I was playing a pickup game with a friend the other week when a mutual friend and illustration student started taking shots at the quality of our game materials, or more specifically our map sheet, crinkled and worn. Sure it’d seen better days but at least the art is…. actually, I’m not even a fan of the art, and I never was. In fact, it’s about time I stopped being displeased and actually do something about it.
While I haven’t had a chance to work on it much, I finally trotted it out for a short game recently. I’m going to finish this one way or another, but I’ve had some aesthetic concerns. First, I’ve been a little concerned with the general look of big ‘mechs on little terrain. Ends up that the unpainted plastic figures from the introductory boxed set work oddly well; being unfinished they strike as being more figurative than representational which fits with the discrepancy of scale. Also, the terrain actually makes their unpainted medium grey color less offensive. I wonder if their smaller then full sized bases also helped. (When a figure with a normal sized base is next to a hill it almost looks like an un-based mech is standing on a higher level). Pulling and holding the wooded hexes when moving into them and noting it for combat wasn’t so much of an issue as I thought it might be, remembering to put them back though was. Simply putting a slip in those hexes would solve that, but ideal to set up the board by moving the trees around without the second step of marking their positions. The hills have been warped for a while, but I was a little disappointed with how the board itself seems to be holding up. While the slight bowing that the spray-mount seems to have caused isn’t a big issue by itself, if I were to make four boards and set them side by side it could get ugly. Finally, no excuse for my poor photography, I promise I’ll get a real camera someday.
Overt use of information in most games consists of a simple distinction between public and private; the fog of war, the cards in an opponents hand, the items in the Clue envelope. In some games it’s as subtle and pervasive as not knowing what the outcome of a die result will be or the intents of another player. In other games, the mental organization of the information is of particular importance. The pervasive HUD in games is an outgrowth of this need to manage information, stressing or removing ambiguities, in order to provide a specific gameplay experience.