Hi again fellow board game developers,
I wanted to take up a topic which has always been a interesting aspect in a game for me.
The concept of language neutral layout / design in a board game... this may seem strange to some, but for me - who have played with many different people with many different native languages - the concept in itself is a huge selling point!
As a Danish guy living in Germany with a Belarusian wife - it's not hard to see why I like the no-text board games ;)
With this in mind, I would like to go through a series of thoughts and pointers you might want to explore further yourself.
Why would you make a language neutral game?
There are some neat advantages in making a board game without any real text on the game board, playing pieces, cards and so on...
Of course this doesn't come without a "cost", or at least some important factors you have to consider carefully...
Examples of board game mechanics and so on - explained with symbols.
I've found some examples in games, where symbol explanations seem well implemented (though some of them still have text, you can argue whether or not that's necessary).
I'm sure you can find many more - and these will be the ones you should refer to - when trying to make your own game.
The pictures above - are from the following game: Cyclades (Hades), Small World, D-Day Dice, 7 Wonders, Race for the Galaxy and Eminent Domain. I take no credit for their success, design or game play.
How to implement it.
If you choose to go for a game without text - you have to think about the implementation. How will you do it?
With text you can easily create associations - because you can tell the players to get them ;) But when you don't use text, you have to keep associations and visual explanation in mind all the time.
There's a fairly big chance - that you'll have to do a bit more play testing with the "no-text" solution.. but it will be a sweet achievement when you have a game that can be memorized by symbols and actions instead of long text sequences.
Plus - you might be lucky to have players from all around the world playing your game, without the need of a total reprint of the game!
No matter what solution you come up with - I hope you'll have fun :)
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