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That (re-)Design addiction: hair of the DOG! (paw too)

Filipe Cunha
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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If you haven't read the previous post, read it here.

So, I had some spare time last week and finally finished the cards and summaries for my Dog/Dog Royal/TAC redesign project: FROG!

I intended for it to go along the lines of both Dogand Dog Royal, instead of the TAC way. I think that the upper-left-side references really help sometimes.



Anyway, instead of going the blue/red route of the regular editions, I went for a GREEN / BLUE / RED color scheme, with green meaning forward-moving cards, red meaning backward-moving cards and blue representing cards with special effects:



The second thing I needed to work on was to condense the cards... as each game has around 100 cards, I wasn't willing to print and cut over 300 cards. So I just set up a simple method on the cards: choose a game and set aside all cards with that game's icon, then return all other cards to the box.

BUT, I can't say that was an easy job... I spent almost two weeks sorting them out and deciding on what would be worth joining and what wasn't. that, and that alone had cut the card count to 171 cards, a MUCH more managable size...
It was about that time that I decided to drop Joker Marbles, since it only had ONE interesting card IMO: the 9 card that forces you to split and move two pawns, one forward and one backward.
The solution: just drop it and add that single card to the deck. If I feel like using it, just add it to the deck, if not, just leave it in the box:


One of the biggest troubles I had was as to how convey TAC's four special cards into somewhat manageable icons, since they're pretty complex (icon-wise). I got to a solution and while it's not perfect, but it'll do for the time being:


After the card effects were done, I went back and added the mini-reminder text on the bottom, only to get puzzled as to how would I add the Dog Royal's King card limitation AND the "ignores rank" property on the cards.
After toying a lot with it, I decided to drop the King's card limitations and go for only the "ignores rank" thingy. The King's limitation would have to go on the Rank Summary player aid/board/card/paper/whatever that I was planning:


Then, with all cards 100% done, I then did a small board, to be put below your home board with the ranks and a short summary of their effects:

***only now I realize that I forgot to add the Dog Royal's icon to it... cry cry cry ...and I already printed and mounted all of them***

Ah yea, I forgot to mention, but one of the first things I designed was the card back, and after adding the games' icons to the cards, I also added them to the card back:


And I took the time and changed the player boards a bit, just so they're not exactly the same now: they have different shaped/rotated islands, different amounts of fish, etc.


next: either the box or the rulebooks
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Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:00 pm
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That (re-)Design addiction: hair of the DOG! (paw I)

Filipe Cunha
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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I must confess: I hate graphical poverty. What do you mean by that, you're asking yourself...

Well, I hate games that are either plain ugly AND don't have a graphical identity of it's own.

For example, the old Glory to Rome edition (not the Black Box or the italian/spanish/german/etc. editions), with it's total lack of cohesiveness for cliparts (they vary wildly in style) and terrible graphic design decisions (those gradients are really hard on the eyes), is what I call, a bad design.

On the meantime, Troyes, Tournay or Tigris & Euphrates, despite having an ugly appeal (for Troyes, if you take the art independently from the game, it's ugly by most people's standards), they work fantastically to implement it's theme on the game's art identity. Troyes and Tournay really shine a light on the games' historical period, with artwork that really resembles the art from that era, fitting typography (which could be made hard to read sometimes due to the lack of necessity to actually read it), so on and so forth.

Tigris & Euphrates, albeit having great drawings for art, is sometimes regarded as an ugly game mostly due to it's hard-to-see size. The actual art is phenomenal (see here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/stephengrahamwalsh?section_id=11099...), but is so small that it's really hard to see the details... BUT, it's amazing how everything ties together with the Ishtar Gate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar_Gate) motif, and it's cohesiveness with the theme (despite most people regarding it as an abstract game).


Well... that explained, I must confess that I'm a redesigner addict. And a terrible one at that! I've started countless redesign projects, and most of them never got 100% finished. This year I came to realize that, and went away with a schedule to finish my projects to 100% completion. Yea, I'm doing it... I swear! Really, I will!

Anyway... during the creative downtime I had during the creation of Gunrunners, and during my free time, I've been working on something I've been postponing for about 2 years: my redesigned and combined version of Dog & TAC.

I decided to either find little dog miniatures, to represent the player's pawns or find some other suitable animal to do so. After days and days of browsing horse games (hello Winner's Circle and hello Long Shot!) and dog games, I came into knowledge of the newly-released-mostly-unknown Dog Royal, which soon got incorporated into it as well... and consequently, I went ahead and looked for other Pachisi-like games as well... and only one got me interested: Joker Marbles.

With that out of the way, I went with my now-way-more-complex Dog/TAC/Dog Royal/Joker Marbles all-in-one-box game.

But I still needed a theme...
For some unknown reason (more like "I don't remember why"-reason), I decided to go for Frogs. The little frogs would jump from lilypad to lilypad, until they get to the land area (their safe area). That worked perfectly for what I wanted.

After many hours listing cards and checkin' on rules, I came into the conclusion that the ONLY interesting card in Joker Marbles was the obligatory-split 9-card, so I dropped it and just made that a single card which could be added to the other games instead.

OK, after that was out of the way, I went ahead and created the game's logo, blatantly based off the DOG logo, I wanted to keep it as a homage to the original:


After that, came the player boards...

(shown here with the 5th safe-area space, used only in Joker Marbles, and which will be dropped later)

...and the intersection boards...

DOG! & TAC version


DOG! Royal version

...and the central board, which came to be later in the design process.



Here, a mockup of the 4-Player and 6-Player DOG! / TAC boards:


And a mockup of the 4-Player and 6-Player DOG! Royal boards:



next: the cards!
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Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:01 pm
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...or how I learned to worry about the guns! (part 2)

Filipe Cunha
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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If you haven't read the previous part, read it here.

Early August I got in touch with Steve Finn, designer of one of the games I always wanted to try, by the name of Biblios (well, it was still called Scripts & Scribes when I fist came into knowledge of the game).

I proposed to work on his new game, Merchant of Death, as a graphic designer. Something which he said he wasn't sure he was interested in (at that time, he had a friend doing the artwork), but would like to know my rates and stuff...

We reached an agreement (basically, I was working on a barter-based deal, getting games as payment). At first, that was fine for me, since my goal wasn't to make money, but to spread the good word about my work.

At first, I wasn't gonna do the whole shebang, since his friend already did a lot of the illustrations, but due to the feedback from fellow BGG'ers, he changed his mind and we set for the whole thing.

As with the grim theme of the game at the time, I went for a grim, urban and dark appeal, but he stated that it was a light & fun family game, and it didn't fit.

I then decided to go for a comic book feel, more like modern-day marvel/dc comics stuff, but with agents, detectives and stuff. That left me looking for an illustrator for about a good portion of a month, until that, one day, a really sympathetic girl by the name of Rafaella Ryon. She sent me her site and portfolio and it was love at first sight. I knew it would have to be her!

But, we didn't have the money to hire an illustrator of her caliber at that time. SO I went totally frank and open to her, and told her the reasons that I was doing it the way I was. And to my dismay, she whole-heartedly agreed to!

I sent her the whole concept of the game, and how I wanted it to be comic-book-like, and she sent me the first roughs, with a twist on my idea: it wouldn't be modern-day comic books, but a hard-boiled detective comic, in the vein of Dick Tracy.



It was that touché moment. The moment that I knew it would look amazing and it fit perfectly!

By that time, Steve was thinking of changing the game's name, and it got set to the current Gunrunners.


the many iterations on the various names


the final name and logo

Work was finally underway...
(more to come tomorrow, stay tuned!)
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Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:44 am
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...or how I learned to worry about the guns! (part 1)

Filipe Cunha
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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Since ever I've been a gamer... as a kid, I mostly played Scrabble, Buraco (which is a Brazilian variation of Canasta) but also loved playing Don't Break the Ice, Dynamite, Rouba Queijo, and my childhood favorite: 221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game along with and all sorts of stuff. Even thou I had them both, I wasn't a War II (the brazilian clone of Risk) nor a Monopoly Junior (a brazilian Monopolyclone) kinda guy... I would play them if people wanted to, but almost never suggested it.

Ah yea, and my love of Button Soccer was insane... I regularly played tournments with myself, if no competitor would show up.

Anyway, fast forwarding to circa '92, I came into knowledge of a weird make-believe game called RPG. Getting in touch mainly with Dungeons & Dragons and MH-0: Marvel Super Heroes Role-Playing Game.

From the same guy that shown me the world of RPGs, he introduced me to the world of Magic: The Gathering... it was love at first sight.

To cut the story short, I got SO engaged into it, that I (now, ashamely) even skipped a lot of school days to play it. Anyway...

In the meantime, around '97 or so, I came in contact with two games called Catan and RoboRally and got intrigued with them, but never got to actually play (at that time, it was impossible for a kid to make a overseas import). And one of my Magic teammates held a session of Diplomacy and another of Merchant of Venus, which got me enamoured with them (specially MoV, which is one of my favorites to this day).
I consider that as my first contact with eurogames in general.

Fast forwarding again to 2004, I gradually quit playing Magic competitively and stuck to playing only RPG. Of course that, in those 10 years playing MtG, I played a few CCGs here and there, namely Sim City: The Card Game, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, Overpower, Doomtrooper and Netrunner.

Anyway... fast forwarding again to 2009, a friend of mine introduced me to Bohnanza and his gaming group. From there on, it was a pool which I jumped head on.

In July/August 2011, I contacted Steve Finn about working on his new game: Gunrunners (at that time, it was still called "Merchant of Death").
I had one and only one purpose in mind, spreading my work so I could get into the business side of the hobby. I, as a graphic designer, had done a few projects here and there, but never done anything gaming-related professionally. Now was the time!

...to be continued.
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Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:12 pm
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