Monday, November 22, 2010

Wood or Cardboard

We have come to an interesting point in game components:  they pieces we move around can be either wood blocks or cardboard units. (There are some other possibilities, but they are rather rare.)

Wood blocks provide a 3-D sense of physicality. However, they are usually bland, even when colored.  Some games do allow you to paste information onto them, a process i find tedious and, in game design terms, medieval.

Cardboard has none of the physicality, but - and especially with the graphics of the day - they do often present some rather marvelous pictures/icons.  They also allow the units to have a fairly large number of ratings.

Which do you prefer, and why?



  1. Cardboard for the very reasons you mention. Less tedium and at least to me, better art. Or perhaps better said, greater opportunity for better art.

  2. Depends on the game. Information intensive / high counter density / crowded map games would seem to require cardboard. Too much to put on a block, too many blocks to paste up, and on a normal small hex map blocks take up too much space. On the other hand, blocks provide a reasonable fog of war approach (started with Napoleon IIRC), for games like CC:A, which would seem cheaper with cardboard, they provide a reasonable alternative to miniatures/plastic, and for games where the counters would be just chits (like Dominant Species), they improve the overall feel of quality in the game. I wouldn't want blocks for Combat Commander nor would I want cardboard for Risk.

  3. Well, fog of war is not a factor in linear warfare at a battle level.

  4. what about plastic blocks? You could put a counters worth of data on them.