Dawn Sector: Battle Board

In my previous post from just a few hours ago, I wrote about how playing with my non-gamer friends gave me valuable insight on making my game more accessible for others. Not by changing the design, but by modifying the layout and presentation.


I mentioned that the old player boards (shown just above) had too much information, specifically shared information that could theoretically be removed from the player boards to make them simpler and placed elsewhere.

One of these pieces of information is the "Battle Order" shown in the middle of the old board. But, where would I put it? (New player boards just below this):


This will come off as obvious and potentially stupid, but the more things you ask your players to memorize in a game, the longer it will take them to learn the rules. Even if you show them everything, they'll just gloss over things, misinterpret things, or focus on what they DO understand just so they don't feel stupid.

Up until now, one of the things I forced players to remember was the resolution phase of the battle. Three waves are fought in which each combatant loses up to 3 soldiers, 1 per wave. This honestly isn't THAT complicated, but, it IS something to remember. My friend told me that he had trouble remembering the three. It was just too much and his cup of things to learn was overflowing.

I then had a thought. I remembered theĀ Axis and Allies battle board, which I haven't seen in years. Players didn't need to memorize what different units did. They just piled them on the appropriate side and rolled dice and checked the board.


I knew this was the key for me. One of the best things about designing games for the digital space is that you have calculations running in the background. Not for print games! So, with that in mind, andĀ Axis and Allies as inspiration, I'm trying to set it up so players can just put their pieces down and let it move them along. Here it is (first pass):


I'll walk you through what you're seeing.

  • Sides for both the Attacker and Defender, color coded, and facing the player.
  • Instructions on the 4 steps on either side for both players.
  • Icons that match the abilities on a player's board, so he can more easily map "oh, I can play this because this is me, the defender."
  • The first 3 boxes indicate the first 3 cubes of either player's armies. If there is one on both sides, both players lose these units (indicated by the X), then move right.
  • Big boxes for anything in addition to the 3 waves.
  • A reminder for the attacker that if the BLUE defender has a fort (in blue), he loses 2 additional Units for that first wave.

The rules will be updated to teach the player's to use these boards. My sincere hope is that players use these boards for their first 3 or so plays of the game. Afterwards, they just do it all in their heads like I've been doing for the past 9 months.

Thoughts? This has been a productive Sunday so far. The cards, player boards (with tutorial faction), and now the battle board have all been designed, printed, cut, and sleeved. Next up? The game board itself. After that? Updating the rules to reflect the new graphics, theme, and to use the new components.

Thanks ahead of time for your feedback.