A while back I was assigned the task of designing dice for Shattered, the first batch of which will go to the game’s Kickstarter backers at a specific tier.
Initially I wanted to go with designs that were minimalistic. I was wary of how busy and difficult to read many fantasy and scifi designs can be, and I wanted to avoid any lack of legibility. However, after talking it over with the team, I realized that most gamers would probably prefer highly detailed designs that were specific to the game.
So I came up with a compromise. I would keep the stroke of each number large, thick, and bold, while most of the fine details would remain small and thin. This way, the primary thing the player sees on each die face is overwhelmingly the number, while the details remain secondary and non-distractive.
Next, I had to come up with some ideas to tie the design into the content of the game. For the d4, I based each face on the 4 types of Primaltheurgy, which is one of the game’s two schools of magic (or in Shattered’s case, Arkäna; additionally, a former 3rd school of magic, Illusion, has been merged into a separate skill branch called Kinesis). The 4 types were acid, fire, ice, and electricity (a 5th, sonic, has been added since then).
Anyway, I designed each face to be consistent with what I also came up with for the d6 (more on that in a later post), using cogs, arcane/cartographical-type lines and shapes, and an alphabet/typeface that I decided to use for numerous parts of the game called Modern Runic.
Unfortunately, these designs did not meet the manufacturer’s requirements for our order volume, so I’ve had to come up with simpler designs for all the dice, which I’ll share in future posts. I still have hope, however, that we can explore more options and perhaps retain some of these original designs with the 2nd batch of dice. 3D printing is something that is being looked at.