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Old 06-15-2018, 11:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Melee Cover Preview

I just found this, and no one's mentioned it here, from what I can tell...

Prelim Melee Cover

I gotta say... I'm not digging the art :(

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Old 06-16-2018, 12:50 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Far northern California
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Yeah, I gotta admit this one leaves me a bit colder than the Wizard cover art did...

Of course, I'm still thinking of the original Danforth cover for Melee and the original Wizard cover (can't remember the artists name off the top of my head, but he was good!). I like cover art that tells a story, and both of those covers sure as heck did! These new ones, not so much, in my opinion.

However, I don't suppose Steve Jackson Games will be hiring me as an art consultant any time soon, and until they do, my opinion is worth about what you paid for it... ;-)
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:24 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2017
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I find this Melee cover even more 'toonish/comic book-ish, in a dull way. It just doesn't have a distinctive energy. It could be a generic image found in some fantasy-themed rulebook or historical book. But it just doesn't have a wow factor that makes you want to linger on it. The original melee/wizard/itl covers really do have a unique and impressive style. If we were looking at frames from an animated film/show, this new melee cover looks like it would be part of some choppy animated saturday morning cartoon, while the old covers would be playing on a big screen, double-featured with some Ralph Bakshi film. Meaning--they have a presence and a smooth cool quality.

Yes, it all comes down to opinions on art... this isn't a science... but you still need to consider gut reaction from viewers. Just not getting a good gut reaction.

Anyone love these?

And I say this WANTING to love the art we're seeing... but now's the time to make honest (if difficult) decisions. Need to make sure the art lives up to the quality bar set by the game design.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:49 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2017
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If you do a quick "gladiator art" search on google, so many interesting and cool images come up. Would be nice to have something that exudes that energy and excitement for a game called "Melee". A simple name that packs a lot of punch. The art needs to pack the same type of potency.

And I hate coming down so hard on someone's art... but hey, this game holds a special place in my little kid heart. Especially if the point of this release is to give the game the cosmetic/makeover treatment it deserves... it deserves a slick cover/design.

And if you're going to put a face on the gladiator... make sure it has impact. Again, google "gladiator art" and a few images of russell crowe in gladiator comes up (in a few different portrait styles) and some of them... just... look... COOL. They set an intense mood appropriate for MELEE.

The existing prelim art for Melee v2.0... he just looks a but meh.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:50 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Oakland, CA, USA
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Yeah - that cover doesn't say "fantasy" to me.

It says vaguely historical. Doesn't seem to fit the theme of the game.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:02 AM   #6
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It does say "Not Final Art" so there's some hope there.

It looks like Cardboard Heroes art. In this size, it reminds me of a Lost Worlds book.

Either way, I'm excited to see the actual covers.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:37 AM   #7
Chris Rice
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
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I'd have to say it's also a thumbs down from me. We really need some better cover art to help sell this.

If you look at the Art for Dungeon Fantasy, it's far better than this and, no disrespect to DF, TFT is a much bigger game potentially. Firstly, it has history; many of us played it back in the day and at one point it ran D&D close in sales. Secondly, it's approachable and versatile; it can be played as pure skirmish or RPG which could attract a whole new audience of younger gamers.

I would expect the Kickstarter numbers to be closer to Ogre, with about 5k backers than Dungeon Fantasy which had about 1-1.5k backers. If the average spend is $100 then that's a lot of wonga potentially.

So please Steve and team, don't skimp on the artwork. We're going to do our best to make this big so please do your best to help us out.

Last edited by Chris Rice; 06-16-2018 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:12 AM   #8
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
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I have the same complaints with this art that I had with the Wizard art. My comments are as a game consumer, not as an artist (which I am not). And of course, these are my subjective opinions.

1. The face is...odd. I think that people are drawn to faces when they see art, and both the Wizard and Melee artwork has odd looking faces. It’s also, well, cartoonish looking, which is not a compliment.

2. I question whether emphasizing a specific type of historical figure is the best choice for selling the game. Customers might well assume that this game is a game about Roman combat only. And if you’re going to use historical figures, I’d suggest Spartans or Vikings. But far better would be to use FANTASY figures, since TFT is a fantasy games. Like say, a battle between a dwarf and orc? Or a gargoyle? (Yes I know about the sample story between Flavius and Wulf, but so what? The artwork is supposed to sell the game).

3. The technical quality of the artwork is not that good, compared with other artwork in the marketplace.

4. The red clothing on a red background doesn’t do it for me. That said, red is a much more striking color than blue, so it’s better than the wizard cover.

5. Melee is a game of *duels* between warriors. Wouldn’t it be better to show, you know, duels? The cartoonish Roman soldier art doesn’t communicate much about the game. And what it does communicate is ambiguous. Is it a historical wargame about Roman soldiers? About Roman soldiers dealing with anger management issues?

6. Again, just like the proposed Wizard art, I don’t think that this art will improve the chance of selling the game.

7. The title seems a little better than Wizard. At least I can discern that “The Fantasy Trip” is the system and that Melee is part of that system.

8. This art will have no effect on my personal decision to buy Melee. I’m pre-sold, so you could put it in a black box with red lettering that only said MELEE. But I would like to see it thrive. And the proposed artwork is candidly underwhelming.

Some examples of artwork that I think are superior -

Game Products

Artwork Only (All of these show actual conflict, which is sorta the point of Melee)

Single Figure Artwork (Note how well done the FACES are; that catches the eye)

A spartan warrior similarly posed, but technically far superior -

A bit cheesecakey, but very striking -

Last edited by tbeard1999; 06-16-2018 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:37 AM   #9
Jim Kane
Join Date: Mar 2018
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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
I'd have to say it's also a thumbs down from me. We really need some better cover art to help sell this.
Commodeus, the Constipated also gets the *Thumbs Down* from me.

Between *this*, the wizard cover art, and those awful cartoonish logos, things just keep going from *bad to worse* art-wise, I have to conclude this may all just be *a very bad joke* SJ is having on us.

It would take a lot to turn me off to where I lose interest and drop my support on this project, but I have to say, I can plainly see that event horizon in the distance... and sadly, I can feel us accelerating in that direction.

Seriously, how hard is it to show the in-house artists samples of the art of: Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, The Brothers Hildebrandt, and Ken Kelly, or even Danforth, Hidy, or Robert Philips interior artwork for The Fantasy Trip, and say: *like this...*


PS - IF this all this is not a joke, then something else is afoot... other than the dopey WWII-style combat boot which was added to be shown sticking-out from under female wizard's robes - Anyone else catch that added little detail on the full length version?

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-16-2018 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-16-2018, 07:00 AM   #10
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Columbia, Maryland
Default Re: Melee Cover Preview

If I had a buck for every Roman I sent to die in the Melee arena, or died fighting pirates using the ships and boarding rules from TSG...

However, I'm not a fan of either of the proposed covers. Lackluster.
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