Why Artwork is Important in Storytelling

Fourtato Games
Aug 16 · 3 min read

It is debated whether good artwork is necessary for people to enjoy a board game. There are people that argue that art is important and there are also people that argue that art does not matter at all. I am not here to give a definitive answer because we are delving into the subjective. What this article is addressing is how appropriate artwork will help with storytelling. I will use our board game, Chicken Heist as an example.

To give you some background, the premise of Chicken Heist is that players in the game are trying to pull off a heist. The game is designed to be a competitive player elimination game of chicken. The longer you stay in the heist, the more dangerous it is for you.

Initially, the players were assigned different personality traits to represent who they are in the game. From a storytelling standpoint, it made a lot of sense; for example, players with the aggressive personality trait would be involved in shootouts as they are more eager to fight. However, we decided to shift as players did not feel personalities related with their perception of what a heist should be.

We shifted to chickens robbing a bank. The idea is, since this game is a push-your-luck game of chicken, it would be fitting for players to be literal chickens. We started designing alpha chicken illustrations to test the concept of chickens pulling off a heist.

We used these illustrations to help us test the concepts. As the Minimum Viable Product chart demonstrates, not only does the product have to have certain functions, but it needs to reach an emotional level as well. In our game design, the art will help with the theme and the story. If we tested with a piece of paper that said “Chicken Robber” then the result could be very different.

Players we tested with were very attached to the art and the idea. Thus, we settled with this idea.

We have this idea, but this is not the full story. This is where artwork comes back into the conversation. Story consists of elements such as settings, characters, plot, and conflict, but it also consists of tone. Artwork will help us convey the tone of the game to our players, facilitating the player’s understanding of what type of game this is with just a quick glance at the art.

With our alpha art posted, the story and what type of board game it is, is now clear. Everyone participating in the game are a bunch of silly chickens trying to make the most money from a bank heist. There are crazy events happening and you must push your luck and skillfully navigate through the danger to be the winner! The artwork that we use in the testing help our game testers understand what the game is about and what they are in for.

The alpha art also helped with the communicate with our designer, James, of what we wanted the game to be. James is now in charge of the design. We are very excited to see the type of art he comes up with and we hope you are too!

Learn more about Chicken Heist here: www.chickenheist.com

Article published on www.fourtato.com

Fourtato Games

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Tiny crew of board game designers! Four potatoes trying to make their ideas come to life!

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