T&E Board Development Part I
Today I took on the board for Tigris & Euphrates fun as I have Samurai and the like. This board will take a few days, but for the moment, I have layed out the basic look for the main part of the board sans border and applied a few pieces. I'm very pleased by the progress. Above a detail of the board that I have developed so far, the look of which will extend to the full board and borders.
One problem that I have with the Mayfair board is the lack of contrast between the pieces and the board. Indeed, the mountains and landscape features on the board contrast similarly as the pieces which makes the board very hard to read. Additionally, the pieces have an undo amount of colored imagery on them which interfers with the color coded borders. The german version is a bit better in this respect and the solidly colored pieces also help, but things could be better. BGG's implementation of the game is certainly better in terms of reading the board, though the look is not very satisfactory at all.
I will be writing more about my rational to go from topographical map to a more abstract, period look, but for now I can quickly say that I believe this approach provides a strong signature look and feel for the game, which I feel it lacks now. Of course the look is derived from the mosiac work from Sumerian artifacts found in Ur. The Mayfair edition cued on this, but it can work harder for the game. River and treasure spots have some nice detailing based on the tile work. Each square has a unique combination of tiles to give the overall look an ebb and flow of darks and lights.
Heavy use of color coding is imperative on the pieces. They also need sufficient contrast so that the pieces separate from the board adequately. I'll be working more on this, but for now you can see a start of this.