Settlers of Catan Board Design Part 2

I fleshed the main part of the island out graphically and applied a first run of tiles along with the playing pieces. Ok. I give in. It's way too difficult to read the board! Fortunately, all the elements can be shifted around, so it is now more a matter of reconfiguring the artwork. Nothing will be wasted here.

The first draft shows that deviating too far from the original hexigons is just way too hard to wrap one's brain around. Also, I'm not crazy about the tiles. Perhaps there's too much in the way of terrain here.

Next, I need to pull back a bit and reconfigure the island to better match the hexigon patterns underneath. Also, after looking at this first board, I find the roads add nothing to the look and only serve to complicate things. In the next version, we can see things taking better form. This certainly will be readable and actually, I don't mind the orderliness; it looks gamey, but still very old world. Roads have been taken out, which helps alot. The coastline also has been modified to bring port cities closer to the coastline after having moved them to snap into the understrucure. Docks have been added. Next will come tile placements for the ports along with more decorative embellishments on the board. This is feeling good to me.

I didn't like how the pieces looked in the last version so I'm going to try something totally different – perhaps using celtic weaves and other decorative patterns. It seems to me that there was too much going on in the way of terrain when the tiles were added, so maybe the decorative approach with icons is a better way to go. We'll see where this goes next in Part III...

This is looking much better. At a glance it is easy to understand which city related to which area. It is orderly which is a game sort of look, but it also retains some of the natural mapness which I really wanted. Of mention are the tile "mounds" which are detailed to feel like part of the map and clearly indicate where the resource tiles and die number tiles will go.

Here is a detail from the board above. The simplier road connections using just a container for the piece are much more satisfying both to look at and to read the board. I allow for a little jiggle to break the perfect geometry. This is enough to feel natural without the chaos from the previous version. Note also the subtile detailing of the background landscape. It has been knocked way back to a final read after all else is viewed. This, so it doesn't interfere with the information graphics and board read. There is a lot of little details in here, from fruit trees, fields, wild trees, hills, mountians, sheep pens and missions. All these, clustered in a natural way.