Tag Archives: components

Designer Blog – Into the Black – Fonts, and Colours, oh my!

Designer Blog – Into the Black

Fonts, Fonts and More Fonts!
Oh .. And Colours!

Who would think that something as simple as FONT choices would be so hard? I never would have thought so, until delving down the rabbit hole on designing Character Boards for Into The Black.

Opinions are like noses; everybody’s got one (clean version!) and do those opinions come out when you’re looking for help making choices.

You should use Font X, because it’s the best font available.

No No, font Y is the best to use because Font X is overused!

Did you know that you’re using the most ubiquitous sci-fi font there is? You should use one that you have to pay for to differentiate yourself

We’ve used some of the suggestions given regarding fonts. We’ve played around with the font sizes, spacing, kerning, bolding. The final verdict? Undecided! At least undecided on the font for the rules/abilities texts. We don’t want it to be fancy because it should be easy to read, but we certainly don’t want to use boring old Arial or Helvetica do we? The only font we know for sure that will stick, at this point, is the main “sci-fi-ish” font used in the games title and the character board titles. Some may say it’s “ubiquitous” or “overused”, but we like it and so far our target audience likes it. And let’s face it, in a battle of graphic designers vs target audience, who do you think is going to win, every.single.time?

Speaking of opinions, COLOUR is another tough choice. Here we are, designing these beautiful character boards (/pat-self-on-back) and we go looking for opinion and suddenly our world is turned upside down. We’ve had suggestion to use colours on the icons/stat boxes to make them “stand out”. We’ve had suggestion to use texture on them to make them more “sci-fi”. Then we’ve had yet another group of people saying to leave them white. Not only that, but a mixed opinion on the glow as well. Designers seem to think glow “always looks bad”. Target audience seems to think the glow looks “cool” and makes the icons stand out. Again, guess who will win that argument? 😉

So, let’s leave it here for all to see .. all the various iterations of our WIP Character Board, to date!

  1. Where it all began – The very rough Sailing Master art
  2. Using our very first commission piece, the Mechanic – Large white boxes and icons, not-so-nice rules font, strokes on text – you have to start somewhere right?
  3. Changed font, reduced icon and box size to show art more and removed strokes, added not-so-pirate pastel colours

Character Card - Sailing Master Into The Black - Character Card - Mechanic Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v2

  1. Back to white, separated the title from the rules
  2. Re-added pastel colour, reduced rules box size and text size (too small)
  3. Bolded the text .. back to white boxes, blurred the background and made the illustration bolder

Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v3  Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v4 Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v5

  1. Moved the title to the top – 3 variations of V6.0 (Colour with texture, flat colour, white) – This is our current version choice, along with a potential change of font on the rules text to something a little less roundy.

Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v6 - Color Stat Boxes with Texture Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v6 - Colored Stat boxes Into the Black - Character Card - Mechanic v6 - White Stat Boxes

Does anyone have any options, or thoughts on these? Thanks! Your opinion is, as always, appreciated (even if everyone has one)!

James J Campbell is the Lead Game Designer at I Will Never Grow Up Gaming and is the creator of several projects such as
TechMage Sci-Fantasy RPG, Into the Black and Conflict & Chaos: Vietnam 1965.

Designer Blog – Into the Black – Character Boards!

Designer Blog – Into the Black

Character Boards!

We’ve been working hard on our little tabletop game, Into the Black: A Game of Space Piracy, and have gotten to the point where we’ve contracted an artist to create our Space Pirate Character art for the Character Boards each player will use.

Sometimes you just need to know when extra help is needed, and this is one of those times! Jared Sanford of Sanford Illustrations has done a fantastic job of our first Character; The Mechanic. This character is not part of the original list of characters in the game and will be included as a Kickstarter Promo (all backers will receive this card with their game at no extra charge but he will also be available separately in the aftermarket – we don’t believe in Kickstarter “exclusives”).

Here is the Mechanic on a completed Character Board to show how they will look (click on the image to enlarge). We would love to have your feedback on these!

Into The Black - Character Board - Mechanic (smaller)

Character Board WIP : The Mechanic (Kickstarter Promo)

Some considerations we’re giving to the character boards;
– The stat lines may be given some colour. Right now they’re rather plain
– The stat line boxes may be reduced in size to show off the character and background more (ALTERNATELY to these first two, the stat boxes may simply be changed to numbers, though I personally like the visual representation)
– The strokes around the text are probably going to be removed. It’s not consistent and, let’s face it, most often just doesn’t look professional.
– The special ability and character title box may be reduced in size, though it has to be large enough to fit the most complex ability descriptions as well.

These character boards are drawn randomly by the players at the start of the game to determine which Pirate they will be playing as. They will be printed on either 3.5 x 5.75 inch tarot card size cards (350gsm stock) or on 2mm board (budget pending).

The icons on the top left indicate Health, Attack, Search, Movement and Leadership scores, the first 4 range from 1-4 while leadership is 1-10 (which is why it’s a number instead of boxes).

Each character board has the same layout with varying stats, title, ability and character picture (the background, icons, etc remain constant)

The fonts used are Ethnocentric RG for the Character Title and Leadership score and Minion Pro for the abilities text. Do these feel appropriate for the theme and look right in size to you?

Please let us know what you think and what you would change or rearrange!

James J Campbell is the Lead Game Designer at I Will Never Grow Up Gaming and is the creator of several projects such as
TechMage Sci-Fantasy RPG, Into the Black and Conflict & Chaos: Vietnam 1965.