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Ideal PNP Quality?

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keshiekay
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When you print off/try a new PNP, how much art do you like to have? How polished do you like the graphic design to be?

I ask because my team is kicking around the idea of releasing at least two PNPs over time.
(1) A B&W version that has good graphic design for important cards & clip/free art.

After gaining some popularity (a certain number of downloads or Facebook/Twitter followers?), we'd humble-Kickstart (< 3K) custom art and more graphic design.

PNP #2 would use this custom art & graphic design.

Do you think this is a good idea? What makes a PNP look polished to you?

537h
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What I would look for in a

What I would look for in a PNP game (or any game really) as far as aesthetics go--apart from appealing to my own personal taste and quirks--primarily boils down to coherency and thoughtfulness. I'm not that concerned about "polish" in the sense of fanciness or "high production value". I do like it when I can tell that that effort invested in crafting the look and feel of the game regardless of how rough or lo-fi it is (sometimes I find those traits themselves kind of charming). As far as consistency/coherency goes, it's mainly a matter of not having clashing design elements that are distracting. Public domain or clip are is fine so long as the art meshes together well as much as possible. I do think the two-phase PNP development sounds like a good idea as well.

keshiekay
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Coherent & consistent

537h wrote:
I do like it when I can tell that that effort invested in crafting the look and feel of the game regardless of how rough or lo-fi it is (sometimes I find those traits themselves kind of charming).

OK, good to know. I wasn't sure if people would judge lo-fi too harshly. Am I correct to interpret that so long as the PNP's rules are clear/coherent and the art style is consistent, you'll be happy?

And I'm glad you think the two phased PNP development is a good idea.

537h
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Yep.

That is a correct interpretation.

pelle
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Someone started a thread on

Someone started a thread on bgg today about what makes a good pnp. Might be of interest:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1437391/article-designing-print-and-play

Personally I do not mind simple art, but b&w sounds a bit extreme. Also clip art might result in art that do not go well together, unless you manage to use a lot of art by the same clip art artist. But I am OK with printing a game with simple low-ink graphics if it looks like a good game.

questccg
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Black & White is not bad!

pelle wrote:
...Personally I do not mind simple art, but b&w sounds a bit extreme.

Here is a link to one of my first prototypes of the game:

Compared with a more final version:

There is a difference - but the B&W still illustrate the basic layout of the fully rendered version (with artwork).

pelle wrote:
Also clip art might result in art that do not go well together, unless you manage to use a lot of art by the same clip art artist.

I prefer to stay away from clipart - because it looks very amateurish. If you have clean, crisp B&W layouts, I think this could be used until you say reach a funding goal. BTW I can't fully afford my artwork - so what I did was ADVANCE funds for 10 pieces of artwork. I will then use those as SAMPLES of what we can do - and how the game will finally look like.

But I don't think B&W prototypes don't work. Just depends how much effort was put into them!

Note: BTW I think the B&W version allow for a CLEARER delivery of LAYOUT of the card itself. There are no distractions of say "Pretty Artwork" just a functional card...

pelle
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Questccg, I think your b&w

Questccg, I think your b&w prototypes look very nice. If I was to pnp them I would be happy if you could get rid of the borders (as per discussions in that bgg thread; I just seem to be unable to make very perfect cuts and it is so ugly when you get non-uniform borders visible around the cards).

What I was saying about b&w being extreme is just that I see no reason to 100 % avoid color. If a bit of color-coding helps make the prototype easier to use or just makes the prototype look a little bit more inviting to play I don't see anything bad with doing that.

I usually include some cartoonish artwork in my prototypes, even when in a hurry, like this 24-hour design I completed in about 4 hours a few weeks ago:
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/20230074#20230074

Not sure if that really enhances that game beyond what just text would have done. To me it did and I think it helps communicate what the game is about and how to play better than if I just tried to put text on the components, even if my art skills are pretty much zero. Also since my first (and so far only) playtester was my son that is not old enough to read English yet it was good to only have components that required no reading skills. Also while drawing some quick drawings might take a few second each, coming up with good names to put on the tiles/cards can also be time-consuming.

JewellGames
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Clipart and B&W

Most of my prototypes use basic clipart since I have very limited artistic ability. And, I usually provide a B&W version for people that don't want to use a lot of ink.

This is for a kids game I am working on. The raindrops on each flower card indicate how many blue glass beads the player can drop.

The "Colored In" version looks like its been colored in by crayons (using a photoshop brush) and the black & (off)white "Coloring Book" version is self explanatory.

I still think a playtester could enjoy the game even without the color.

keshiekay
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Thanks!

Thanks, folks! This information is super helpful. I really appreciate your input.

Soulfinger
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keshiekay wrote:When you

keshiekay wrote:
When you print off/try a new PNP, how much art do you like to have? How polished do you like the graphic design to be?

What market are you targeting? Younger players and professionals are more likely to reference the rules from a phone or tablet, printing only what is necessary, which makes color artwork more important. Students generally have ready access to high quality printers, so the cost of ink isn't much of a concern for them. Veteran gamers, which is to say older players who've stuck with the hobby for at least a couple decades, are less likely to worry about polish.

That said, 'lacking polish' should only be an illusion, like when a couple hours are invested into giving a model 'bedhead' for a photo shoot. The simpler the illustrations are, the more important the design elements become. There are a lot of great games that will never get the play they deserve because the presentation is so amateurish.

keshiekay
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Soulfinger wrote:keshiekay

Soulfinger wrote:
keshiekay wrote:
When you print off/try a new PNP, how much art do you like to have? How polished do you like the graphic design to be?

What market are you targeting?

Good points, thanks. Not targeting a young audience -- game encourages cannibalism at times (resource management survival game, set post-apocalypse. All of 'em [zombie, Ragnarok, aliens, fae, robots, etc.].) Thinking in the experienced-gamer range.

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