This was done for my own satisfaction and as a learning exercise. My map from the game is not great and since I wanted a more evocative one thought I’d create my own. While I’d used both Illustrator and Photoshop for decades, since about 1998 my primary area of expertise was 3D, so I hadn’t combined them to the extent required for any kind of cartography. While the legal side of Shenandoah was being finalised I thought this would be a good test of process and workflow.

In the end, Shenandoah proceeded faster than expected so all the fonts and line work are placeholder and no effort was put into redesigning/theming the charts and symbols. They’re more or less direct copies from the manual. In fact the only element of any real worth is the painted background and even that isn’t finished.

It’s also an example of a real beginners mistake.  I hadn’t actually played the game properly before making the map.  I’d dabbled and thought I had enough of an understanding. Deciding the supplied map was unattractive by modern standards and too grubby ( a second hand copy ). It’s a really stupid idea and something I wouldn’t do now.

At Shenandoah I would print out all the components and make rough paper prototypes, trying to keep track of all the data the iPad does behind the scenes.

So if nothing else, it was a valuable exercise.

Rommel-in-the-Desert the original

I’ve put it on the BoardGame Geek website. The developers were concerned I might try to profit from it but gave me permission provided I didn’t. It seems quite popular so one day I’ll finish it.

Edit :

So Columbia have decided to use the map for a Kickstartered reprint.

I should just make it clear that these changes wee Columbias decisions. They have their own plans and ideas for their own product so at the end of the day I respect those decisions.

But I’m in two minds. While it’s very flattering, it obviously needed a lot of rework to be a commercial product as well as being proof read as the line work/tables were so rushed I don’t know if they’re error free. Since I’m not allowed to freelance they’ve done it themselves. So, flattering, but quite frustrating as well.



They’ve decided to ..

 deepen it so the balance of the map now feels all wrong. Deepening it to reduce the squashing of the bottom row of hexes is great. But their technique was less than ideal.

 in extending it they’ve done some poor retouching and have even broken one of the Illustrator elements. I thought that might just be bleed or wrap around for the board but there’s non on the left and right edges.

They’ve left the tables as they were. With all this extra space they could of done much more with them, added a turn sequence etc.. You could even try adding two sets of charts, rotated 180 degrees so players on both sides of the map can read them. Or even if you just make the charts bigger so they’re easier to read at a distance its a win-win. There’s also no gurantee they’re proof read them as I’m pretty sure there were errors.

 add the game name in a weird font and style that vaguely looks Roman but is too incipid to be gold. It doesn’t match the one on the cards or the box. Sorry but if this has to be there, which does seem to be a Columbia tradition, it needs to be done to a much higher standard. And the angled, pseudo 3D ‘in the’ makes no sense.

 change the colour so its got a dull green tone. I spent a long time trying to get the tone right so it felt fresh and warm without being overpoweringly yellow. ( this could be due to a bad CMYK conversion or missing colour profile but it should of been picked up on. It might be a result of the printers colour profile since it looks a little better in the video, so maybe I should reserve judgement )

 changed the colours, or more importantly, the brightness of the country names. They’re now far too distracting and overpowering.

 they’ve put the dark, solid hexes back and they look even thicker! I got rid of these because they didn’t need to be so dominent on what is a very light map. The problem is that everything about the map was designed with the pale hexes in mind. So things like escarpments are now very hard to see as theres no contrast. The lighter hexes don’t prevent you from calculating supply or movement.

 they said they’re changing the Allies blocks to brown instead of red but haven’t changed the on-map icon colour

 there were usability problems with the mountain side hexes on mine but at least they were there. Now there’s no indication.

 they haven’t done any rework of the fonts or their hierarchy.

 the colour balance between the roads and paths hasn’t been addressed.

 they’ve gone back to the strange stars for the ports. Mine were rubbish but only because I hadn’t designed them, just recognised they needed to be changed.

 they’ve stretched the Qattara depression down to fill the new hex row but have lef tthe hex half and half. That will confuse a lot of people.

 the entire painted map should of been reworked to better fit the hex grid. It doesn’t need to look bad or artificial but a nudge here or there would make some of those coastal hexes easier to work with and none would be any the wiser.