Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Anything MECCG related that doesn't fit in another forum.
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Using symbols in meccg textboxes, benefit or menace?

They bother me, because... (specify below svp)
6
21%
I like them, because... (specify below svp)
21
72%
Meh, use them or not, it's the same to me
2
7%
 
Total votes: 29

Nknma
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Nknma » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:09 am

I think first three symbols are by far the most understandable, because two of them is already in use in this game and tapping-symbol is quite universal. Still I'd rather prefer words.

Eero
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Eero » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:15 am

I voted against mostly because I agree with miguel.

I think that adding more symbols will make things more confusing. For my point of view cards should have simple mechanics and the less there are complicated effects on cards the less there is need for symbols like these. It is the gameplay that matters.

Cheers to all! :)
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by thorondor » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:03 pm

i dont mind very much both ways. i never played magic, so the look of it dont bother me too much. too many of them could cause troubles, making a card less readable.

and of course all of this is part of nicos plan, being able to put even more text on DC cards ;-)

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:05 pm

great! many interesting contributions so far, my thanks for that.

A few comments and considerations.
First up, I was also sceptical about using icons/symbols before, it was not my plan, and I considered it a deviation from the original cards, and not very Tolkienesque. And without discussion (this is an easy one): too many symbols on a card looks aweful and feels like deciphring an egyptian hieroglyph.

That being said, it is very easy to get used to them, as I've experienced, and as perhaps the voting of the active dc players here reflects.
ICE uses symbols and words simultaneously on the cards (yes it seems redundant), so they think it has added bonus; for clarity, to support reading, or for quick glancing. Of course this applies to sites/regions which match on hazards, but still, this system could even be applied in the case of new symbols.

miguel wrote:
the symbols might not look so crisp once printed. In fact, I know they won't.
Please do share this knowledge of how you know it, as I haven't seen any print samples myself yet. A few icons derive from other games, in which they were deemed good enough for print apparently.
That print quality is paramount is obvious, but a) it is another discussion that has little bearing on this one, and b) i see no fundamental reason why icons could not turn out well, if ICE and others can do it, so can we...
If anything, the DI/GI icons could be tricky to print with the letters in them legible. But those apparently are the ones most people would like to see used. We might kick the letters and assume the icons themselves are clear enough.

The corruption check symbol [-me_cc-] is indeed not very obvious (it's 2 dice), hence I have proposed to replace it with the corruption points symbol [-me_cp-] , the one missing from the list in the OP as mentioned by miguel (and it wouldn't be replaced). The burning eye btw is specifically trademarked by T.E. (but so are region and site symbols).

:arrow: The main distinction is between action symbols and category symbols. It seems clear that action symbols have highest degree of functionality, as they allow you in one glance to see what kind of action you can or must do with/for the card. The 2 cases here are tap and corruption check. Note that the tap symbol previously was used for any tap action, which often lead to it appearing on a card several times (tap character/site/whatnot), and it became less clear which target should tap. Hence we reduced it to mean only tap the card, so that it preserves this "quick glance" function.

MP and CvCC do not fall into this category and are less functional. But, in these cases, saving space could indeed become a relevant factor. The term Company versus Company Combat nearly eats up a whole line on a card. On some cards Marshalling Points is mentioned several times. Compare
"place this card in your Marshalling Point Pile; it is worth 1 Marshalling Point", to
"place this card in your [-me_mp-] ; it is worth 1 [-me_mp-] ".
Which incidentally also shows that there is no ambiguity or difficulty in using the same icon for MP and MP pile, as the context immediately shows you which of 2 is meant (you'd expect people who've mastered something as complex as Finnish to have no trouble with this :wink: ).

And using abbreviations like CvCC or MP -widely used for referencing- is even worse than icons, so that's no option either.

:arrow: That the freed card space would be used for adding more text is a legitimate concern and duly noted.
But, it is again another discussion, as there is no direct relation between the two. One might as well use the space for flavour text, and on intermediately full cards (a large chunk of meccg) the fonts could be bigger if space is saved, so the reading becomes easier.

Also note that the list of icons is pretty slim, some people have suggested even other symbols, like one for prowess or body (there's one for DI after all), or for body check (another action). These ideas have been discarded so far on basis of not overdoing it.

jhunholz wrote:
symbols are very useful in bringing a new player up to speed
Symbols might indeed help new players familiarize, but I'm not sure how we could use this fact if there is not a reprint of the game. It would be great if our DCFF efforts renew interest in the game, but to be realistic, the main effort is diversifying the (casual) game for people who already play.
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Luitprand
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Luitprand » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:56 pm

I like symbols because I overread sometimes the card text.

karmi
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by karmi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:27 pm

We all know icons can be useful, otherwise most of us would be typing commands on our computers instead of clicking icons. Cognitively, icons are easier to remember than text and they take less space.

Icons are also a good way to publicly display card abilities. All players can spot the icon at a glance and be at least somewhat aware what the card in question is or what abilities it does have.

Actions and abilities that can be triggered in MECCG are almost always dependant on the context: “You may [-me_tap-] Bilbo during organization phase to make a …” Icons can be recognized and associated with correct actions quite easily when they appear in context, the context being in MECCG case the card text and the surrounding sentence. Therefore, I wouldn’t be too worried about the number of used icons if they are chosen with care – everyone who has a basic grasp of the rules very probably recognizes what words to associate with the icon in “When stored, Bilbo’s Sword is worth 2 [-me_mp-]”.

All this is very nice, but these problems must be solved:
  1. The context must be obvious. For example, in the WotR board game the players need to associate different factions with faction icons depicted with stylished shields. There are only 5 hero faction shields, but with almost no contextual (well, the Rohan shield has a picture of a horse) hint, I constantly mix them with each other and have to look them up from the rulebook. Transferring the above example to MECCG, introducing different icons for each phase would be very problematic, as they couldn’t be recognized by using the context or by the outlook of the icon. But if we are given enough hints, our cognitive systems can easily manage hundreds or thousands of icons. We can only learn a small number of very regularly used icons otherwise (like a diskette symbol as a save icon).
  2. Icons are less effective when they are sprinkled within the text. As mentioned above, traditional MECCG card text wording describes abilities and actions in context-heavy manner. This means that if we want to use icons in full effect, we need to re-phrase. For example, instead of just writing “During your organization phase, Bilbo can [-me_tap-] to say hello.”, we would use a helper sentence, something like this: “ [-me_tap-]: say hello. Use this ability only during your organization phase.” This way card abilities become more easily distinguishable by all players.
I would not use icons just to shorten text. If that’s the main goal, abbreviations (DI, MP, CvCC, etc.) or new keyword <-> rule combinations are generally the way to go. In MECCG case (already convoluted rules, rulings, erratas, DC rules), the latter is probably a poor idea too. I still dream about having “Haven Corruption 7” as a card text instead of <insert 10 lines of Lure of Senses>, though…
Beornd wrote:The LCG´s games (AGoT and Lotr) i play dont use them and nobody missed them there.
I play Lotr and Agot and in my opinion both of those games rely rather heavily on icons, within text and otherwise. Maybe this shows that if icons are done right, they can be very intuitive and do not strike out? :wink:

Maybe the good Professor would not have preferred us using symbols or abbreviations in card rules text. Personally I don’t get any Tolkinesque vibes either way: even though I enjoy the theme immensely, card rules are just card rules, no matter how you sugar coat it. Fictious Magic card ability “1GGG, T: regenerate Green Goblin” presented in MECCG way “You may tap this card and pay three green and one colorless mana to regenerate Green Goblin” does not add to readability or usability or theme or to that “Tolkien-feeling” at all.

Change is always terrifying. But as the brief history of CCGs has demonstrated, in the end the adaptable and the sleek triumph while the rigid and the 10-liners are extinct. Therefore, I vote for change.

miguel
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by miguel » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:45 am

Thorsten the Traveller wrote:miguel wrote:
the symbols might not look so crisp once printed. In fact, I know they won't.
Please do share this knowledge of how you know it, as I haven't seen any print samples myself yet. A few icons derive from other games, in which they were deemed good enough for print apparently.
I've done enough graphic designing to know, but you could always do a print in actual size to find out for yourself. Many of the symbols you use contain too much detail / thin lines to look good in small size. ICE's symbols do have some thin lines, but they are more like shapes really, and ICE did use words together with symbols. Like you said and as we've discussed before, removing the letters from GI/DI symbols would certainly enhance them.
Thorsten the Traveller wrote:And using abbreviations like CvCC or MP -widely used for referencing- is even worse than icons, so that's no option either.
I'd actually prefer well established abbreviations over the symbols. With GI, DI, MP, MP-pile, CvCC, CC and CP, all MeCCG players immediately know what you mean. With them you can even differentiate between singular and plural (MP, MPs). Perhaps you could elaborate on why they are worse than icons? The tap-symbol is the only one that really adds anything to the game, imho.

And it's not that I can't figure out whether a symbol means singular or plural in its context, but I hate having to stop and figure it out when reading a card, it really should be blatantly obvious. Even in the Finnish language we don't have this problem... :roll:

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puffreis
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by puffreis » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:19 pm

Abbreviation are no good idea, because they are too ambiguous. It would be more precise to use icons.
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Thorsten the Traveller
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:07 pm

some solid remarks there Karmi.
Contextualisting is important, yet not within the text, hmm tricky :D . Unfortunately that might make cards appear a bit like an Ikea instruction manual. "Haven Corruption 7", that's quite funny indeed. MECCG is too specified for this I suppose. For example, I'd always thought it would be useful to have an icon or single term for "cannot be duplicated." But there's too many variations, duplicated on company, turn, phase, player, character, in the game, etc.

@Miguel. Well I assumed as abbreviations are less stylish than icons, that the community would like them even less. But we might have a poll about them as well :wink:

concerning context, the [-me_mp-] is always/usually prefixed with either 'in your' [-me_mp-], or a number like "worth 1" [-me_mp-] . So that's context, and to me that reads automatically, I really don't see how you would need to stop and think about which of the two meanings it is.
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miguel
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by miguel » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:57 pm

puffreis wrote:Abbreviation are no good idea, because they are too ambiguous. It would be more precise to use icons.
I think I already proved the exact opposite right above your post... :?

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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by miguel » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:36 pm

Thorsten the Traveller wrote:concerning context, the [-me_mp-] is always/usually prefixed with either 'in your' [-me_mp-], or a number like "worth 1" [-me_mp-] . So that's context, and to me that reads automatically, I really don't see how you would need to stop and think about which of the two meanings it is.
Maybe it's just a matter of becoming fluent in this icon-language then (which admittedly I'm not). It certainly helps to have the context clarified prior to the icon itself. Still, most of the icons are not exact by themselves. I just think they should be.

Ranger of the north
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Ranger of the north » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:28 pm

I like very much the taste of original MECCG cards and when I looked at these new symbols I felt a little bit confused, but now I think the symbols could help a lot to shorten the cards' texts, some of them in the FB and DF are very long; I'm a little worried that the use of different symbols in the same card text could be confusing (may be not) but In general I agree with the use of symbols.

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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Thanks for all your input guys.
It seems that most people do not object to the use of icons/symbols. And we will be considerate to the objections raised.

For the moment we have already decided to turn the CP icon into the CC icon, and skip CP alltogether. The Eye is much more evocative and unequivocally recognized, and the dice were kinda lousy.
So 1 less icon. Leaves us with MP/CC/CvCC, and the DI/GI which are already common, though not in the cardtext.
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cdnlife
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Re: Poll: using symbols in meccg textbox

Post by cdnlife » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:49 pm

I think icons should be used more often. The cc icon is unreadable. The automatic Attack icon should be implemented.
Also, there should be icons for item types, playable on some sites or not.

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