Reef Encounter Cover and System Look

I have been spending quite a bit of time lately developing a collection of potential system looks. This is a matter of creating and recreating covers for specific titles over and over in different ways. More on system looks can be seen in my previous article.

One such cover I’ve developed that I’ve really become fond of is for Reef Encounter – one of my favorite games. Enclosed here is the cover, the box and a system snapshot. I thought a closeup of the corals with a parrotfish captured the strange world that the game represents. This gives an added advantage of being quite colorful.

This system look employs a stamp label look that contains the information and a pattern for the side. This pattern much like cloth patterns one might find on the binding of a book. Some detailing here that I really like is the use of a brief game description on the front cover to draw the viewer in. It is a way to engage the viewer to read without feeling committed – one can read more on the back if one wishes or move on. The read is quick enough and hopefully flavorful enough to create interest and better describe the game at hand. The copy is not “flavor copy” – the storyline – but a brief description of what to expect as a game. Also compelling is the use of the publisher’s series number on the front as well as the sides.

When a game has a very strong system look, the logo is not totally necessary on the front cover. This is due to the fact that the system becomes stronger than the mark in terms of identification. Here, I have included a generic company’s name using a generic symbol. On the front is simply the symbol appearing as if stamped on – even at times allowing it to bend over the side to give the label a more realistic look of being attatched to the box. On the sides, one can find the whole mark and company name much more pronounced. This is not unlike some book publishers that might simply have a symbol on the front cover.


For me, this system and the covers have both flavor and style. Most importantly, I would put them on the coffee table, mantle or some other place of distinction – where these objects really belong.

– Mike

©2006 Mike Doyle