Caylus Box Cover

Cover Detail

Created with an eye on medieval drawings, this cover is at once playful and serious. Bright colors, naïve medieval drawing qualities and sense of scale all deliver a fun look. Additionally, by wrapping the picture around the box, this playfulness is enhanced and invites the viewer to turn the box around and investigate the landscape on its sides. On the other hand, by antiquing the image, applying graphics very elegantly and using a rich color palette, we have a cover that offers a serious, adult look.

Flat view with 2 sides. The pictorial quality of the sides is a rewarding treat when seen on the shelf.

Spine: I really love the effect here on the shelf. This game looks fun. It is important to note that the spine has at least as prominent role as the cover in terms of shelf impact. This holds true both in crowded store environments where games are displayed by their sides or in the home.

I’ve created a band graphic that wraps completely around the box vertically (and onto the back) which tells the main story. This story starts after the title, wraps around the box and ends at the title. Again, a device that encourages the viewer to pick the box and explore it, turn it around, read more and perhaps move onto the game details next to the band on the back. I’ve not yet seen this done before on games, but I like it very much. It seems like anything that is compelling and well written can wind along this strip including rules summary. If rules were used for a game, it might help demonstrate how simple it is to play. At any rate, this band winds around the box as the Caylus road winds around the board.

I have the king larger than life pointing at his command – to build the castle. The medieval technique of drawing people larger than life in context has a distinctly cartoon look, much like those turn of the century political cartoons. I absolutely love this and the many narrative details that were used in medieval art – scrolls coming out of the mouth as talk bubbles for instance. Whenever possible in games of this period, I like to evoke this look. Again it tends to offer warmth, playfulness but have enough historical backing to be serious. In the process of creating this, I had planned to put workers with tools building the castle and city buildings. In the end, this got too busy and didn’t look as good, so I took them out. The king alone works fine with me as he is the one setting the challenge to build. I don’t really subscribe to the notion that a cover needs to tell all that a game is about. A cover can tease the viewer to find out more. It should have enough meaning to show context and highlight some point of the game. Beyond that, if the mood is right and it is attractive, it is a fine thing.

Initial quick sketch. Here the basic layout was mapped out with the king centered towering over the castle. You can also see the workers. While developing the art, it was becoming clear that all the workers were too much.

For me, this box could set comfortably on my coffee table or office desk. It has enough badge value to give me pride in my hobby and elevate it to more than simply a kid’s game.

– Mike