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Dilema: Beautiful board vs functional board

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BenMora
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I have a dilema. I have been planning on doing an acrylic painting on a 24" x 36" canvas and using the image as board art. I want the painting in-and-of itself to look good and stand on it's own, but I'm running into the problem that the composition/framing of the subject matter of the piece conflicts with the functionality. So far the only way I can see the layout of the board making sense with both the theme and the mechanics is to paint it in such a way that is not very artistic.

Let me be more specific:

My game is a medieval one. The board is going to be a painting of a castle. From an artistic stand-point, I don't want the subject (the castle) to be smack in the center of the canvas. It should follow the rule of thirds, etc. From a functional standpoint, I need there to be 5 spaces/zones round the castle, so the castle really should be in the middle of the board.

In my first prototype, the board was divided evenly into 6 sections (2 x 3) with the castle in the top right, and the other 5 zones being the 5 in question. Now some rules involve referring to "neighboring" zones in circular order, ie, each zone has two neighboring zones, going around in a circle. This early prototype does not suit this as players need more guidance on which zones are considered connected, hence why I decided the zones need to be surrounding the castle and not next to it.

Perhaps someone (with the little information I am capable of conveying view forum post) can help me with a creative compromise between aesthetics and functionality, or give me insight into why I should prioritize one of these aspects of design over the other.

Thanks!

-Ben Mora
Mora Games

Eddy Anthony
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You didn't say what will be

You didn't say what will be going into the 5 areas so this suggestion may or may not work. You could make the the 5 areas different shapes so that there overall area are equal but the shape that contains it is not. You said the area was 2 by 3, you could starts by orienting some vertically and some horizontally and have 1 or two shaped at 1 by 6. You could then have the castle area surrounded by the 5 other areas but not necessarily in the dead center.

BenMora
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Ah, I should have elaborated.

Ah, I should have elaborated. What I said about 2x3 was that the 6 areas were arranged in a 2x3 layout: 3 on top, 3 on bottom. The areas need to be roughly the same dimensions and size as close as possible.

I am leaning more towards prioritizing functionality by positioning the castle in the exact center. It will still be a lovely looking board. The degree to which the aesthetics could be better is out weighed by the degree to which the functionality could be better if I had prioritized aesthetics.

let-off studios
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Functionality

When talking about a board game, prioritize functionality.

If you're making a painting, functionality doesn't really matter since all most people do with them is look at them. Compare this to when you're making a board game, where everything revolves around functionality. People look at paintings, but people want to play board games. Bad art is somewhat excusable in games, but clearly much more so than bad design, because generally speaking people play games instead of critique their aesthetic quality in and of itself.

There's no reason you can't focus on functionality while still having a fantastic-looking board. But I can imagine people never wanting to bring out the game because the mechanics of the board are prohibitive, regardless of how pretty it is. The end result would be that no one sees neither your art nor your design, and I think that's the worst case scenario, eh? :)

BenMora
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Excellent point, let-off

Excellent point, let-off studios! Thanks for the advice!

537h
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You could always create the

You could always create the painting with ideal composition and then use a crop of the painting where the castle is centered for the board.

537h
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You could always create the

You could always create the painting with ideal composition and then use a crop of the painting where the castle is centered for the board.

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