Next order of business: making my game look good.

So far, while working on Manaforge, I've mostly been focusing on the appearance of the cards. Making sure the art is good, the frames are good, the icons are understandable, the text is readable.

But there's more to my game than just the cards. Dice, tokens, a center board, player mats, player aid sheets, a rulebook, and of course the all-important outer box. I've been struggling to come up with a visual appearance for all of these items that both ties them all together, and that ties the game to its theme.

The best visual idea I've been able to come up with is to have the game components look like Da Vinci-styled 'schematics'; diagrams, cross-sections, and writing, scrawled on yellowed paper or parchment. Though in the case of Manaforge, instead of mechanical inventions or anatomical drawings, the objects depicted within would be magical items such as wands or amulets. Since the players are constructing such items as part of the game, making the game's components look like instructions for building those items seems like an excellent fit.

However, while this sounds like a good idea for the game boards, which will be covered up with cards most of the time, I'm not sure if this will work for the box cover. I need something that will pop, something that catches the eye amidst an ocean of other brightly-colored game boxes. It needs to stand out, and I don't know if this will do it.

My alternative is to commission a full-sized illustration for the box cover. While I'm pretty sure this would grab the attention I need, I don't know what sort of art I would need that would blend with the schematics idea; even if the box cover was specialized artwork, many of the other components would still be decorated with the schematics.

Decisions, decisions. Times like this I wish I had an art director, but I don't have the budget for that. Oh well. Back to the drawing board. :)


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