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Thread: Board Game Map Tiles

  1. #1
      mjortman is offline
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    Default Board Game Map Tiles

    I'm working on a board game that more than likely will end up just a game to play with friends, but that I'm potentially considering trying to sell. That's why this is in the [Paid?] category - I don't have much of a budget to spend on this if it's just for personal use. If it goes commercial, then I'd be more than happy to work something out with an artist, whether that's a percentage of sales, or a flat fee up-front upon ordering a batch of the game to be made. I don't know what's "typical" here (or if every situation is different), but that's kind of where I stand right now.

    The game is an adventure game, and while I came up with the concept of the tiles and eventually drew some sketches of them, I ran across another adventure game, called Return of the Heroes. I was a bit disappointed to find that I had a very similar idea to what they did with regard to the map tiles, without having seen their tiles, but I still think this is the way that I want to go. Here is a picture showing all (I think) of the tiles in that game, and giving an idea of what I'm after:
    Board Game Map Tiles-pic825334_lg.jpg

    They are fairly simplistic. My idea is to have 6 tiles originally, each themed with a different environment:
    - Forest
    - Mountains
    - Plains
    - Swamp
    - Caverns
    - Hills

    I've had thoughts about expanding past these, either for private or commercial use, but these 6 are where I want to start for now.

    I have some thoughts on how the trails will look on each map tile, and like in Return of the Heroes, the trails must meet in the middle of each of the 4 sides (these would be square tiles), so that the order in which they are set on the table is interchangeable. Most of the tiles have one city and 3 other locations on them, all connected in some fashion. I have rough sketches of these that I can provide. My main issue is the background of each tile; I have zero artistic ability, sadly, and have been unable to find any friends who have a talent (or desire) to help with this.

    The idea for now is just to have these printed off, preferably by a game creation site, where you can have it mounted on a board. I think that the dimensions would be something like 10"-12" on each side; I don't have an exact measurement in mind.

    As I said, in all honesty I fully expect this to be a private printing, just to play with my friends locally. Should it play well amongst them, I might consider taking it to GenCon (I'm local here in Indy, and have been going for about 5 years now), to have it playtested on a larger scale there. Should it do well there, I might try a KickStarter or to find a publisher. In the case of any of these more commercial uses, I would want to set up some kind agreement with the artist, whether that be giving me reproduction rights, or agreeing to some flat portion or percentage of each sale; I am very open in that regard to what is deemed fair by the artist and community here in general. I'm just not sure how this sort of thing is normally handled.

    Hopefully I've provided enough information to at least give some idea of what I'm after. If anybody is at all interested, please feel free to email me at mjortman @ hotmail . com (removing the spaces) for more information, or to discuss the project. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by mjortman; 03-07-2013 at 02:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjortman View Post
    As I said, in all honesty I fully expect this to be a private printing, just to play with my friends locally. Should it play well amongst them, I might consider taking it to GenCon (I'm local here in Indy, and have been going for about 5 years now), to have it playtested on a larger scale there. Should it do well there, I might try a KickStarter or to find a publisher. In the case of any of these more commercial uses, I would want to set up some kind agreement with the artist, whether that be giving me reproduction rights, or agreeing to some flat portion or percentage of each sale; I am very open in that regard to what is deemed fair by the artist and community here in general. I'm just not sure how this sort of thing is normally handled.
    I don't know much about board games, but I can offer you some advice. Now is NOT the time in your game development to pay a professional artist to make these tiles. This is because there is a big difference between 16 good quality professional 10" tiles, and 16 cheapo ones. What you need right now are home-made development versions that you will be playtesting with only - not publishing. Undoubtedly you will be making many changes to your tiles during the playtesting process. Once you have the game rules and quantity of tiles finalised (in six months or whatever) and are ready to consider kickstarter, that's when you get three quotes from professional artists to do the tiles properly (my advice: contract them directly, don't just put up an advert here), pick the artist you like the best and add this figure to your needed development budget.

    So right now, you just need some simple tiles that are playable, but will not be used for commercial purposes. This is the sort of thing that many people on this site will be thrilled to help you with - so long as you make clear that its not commercial, for development purposes only and just for you, your friends and some folks at Gencon. It would be a good exercise for someone new starting out at the guild.

    Hope that's helpful.

  3. #3
      Depassage is offline
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    I must say I agree with the first part of Jacktannery's comment about home-made development versions of the tiles...

    However, when it will come to find an artist to make the good quality ones, you can either pick one you like, but putting up an ad here too is also a good way to find someone.

    Good luck with your project!

  4. #4
      mjortman is offline
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    Thank you both for the replies! I hadn't seen your work yet, Depassage, but it looks really great! And Jacktannery, I think your work is almost exactly the type of thing I was looking for. I had seen the items in your signature while browsing the site yesterday, and thought they looked just fantastic for what I'm thinking of trying to do!

    I agree 100% with what you are both saying, but wasn't sure the best way to say that. I feel like right now, for playing at home and for playtesting, I really just need SOMETHING better than hand-drawn (or at least better than MY hand-drawn) map tiles. I've been playing on and testing with my hand-drawn tiles, and working on the rules and such, for just about a year now. So it's not that this game is in its infancy really (I have a working set of rules, the characters and their skills are all developed, the item system is created and in place, etc), but it's to the point that I need something better than what I can come up with on my own to have it taken seriously by my gamer friends, let alone to try a KickStarter or something like that. I guess being new here, I just wasn't sure how to handle a situation like this, where I would LIKE to do a KickStarter, but can't say with even 50% certainty that it will ever morph in to that. I also didn't know how seriously unpaid work was taken here, and wouldn't mind at least talking about a small fee per tile if that's what it takes to get even a rough play-worthy set of tiles. And I didn't realize that it would be kosher to have one artist do the rough drafts, and potentially have a second artist do the publish-worthy map tiles if it did get to the KickStarter level; it sounds like that's not a problem here though, and is even possibly expected.

    So with all that being said, yes, I would like to request this, for now, as either unpaid, or for a small fee, the 6 tiles briefly described above. As I said, I have more details I'd be happy to discuss, but the main gist of it is that there are 6 square tiles, each themed with their own environment (described above), and they each have pathways that will meet the center of the 4 sides. Each tile will also have 4 different locales on it. The goal here would be to have these printed by a board game printing company who does one-off work, so I could have a mounted board. I mention that only because that may impact the style/quality, etc.

    I still like the idea of this moving to a KickStarter deal, but just need a lot more playtesting to determine if that's even a possibility. So I guess I'm just trying to temper that thought for now, not wanting to lead anybody on, saying "This is going to end up being a commercial gig!". If that ever happens (it would be at least 5-6 months before that is determined), the artist would be in the running for that work as well, absolutely. Just knowing my nature, they would likely get some preferential treatment as well, for helping me out with this early part.

    I guess for this first go-round, I'm mostly looking for someone looking to bolster their portfolio, so we can help each other out. I would love for this to go commercial, but like I said, I can't say with even 50% certainty that it will ever get that far. So for now it's just the rough 6 tiles that I'm requesting. Hopefully we can work something out, and please reach out to me at the email address provided above, or by replying here, if you have any other questions or thoughts. Like I said, I'm entirely new to this process, and just trying to see how all this works. Thanks again to Jacktannery and Depassage for your replies and thoughts!!! They are very much appreciated!

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