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I'm Jin. I work on the designs for the Stack Exchange sites as they graduate from the beta phase.

Overall look and feel

I'm in an early brainstorming phase of the site design for this community. As for the visual design direction, I'm thinking about something visually rich, so it'd be familiar and relatable to board and card game players. Visuals I'm thinking of: textured mapp-ish background, hexagon grids, earth toned color scheme, serif typefaces etc.

Header image

I plan to approach the site design the same way I did for our Role-playing Games site. The header imagery should be representative of site's topics. For the RPG.se site, their community wanted the header to be inclusive of all genres of RPG games, not just D&D so it'd attract more newcomers. So when I commissioned a talented artist to draw the header, I told him exactly what to put in there, including the composition.

So my question for you is, what would you like to see in the header for B&CG?

Logo

Would a Meeple make a good logo? My goal for our SE sites' logo design is to reflect sites' niche topics, but at the same time to give each community its own brand identity.

I look forward to your suggestions!

  • Chess pieces / boards and Playing card suits would be great... How does one get permission to work on such a thing? That sounds fun! – randomblink Jun 20 '13 at 16:36
  • Just curious, how's the design process going? – Gregor Jan 18 '14 at 2:44
  • So, has there been any progress? – murgatroid99 Oct 13 '14 at 23:39
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For overall look and feel, I would try to include a "tabletop" motif (the first criteria for on-topicness here is "Be playable on or around a table", after all). Using a rich dark wood for borders (e.g. mahogany, dark cherry) like one would find on the lip/surface of a good-quality gaming table, and a lighter wood (my mind keeps going toward kaya or tsuge, as used in go and shogi boards) as a background texture. Casino-style green felt could also be included, but strikes me as a bit cliche.

For a logo, I'd say that the two images that really scream "board games" to me would be either a Sorry-style pawn (as per wax eagle's suggestion) or a D6; even though neither are actually used for most (good) games these days, they are quite firmly ingrained as board gaming icons in general. Meeples also work, but could be lost on anyone who isn't familiar with Euro-style games (I don't know how much, if any, of our intended audience that would entail).

Probably too complex for a logo, but I do like the idea of a fanned hand of cards, with each card printed with a representative board-gaming icon (e.g. Sorry-style pawn, D6, chess knight, meeple). This would probably tie the "board" and "card" gaming aspects of the site together nicely.

For badges, the only thing that's preventing me from suggesting poker chips is that we already have poker.SE in beta. But if that other site didn't already exist, I would totally make that suggestion right here right now. Just sayin'.

The whimsical part of me also really wants to have snakes and ladders as downvoting/upvoting icons, but the practical part of me can't think of any way to make them look remotely good.

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    +1 Tabletop motif sounds excellent! – Gregor Jun 4 '13 at 1:27
  • Fanned set of cards is excellent; if you hadn't already mentioned it I was going to. I love the Snakes and Ladders idea also, though a practical way to incorporate that remains beyond my horizon at the moment. – Forget I was ever here Jun 6 '13 at 1:49
  • I like the Snakes and Ladders too. Would probably work with a ladder icon if all the rungs were bent so that they looked a like upward arrow-heads (kind of like chevrons with a bar on each side), and a sinuous line with a downward arrow-head would probably be enough to look stylistically like a snake. Even if the ladder/snake styling is lost on the user, they should still look enough like "up" and "down" to avoid confusion (which is obviously crucial). Worth consideration? Here's an awful example – Johno Jun 6 '13 at 11:41
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    I like everything, especially that table top part, but highly suggest snakes and ladders not be the up/down votes because, well, snakes and ladders is not a game - there are no decisions to make. – corsiKa Jun 10 '13 at 20:57
  • @shujaa I've heard there's a lot of felt coming cheap on the market from Cupertino... – badp Jun 18 '13 at 13:43
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What about just a simple pawn for a logo? Either a standard chess pawn or a stylized version of the Sorry pawn. It's a bit old school for the new game revolution, but it's a shape that is clearly identified with board games.

For badges something like the Dominion coin shape, chess pieces or card suits would be perfect.

Finding a design that will unite the old school playing card/monopoly/chess/domino/etc crowd and the new school Dominion/Catan/Munchkin/MT:G crowd is very important. Having style elements from classic old games and new games should be a priority. Representing a wide variety of games might be hard, but something like what Hoyle did with this video game cover might get the right tone

enter image description here

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I would avoid using a meeple without permission. Trademarks require that a company to defend their trademark, unlike copyright and patents. Some say that no trademark is claimed on the shape in the first place, so their is no need to get permission. I would just avoid the whole issue since Meeples don't scream board gaming to me. If you wanted to use a meeple shape, just make sure it is "similar and yet legally distinct" like Gigazaur is from Godzilla (I have no idea if this link will fast forward you to minute 7:10, my browser is interrupted by the AD and does not.)

I think it is vitally important that the logo include cards (it is already missing from the URL for brevity, and should remain that way). Maybe some legally distinct green, yellow, gray, and purple cards channelling Dominion. A light hexagonal background would probably be nice, and would be suggestive of war-games.

I don't have the artistic talent to suggest fonts (I have heard Comic Sans is despised, and Helevitica is overused)

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    thank you. these are helpful. I promise I won't use Comic Sans :) – Jin May 29 '13 at 15:35
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    I definitely agree that there should be a strong reference to card-based games. The top three games on the site are Magic, Dominion and Bridge. – tttppp May 31 '13 at 12:34
  • What, no Comic Sans?! :P – American Luke Jun 18 '13 at 19:12
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    I'd guess, if asked nicely Hans im Glück will give permission to use the meeple shape. – Caramdir Jun 21 '13 at 14:38
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I'd like to see something that looks a bit more "modern" than RPG.SE. I think their style works for them (because many RPG books self-consciously adopt similar trapping), but it would feel a bit outdated for B&CGs. Most board games I can recall have pretty bright, not-too-saturated colors, so that's my preference for site design.

(And honestly I guess I'm just attached to the fairly "clean" and bright color scheme of the beta).

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Perhaps something that looks like a tabletop, in foreground, with a games cupboard of some sort in the background. I would go for the more classical games rather then the newer ones, as one never knows when the newer ones will fall out of fashion. Additionally, most of the older classical games are long beyond copyright.

Some specific ideas are: - Playing cards - Snakes and Ladders - Backgammon - Crockinole - Rummoli / Michigan Rummy - Fanned card hands of 13 cards(bridge, hearts, spades) - Fanned card hands of 5 cards (poker). - Fanned hands of Pinochle or Euchre (also 5 cards, nothing below a 7).

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    +1 for a games shelf background. This is an immediately recognisable part of the hobby, as far as I'm concerned. – Johno Jun 6 '13 at 11:24
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The table is an important idea. That's what it's all about.

I dig the idea of a subtle earth-toned hex background.

Cards are a good idea - I'd expect to see not the standard Hoyle-style playing cards but also Magic and Dominion cards, or something with an equivalent design.

So are D6s. Another answer states that no good games use D6s, but I disagree. Arkham Horror, Catan, Zombicide and even Munchkin use D6s. I'd certainly expect to see 3 or more D6s rather than just one.

A colored pawn player indicator is good. Also consider featuring the tiny colorful wood cubes from Revolution or Pandemic.

Another common element in board games is the victory point track along the outside of the board - ala Ticket to Ride or Revolution.

  • I like the victory point track idea! – tttppp Jun 28 '13 at 14:22
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Card shuffling is about as close to universal as you can get in board/card games. It wouldn't make a good logo, but devoting a small portion of the header to it might work with the "If you do this, this site is for you!" mentality that is important in SE headers.

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