Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Sunday, August 14, 2005

BGTG 30 - Game Presentation with Greg Wilzbach

This was a fun show to record, sitting down with the local gamer & friend who designed the BGTG logo(s). After some general chat about how Greg's background, how he got into the hobby, and joined the Santa Clarita Boardgamers, we got into the main theme of the show: boardgame presentation. For a graphics and design-savvy guy like Greg, that value of a game's good presentation is obvious. For a numbers & facts engineer like myself, I actually had to learn this. I'm a believer now, though, and we had a good discussion about what makes some game presentations work better than others. It's components/physical production, complementary artwork, even ergonomics (I think that's the term).

We made reference to so many gamers & publishers, these show notes have an enormous number of links. Even so, I probably missed some (like I missed the link to James Van Verth's funny story about game rules in show #28). This show is far & away my longest one yet, at just over an hour. Still brief compared to some other shows. :-)


Funkenschlag, Ad Acta, Tahuantinsuyu
Way Out West
Lord of the Rings
Up Front
Publishers: Alea, Days of Wonder, Fantasy Flight, Eagle, Goldseiber
Shadows over Camelot
Pirate's Cove
Twilight Imperium

Big City
Edison & Co.
Das Leztze Paradies
(The Last Paradise)
Krieg und Frieden
Reef Encounter
Hammer of the Scots, Napoleon, Bonaparte at Marengo


Blogger Unknown said...

re: plastic. YES! One of the things I hated about War of the Ring (in my one incomplete playing) was that I found some of the pieces somewhat indistinguishable. Another thing was that there are way too many of them - they don't fit in the countries, they fall over, they're hard to handle! Unlike Greg, I did not buy that game.

re: Ticket to Ride. The new release does have somewhat larger cards, although only for the train cards; the tickets are still small. I don't find that to be a problem, since you're not dealing with tickets very much. It is nice having the larger train cards, though!

Good show - other half (well, next bit, anyway) coming on the ride home today.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last bit of your show(BGTG30) had to do with wargames, and their presentation. Comparing wargames with euros isn't really fair. First the print runs on wargames are almost always smaller, which makes the cost of the artwork much higher per unit. Second, wargames generally are much more complex, which means there must be some sacrifice to aesthetics. As an example most wargames have rivers that follow hex grids, and terrain that fits neatly into each hex. This is important for the game play but does detract from the overall presentation of the game.That said, there are some pretty games out there, with maps that are much better than the old SPI maps. ASL historical maps are very nice. La bataille series by Clash of Arms are very attractive, and evocative of the period. The counters are colored to represent the different uniforms of the units, and the maps are very pretty (Well at least the ones with interesting terrain.)Looking at lighter war games, Phalanx, has some nice games, Age of Napoleon, Waterloo, and A House divided. Towards the end of AH they produced some nice games, Hannibal, and We the People. (Though they never had nice card art.)The production value on the block games are wonderful, Take a peek at some of the Front Series games from Columbia. So while wargame art isn't up to par with Days of Wonder, I do think it has progressed from the old SPI days. Unfortunately unless the world stops playing computer games, and starts playing wargames, I doubt wargames will ever have the audience to justify the added expense of wonderful production values. Just my two cents, love the show

Ed Bryan

10:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oops! Ignore the last part of my previous comment - it's TtR:EUROPE that has the larger cards:

6:12 AM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Ed, it may well be that the economics of wargames don't offer as much opportunity for good graphics & physical production. I'm not convinced, however. At least, I'm not convinced the problem comes from finances. Rather, I think the graphic design challenge for wargames is often greater than for other games due to density of information that must be depicted.

9:16 PM  

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