Author Topic: GameTalk: Counters!  (Read 3992 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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GameTalk: Counters!
« on: December 08, 2014, 07:34:03 AM »
This week's GameTalk asks you about counter design...  what info do you want on the counter, and what info are you willing to live with elsewhere?
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers


Offline Barthheart

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2014, 08:04:16 AM »
After the map, counters have to be the most important thing to get people to buy into your game. We all claim to be grogs and not swayed by something pretty but ugly counters will kill a game.

One of my favourite games right now is Unconditional Surrender. The counters there are very minimalist, just unit type, ID, country ID and Flag. All else is in the charts... but there's so little in the charts that you quickly memorize it all.

The other end is something like LnLP's World at War series where everything is on the counter and there is no need for combat charts. This works too except maybe the font is hard to read for some of us older grogs.

For computer games I always disliked John Tiller Squad Battles and Panzer Campaign games because there's nothing on the counter and it was always hard for me to get an overview status of where my strengths and weaknesses were without clicking on each and every stack and looking at the side bar for the info.

Ron Dockal's Anglo-German War and his new game have LOTS of info on the counters... almost too much.... does TEM really belong on the counter? The counters are not pretty but man do you get a quick overview of the situation at a glance.

Sorry for the steam of consciousness dump here but I think counters and the info on them can make or break games... at least for me...
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline btrain

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2014, 10:52:20 AM »

Is there a minimalist limitation to what should be on a counter?

Yes. This is something to keep in mind always.

Can you have too much information on a counter?

Oh yes.
Too many counters today are too busy.
Little photographs of things, weird fonts, too many numbers, icons with "shadows" and fancy effects, country IDs AND tiny national flags AND national colour schemes...
Too much of this is done just because the computer software allows it to be done, and because the counter looks interesting when blown up to 8" square on the screen while you are working on it editing individual pixels; it's gonna look like a chip of cat vomit when it's printed.

What is the least amount of info that has to be on the counter, and what info are you willing to chase around in other charts?

Some kind of graphic element (icon or "NATO box") to tell you what it represents.
Some kind of identifier (colour, letter, number or name) to tell you to whom or what it belongs.
Anything more than that is open to debate over its utility, as every player has an individual level of tolerance for what they are willing to look up on a chart - further, this level of tolerance is by definition incomprehensible to other players, and certainly to the designer.

For Divine Guidance, consult Wargame Design, the S&T Staff Study, Section III, Image and System, pp. 59-65 by the great Redmond A. Simonsen (Praise him! Praise to the Great RAS!).
That is all there is to know on earth, and all ye need to know....

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/18343/wargame-design
http://www.mediafire.com/view/?yurxj87tpn28t88
http://www.alanemrich.com/CSR_pages/Museum/Simonsen/CSRmuseum_simonsen.htm

Brian

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2014, 10:57:20 AM »
Little photographs of things, weird fonts, too many numbers, icons with "shadows" and fancy effects, country IDs AND tiny national flags AND national colour schemes...
Too much of this is done just because the computer software allows it to be done, and because the counter looks interesting when blown up to 8" square on the screen while you are working on it editing individual pixels; it's gonna look like a chip of cat vomit when it's printed.

uhoh - someone left Park Mitcavage in!  :))
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline btrain

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2014, 02:51:23 PM »
Hey, don't tar me with that (very broad) brush... one day your vision will go too, and then where will you be...

Seriously, just ask yourself "WWRASD?"

Brian

Offline Jamm

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2014, 08:45:19 PM »
Hi all,
One of my counter designs for my avatar
though I did funkify the edges a bit on this one
When the going gets weird
the weird turn pro

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2014, 08:51:00 PM »
Looking good!
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline Barthheart

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 03:20:38 AM »
Hi all,
One of my counter designs for my avatar
though I did funkify the edges a bit on this one

Love those counters.... When can we play with them?
PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Square corners

I'm not a drunk, I'm just Canadian - Shawn Germain

Offline Jamm

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 07:39:41 AM »
Hi all,
One of my counter designs for my avatar
though I did funkify the edges a bit on this one

Love those counters.... When can we play with them?

Coming soon to a shrink wrapped box near you

can see more on my page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamm-works/669418463128598?ref=bookmarks
When the going gets weird
the weird turn pro

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 08:05:58 AM »
Jamm - dunno if you already knew, but we snuck in a mention of this in our Intel Dump forum :)
http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=11437.msg303712#msg303712
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline Jamm

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2014, 09:39:37 AM »
I didn't notice, that's awesome O0
Thanks for the bumps
When the going gets weird
the weird turn pro

Offline TacticalWargames

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Re: GameTalk: Counters!
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 07:53:53 AM »
I'm probably in the minority and do like a good aesthetically pleasing counter. What I don't like in digital wargames are 3D icons instead of a counter. Seeing a huge tabk on a map breaks immersion far more than seeing a decent counter.