Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Candid Look at The Millennium After End of Days

A Cooperative Game - A Post Apocalyptic / Time-Travel Story
Fast-forward to the year 2157.

It was the flashpoint to World War III.

Right, a historical marker and here I am still rocking my, "I'm Up Here" T-shirt.

As a journalist, being biased is never tolerated, but some things never change. Hell, even in a sports bra I still managed to earn the nickname, "Bam, Bam." Not funny at all, mind you, but I had no choice but to play along.

Let's face it, boys will be boys and so guys will always be pigs. It's in their DNA my dad says. Even he admits to some really crude behavior as a teenager.

"Don't repeat it," I tell him. "I'd like to think you're still a respectable dad."
"I have my moments," he says, awkwardly staring into my eyes.

"Ugh!"

How has it come to this? I mean, not that men are still pigs, well that too, but this End of Days scenario. Whose bright idea was that?

The dawn of the new Millennium will always be remembered as a prelude because the worst was yet to come. Suddenly, the end was not only near, it was finally here, degenerates and all.

ON THE CUSP OF A POST-APOCALYPTIC ERA

In the fall of the year 2157, a new level of fear, panic, and lawlessness, unlike any event before it, had taken hold throughout the nation. Now in survival mode, America holds its breath, praying that no more nukes fall upon us.

I'm still up here, guys!

The Earth waits as if the entire planet could vanish in an instant. It feels as if time is standing still and a sea of humanity, mostly pervs, escapes in slow motion; running, gasping for air, burning. Good riddance to them because there are always the defiant ones. The lucky ones, like me, who manage to survive against all odds. Against all the wicked devices of men.

I don't mean to sound biased or make myself out to be a prom queen, but I've had my fair share of run-ins with a few select male swine. Downright creepy.

Almost as bad as the Apocalypse but I am a survivor in more ways than one. And while nobody said nuclear war would be easy. There is a way out--an adventurous time-warp to the past.

Hey, I've seen the future and it really never lived up to all the hype. Too little too late for me. I'll take my chances looking back at the 1800's and beyond.

View of Mars from Exploration Mission I


FIRST THINGS, FIRST

Andrea sure had plenty to think about.

Right now, Andrea's first mission was to learn how to survive so she can help others along the way as she reached one of four Safe Havens before another bomb struck.

As a descendant of that previous era, circa the year 2000, Andrea found herself in the midst of another conundrum. Even as the first space explorers landed on Mars, planet Earth had already endured multiple nuclear blasts, decimating the United States with a ground zero detonation in Killeen, Texas; a small military town near Ft. Hood where no one survived.

Now on full-blown alert, another bomb shatters New York City as America reels from the effects of radiation. It is a time of great upheaval. Surprisingly, from Andrea's point of view, the future of Earth still seems promising, or maybe not. But that's what time-warps are for, Andrea thought.

This is a candid tale from the mind of Andrea; her manic dream. Follow her to see how her story unfolds from the pages of her personal journal and throughout the game.

Updated Game Board

SAFE HAVENS - Give Earth and Century XXII a Chance

There are four safe havens where you can seek shelter from radiation fallout. Each player must choose where to go for safety. There is also a rendezvous point in Washington, D.C., The Red Cross Headquarters where you and other players start your journey.

Join Andrea in her improbable trek across America and beyond. A nation scarred by violence but yet again wrought with uncommon beauty. A new nation rising from the ashes with a bright future and perhaps an adventure into a nostalgic past.

What are you searching for? And where will your journey take you?

Find out with the all-new Millennium Board game. A Post-Apocalyptic Time-Travel game, filled with glory and yes, plenty of candid moments.

Hang on for the ride!

Learn more about Millennium and other Terra Nova Board Games:
http://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/millennium


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Re-Boot, Re-boot, Re-Boot - A Breakthrough With The Millennium Board Game


Sound the alarms! Baaaaack it up! Beep, beep, beep...

Scratch the vinyl record right here folks!

Stop the presses!

WTF!?

Okay, okay, enough with all the bad cliches. Let's get down to the real reason why I'm being so ridiculous. No, I've not been hitting the bourbon bottle. (Hmm, maybe I should be.)

I'm back with a bunch of changes to Millennium. All for the better, mind you, no steps backwards, ever. I had a change of heart on the East Coast and West Coast versions of the game. As good as that was in theory, I figured why re-invent the wheel?

No, I've not been hitting the bourbon bottle.

Instead, I'm switching to a six-fold game board, a new 9 x 12 tall box so everything fits nicely and I've ditched the black box design for a more traditional and thematic cover with Andrea rescuing an injured boy. She's also looking towards the front as opposed to giving her back to the viewer. Not sure what I was thinking other than trying to create a reveal but that just works in the movies.

Although, the biggest change is that Millennium is now a cooperative game. Other than all that, it's the same frickin' game. Go figure.

Call me crazy, but that's what I should've started out with from the beginning. It is an Apocalyptic story and so teamwork is a natural fit where everyone looks out for each other as opposed to every person for themselves. I am trying to make this a positive game with an edge as opposed to a "winner take all" POV where mayhem, pessimism, and greed rule the day.

Yes, going against the grain is always a risk.
But doing what you believe in can also have its rewards. It's about looking at the glass half full.

I think there's enough dark news to go around and I want Millennium to be different. I want it to come across as a hopeful game where Earth still has a bright future ahead of it, despite the grim outlook just because of a handful of tyrants around the globe.

Talk about a whole new feel to the game, this really narrows down the theme because it's all about rescuing as many survivors as possible in order to win the game as a team. There's just much more at stake this way and the game is more engaging and more fun.

Here's a preview of the new box:

Updated Box Cover


It's come a long way and I just might change this scene and show Andrea running from an explosion with the boy to make it more exciting and more dynamic. Although, I do like this scene or where she's waiting for the train. There are just so many choices to make and settling for one is never easy. But as you go along, the game develops into something different and if it's a better idea, you just have to go with it.

Once I get all the main events and cards in place, it'll be all about small details and how the game plays out, step by step. It has to feel just right. The pacing should be smooth but brisk without too much lag time between players.

Here's where playtesting with different groups comes in handy because every person will have their own experience with the game and hopefully they can offer suggestions to improve it.  I know that if I can get this game to the point where it plays out with plenty of tension and adventure, it will be a terrific game to play.

"Quite a longshot to launch a board game that way ..."

At that point, I'll have to try to find a publisher willing to take a chance with it and if that doesn't work, I'm on my own. Quite a longshot to launch a board game that way but you know, that's part of the appeal of designing your own games. It's a heck of a challenge to succeed at any level but especially rewarding if you can jumpstart one on your own and get it rolling at a steady pace.

It all remains to be seen, but I do have good expectations even though I realize that Apocalyptic themes are not exactly a rage these days, but I'm counting on Millennium to change all that. That's the dream and it's not impossible so in that case, I'm already in deep so no turning back at this point.

"Idealogy is king but trinkets are a close second."

My take on this theme may be just what board games need to kickstart a trend. You never know and the only way to find out is to be all-in. You can't put out a half-ass game, book, or anything else. You have to go for broke.

This board game is no small feat for one person, but if I can get Millennium out there as I envision it, I think it will succeed. If it does, it's all gravy from there because all my other games in development are much simpler and faster to finish.

It's a marathon, to say the least. Hey, it's either this or watching re-runs of Star-Trek. (My secret is that I can do both at the same time.)

Bottom of Box

Here's a sneak peek at the bottom or back of the box. I could write a whole book about this but in my next Post I'll try to tackle all the elements it takes to design a good back for your box. As you can see here, it's very cluttered but that's almost a given. I could organize it a bit more but there's just so much you need to include that it's always difficult to fit everything in a comprehensive way.

I'm also using a loss leader because I need all the advantages I can get. I'll get into that too and discuss a bit about sales gimmicks and how to make good use of them without seeming like a carnival barker.


You can see some of the bells and whistles here and let me say that regardless of your amazing plot and themes and your overall concept, players always love trinkets. That's what I call them and I'm not far off describing some of these game pieces. Other than an emotional angle, you also need tanglible objects. Idealogy is king but trinkets are a close second. Yes, grown-ups like toys too.

Enough said for now, I could go on and on but this article is already too long. Attention spans are not what they used to be.

Stay tuned for much more about the latest developments with Millennium and how I'm tackling each phase of this game from start to finish.

It's turning out to be a Master Class in package design and board game marketing and hopefully you'll find a digital version on Amazon after I finish this game.

Voila!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Board Game Evolution - The Making of Millennium

Millennium lives on!

Yes, it's been a while since I posted an update on any of my board games since the holidays tend to sidetrack me, but here's an image you haven't seen for the new Millennium box.

As much as I like this design, I'm not sure I'll actually use it because it seems a bit unusual compared to so many other boxes in this genre. Maybe a bit too serious in tone when the ultimate goal is to use a fun image, but you never know, I just might go with it.

You'll notice on the upper left it says, "A Cooperative Game." I think this category and the overall theme fits better as a co-op game where players unite and try to reach a specific goal and survive as a team. That means that most of the rules and cards will go through another revamp.

As much as that hurts, I just can't ignore an improvement like this. It's just part of the game, if you will. The thing is that when you start a game you don't always see the big picture and sometimes you get caught-up in all the details that you don't want to miss.

The fact is that a doomsday theme lends itself naturally to this mechanism so why fight it. I'll have to roll with this punch in the gut but the game will be better for it. Besides, nobody really cares how much I suffer during the design process. It's all about the game and the (fun) experience it delivers. Period. Cry me a river.


Proposed Box Design

The board has also gone through major changes. It's now a six-fold board 18" x 27" so I can use the entire U.S. map from coast-to-coast.

This is an unfinished board (below) but you get the idea how the rest will turn out based on this graphic. I still have quite a bit to add to it; mostly destination points and locations as you see on the east coast. I'm trying not to clutter it too much.

Unfinished Board
Right now, as it stands, players start on the east coast, at the Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and disperse from there to one of three bomb shelters as a final destination. When all players reach a bomb shelter, they win the game. But getting to each shelter won't be easy and that's what makes this game a challenge.

..."even in its simplicity there is
always plenty of built-in chaos."

That's the general idea but I'm still working out all the obstacles and cards needed to make that all happen in a fun and interesting way. That's the hard part but I think I can pull it off. Hey, anyone can design a game. The trick is to design a great game without annoying mechanisms that slow down the game or don't make any sense thematically.

I'm working all that out as I go along because it's easier for me to see the work in Photoshop than on a notepad. Although, I've already filled two notebooks and counting.

Millennium has really taken a sharp turn for the better but it has a long way to go. It seems to grow by the day but I realize I must stick to the theme and keep it simple because even in its simplicity there is always plenty of built-in chaos.

Having stepped away from the board for several months gave me a chance to see something I had missed before. Namely, that I needed to design and build this game as a co-op game because that's the nature of a doomsday scenario. At first, I had thought that making a strategic and competitive game might be a good idea, but organically, a cooperative game is really the best way to go so why fight it.

I think cooperative games like Pandemic are quite popular and have global appeal so that's the new direction and a better choice for Millennium.

..."that's the new direction and
a better choice for Millennium."

I've also been working on an interesting backstory or backdrop that ties-in the End of Days scenario with the asteroid Bennu and it's near collision with Earth every so often. That's one of Andrea's (main character) biggest fears.

And so it goes, folks. There's so much to do and so little time to accomplish our goals but we must press on and keep moving forward at all costs.

I preach this to my kids as often as I can. Life is all about the glory. You must endure the blood, sweat, and tears. Nobody cares about all that.

People only care about the glory and so that's your main focus; the final outcome. And it better be good.

I hope the new year brings you closer to your goals, my friends.

There's simply no time to look back.

Amen!


Thursday, November 9, 2017

How To Photoshop Your Board Game Box The Easy Way

Okay, finally I've been able to put together a short presentation about how to design a great game box in three dimensions the easy way on Photoshop.

Net Geometry for The Game Crafter.com

I'm designing my game on The Game Crafter.com so this is how they manufacture their boxes. They start with a black box and glue an image from your net geometry (like the one above) onto the black box, edge-to-edge and fold over the excess flaps, top and bottom. That means you get no side images for the left or right side of the box. (I know it sounds crude but it works just fine if they center the art properly.)

Using Photoshop, first cut out the center portion of the box and the top flap. Place side by side. Go to TRANSFORM and select CCW to flip it so your flap looks like the one below on the left.


Select the flap with the bounding box marquee tool, click on the move tool and move in any direction once to activate marching ants, then go to TRANSFORM select PERSPECTIVE and apply the effect as shown below for each image.


Notice I have each image on separate layers but you can keep them on the same layer if you want. Next, adjust (FREE TRANSFORM) the main image so it is not as wide, (almost by half) and proceed to join (move) the two images together (touching) or merge the two layers into one image.

Make sure both edges are touching. You can soften this edge next.

Now for a little Photoshop magic. Most people will keep this image or maybe add gray lines to all the edges but the box will look very unrealistic. To get good edges, I like to use the Dodge Tool set at about 65% with a small, soft brush and run it along each of the edges except the bottom one.

Soften and highlight all edges with the Dodge Tool.

See (above) how that adds a gentle highlight to all the edges of the box by softening and rounding them like a real box. You can run each edge up to three times or until you get an edge you're happy with. Trial and error here.

Almost finished box with reflection

I've also added a reflection of the box.

Follow these easy instructions to get that effect.

First, duplicate your box, flip it vertically and place as shown below.

Working with the reflection image, use the bounding box and activate marching ants only around the flap and then select SKEW. Grab the middle handle and skew it up until the angle matches the top flap. This won't affect the image as long as you don't move it.

Duplicate, Flip Vertically and position as shown above.




Now select the front of the reflection with the bounding box and skew it until you match the angle above it. (See below)

Skew the front of the box until angles match

Here's a close-up of the final version with the reflection in place. You can use any background color you like and experiment with the opacity for your reflection to get the best effect.

Don't forget to darken the left side of the box to give it a more three dimensional feel. Use the Burn Tool set at about 50% and experiment with it until you get the desired effect.

Here's the final version of the box with extra highlights on the corners for a worn look.

You can also adjust the brightness and contrast at this point to really make your box come alive.

I've tried many different things and this seems to work best to easily give product boxes the most realistic effect without buying expensive programs to convert to a three dimensional box.

Once you get the hang of it, it gets a lot easier and the effect is outstanding. Give it a try and email me your finished boxes and I'll post them here next time.

Any questions, please comment and I'll post an explanation in my next post.

Have fun!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Board Game Heaven - The New Millennium Challenge



West Coast / East Coast Game Box
We all knew it was coming. So after months of designing an East Coast game board, I've decided to add a West Coast board to Millennium, which in my opinion was not only necessary, but inevitable.

After all, who wants to play only half a game? As cool as the East Coast board is, adding a game board that starts in San Francisco, CA, makes it much more complete and satisfying to play. Especially if the board is set in another era (1800's and 1900's).

The East Coast board is about 95% done and the new board is about 50% done, so I have quite a bit of work before finishing up this game.

I can release the East coast version this month (November) as I had planned all along but I rather not rush into anything. I want too take my time and finish this entire game as I know it will work best so that means two 18" x 18" boards side-by-side, which makes the game board a full 18" x 36" inches of awesome game play.


"It's quite a contrast of events..."

I'm still debating on splitting these games in half and selling separate boards. As it stands now, I plan on offering the East Coast board by itself and offering the West Coast/East Coast board game separately. This way gamers have two options at different price points.

While the main theme to the East Coast board is survival, the theme of the West Coast board is historical exploration, namely, the Wild West and Wyatt Earp, and moving on into the 20th Century and the Disco era of the 70's and beyond. I think it will be lots of fun, which eventually leads up to a time-warp transporting you into the year 2158 and into the East Coast. It's quite a contrast of events that I think works really nice and builds up to a full, well-rounded game.

Who knows? Only time will tell how it all plays out, but it feels like I'm on the right track. I'm also refining the four characters with multiple roles and ideally I would like to include a set of custom dice that allows special moves for each player. Both are good mechanisms that add depth to the game. Although, including custom dice all depends on how much it will add to the final price. Margins with The Game Crafter are already low enough so we'll see.
West Coast Wild West Card

Lots to think about and even more to do but I know it'll be worth it because it's going to make a much better game overall.

"I'm going full throttle
with Millennium..."

I do have four other games in various stages of completion, but I'm only one guy with limited time so right now I'm going full throttle with Millennium while I have good momentum on my side so I can finish it and move onto to other things on the design and production side as Millennium hits the market and I tweak that end of it.

It's nothing short of a full time endeavor, but that's what I do. For years I've had all these ideas and finally I'm putting them out there and giving board games a shot for whatever it's worth. Everything I've learned about design and marketing over the years has led me to this and it feels like the right time to try something different.

As it turns out, or maybe it just feels that way, everyone is getting in on the board game bandwagon these days. So competition is fierce but the market knows what it wants and champions what it likes the most so that's really the challenge; to figure out what's popular and put a new spin on it because let's face it, most of it has all been done before.

West Coast Card
"One person's favorite game
might be another's nightmare."

So while Post Apocalyptic games are not new, my spin and flavor is, so all I can hope for is that gamers identify and embrace it with fair reviews. That's always the hard part because like anything else, games are subjective. One person's favorite game might be another's nightmare.

That being said, if you design games you would like to see but can't really find out there, maybe that adds something to the gaming world. You never know until you put it out there and that takes a good investment mostly in time.

And as we all know, time is precious and in short supply, especially the older you get so you have to make the most of every day.

I think that by the spring of 2018 I'll be ready to release both editions of Millennium after several (hopefully favorable) reviews. 

Successfully marketing a game is really an uphill battle unless it has a viral element that key influencers can relate and latch on to. Big companies rely on bestselling books to base their games on and that always helps because they have a built-in audience to work with. And that makes marketing almost effortless.

East Coast Illness Card
If you don't have the luxury of basing your games on bestselling books or video games, stick with universal concepts that are already familiar to gamers and try presenting your games in the most unique way possible. Everything counts in gaming, even great and consistent artwork is a plus because there are plenty of collectors who appreciate that kind of stuff.

Okay, that's for another post. Meanwhile I've got to get back to work on my games. It's a bit overwhelming with so much to do but I take it one day at a time and keep on going until there's nothing left to do.

And then of course, there's always something else to do until it all bottoms out and then you move on.

For my next post I'm going to finally post my easy Photoshop tips for making product boxes like the one above. It's not perfect yet, but it's getting there.

Till next time, keep on gaming!

Your move.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Terra Nova's Next Move - Ask The Godfather?

New Millennium Game Board
Okay, I'm the first to admit that this blog is by no means a play-by-play documentary of the machinations Terra Nova has in mind for Millennium and beyond. That would take an encyclopedia of information and every minute of my time to document it in every minute detail.

As it stands now, Millennium is moving forward at a steady pace and scheduled to launch in November, as planned all along. A soft launch, because I can't go all out with multiple advertising and promotional outlets. Not that any of that will guarantee sales, which most likely it would not, but it's nice to dream that it could.

"Let's get real here."


Let's get real here. Advertising doesn't work that way. You have to win the trust of your potential customers first. And that comes about with great reviews, positive customer comments, influencers and key buyers who champion your product and help spread the word like wildfire, etc.

Besides, if you advertise without a good offer to back it up, you've got nothing really except a ton of money that goes into advertising with little results if any. In short, advertising is no magic bullet.

In reality, Millennium is now going through a developmental growth spurt and still in its second stage of prototyping, which means it's not ready for the consumer market, yet. And what is just as true, is that it must still undergo a good round of player testing before it reaches the point of putting it on store shelves.

"Advertising doesn't work that way."


That said, there's no reason why the game can't go on sale after another month of tweaking and more play testing (by family and friends). It will in November, but with very limited advertising and promotional support at that point in time. Anyone can buy the game if they find it either through The Game Crafter website, or this Millennium Blog. There is always a possibility that hard core gamers might take a chance on a game they've never heard of or know little about. Then again that depends on the landing page, for instance. And let's face it, proof of concept is everything.

I have to work it this way because I am only one person with limited resources. And inching Millennium along at this pace is all I can do right now. I have 6 other games I'm developing and in the middle of each of them. This stage of development takes time and patience to get through. Most of it is developing the artwork and game mechanics. Getting the core concept in place and tweaking it to the point of a working prototype with many details unresolved up to that point.


Back of Millennium Box
It would be so much easier with 2 or 3 people in the mix who could help me but I'm on my own and that's probably the hardest part. No regrets, though. Too many cooks can also be a nightmare. For now, I'm doing fine and plugging away at a steady pace with all the games in my queue.

Luckily, some of these games are much simpler card games, easier to design and play than Millennium. This game (Millennium) has grown and branched out even to the point of multiple expansions in the works because the concept and themes are far reaching.

The main difference in the current prototype is in the game's mechanic's, how it works and how it feels when you get to the end of the game. You want gamers to feel as if they are reaching another level and attaining their ultimate goal with a good sense of both tension and relief along the way.

Millennium in particular is a game of survival and sacrifice, so there is a sense of strategy and planning to achieve your goals as you journey from point A to B, on to C, and so on. You feel there is a sense that something bigger is at stake (besides your life) and you must go on against all odds.

It is this tension that must build to a climax and finally a resolution so that the game is successful at each level and beyond.

So far I've included many new playing cards, I solved the big problem I had with the train tokens because Game Crafter had discontinued some of the train tokens included in my game. My solution was simple enough. I found tokens that look like train cars (long rectangles) and included 5 in different colors to represent each of the train cars accordingly and assigned them each a score.

Engine Train Card
I think this works better than having the train in one color and still uses tokens that you can run on the train track north. It's a visual thing and by adding more cards (18) I can include some of the cards that were missing from the first prototype.

These new train cards are a bit of fun with hobo hitchhikers, dogs, and other sorts of strange humanity you might come across in an Apocalyptic setting such as this.

Levity is important, as you know in life and in gaming so I made sure to add a good mix of lighthearted happenings in the midst of all the turmoil. Not unlike real life, whereas Texas, Florida, Mexico, and Puerto Rico are experiencing their share of hardships even as we speak.

These events are certainly heart-breaking to say the least and hopefully each of us who has been more fortunate thus far can help in some way those in dire need. Please contribute to the Red Cross if you can. Every dollar counts.

If anything, events such as the devastating earthquakes and storms this month have been a wake-up call for so many who were already living in duress. Here in northern Florida, we had our own concerns and storm damages, but nothing like we've seen elsewhere.

We need to be prepared at all times and that's not always possible. Sometimes, carrying on is hard to do when loved ones and other families are in trouble. Our prayers are with the afflicted.

Please Help The RED CROSS

Speaking of the Red Cross, here is another one of the new cards I added to the deck. It's a mercy of sorts card if you can help a friend in need out of the rubble and help nurse them back to health before you continue your journey northbound.
Red Cross Token Card

This is not a coincidence, but thematic of the game and so I had included these cards originally. There are many other cards along these lines and as I have said, this Millennium game will only get better as time goes by because its themes are indeed a sign of the times ahead.

The Red Cross link above is real, however. Please visit their site and help however you can. I plan to give again soon and wish I could do more.

At any rate, I am pleased with the evolution of Millennium and I think it will be a great success. For me that means that the game itself works as intended and that a fair amount of interest will accompany its journey among other collectible board games you enjoy.
There is so much more to say but I realize I must keep these posts short. Since I showed an update to the bottom of the box, maybe I'll talk about how I went about designing it and my reasoning behind each element.


You'll notice, there is a fair amount of tried and true sales techniques (gimmicks) used here. Namely, the free gifts, although they are a good quality and desirable. Remember, they are part of an offer that's been around since Cracker Jacks, for example.

You have to throw in the kitchen sink if you can. Take no chances and always make them an offer, as The Godfather said in a strained voice, "make them an offer they can't refuse."

More about offers next time.

Till then, stay safe and keep on gaming!



Friday, August 25, 2017

Game Box Design - How to Give Your Game Box Sex Appeal

Current Millennium Game Box Design

When it comes to your game box cover, think of it as a house with great curb appeal. When you pass by that house, it catches your eye and stands out from the rest. Your box cover is no different. It needs shelf appeal or sex appeal, whatever you want to call it, the cover of your box has to knock 'em dead at first sight.

Each game, of course is different and I can only talk about how I went about designing the Millennium box cover. But here are the basics you need to know about any design.

Audience demographics are key in determining what potential buyers specifically look for in a product or a board game, what kind of books they read, movies they watch, etc.

Keep in mind that there are always variables, however, you are looking to highlight the main concept of your story so when prospects are shopping for new games and if they have not heard of yours yet, the story that your box cover tells, speaks to them on a deeper level.

"I'll admit up front, I designed Millennium, especially the box cover to appeal to women."


I'll admit up front, I designed the Millennium game, especially the box cover to appeal to women. My reasoning for this is simple. Most board games are bought and played by men but women love to play board games too (numbers increasing) and by featuring a woman as the game's protagonist, it gives the game another angle from a female POV that young Millennial women can identify with.

When it comes to board games, that is rare and hopefully my gamble will pay off by appealing to women who know they matter. Millennium is not the first game to focus on women, of course. But it is one of the few that feature a woman as a fierce fighter and survivor. Women, after all, do not enjoy being objectified. Pandemic features a woman on its cover and has attracted many new buyers this way and so have other games.

That's not to say that males will not identify with this game, but instead, both men and women can relate to Millennium on another level. Besides, once you start the game, it is evident that men play a large role in the game as well.

I think that's the best of both worlds, plus it makes playing Millennium with both genders more interesting and certainly more engaging.



"Sure she's hot, (said the male chauvinist in me) but more importantly, she's in control and she is powerful."


Okay. we need a woman on the cover. Not just any woman, but a woman with an Uzi sub-machine gun. Wow, she's in charge! Sure she's hot, (said the male chauvinist in me) but more importantly, she's in control and she is powerful.

Millennuim's Andrea Poster (Artwork from DeviantArt)
These are characteristics that appeal to modern women and let's not forget this story is set in the year 2158. If history is any indication of female power and influence, it is safe to assume that women have certainly come out of the dark ages and into positions of power and self reliance.

One look at the Millennium cover and it spells, future along with all its uncertainties. What will Earth be like 140 years from now? Its government? Its military? It's religious beliefs?
Society at large?

If you don't feature a woman on your game box, make sure to feature and focus on your protagonist, or the star of the game. It doesn't have to be large, (but can be) but it must be the center of attention. Include all the important elements (2 or 3) that tell an exciting story at first sight.

Don't clutter the front of the box with too many details. That's what the back of the box is for. Think of the front cover (top of box) as an advertisement with a primary focus on the star of the game. Keep it simple and use powerful images that enhance your story. Stick to theme and concept.

Right now this Millennium game box could change altogether, meaning I might try a close-up of Andrea in an action position with the bright cityscape in the background.

Anything goes and it's a matter of experimentation at this point. For this box, I opted to focus on the landscape and the futuristic world with Andrea as a secondary focus. I want to immerse gamers into this unknown world right away. But if I can find artwork of Andrea in action, I'll post the alternate box to compare. (More about DeviantArt later.)

To briefly summarize this cover, I was aiming for something hopeful. I wanted to say or to convey that Earth's future will be bright despite so many societal upheavals, wars, and racial tensions that (man)kind has wrought upon us throughout the generations.

Despite the evil misdeeds and all the destruction that comes with it, humans, both men and women have managed to survive and hope to thrive into this new Millennium. Now, and beyond the ages.

Amen to that.

First Prototype of Millennium Game Box
Here's a shot of the first prototype box. Notice the printing is a bit off and the word Millennium and the ribbon have to come down about half an inch. ( I think this was a mistake on the printing end. My specs seem ok).

It's not a good photo without flash and lost its contrast here. The actual box is printed a bit too dark but otherwise shows great contrast and sharp. The colors are quite good and vibrant.

I'm working on tweaking this entire box design for another try at a better prototype soon.

So far, I'm very pleased with the results from The Game Crafter. I'll post a full review of this first prototype next time. Overall I'm very happy with how the whole game looks at this point. Stay tuned for that article because if you make games of any kind on The Game Crafter, you're going to want to hear this.

If you're working on a new game and would like it featured here, please send me your photos and a brief article about how you went about your design and I'll post it here.

Next Time on Board Game Nerd Alert:

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Next Post, I want to show how easily I go about designing a 3-D looking box like the one above on Photoshop and all the cool tips and tricks to make it look like the real thing.