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Slow/fast icons, and city/town/explorer symbols on cards

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Silverleaf
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Slow/fast icons, and city/town/explorer symbols on cards

I keep looking at these and honestly, I still don't like the way that symbols replace the text.

I mean I like the symbols themselves in an artistic sense, but I find the sentences with words missing really hard to read because my brain insists that the bird symbol means "bird", and the "turtle" symbol means "turtle".

So I get sentences like "you can use one turtle power as if it were bird" and it takes a conscious effort to translate that into "you can use one slow power as if it were fast". It's a bit like throwing random foreign words into the card text - sure, I can look them up and eventually I'll remember them, but every single time it's going to take me significantly longer to process what's on the cards than if it was in English.

This is compounded by the fact that the fire symbol means fire, the water means water, the wind means wind... (I know these element symbols are necessary and I have no problem with them because they work.)

I assume the symbols are meant to speed up play, but for me they slow it down. It's not like "slow" and "fast" are even going to take up much space, so why not have the word and then the symbol after it? Then it's still easily scannable for people who deal well with icons, and easily readable for people like me who find them more trouble than they're worth. And I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one with this problem. It adds an extra barrier which you have to fight through before you can start to play the game fluently.

The invader symbols aren't quite so bad because if I parse them as "person", "small building" or "large building" then that still kind of works. But again I have to expend unnecessary effort to translate when I see those symbols.

Please please please can we have words as well as symbols? It's a tiny little thing that will make the cards much clearer for me. "Destroy one city [big building symbol]" works, right?


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

Arcanist Lupus
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I would rather see either words or symbols before I see both.  When I see both I end up parsing the word twice, and it just feels redundant.

 

I personally like the way they are now more than I would like them with words or both.  The rearrangement of the card attributes (speed, range, and target) threw me at first, but that's only because I was used to the print & play versions.

 

Silverleaf, have you tried just running with 'bird' and 'turtle' as the names for the powers?  As in "Bird powers happen, then invaders attack, and then turtle powers happen"  I know I do that for a couple of games.  For example, Dungeon Lords has a resource that they call 'reputation' but my family refers to as 'evil'.  And becoming less evil is sometimes referred to as 'gaining happiness' because of the iconography.  We call the thieves 'trapmasters' for similar reasons (also, we refer to the Paladin as 'spawning', despite that being a totally inaccurate descriptor for any number of reasons).  And in Ticket to Ride, we refer to the wild cards (officially Engines, I believe) exclusively as "Shinies".  In Settlers of Catan I know of nobody who actually calls the lumber "lumber", and mostly the "grain" is "wheat".  As long as everyone at the table knows what you are talking about, the proper names of things don't actually matter too much.

 

I'd like to see better positioning on Harbingers of the Lighting, though.  The symbols on that card are too high, especially the two fear symbols.  Because of their location on the card and the aren't centered vertically with the text they pull away from the rules text that they are part of and make it a little difficult to understand.

 

Finally, the 'Fear' icon doesn't say 'fear' to me.  It's a shield with some weapons behind it - to me that says 'battle', 'damage', or 'defend', but it doesn't seem scary enough to be 'fear'.


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Silverleaf
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I can't get "bird" and "turtle" powers to work because there's nothing inherently birdy or turtley about them.

I mean, if it was a game with actual birds and turtles I'd have no problem at all remembering that birds act before turtles. But the reason why certain powers are resolved first in this game because they are fast, not because they are bird-related.

Essentially the symbols are an extra step for me, because I'm basically having to think "bird - right, that means fast" rather than just "fast", and I'm really struggling with that as it interrupts my gaming "flow". I forget what I was trying to do because I've had to stop thinking about exactly how I'm going to combo these effects so I can translate the symbols, and then I have to replan and hold the translations in my head at the same time. It's going to make it really difficult for me to play if those symbols continue to replace the words. :(

This is why I will likely never be able to play Race for the Galaxy, and why I couldn't make any sort of sensible plan when I played 7 Wonders.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

Silverleaf
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Oh yes, the Fear symbol - I would never in a million years guessed that it means Fear. That would cause me even more trouble because it looks so much like it means Defend, and that's a thing that's in the game already. So not only would I have to translate "shield symbol" to "fear", I'd have to fight my inclination to translate it incorrectly to "defend" every time.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

Silverleaf
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I also agree about text positioning on Harbingers of Lightning. The symbols should be aligned vertically with the text, and it would be clearer if there was a little space between the two effects. Right now it's easy to glance at the card and assume it's all one sentence. And this is nitpicky, but periods/full stops would help a bit too, especially as the second sentence starts with symbols and therefore doesn't have an initial capital letter so it's not clear whether there's a return or or it's a continuation of the first line.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

Mezike
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I don't normally have a problem with symbol-heavy games, but these ones are just driving me nuts. "If you have [symbol], then use [symbol] as if it were [symbol]"? What's that all about then? Cosidering that the rest of the game is far from language neutral I don't know why this can't be in plain English either.

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I don't have any major problems with the symbols as long as they're consistent in using them.   Though I will say I agree that the fear symbol probably should be different.   


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
dpt
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Note that the Fear symbol (whatever it is; I have no problems with the current one) will also be used on the Fear tokens, which players will be handling constantly. (See the videos.)

Agreed on the vertical centering in Harbingers of the Lightning. I'm sure that's just due to this being a mock-up. I also believe they're planning to drop the "fast" and "slow" icons, since unlike the others they don't correspond to anything on the board.

grysqrl
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I don't mind the bird/turtle, mostly because they're accompanied by a color change both of the symbol and around the energy cost. The symbols look like they belong in that space.

The card effects, on the other hand, are driving me crazy. I'm having a really hard time parsing sentences with symbols interspersed; especially as the spacing is weird (as mentioned above) and the symbols aren't used consistently.

  • Why would two towns be represented by "2 <town>" but two fear is "<fear><fear>"?
  • Never start a sentence with a symbol if you can avoid it.
  • When there isn't a reason to do otherwise, conditionals should read "If...: then..."; the second half of Harbingers should read: "If you pushed any Dahan into a land with a building: two fear."
  • The use of "building" is inconsistent; Harbingers mentions buildings, but the innate on the Lightning spirit panel mentions <town> / <city>

I'm starting to feel like this should be in the playtesting area.

Ameena
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I haven't seen any of these symbols but surely a logical symbol for Fear would be along the lines of a black skull? Also, when you say "turtle" I presume you mean "tortoise", as turtles aren't generally known for being slow so much as they're known for swimming around for a year and then coming to lay their eggs on a beach so the babbies can crawl into the sea when they hatch :D.


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dpt
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Ameena wrote:
Also, when you say "turtle" I presume you mean "tortoise", as turtles aren't generally known for being slow so much as they're known for swimming around for a year and then coming to lay their eggs on a beach so the babbies can crawl into the sea when they hatch :D.
I've often been confused about this, and went to look it up. There's a difference between American and British usage: in British usage, "turtles" dwell in the water, while in the US, "turtle" is the generic term. And then the Australians go and do something weird: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortoise#Use_of_the_terms_turtle.2C_tortoi...

(Also, in my American experience, "tortoise" is quite rare.)

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dpt wrote:

(Also, in my American experience, "tortoise" is quite rare.)

Idk how rare it can be. Aesop's fables are pretty commonplace 

phantaskippy
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Turtles go in the water, tortoises don't.  That was what I was taught.

As for symbols, if you are going symbol it should only be a symbol.  I don't like switching back and forth much.

Is the tortoise and hare parable widespread enough to use them?  The contrast would be much more natural for anyone familiar with the story. 

Birds could stand for flight, air, waking me up at sunrise, all kinds of things.

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grysqrl wrote:

When there isn't a reason to do otherwise, conditionals should read "If...: then..."

This is the only thing that has really bothered me so far.

dpt
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phantaskippy wrote:
Is the tortoise and hare parable widespread enough to use them?
It probably is, but the issue I see is that that symbology, although natural, is a European story, and the spirits are definitely not European. For that matter, I would expect that the island, like pre-colonization Australia, has water-dwelling Testunides, and that it doesn't have hares.
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I am fairly certain that the hat-less female explorers will bring bunnies with them.


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I like the turtle/bird icons.  My brain only needed to make the necessary association with slow/fast once, and then the icons successfully stood in for the concepts in my brain, which is what a good icon does.


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Spiff wrote:

I like the turtle/bird icons.  My brain only needed to make the necessary association with slow/fast once, and then the icons successfully stood in for the concepts in my brain, which is what a good icon does.

Agree'd here

Pydro wrote:

I am fairly certain that the hat-less female explorers will bring bunnies with them.

Double agree'd. I like it when Pydro gets a little snarky.

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To clarify a little on cetacean species - tortoises do indeed live on land. Turtles, however, live in the sea, or at least saltwater, while those who live in fresh water are terrapins. That said, there are some species of terrapin which have "turtle" in their name (such as the Mississippi mud turtle and the painted turtle, which I'm only familiar with 'cause we had one of each in the animal room during my Animal Management collge course that I did some years ago) because they're American and Americans seem to call everything a turtle, even if it isn't ;).


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Silverleaf
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To clarify further, cetaceans are whales, dolphins and porpoises. ;)

Or to give them their American name, turtles.


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Ameena wrote:

To clarify a little on cetacean species - tortoises do indeed live on land. Turtles, however, live in the sea, or at least saltwater, while those who live in fresh water are terrapins. That said, there are some species of terrapin which have "turtle" in their name (such as the Mississippi mud turtle and the painted turtle, which I'm only familiar with 'cause we had one of each in the animal room during my Animal Management collge course that I did some years ago) because they're American and Americans seem to call everything a turtle, even if it isn't ;).

As much as it's fun to be Britishly superior to us Americans, I'm pretty sure it doesn't apply in this case.

wikipedia wrote:
There are differences in usage of the common terms turtle, tortoise, and terrapin, depending on the variety of English being used; usage is inconsistent and contradictory.[1]These terms are common names and do not reflect precise biological or taxonomic distinctions.

 

Unlike rabbits and hares, there is no scientific distinction between tortoises and turtles, so the British definitions are no more valid than the American ones.


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Oops, not cetaeans. What do I mean...it does begin with C...okay I looked it up and I think the word I was after was "chelonian" or something, lol.

Tortoises have legs and live on land, turtles have flippers and live in the sea (not counting the bit where they come on land to lay eggs as that's just one quick trip ;)). I'd say that was enough of a difference that you want a different word for them, otherwise how would you know what someone was talking about if they didn't clarify? ;)


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