When developing Damask, or any game, one key point is accessibility. What aspect of the game will people find least accessible, and what can we do to overcome those issues. With Damask there are two areas where this needed to be worked on carefully- the colour of the cubes, and the Damask patterns. I’ll be posting about the colours next week, but wanted to share how we decided upon the patterns today.
The two main criteria for the patterns were to be to
- Look like classic Damask patterns
- Be easily distinguishable
The initial prototype hit that first point, but unfortunately initial playtests always highlighted an issue with the second. Players would regularly get the patterns mixed up, aided by the similar silhouettes and detail. So when we went to our artist we asked for a range, but to try to make each one as distinct from the others as possible. One key idea was making sure every pattern had a different silhouette. This is what we got:
1&6 were things we could work with, but everything else had a very similar outline to those two. So we asked for some more sketches.
From this number 2 stood out because of the rhombus shape, and the gap in the middle. We talked to our playtesters, as well as put these out on social media to see what people think, but the consensus came back that we still needed a 4th pattern which could be easily told apart. We went back again and this was our 4th design that came back.
The outline was exactly what we wanted, but to make it stand out even more, when we were offered the chance for a more ornate version we went for it. Below you can see the ornate version for each, to help distinuish we only went ornate with 1 of them.
Finally we had our patterns. We playtested with them and they were a great success. To help in teaching the game, including references in the rulebook, we can refer to these patterns using their outline as a description:
And that’s how we chose our patterns. They’re thematic as well as being distinct. They have been a massive improvement in all our playtesting and we’re really happy with them. Next time, how we chose the colours.
If you’re interested in Damask, please check out our Gamefound Page here: https://gamefound.com/projects/draft/ic2bvhn5ukdlxfvumwwom4pzj8s?refcode=q0S4ahDQeE-Yt48v5NiOFw If you follow us on Gamefound we’ll also give you a free Damask promo pack to say thanks!