Once a style of art had been defined, it was time to look at the graphic design. The creature cards in this game hold quite a bit of information. Creature name, creature type, size, and an available upgrade your sub with extras. This information must be clear and instantly readable as well as laid out in a specific manner. A decision was made to develop the card in a grid format, cards are laid on top of each other in this game to represent what’s being carried and what upgrades you have available so the need to keep things clean by allowing players to align the cards seemed an important design choice. Creature types needed to be quickly recognisable for end of game scoring and the cards themselves needed to be stacked to make that count easier to visualise. Ultimately, I think it ended up as a clean solution.
As with most games, there was an organic flow to the development, additions to the base game were included, for example, we added the use of rivets on a sub, these are popped by octopus and squid who attack your sub, adding a threat to the game and reducing your final score. to offset this rule, we also added the use of an electrical charge, your weapon against this attack but only available at the cost of waiting a valuable turn to recharge your sub at the research vessel.
The original graphic design was also revisited as the original icon layout was too small, we had to completely redesign to help with the legibility of the game. This and many other changes were done with the help of the board game communities on Facebook. Anyone who knows me will know I post about game design regularly. I think it is hugely important, even more-so during this period where a lot of us are locked-down. I work a very lonely job, at a desk, at home working long hours, there is no team around me to get feedback about the latest changes. The design and board game forums are my sounding board where I get advice, gauge the popularity of a project and it keeps me hard working and honest. If you are a game designer, publisher, or artist, I highly recommend you engage frequently with the communities out there. There is a wealth of knowledge, people willing to help who will also pull no punches. The best way to test your game is to throw it to the wolves and get the right feedback. In summary, don’t live in a cocoon thinking your game is great, put it out there, people will hear about it, get to know the game and you ultimately end up with a better game and also a following because of it.