When I first began work on this project, I wanted the game to be as evocative and full of historical flavor as I could possibly make it. Because art is such a powerful medium for generating historical flavor, I've made a strong effort to make the playtest artwork look as good as possible (admitting that my artistic skills are limited and I'm a complete amateur).
For the map, two things must be carefully weighed and balanced: historical flavor and playability. Yes, we want the map to look really evocative. We want the player to feel transported back in time when he looks at the playing surface. But this in no way should detract from playability. Therefore, we're working on making things as ergonomically pleasing as possible in order to enhance playability.
Check out our Sample Playtest Graphics page to see the most recent iteration of the map.
For the cards, I want the text to be as clearly-worded as possible. There is something to be said about being as concise as possible, but the danger in this approach is the introduction of ambiguity. The danger in "wordiness" in the cards is contradictions, typos, and/or outright errors. For Navajo Wars, my approach has been to try and strike a balance between concision and wordiness.
For the counters, I want the artwork to be evocative, but the text MUST be readable. For that reason, we've asked for 5/8" counters. This will allow us to use the most readable size font possible for the counters.
Put together, the map, cards, and counters should mesh together like an orchestra. Each part playing it's roll in harmony with the others. My hope is that we've accomplished this goal in the playtest art. I have every confidence that GMT's outstanding professionals will do even better!