realistically-sized box, you'll be fine.

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Hi there -

Ok, here's an image of work in progress for my board:

http://www.turnerdesign.net/traffic/traffic.gif

Note that each grid square represents 1". I'd like to keep them that size because of the pieces - they're going to be little cars. I don't want them to be even this small! But something's gotta give, so..

The border can be thinned down to 1/4" from 1", as it will only contain grid row and column numbers/letters.

I suppose, if I really had to, I could lose the outside row altogether and put the numbers/letters in the game area, but I'd rather not.

Hmmm....

Any suggestions welcome!

Thanks,
Andrew

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

P.S....

I realize I could make the map smaller...

jwarrend
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Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Do the buildings actually signify valid places for the pieces to move? If not, you could make the buildings themselves smaller and still have your 1" spaces for the cars.

The board looks very nice! It looks like you may be close to having your design in the final stages. Is that accurate, or are you still hashing out the design?

Unless you're looking to self-publish, I just don't know how much I'd worry about this issue. I don't think your board is too big, but if a company does, they'll find a way to make it work if they like the game itself. Of course, you need to ask yourself whether you could live with a smaller board and smaller pieces...

Good luck!

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Thanks for the quick reply!

To answer your questions -

1) The buildings do actually signify places for pieces, though not cars - if you look carefully you'll see four little yellow circles... I didn't want to give away too much at this point ;) but, heck... two circles are passenger pickup/dropoff, and the other two are package pickup/dropoff. Plus, there are a few (cue suspenseful music) "special" markers.

They must be placed on the building areas. There will be up to 6 players, I think, so it will get crowded..

There will also be several areas within the bounds of the buildings where vehicles can "park".

2) Thank you for your kind words. Actually, this is a 2nd round - I'm basically doing what I need to work out the game mechanics (is that what it's called?) at this point. It will still have quite a bit of work done, and if I'm feeling nutty, I may actually illustrate buildings (and parks, and so forth).

I don't know what I plan to do actually... my primary goal is to create a completely fun and addictive game! [edit: to play with my friends, but I guess if strangers become addicted, that's fine with me, too.]

Honestly, beyond the esoterics of the gameplay, finding/making the little pieces is the only area I'm worried about. There needs to be (at least) one taxi, one delivery truck, and one gray "traffic car" per player. I'm not sure about how to either find/make them, or where to have them manufactured. (I can also design the three-dimensional files needed for the pieces.)

There is some other stuff but I don't want to complicate things yet. :)

Cheers
Andrew

prophx
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Taxis, Trucks, and Cars

Something I used for a tank game was printing tanks onto thick cardstock, cutting out, and gluing a bead of the player's color to the face of the tank. You could print out 6 yellow taxis, 6 green delivery trucks, 6 gray cars and glue one of each color bead to them. At a glance the players would know what type of vehicle it is and who's it is. Also the bead makes it very easy to move the pieces. Works great for prototyping and actually impresses those who walk by and see us playing. To accomodate color-blind issues you may also want to put a number on each vehicle to differentiate the pieces by player.

Anonymous
Re: Taxis, Trucks, and Cars

Hi Prophx -

Actually, to test it I've printed pieces on heavy stock on my inkjet... no "handle" per se, but the colors are pretty obvious -

http://www.turnerdesign.net/traffic/taxis.gif

That's a great point about color-blindedness... as you can see, I added numbers. Thanks!

Prophx wrote:
Something I used for a tank game was printing tanks onto thick cardstock, cutting out, and gluing a bead of the player's color to the face of the tank. You could print out 6 yellow taxis, 6 green delivery trucks, 6 gray cars and glue one of each color bead to them. At a glance the players would know what type of vehicle it is and who's it is. Also the bead makes it very easy to move the pieces. Works great for prototyping and actually impresses those who walk by and see us playing. To accomodate color-blind issues you may also want to put a number on each vehicle to differentiate the pieces by player.

DavemanUK
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Dividing the large board up into 9 smaller ones?

Hi there, the town map looks great and as a quick suggestion, have you tried cutting it up into 9 separate squares (a 3x3 grid) so that it will fit into a, say, 9"x9" box? Additionally, such a 'building block' map can create different town layouts depending on the position and rotation of each block (allowing for legal placements) :-)

Dave W.

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Hi Dave -

Were you looking over my shoulder?!? :)

Actually, about two years ago (when I began conceptualizing) I had envisioned the board being made up of 36 squares, and the board being 24" square made up of 4" squares, which would be dealt out to players at the beginning of the game. I was considering an "economy" and the idea that a player "builds" and players must pay tolls, or something, when on another player's property, monopoly-esque.

There are two main reasons I didn't continue - first, because I was still (and am still) designing the gameplay, and it added a whole other layer I didn't want to consider yet.

The second reason was strictly cosmetic - currently it's easy to know where a pickup/dropoff is by the grid - A7 to H18, for example, and with those 36 squares, each had to have its squares marked individually on the spaces themselves... might be silly, I didn't like the way it looked.

A third reason was because I was considering that with an unchanging board (and a series of different boards) there would be distinct strategies to getting around on the board, which would largely evaporate if the board was never the same. What you suggest would alleviate that to some extent - or even 4 large squares... Hmm...

-however-

There are some distinct advantages to a system like this, because the board can be different, obviously, but also can be laid out in different configurations, such as a long rectangle, or two squares connected by a "bridging" of sorts.

I guess, since people around this place seem to take gaming and critique pretty seriously, that if enough people show interest in a modular design, I'd seriously consider that next.

I really appreciate everyone's input!

Andrew

Anonymous
26" is big!

I think 26" is too big, but it depends on where you plan on selling this. I think for the specialty market, you can get a way with it. But, if you plan on selling to the big dogs, then I would strongly consider a 20" x 20" board.

I just think the 10.25" x 10.25" box is the safest bet for marketing your game to all of the retailers out ther.

DavemanUK
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modular thematics

Hi Andrew,

(I'll try looking over your other shoulder now)...One of the biggest concerns I'd have about a modular design is the athesics+sense from the completed town, e.g. would the roads match up across separate pieces to form nice long straight 'highways' :-) One of the great things about Carcassonne is the finished board, a shared jigsaw-puzzle if you like, displaying a very attractive and believable kingdom layout :-)

Also, examine "Le Metro"'s modular design (albeit a not so pretty end result).

Dave.

phpbbadmin
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Re: 26" is big!

blkdog7 wrote:
I think 26" is too big, but it depends on where you plan on selling this. I think for the specialty market, you can get a way with it. But, if you plan on selling to the big dogs, then I would strongly consider a 20" x 20" board.

I just think the 10.25" x 10.25" box is the safest bet for marketing your game to all of the retailers out ther.

Just curious, what is your basis behind this opinion? Are you saying retailers will refuse to carry a game that is 26" square? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I find this very hard to believe given that I can go to any game store and point out at least two or three game boxes with similar dimensions. How many retailers actually request the dimensions of a game when they are making their purchases from their supplier?

Again, I'm not saying your wrong, I just find this hard to believe. I mean, sure, in small game stores this might be a reality, but they would have to be VERY small. As in mall cart stores and such.

Please explain.

-Darke

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

I love big boards... big boards, with colour and detail! I buy games that have big boards, great pieces etc - even though i pay more for them. I don't even bother buying cheap-looking games. (of course this means that i can rarely afford to buy a new game) But that's just me!

I would say that you should try to do the modular map, if it doesn't pose too much of a problem, is i possible to have generic pick-up/drop-off points rather than numbered ones? Could they be colour-coded or something?
The modular pieces allow for the smaller box and for enhanced replay value. You can have the "Basic" game be the one you are working on now that has the layout you've worked on and an "Advanced" game could include building custom maps. Or you could include a few map layouts that seem to work for players to try out.

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

PS - the only size requirement that i have is that is needs to be no larger than 37" on it's shorter dimension as this is the width of my table! Eagle Games just barely meet this requirement - and I love them!

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Shelf Space is Real Estate. The more games they can cram on a shelf, the more profitable retailers are. There is a real science to what we see on the store shelves. The big retailers put a lot of thought into designing their planograms. If your game is too big, and they've already placed their orders with Hasbro and Mattel, your game isn't getting on that shelf if they've only got 10" left and your box is 13".

Who do you think decides what Hasbro's line is each year? Wal-Mart! They will tell Hasbro they have 'this much space', Hasbro then figures out what they can fit into it. The space gets smaller every year, and some games will be dropped if they don't fit into this space.

Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but companies like Hasbro and Mattel have a lot more pull than the guy who is just starting out. Smaller is safer.

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Yet more great comments from blkdog7. :)

As a retailer he's completely right about the space issue and it's true for many consumers as well. One of the selling points with Apples to Apples (and really any Out of the Box game) is that it's a small compact box that doesn't waste space. It feels heavy in your hand and you feel like you're getting your money's worth. Compare that with a Worst Case Survival Game or many other big box games. They take up a lot of space without much stuff. Cranium copied the design of Apples to Apples boxes last year when they released Hoopla. It's a good size.

From what we've seen of your game, it's got a big board but not a lot of pieces. That might create a big box that feels rather empty. BTW, it's not Grand Theft Auto, the board game, is it? :wink:

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Hi all -

ok...

Dave: I certainly don't mind shoulder-lookers ;) Regarding the "finishedness" of whatever ends up - no problems there. It's just a matter of design and for me that's the easy part.

I'll take a look at the games you've mentioned and see what they're about. Kind of also reminds me of.. can't remember the game, you have to connect railroad tracks in hexes.. hmmm...

Darkehorse and blkdog7 - keep at it you two! I'm learning at your expense ;) Actually, I would certainly like to "go commercial" one day if the game seems worthy and I hadn't considered venue.. I just assumed "Wizards of the Coast" but they're all gone now. Overpriced, anyway.

Look, if Hasbro calls, I -guess- I could make size concessions.

GameMonkey - The board has to be numbered in some way - it could be color-coded or something. Not sure yet, but there must be a uniquely identifiable location for every grid square. Thinking on it..

Grendel - Not sure what a "lot" of pieces is... but there will be 24 vehicle pieces (possibly a few more), 2 dice, and about 60 cards.

And no, it's not GTA :) lol...

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I'm still not convinced.

Blkdog7 wrote:

Shelf Space is Real Estate. The more games they can cram on a shelf, the more profitable retailers are. There is a real science to what we see on the store shelves. The big retailers put a lot of thought into designing their planograms. If your game is too big, and they've already placed their orders with Hasbro and Mattel, your game isn't getting on that shelf if they've only got 10" left and your box is 13".

Who do you think decides what Hasbro's line is each year? Wal-Mart! They will tell Hasbro they have 'this much space', Hasbro then figures out what they can fit into it. The space gets smaller every year, and some games will be dropped if they don't fit into this space.

Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but companies like Hasbro and Mattel have a lot more pull then the guy who is just starting out. Smaller is safer

I agree smaller is safer in general. But are you speaking generally or is this specific game situation? To me, a 13" square box is perfectly within reasonable limits for a game. Of course, that all depends upon your target market. If you are indeed targeting walmart (Which btw, you probably would have a better chance of breaking into fort knox than getting your game on a walmart shelf). Most of the game stores I have been to, the games are stored vertically, like books in a book shelf. With that being the case, wouldn't the height be more of a factor? And the last time I checked, Mom and Pop game retailers don't usually bust out a copy of Prospace or some other planogram software to setup their shelves. They just rearrange by hand until it all fits rather nicely. If it doesn't fit, they simply reduce the quantity of games on the shelf until it does. I hate to make gross generalizations, but the majority of people who come to this site are working on games that target a niche, and that niche is your small to medium sized, usually independently owned game/hobby store. I just don't see box size making that big of a difference within these markets. If one of these retailers wants to sell a game, they make it work on their shelves.

Grendel wrote:

As a retailer he's completely right about the space issue and it's true for many consumers as well. One of the selling points with Apples to Apples (and really any Out of the Box game) is that it's a small compact box that doesn't waste space. It feels heavy in your hand and you feel like you're getting your money's worth. Compare that with a Worst Case Survival Game or many other big box games. They take up a lot of space without much stuff. Cranium copied the design of Apples to Apples boxes last year when they released Hoopla. It's a good size.

Again, I think we are talking about different markets. The games you mentioned are party games and are usually targeted to coffee shops, bookstores, and huge retailer chains (with the obvious exceptions of cross over hits like OTB's Apples to Apples). You may disagree, but until you can show me that Walmart turned down Puerto Rico or New England or some other similar niche market game because of the size of the box, then I will have to disagree with you categorically.

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

I'm always aiming for the stars. Why would you want to lessen your possibilities?

You need to think in a Hasbro and Wal-Mart kinda way to make it big. That's all I am saying. When I am designing a game, I am designing it with the notion that it will get into Wal-Mart or Toys R Us. And, I have succeeded. Products that I have been part of have gotten into Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Borders, etc. AND they've gotten into specialty stores and catalogs. Why just settle for the specialty?

The designers who are stubborn, and don't adapt, never make it. Some of them might, but the ones who play the game, go much farther, more often.

So, if you want to satisfy only the Ma and Pa stores that order 6 games at a time, then more power to you. It might take you 3 years to sell 5,000 games, but you can say you stood your ground. But, if you want to to satisfy all retailers, and sell that same amount of games in 6 months, you gotta adapt.

BTW -- I am not implying in anyway that the size of the box will guarantee you success. It is one of many factors. You better have good, professional artwork, you better have that 'Wow!' factor, and you better be a good salesman. A propietary feature or mechanism doesn't hurt either, sometimes that will be deal closer that gets the big order.

Anonymous
Re: I'm still not convinced.

Darkehorse wrote:

Grendel wrote:

As a retailer he's completely right about the space issue and it's true for many consumers as well. One of the selling points with Apples to Apples (and really any Out of the Box game) is that it's a small compact box that doesn't waste space. It feels heavy in your hand and you feel like you're getting your money's worth. Compare that with a Worst Case Survival Game or many other big box games. They take up a lot of space without much stuff. Cranium copied the design of Apples to Apples boxes last year when they released Hoopla. It's a good size.

Again, I think we are talking about different markets. The games you mentioned are party games and are usually targeted to coffee shops, bookstores, and huge retailer chains (with the obvious exceptions of cross over hits like OTB's Apples to Apples). You may disagree, but until you can show me that Walmart turned down Puerto Rico or New England or some other similar niche market game because of the size of the box, then I will have to disagree with you categorically.
I'm talking about how the game presents itself to the end consumer, not retailer. I usually look reviews, listen to my game reps, read newsletters and then order for my store. Party game or German game, they all have to sell to the customer in the end and the size and heft of the game is part of it's presentation. People want to feel like they're getting their money's worth. It's probably not as big a factor as how nice the game looks , but I'm sure it's something people subconsciously consider. Plus, the smaller the box, the cheaper to produce (I would guess, I really don't know :)).

Specifically to Turner: 13"x13" is plenty small. That Warcraft game is about that size (lot of heft :wink: ) . I'm thinking more along the lines of Axis & Allies sized boxes as being oversized for your game. Uberplay has been putting out a few games with long, flat boxes, sort of Monopoly shaped. They're pretty skinny too.

phpbbadmin
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Heh

blkdog7 wrote:
I'm always aiming for the stars. Why would you want to lessen your possibilities?

You need to think in a Hasbro and Wal-Mart kinda way to make it big. That's all I am saying. When I am designing a game, I am designing it with the notion that it will get into Wal-Mart or Toys R Us. And, I have succeeded. Products that I have been part of have gotten into Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Borders, etc. AND they've gotten into specialty stores and catalogs. Why just settle for the specialty?

The designers who are stubborn, and don't adapt, never make it. Some of them might, but the ones who play the game, go much farther, more often.

So, if you want to satisfy only the Ma and Pa stores that order 6 games at a time, then more power to you. It might take you 3 years to sell 5,000 games, but you can say you stood your ground. But, if you want to to satisfy all retailers, and sell that same amount of games in 6 months, you gotta adapt.

I'm not selling myself short, I look at it as not selling myself out. I already have a job, I'm not doing it for the money. If I was, it might be different. I know that anything I would want to design, would probably not be something that Walmart or other large retailers would be willing to sell. It's that simple.

-Darke

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

Point taken!

It's been fun debating with you! :lol:

John

Anonymous
Are "big" boards generally acceptable?

I know I'm gonna like it here - why?

'Cause through this whole discussion, nobody used foul language, insulted another's intelligence, used overt sarcasm, or told anyone else to f#ck off.

Unusual. But good. :)

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