When I initially designed the cards for Professor Prospector the ideas in my head were all circulating around the word hygge. I wanted clean bold lines, warm colors like a fire on a dark and cold night, and — it sounds maybe a bit silly to say — a gentle simplicity. After all, we were designing a game for friends and families to enjoy together. A game that didn't take itself too seriously, and could easily be pulled out of a drawer on a winter night and played. The result was a simple game for 2-4 players that could be learned within a few minutes.
Unfortunately, while the game was fine, it felt like a clean-cut standardized card game that didn't fully represent what we at cold pizza games strive for in everything we create: a smidgen of quirkiness, a drop of cheeky, a sudden idea in your head that makes you smile when everyone else around you is serious. We wanted the game to be more engaging, more uplifting yet still casual. The one word we centered on was 'whimsical'.
Taking the word whimsical to heart, I applied it not only to the visual style, but also the copy, the player interactions, and the overall feeling of the game.
In terms of copy, being more whimsical meant adding a dose of the everyday mundane for comical effect. The Professor Prospector card — previously inspired by Robin Hood and Indiana Jones — switched to "Coffee with Professor Prospector", something way more down to earth, human, and humdrum. "Drone Monitoring" — a card for the bad evil organization, The Foundation — became "Casual Drone Monitoring," as if that could even be such a thing, but of course an evil organization would say that.
In addition to copy and changing how the cards function in the game, we wanted the visual style to be uplifting, colorful, and not too serious. Thus, I switched the title typeface from Josefin Sans to Brim Narrow in order to be clearly distinct and add a bit of pomp and circumstance. The visual style, what was bold and simple was adjusted to be a mix of faded and glowing colors, and perhaps a bit unusual to build a sense of curiosity. For instance, the new Professor Prospector card added a faded yellow to the background to bring about a warm glow of lights. Casual Drone Monitoring, in addition to other special Foundation cards, got a faded pink fuzz to contrast with the ruby-red typeface colors — colors used repeatedly for the fictional Foundation brand, a color of power. The pink fuzz is meant placate and pacify, to maintain the facade of the bad evil Foundation, a proactive action to hide their ill intent and normalize their behavior in the game.
Anyhoo, we'll be posting more design and development posts, and "Professor Prospector: Into the Important Cavern" will be heading to Kickstarter this Spring! Please stay tuned!
as always, cheers from the pines, now it's time for some earl grey and strawberry-rhubarb pie