Changes, changes, and more changes
Bruce Barton is quoted as saying, "When you're through changing, you're through." Well, Electoral Barrage is far from being finished, and it has gone through many changes already. Let's look at the evolution of the top of the game board.
Sometimes nothing beats an original. Here is the original prototype game board. It was made from a pencil, magic markers, and hours of careful writing. It includes Absentee, Attack Ads, Town Hall Meeting, and Staffer spaces.
I took the original concept and created it in Photoshop. The bland white squares at the top are replaced with concept graphics. These graphics were downloaded from a website with millions of stock vector graphics. Both version 1 and version 2 were sent to the graphic artist.
Here is the first draft version that I received from the graphic artist. It is very true to my original prototype. You'll notice that the circular area has a star in it and better shading. The text is a little small and the areas are still very plain.
This is my response to the first draft. I gave some examples of how we might improve the top areas. The background is now a grey color to indicate it as a major point of interest.
Now we are talking! The graphic designer gives them a raised look with better shape outlines. Together we tweak the size of the Staffer areas, better arrange the elements, and make the font more readable.
I start heavily playtesting the game with some very nice and knowledgeable people online. They helped me see that the Staffer area is quite broken as it gives a really unfair advantage to whoever gets one lucky roll. The staffer area is removed. I also start to heavily tweak the amount of Delegate (circle) and Staffer (rectangle) areas as well.
We are getting closer. I playtested several games with this version. All Delegate (circle) areas are removed from the top in favor of a faster play and resolve style. Space is left on Absentee Ballot to allow for piling Delegate chits. The quantities of Staffer areas in Attack Ads and Town Hall Meeting are chosen to always have a disproportionate distribution of them to the players. 3 Staffers spaces for 2 players, 5 Staffer spaces for 3-4 players, and 7 Staffer spaces for 5+ players.
Who does not like to be first?! You'll notice several bonus areas are now added around the board. The red Staffer area denotes a small bonus if you are the first to go there. Additionally, notice the roll a 6 go again icon near New Hampshire as well. This helps people go for the states that would otherwise be ignored the entire game.
The latest version as of the time of this article. A new re-work on Town Hall Meeting. The goal is to lessen the necessity of needing to always go there. Only time and many playtests from now will tell if these are good changes.