A Beginning

This blog will ultimately be a helpful reservoir of information about graphic design as it relates to tabletop game development. However, I wanted to start out by telling you how this entire venture started. It's strange how something can come out of the blue and change your life. So, our next post will tackle something more useful and hopefully, invite some of you to join in the conversation.

One of the greatest things about the lives of two artists is the ability for our creative bents to take each other by surprise. Greg has recorded two amazing concept albums and I am often awed by his conceptual thinking. I was, however, not prepared one Sunday afternoon for Greg to call me into the dining room saying he had something to show me. He was sitting in front of a fold-out game board with a couple of rockets, some wooden tokens, dice and a pile of some gem-like acrylic pieces.

“What is this,” I asked?

“A new board game,” he answered. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”

“And you went ahead and ordered a board?”

“I wanted to show you what it’s like with all the pieces in place.”

Now this was unusual in several respects. Normally, Greg gets an idea, tells me about it, and if it peaks my interest, we work on it for a while until something else catches our attention and we move on. We have a blast thinking of possibilities, then return to our respective creative pursuits. I love the ecstatic collaboration. Do we have a lot of start-stops? Sure. But it hardly matters when the creative juices are flowing.

Greg began to explain the idea behind the game and the basic mechanics and we tried a round. I was blown away. The core of the game-play was there! It was immediately obvious that there was a great synergy between luck and strategy. It was also dynamic so that no two games progressed in exactly the same way. Other people needed to experience this! We couldn’t just keep it to ourselves! I knew right away that Greg had come up with something amazing and that we would regret it if we did not see this to its ultimate conclusion… a fully realized published game.

This was the initial rough of what became Devil’s Vortex and the first title of Luff Games. My life since that Sunday has been primarily centered around making this game and this company a reality.

I’m excited to share our journey with you and hopefully, relate some great information about how how to spot great design. When I teach design, I focus mostly on the most important tool you have in your arsenal... your eyes! Below is an old board design for Devil's Vortex along with our most recent version. Great design is not something that happens immediately... it happens over time. Just like the game itself, you have to go through many variations before you get to something that fits like your most comfortable pair of shoes. Stay tuned to this blog for more information.

I leave you with this question: How many times have you created something that started out as one thing and transformed to something much different by the time you were willing to call it finished?


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© 2017 Luff Creative Group LLC.

Photos: Greg Johnson. Graphic Design: Greg and Lisa Johnson.

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