Interview on Fortress: Ameritrash

Recently, Michael Buccheri of Fortress: Ameritrash interviewed me for a piece on said blog. I thought he had some really wonderful questions. Thanks again, Michael for both the interview and well thought out questions!

– Mike

Valley Games’ Titan II

--- NOTE that early last week (hours after the original BGG post) new chits were submitted to Valley based on the first few comments and have been undergoing testing. Further comments on Geek and/or petitions since around Tues. have no effect as the design has already been underway and is being tested. Unfortunately, the very frequent senseless, uninformed, tactless and hostile nature of Geek posters have driven me off Geek. I generally won't open myself up to the assured irrational abuse by posting on that site for the most part.

Here you can see progress made on the main board from my last post. Many variations have been looked into since then. The final decision was to keep in close to the original board. From the last post you can see that the stone spaces have less detail and more saturated colors so that the spaces are more distinct from each other and easier to read. Additionally, details – such as in the dark hexigon areas – have been reduced significantly so to be easier on the eyes. The contrast of the border around the arrow blocks have been reduced to give the arrows a stronger read.

Corner detail with more distinct colors and fewer textures. This allows for better scanning and fewer details which is easier on the eyes than the previous post.

Updated full board


A board study (not final direcction). Many studies were done to improve the information on the board. In this case, we have colored arrows coded to the two different moving “tracks” . This was further supported with a gap to seperate them. In the end, this version was not used as it was too far a departure from the well known board.

Many variations on the legion tokens were made as well. White borders and a white area on each was needed to better isolate them visually on the board. Fields of color were also needed to better describe each player’s color. It is always the case that fields of color are much stronger than lines of color – just as type on a colored background reads color better than simply colored type on white. So it is then that knocking the icons out of the colors work best to get a color read. For the color blind, we have shield icons in the upper area. The main icons were selected on the basis of contrast to help separate each individual one. So then, we have some icons with very little mass – like the bug on the top second from left – and others with a great deal of mass – like the mushroom under it to the left. The icons were drawn more crisp and refined than the original game which gives them a more serious tone. Finally, each player has a themed selection of icons for fun.

Some legion tokens. Borders and upper area are white to help the pieces to pop off the board. Color fields aid in identifying the color type. A shield device on top is for color blind players. Finally, each player has a theme: green – bugs and plants, blue – old musical instruments, black – Grecco/Roman, red – dragons and demons.

Size comparison between new token and original token. One thing to also bear in mind is that this new drafting board (and the battlemaps) will be bigger than the original board which allows for bigger tokens.

For the unit tokens, artist Kurt Miller developed a series of realistic looking monsters. These and the cover of the game were finished just as I came aboard the project. I worked on many variations for these. Circle chits can be challenging as I lose the corners of the chits (compared to square chits). This tends to drive the type inward toward the center as longer titles fall outside the circle when typeset close to the edges. As the type moves inward, challenges arise in terms of getting an impactful and large image and type that can read over or around an image. Here, we have a red bar which protects the type and gives a clean simple look. The numbers were gathered into one area to help scanability. Here, the eye only has to focus on these pinpoint areas and move onto another token rather than back and forth across the token (with the numbers on each side – right and left) as was the case in the original game. Additionally, subordinating one number with respect to scale helps to separate the two.

Monster art created by artist Kurt Miller (who also created the cover art to Titan). One thing I will probably be changing is the color of the bar – shifting it to a cool color to better contrast from the monsters.

Kurt Miller’s Ogre. Here you can see a comparitive scale of new token and original token.

For the battleboards, we chose to add some information – the strike chart, native creatures and the turn four mustering space. It would have been great to put the hazard chart on here, but it is quite wordy and there just is not room for such a thing. The hazard charts will then be covered on a reference sheet instead. The background texture relates to the main board and adds a bit of richness.

On the battleboard, we have added native monsters to key terrian and a strike chart. Also a gem icon on the timeline marks mustering on turn 4.

– Mike