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Game Board Art/Design

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wheelbug
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Joined: 08/22/2008

Hello Everyone,

I stumbled upon this forum a while back and it's been a great resource. I'm hoping someone may have the answer to something I can't seem to find on this forum or from extensive searching on the internet.

I'm designing a game and I'm stuck on the actual board design. I'm looking to do an outdoor theme with trees, grass, water, cliffs, etc. The goal is to get that somewhat cartoonish look without looking computer generated. Here's some links to give a vague idea on what I'm looking for.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/43087
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/187196

Does anyone how this is usually done? I've heard Corel Draw being mentioned for the actual artwork and Photoshop for the text. Possibly a combination of by hand and computer like the cow tipping cards on this site?

(http://www.bgdf.com/node/92)

Any help would be appreciated.

hans
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Joined: 08/23/2008
The two boards that you have

The two boards that you have linked are hand painted with computer embellishments (text and lines). I work with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Scan in artwork at least 300dpi and layer on text, lines, grids, etc. Photoshop can be used to make adjustments to color, fix little mistakes, add on filters/effects. Keep everything 300dpi which will look huge on your screen, but perfect when you print. Coloring also makes a big difference. You will be printing CMYK and your game components may not match. Use PMS colors to coordinate the colors. I always use some trial and error to get colors figured out. Good luck!

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
hans wrote:You will be

hans wrote:
You will be printing CMYK and your game components may not match. Use PMS colors to coordinate the colors.

That's bad advice. PMS colors are NOT intended to be used as a color calibration method. Most PMS colors will suffer a noticeable color shift when converted to CMYK. You use PMS colors when you're NOT printing with CMYK inks but with (a usually limited number of) PMS inks. If you use PMS colors in Illustrator or Corel, you will either end up with a color separation made of as many different plates as PMS colors you used, or an automatic CMYK attempt to reproduce the selected PMS colors, which are likely to be way out of the CMYK gamut.

The right way to select colors for CMYK printing is using a CMYK color atlas (this one is excellent: http://www.amazon.com/Process-Manual-Combinations-Prepress-Printing/dp/0...). Just pick the color you want printed from the atlas and use the corresponding CMYK values in whatever graphics aplication you use. You will need a professional graphics aplication that allows the use of CMYK color.

hans
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Joined: 08/23/2008
You make a good point and the

You make a good point and the book is worth having, but I think we are saying the same thing - color matching is a stumbling point. I am mostly referring to plastics manufacturing vs. printing colors. The games I have worked on have had a plastic component and a print component. I use PMS since the plastic manufactures use that value for color matching.

wheelbug
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Joined: 08/22/2008
Game Board Art/Design

Thanks for the help. I was thinking a combination might be the case. The playing pieces were just going to be cut out of wood and hand painted so matching shouldn't be a big deal.

Any preference on the type of paint used for the board design? Acrylic, oil, watercolor? How about what it's painted on? Poster board, paper, etc?

Thanks again

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Whoa

It seems your putting the cart before the horse. Before applying real art to the game you need a game. During the design process the game may change drastically requiring you reword the layout for the board, cards etc… If you spend much time on artwork that will need to be redone it will be wasted effort. This reworking of the layout is common and often happens repeatedly. For the time being visualize the end product while using clipart or even hand written components so that you can use your time efficiently.

I have seen quite a few prototypes by established designers and most don’t even bother to make them pretty before submitting it to a publisher. Don’t get in the pretty trap, it will just keep you from finishing your game or worse yet distract you from making a game that plays well. If in the end you have a game worth dolling up go for it but for now spending you effort on development is the best use of your time.

Meddler
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Joined: 08/05/2008
While I broadly agree with

While I broadly agree with Dralius's comments r.e. leaving the intensive art design for once you've got a polished, finalised game from a labour saving perspective I think there's quite a strong argument to be made for putting some solid work into aesthetics earlier in the process. I've found a few hours of prettying up a game has a substantial benefit when it comes to getting playtesters interested, teaching rules and pulling people back for another game.

Sure, some game groups may not take any notice of aesthetics and if you've got a steady supply of such that's fantastic (and I'm slightly jealous) but I feel a bit of your own time in exchange for improved access to many other people's is a great trade.

MatthewF
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Joined: 07/22/2008
That's been my experience,

That's been my experience, too, that a nice-looking game is easier to get tested. But then I'm pretty fast with graphics so it's a lot easier for me than for many, I'm sure.

wheelbug
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Joined: 08/22/2008
More Info

I suppose I could've provided a bit more background to where I am in the design process. Here goes:

I currently have a working prototype. A while back I had the idea for the game and kicked different options around in my head for a few months. I ironed out as many details as possible, then drew the board out with some sharpies on foam poster-board. I created cards from old business cards, picked up some chessex dice and used playing pieces I had laying around.

Next, I did extensive play testing within my extended family/friends and made appropriate modifications to the game. From minor alterations such as adding more spaces, increasing or decreasing the harshness of the penalties, to adjusting the amount of penalties, etc. I think I'm fairly close to making the game statistically equal regardless on which of the characters you play. Before I actually paint the board I'll run the probability numbers to see what they turn out like.

The game is essentially a race game, with some minor modifications that make it unique. The game play is still simple and uncomplicated, and can be explained in less than five minutes to either kids or adults.

I have the game visualized, except for minor details of the board (where should I put the trees, should there be fish in the river, etc). I figure this will be the biggest challenge even though I have some artistic ability. I figure if I can get through this, the rest will be comparatively easy.

My primary goal in this is to make a fun professional looking game for myself. Kind of like a piece of artwork I can take satisfaction in completing. Then if/when I want to take it further I'll have a nice copy for someone to look over.

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