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Redesigns and Me - A Short History
Kwanchai Moriya
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Monrovia
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I wanted to put this list together to collect all the redesigns and art things I've completed together in one place. But moreover, I thought it'd be fun to recount all my little side projects in chronological order; see how it all evolved.

I'm an artist; in an amateur capacity since I was, maybe, 9, and more professionally in recent years. I think one of the reasons I enjoy board games so much is that, to me, they are a wonderful marriage of art and function. I really enjoy art that has a function; especially art that you can "play" with. In other words, in a board game you are literally interacting with the artwork itself: placing a card in front of you, moving a piece around a board, etc. It doesn't merely sit on a wall to be enjoyed. The illustrations are often vital to convey the gameplay and theme. Great illustrations can make you want to play a game more. I know they do for me.

In any case, when I discovered this so-called thing called "Print-and-Play" here on BGG, I was super excited. What? Make the game yourself? The idea of assembling your own games, or customizations for your games, was really intriguing to me. Furthermore, as a newbie digging around on BGG for the first time several years ago, I discovered the "out-of-print" game. Something about a well-rated out-of-print game makes my mouth water; the more elusive and out-of-print, the better.

So when I saw some of the first redesign projects get going here on BGG several years ago, my jaw dropped. Don’t like the art? Just make your own! I think the first redesign I saw here was Karim Chakroun’s Bohnanza redesign. It's ridiculous. I was also really inspired by Mike Doyle's redesigns. The idea of taking a game and just redesigning it from the ground up is an exciting challenge. Often it's not just the artwork that is revamped, it could include theme, text, symbols, etc., anything to make the game "better," in the eyes of the redesigner.

For me, I started doing redesigns out of a simple desire to play an out-of-print game. I thought, 'Well, no one’s making it anymore, and I can kinda draw, so let me try this out.'
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1. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:174]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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The first game I “redesigned” (if you can even call it that) was Survive. I had a massive collection of 4 games at the time, and, after reading reviews about it, Survive was my next must-have. This was before it got reprinted in its current version, and it was going for way too much on eBay. So I thought, ‘hey I’ll just make my own.’ Sure. Easy, right? I spent, maybe, $80 to $100 on materials and whatever by the end, and it still looked like pretty bad. I didn't do any of my own artwork for it, instead I just chopped together images from different board games (water hexes from Settlers, island from Pirate's Cove, etc) to make my own board, I hand sawed each dragon, shark, and whale, and I put Shellac on pretty much everything (terrible idea, by the way). And for some reason, I made the board ridiculously big. It covered the entire dining table. In retrospect, for $100, I could’ve probably bought 2 copies of Survive on eBay if I was lucky.




But in the end, we all played the game and it was fun! I ended up finding 2 copies of Survive at a local thrift store a few months later, too.
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2. Board Game: Zombie Plague [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2165]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
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The next thing I did was Zombie Plague. I printed and played the original version and had a blast. Hundreds of game purchases later, Zombie Plague is still one of my top 3 games (next to Wiz-War and Space Hulk). The original graphics were totally fine, but I wanted something a little more serious. So I redesigned it and thought I might upload the files I made to BGG, in case anyone else wanted to print them up too. Turns out some people did, and I really enjoyed the positive response. "Great Job, Kwanchai." That’s always nice to hear. Nothing like a little internet ego-boost in the morning. You can check it out here.




I also did a few expansion maps.





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3. Board Game: Wiz-War [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:856]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
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Tom Jolly’s Wiz-War was the first redesign which I did my own artwork for. I just sat down and started drawing. Once I finished drawing, I inked it all and colored them in Photoshop. I had never played Wiz-War before. So while I was drawing wizards, ghouls, and skeletons, I was thinking, ‘Man, this better be good, because this is taking way more time'...’




I finished it up and assembled it all, and I played the heck out of it. Like I said, it’s one of my top 3 games of all time. And there's an even better redesign someone else did now. I recently snagged an original 5th edition Wiz-War in mint condition on eBay, and it sits on display proudly on my shelf.

My favorite thing I did from this project was the Sub-Wizard counter. It’s a funny unit, and the drawing just came out right. Check the files out here.
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4. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:677]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
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The next thing I did was Steve Jackson’s Ogre. At the time, it was one of those well-loved but very out-of-print games. It also had a minimal amount of components, so it was the perfect candidate for a redesign. It was really fun to do because from the beginning I knew that I wanted to re-theme the whole thing, in addition to redesigning the art. You can read about my exact thought process more right here, but suffice to say that I really enjoyed coming up with the setting and the units. Redesigning the theme is fun because you already have the system and mechanics in place and it’s up to you to put a new skin on the whole thing in a fresh and exciting way.

The positive response to the Ogre redesign was a lot bigger than I had expected, and it became even more of a hot topic once Steve Jackson Games stepped in. I mean, really, it was a project that I just plowed through during the course of one weekend. So everything that happened afterwards was...surprising? Exciting? Unexpected?

My favorite thing I did from this project was the CRT Tables. Good job, me.





And sorry, please don't ask for the files from me. They were taken down for a reason.
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5. Board Game: Slapshot [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2049]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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Slapshot was a game I was interested in. Again, OOP (at the time) and well-loved. I liked the idea of it very much, plus it was an opportunity to illustrate a ton of different characters. I decided to make each team a different nerdy genre, like "video games" or "fantasy." It was a lot of fun. Looking back, I personally think a lot of those drawings are kinda wonky and bad, but oh well. It was another project which I spent the entirety of one weekend completing; did it really fast and just lived with the results. The most exciting thing for this project was re-theming each team, and matching up the right character to a strength level or special power, without changing a single rule. Check out the full download here.

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6. Board Game: Melee [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1711]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
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My next project was Melee. It was similar to Ogre, in that it was out-of-print and well-loved in a nostalgic way, and had minimal components. It was also designed by Steve Jackson.

I tried experimenting with a little bit of perspective when illustrating the game board and it came out a lot cooler looking than I expected. And this time, I actually gave a go at redesigning a box cover illustration. You can read more about it here if you like, and you can download it here.




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7. Board Game: Zombie in my Pocket [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:1820]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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I did the redesign for Zombie in my Pocket because I wanted a quick project. I emailed Jeremiah, author of this new little PnP that was supposed to be fun, called Zombie in my Pocket. The artwork was functional. But I gave it a go anyway.




The redesign I uploaded got a lot of attention, and it shot up pretty high on the files rankings. Eventually it got published by Cambridge Games Factory, with my room tiles ending up in the final production. Here is the file.
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8. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:39]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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I decided to do a few wood-working projects. The first project was my own Crokinole board. I wanted to play Crokinole badly, but couldn’t get the courage to cough up $200+ to get a fancy one made up and shipped to me. Luckily I found a junky particle board Crokinole/Carrom board at a thrift store, and my wife and I fell in love with the game. Now, assured by our love for the game, I decided to make my own board. Birch ply with veneer strips for the board itself, clear pine for the rails, and I ordered a great set of discs from Wayne at Mr. Crokinole.

My favorite thing from this project was the pegs. I made each peg a little dome creature.



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9. Board Game: Tumblin-Dice [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:478]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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I also made a Tumblin-Dice set. Again, I used birch ply with veneer strips. And, again, I made the pegs at the bottom of the board into little dome creature things.



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10. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:225]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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For my next project, I redesigned and re-themed Nexus Ops, calling it Neolithic Ops. Cavemen, monkeys, and prehistoric mammals instead of the original sci-fi theme. I love Nexus Ops, and it was a fun exercise to try to fit on a different theme. Read all about it in this thread. And you can download it here.




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11. Board Game: Catacombs [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:446]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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My most recent project to date that I’ve completed has been redesigned stickers for the discs in Catacombs. I got the game in trade, and I really dig it. But I didn’t dig the stickers so much, especially since they’re all just gray from a distance. So I did new, colorful artwork for the stickers. Now my friends are more willing to play it again, as most weren’t fans of the artwork before. You can download it here.

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12. Board Game: Garden Competition [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2762]
Kwanchai Moriya
United States
Monrovia
California
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My most recent incomplete project is a redesign for Garden Competition. I like the game a lot, but the original theme of just flower gardening is a little lackluster for me. But I do enjoy the theme very much, just would rather have it be about more than just flowers. So in my redesign I’m expanding the scope to include a bunch of different types of plants: vegetables, cacti, flowers, etc.




And, yes, I am making up some pretend plants.
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13. Board Game Artist: Kwanchai Moriya
Kwanchai Moriya
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Redesigns are great. Redesigning things is fun because it is challenge. How can I make a game better using artwork and design? How do you stay true to the original while making it better and fresher for a contemporary audience? All the parts are there in front of you to disassemble and reassemble, and that's fun for me.

At the risk of sounding lofty, I’d like to extrapolate the idea of "redesigning" onto my own personal life. Somewhere between doign my Wiz-War redesign and my Slapshot redesign, I had somewhat of a quarter-life crisis. It was a tough year of introspection for me, triggered by a few sad events early in the year. And also that year, having finally gotten my B.A. in History, I realized I was one of the thousands upon thousands of graduates in the US each year that don’t really have a clear goal for their degree. Unless you are doing an advanced degree or going into education, a B.A. in history is just one of those generic degrees that might land you an office job somewhere. That is definitely not what I wanted. And, after spending a hard year trying to achieve anything with a degree which I didn’t really think about beforehand, I was forced to redesign my own life. I had to ask myself the question, what works? What doesn’t? What parts of myself do I want to carry into my own future and what parts do I want to discard because they just don’t really work?

With the encouragement of a best friend, and many small victories over the course of a year, I got into Art Center College of Design as an Illustration major. Since that year, I’ve learned a lot more about myself, as well as Photoshop, lllustrator, Acrobat, copyright, line weight, contracts, composition, and everything else under the sun.

I’ve also had the opportunity to do some professional work for a couple board game companies, and that’s been great, too.





Thanks for all of you that have given me a compliment about something I’ve done over the last couple years. It means a lot.

If you made it to the end of this thing, thanks for sticking around!

~Kwanchai
Feel free to browse my blog to check out my other arty things.
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