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Tak is a new abstract strategy game created by James Ernest and Patrick Rothfuss, based on the game in The Wise Man's Fear.
12,187 backers pledged $1,351,142 to help bring this project to life.

New Art: Coins and Boards

Posted by Cheapass Games (Creator)

Greetings Takkers.

Today we’d like to share some art-in-progress for the collector coin, and for the two main game boards.

Collector Coins: 

We have made collector coins for nearly all of our Kickstarter campaigns. We created coins for Get Lucky, Unexploded Cow (after the campaign), Stuff and Nonsense, and many others, most of which are still available at our Factory Outlet Store.

The Tak collector coin is a bit different, because it’s not round. This coin is designed for use as a centerpiece, helping you play Tak without a board. We’ve found that square coins do a better job of indicating where the board is.

Collector Coin: Updated Design
Collector Coin: Updated Design

The coin is approximately 42mm corner-to-corner. The front shows a simple 5x5 Tak board. You’d use this to indicate the center space when playing 3x3 or 5x5. On the back, we have a decorative “X” design. Placed diagonally, it shows the intersection at the middle of a 4x4 grid (or if you are ambitious, 6x6).

There is a hole in the corner, in case you want to use it as a fob, necklace, or keychain. It will be finished in black and silver, similar to the mockup above.

Note: This item is technically not a “coin” but a “metal gaming token” since it’s not really currency, and customs takes a special interest in “coins.” But whatever, it’s a flat metal thing made by Campaign Coins, so internally we can’t stop calling it a coin. 

Echo Chernik: First Sketches 

As you know, Echo Chernik is creating the game board for the Classic Set. She’s a powerhouse local illustrator who works for many high-profile gaming companies when she’s not making art for the real world.

Echo fell in love with Tak as soon as she played, and she’s designing something quite special for us, but we have only her very first sketch to show off today. This is a concept sketch, but it gives you a good idea where she is going. 

Echo's first "Flowers" board sketch
Echo's first "Flowers" board sketch

The basic concept is a richly detailed board resembling exotic wood with gemstones and mother of pearl, with hand-painted flower designs. This sketch uses roses to show the basic idea, but the flowers in the final board will be daisies and Selas flowers.

This board is a hybrid 6x6, meaning it has 36 diamonds and 25 squares. The design above shows a couple of different color options, but it should really be treated as a work in progress. We may have a new sketch as early as tomorrow.

Pete Venters: Companion Book Cover 

Another local powerhouse illustrator, Pete Venters, is designing the game board for the back cover of the companion book. This design is farther along than the Classic Set board, but is still not final.

Pete Venters' Companion Book Board
Pete Venters' Companion Book Board

The Companion Book will be 8.5” square, which is large enough for a 5x5 hybrid board (25 diamonds and 16 squares). Pete's beautiful geometric design has details in wood grain and gemstones, much more than this preview can show.

We love the idea of a board on the back of the companion book, and we think this will be an excellent portable option for everyone with a Tavern Set (or the Crazy Martin pack, which is also a full 5x5 set).

Our current estimate for the page count in the Companion Book is 64, but it’s still flexible. It depends on how much new content we unlock, how much more James and Pat want to write, and how many copies we print. We know the book will contain the game rules, history, variants, at least two precursor games, and even some Tak puzzles. So much fun! 

The Countdown Continues! 

Only three days remain in this most excellent and amazing campaign. It closes on Friday night, and afterwards you can still add more to an existing pledge, but you can’t become a new backer! So please spread the word, and let’s get everyone engaged before the party is over.

The crew of Cheapass Games will have a private celebration on Friday night. We'll be tweeting and playing Tak during the final two hours of the campaign. Celebrate with us: follow @cheapassgames and @cheapassjames on Twitter, and let’s see how high we can raise this balloon!

Thanks as always for all your support, and that includes your many helpful replies on busy comment threads! 

David Odle, Jason, and 37 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Jeremy Watson on

      Oh, just scrolled down far enough to see the reply from Cheapass Games for a similar comment virtually confirming that the board will be double sided. Thank you for listening to -- and responding to! -- constructive feedback.

    2. Missing avatar

      Jeremy Watson on

      I have to agree with the others who are wishing for a more plain design for the Classic Set board. The rose board looks beautiful and cool, but it's not something I want to play a game on. I assumed the board would look like the Arcanist's board, just be lesser quality, and that's what I'd prefer.The suggestion to have a double sided board is I think a good one, because I wouldn't mind having that board on one side -- I'd just never use it in an actual game. Either the double sided board or having two designs made that we can choose from would be great. Once again, I think the artist did a great job and it looks awesome: I just don't like it as a backdrop for a game like Tak.

    3. Missing avatar

      Hartshope on

      I like the flower board design.

    4. Alvin Helms

      @Jack Perry -- Thank you. I would prefer version B too, because I don't want the pieces sitting right on the edge of the board, which *is* where they're going to be with version A.

      And just for the record, I don't necessarily have anything against elaborately detailed, ornate floral designs. I simply don't think such a thing works at all as a game board -- particularly not for an otherwise totally abstract game, with pieces that are not the least bit ornate. Sorry, but they just don't fit together.

    5. Bill De Franza on

      I for one, would love a double sided cardboard board that looks like Devi's board. Either as "the" board for the classic set or as an add on if needed.
      and a slew of POD boards would be super awesome so we all can get just what we want! Maybe a layered PDF file? In any event, Keep up the awesome!

    6. Brendon Carr on

      Reminds me of that song... "Nothing but roses" ;-)

    7. Missing avatar

      Jack Perry on

      @Alvin: Nice illustration. I'd prefer the outer margins to fit like you show in Figure B. I imagine it should be worth the trade off of having less finger space per square.

    8. Jason C

      The more I look at them, the more I like the new board designs. At first, I thought they were too "busy" and crowded. However, I started having the image in my mind of a game of Tak about lovers or spies creeping through a rose garden or an overgrown ivy covered courtyard to get to the other side. Love the designs now. Plus, even with my rudimentary carpentry skills, I'm sure I could cobble together a decent enough Tak board myself (I really really wish I could afford a Devi board). However, I have no chance in duplicating what these two artists have come up with on my own. Just my 2 cents.

    9. David Odle on

      well said @ShadowStalker. When I'm on I don't think "man I wish the underlying board was prettier/simpler", I'm thinking how the hell am I going to block this road... As long as the board is functional and easy to visualize the borders, the aesthetics are secondary. I appreciate good artwork, and I like both designs, but in the end it is the food is that brings me to the table, not the plate it is served on.

    10. Jayce Pentad on

      The floral board looks fine, especially the inset version with the black diamonds. Very classy and no one will have a hard time in real life with any of these. The game is played in three dimensions and will be extremely easy to keep oriented. Aesthetically the abstract board on the book isn't my favorite thing ever but it's perfectly serviceable so no problems there. :) Below 6x6 I'm just as likely to use my coin or cloth board anyway. Great update!

    11. ShadowStalker on

      Making the board double sided would be the best for both worlds and I think would appease everyone. It is a smart idea... just like the idea for these hybrid boards.
      I personally don't mind the floral design or the abstract design on the back of the book. I think people are probably over thinking it a touch. The board is 2d and will be covered up during gameplay. Once play starts the focus won't be on the board itself. And the way the game unfolds... the board is sort of just a formality.
      But everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    12. Avri

      @Anna - Alvin's response to your post meant for me is as articulate as anything I would have said. A (hypothetical) double-sided Classic board, however, would seem to make everyone happy . . .

    13. Alvin Helms

      @Anna -- No problem, and no apology necessary. However, I should note that I think Avri had a valid point, too.

      @Scott Powell -- I have seen a few chessboards that have no decorative border at all, but they have all been… well, if not ugly, then at least visually unappealing.

      And I really don't want to run the point into the ground, but I'm pretty sure that both my aesthetic sense *and* my math are right. For anyone who's interested, please observe:…

      The large tan square on both sides is 10" x 10". The 5x5 grid on the left uses 1.75" x 1.75" squares, while the grid on the right uses 1.625" x 1.625 -- with the red-outlined squares representing the same size squares, but centered on the diamonds. The semi-transparent "pieces" on both sides are using the exact dimensions specified in Update #9, and each one is centered on the diamond beneath it.

      I believe that illustrates my point.

    14. Missing avatar

      Jack Perry on

      @James: Thanks for the reply. I dig that all game types should be easily playable without the ring of coloration - mainly just wanted to give you guys props for the great design idea. I certainly hope to see it turn up somewhere in one of the designs that gets shipped.

    15. Missing avatar

      Scott Powell on

      @Alvin -- I agree completely about the border, and note that I have never seen a chess or checker board wherein there was no border around the demarcation of the squares themselves. Also I find it interesting how many people seem to be keyed up on the size of the board being purely functional while debating the aesthetics of the squares. I would find the design for the book cover unusable for a 5x5 game since the board, once raised from the table by the thickness of the book itself, would literally have the outside pieces hanging off the edge--and I, and the people around me, are too clumsy NOT to knock at least those pieces off.

      The discussion is moot for me, though, since I have fun designing boards for ancient games like tablut and senet so I'll be using watercolor paper, ink, paint, wood and lacquer to make my own boards to my own specifications.

    16. Cheapass Games 12-time creator on

      @Jack: Just a note on the Arcanist's Board. That design is pretty much final except for micro-tweaks to the dimensions. We only get two shades of color on that board, so there is no easy way to highlight the outer ring of squares. I hope you can trust us that the highlight is not at all necessary to playing on a subset of the board. -James

    17. Missing avatar

      Jack Perry on

      A double-sided classic board would be great. What I would like to see most is the functional design showed on the tak information page included in either Echo's design or on the side with a more basic design.

      To me, the ring of light squares around the edge is pure genius. It elegantly sets off the 3x3 board from the 5x5 board, and the boundaries for 4x4 and 6x6 are crystal clear at a glance. For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, I highlighted it here in red:

      I find this superior to a checkered hybrid design since highlighting diagonal paths doesn't really add any functionality and because non-checkered diamonds are inconsistent with checkered squares.

      Also looking forward to an updated (or finalized) version of the Arcanist's Board. I'd love to see the ring of coloration included there as well.

    18. Anna on

      @Alvin My apologies, that was meant for Avri.

    19. Alvin Helms

      @Naomiooooo -- +1… and another +1 for the response from Cheapass! Perhaps I *won't* have to drop the Classic Set from my pledge…

    20. Alvin Helms

      @Anna -- I do not believe that it is "heavy-handed" to respond with honest opinions and feedback -- and since Cheapass was kind enough to post the preview images, I assume that's exactly what they wanted to hear. It would benefit neither Cheapass nor myself to coat my critique in sugar.

    21. Cheapass Games 12-time creator on

      @Naomiooooo: Indeed it would be. Stay tuned...

    22. Naomiooooo on

      I am loving the exploration of different ways to do this. I realy like the floral board (toned down I assume) but I can see wanting a plainer version... Would it be possible to make it double-sided, so we could have a plain-ish board on one side and a fancy one on the other?

    23. Anna on

      Super excited to see selas flowers as part of a board!

      @Alvin That's heavy-handed. If you read the campaign page and updates, Cheapass never implied the beta boards were in any way final, and stated outright in another update that Echo would be designing the board from the Classic set.

    24. Olna Jenn Smith

      Every single thing y'all say and post makes me even happier I'm giving you all of my money.

    25. Missing avatar

      Arthur Wilson

      I believe that the back cover of the companion book should be 25 squares and 36 diamonds, not 16 squares and 25 diamonds. According to the pledge levels, it was designed to be used with the tavern set (which I pledged for), which uses 25 squares. If the book is 8.5 inches square, if there were no margins that would be room for 25 squares that are 1.7 inches wide. According to update #9, the stones in the tavern set are two centimeters wide, or 0.78 inches. So there should be plenty of room on the back of the companion book for a grid of 25 squares with a good margin around it.

    26. Avri

      @Cheapass - I don't know. This seems backwards. You say, "For those who loved the early prototype board designs, we'll likely offer something similar as a print-on-demand product in the fall."

      Would make more sense to ship something close to the board you've been showing all campaign (and that 8,000 backers have responded to with cash) and offer the last minute art boards after the campaign . . .

    27. Alvin Helms

      @Cheapass -- Well, okay, I suppose that's mechanically true.

      However, speaking more aesthetically, I wouldn't ever want the pieces to be hanging off the edge of the board, or even looking like they were *close* to doing it. So for me, I'd prefer an outer margin that is as wide as is physically possible on the board.

      On a 10" board with a 5/6 hybrid layout, that would mean squares that are 1.625" wide -- which is only slightly smaller than the 1.75" you're using, gives the diamonds the same amount of space as the squares, *and* leaves 0.125" of extra space around all the edges, just for a visual frame.

      But that is, of course, just my opinion.

    28. Cheapass Games 12-time creator on

      @Alvin: Your math isn't quite right. The marginal spaces only need to be large enough to hold a piece. The interior spaces have to be large enough to hold a piece with clearance. That's why the diamond board works with small margins. Pieces are only about 1" square, but the interior board spaces are about 1.75". The rest of that space is for your fingers to grasp the pieces, and this is afforded at the margins without requiring any board surface.

    29. Alvin Helms

      @Hannah Sher -- Yes, I know the pieces go on the diamonds. That's why you need the same amount of space *around* those diamonds as you have in the squares -- which means the margin needs to be at least half the width of a square, as I said.

    30. Cheapass Games 12-time creator on

      @Folks: Thanks for your feedback on the board sketches!

      On the rose board, please keep in mind this is a concept sketch, not a model for execution; we all agree that it’s busy, and will be tweaking the design to un-busy it. The board will be wood-like and have flowers on it, but it will also be serviceable as a game board because that is its primary function. The margins (on both boards) really aren't a consideration in the early sketches. As Cassidy mentioned, we’ll playtest all the boards before we commit them to print.

      For those who loved the early prototype board designs, we'll likely offer something similar as a print-on-demand product in the fall, thorough a service like Game Crafter. That's a great opportunity for us to offer many different designs, but first we need to make the core game.

      For those who like the the new art and see its potential, thanks! So do we.


    31. Missing avatar

      Daniel Nwaerondu on

      The Classic board looks nice but is overly flowery... To be honest, I'd prefer something a bit more subdued. The vines are okay, but maybe without such large flowers covering the board? Although, I like the look of black diamonds surrounded by gold on the faux wooden board.

      The Companion book design seems good, but I'd be worried about pieces falling off if the margin is actually going to be that narrow...? Have any test games been played on a sample book cover?

      The coin looks pretty awesome though, I'm definitely fine with that as it is!
      All questions aside, thanks for all the timely updates, definitely appreciate them!

    32. Hannah Sher on

      @Alvin, you're not supposed to play on the margin of the boards if you're playing a 6X6 game, you're playing on the diamonds (instead of the squares).

      I actually like the size and placement of the flowers, but I'm hoping that they look like Selas flower and Daisies (rather than roses). The board is pretty, but I do think that the background pattern with the flowers is a bit overwhelming. Hopefully they'll find a good balance before things are finalized.

    33. Keith Pishnery on

      Maybe one of the prevailing issues is that these boards aren't feeling very realistic and straying so far from the initial look. More color, more detail, but losing that lived in authentic wood look everyone responded to. The high priced wood boards have that feeling, but then they are actual wood boards limited by reality, as opposed to the fanciful sky's the limit designs of everything not made of wood. Oddly, these all use faux wood graphics in them.

    34. Mitch Willis on

      I love the exotic wood look of the Classic board, as well as the look of the grid and diamonds. It may just be me, but the flowers, as they are now, kind of overpower the board, especially the white ones. I'm hoping the daisies and selas will be a bit more muted, for lack of a better term, and perhaps a tad smaller, in the final design. While I appreciate art, I don't want the design to "overwhelm" the functionality of the board...

    35. Alvin Helms

      The Coin: Fantastic. I love it.

      The Classic Board: No. I'm sorry, but that is waaaaaay too florid, cluttered, and overdesigned. It is indeed pretty, in an excessively feminine and fancy kind of way, but it does not look like a game board, it looks like my grandmother's sofa cover -- and I simply do not want to play a game on that thing.

      And I *couldn't* play on it anyway, since there is also nowhere near enough space around the edges for the 6x6 grid. The outer margin on a hybrid board *must* be at least half the width of a square -- so in this case, the whole thing must be 6 squares wide -- or you can't *use* the outer margin.

      To be honest, seeing that board makes me tempted to drop the Classic Set from my pledge, and just get two Tavern Sets and an Arcanist's Board instead. (We still haven't seen a final design for the Arcanist's Board though, so I'm not sure about that, either.)

      The Book Cover Board: The design is not bad, and at least it looks a bit more like a proper game board, but I think it might benefit from a bit more contrast between the light and dark elements of the design -- that is, the elements inside the squares should be a bit darker, to differentiate them from the lines and the 5x5 intersection markers.

      And again, it has the same problem with an outer margin that isn't nearly wide enough.

      {sigh} I wonder if maybe I should drop my pledge to just $5, wait to see the final versions of everything, and make my decisions in the Pledge Manager.

    36. Deborah Roggie on

      Oh, and I think the coins are fantastic.

    37. Deborah Roggie on

      The new designs for the game boards are pretty, but I agree they are too distracting. The game board should set off the stones as they are played, not compete with them.

      I actually like the prototype boards much better than these new designs.

      Would it be possible to make the Classic board double-sided, so we could have a plain-ish board on one side and a fancy one on the other?

    38. Shamien on

      I love the idea of both boards, but I partly agree with Matthew below. There's a bit too much going on in there, especially for the Companion Book board. Maybe make the green parts a bit smaller in that?

    39. Mathúin [‘Ma-Hoon’]

      I'm sure whatever the final designs are, they'll be amazing still!

    40. Mathúin [‘Ma-Hoon’]

      It all adds up quickly n__n;

    41. Mathúin [‘Ma-Hoon’]

      =D Wow! Everything is so beautiful~! Amazing jobs by everyone! nOn

      I'm one of those international people :P I want to make sure all the shipping is right, so I'm adding *everything* via the post-campaign pledge manager.

      I read you'll pay less fees that way, too :P

      I was already gonna add a 'coin' but seeing the new design has me really excited to wear it on a lanyard or something so it can be quickly and easily unclipped for a game~ =3

      Though I'm getting the book, too, so it would be for instances when I don't have that but for some reason have the pieces, idk 'xD I just want it. It's so lovely! :3

    42. Missing avatar

      John Stone on

      I love this tak board for the classic set. That design is just beautiful. I can see everyone else's point about the business but I think that would be solved by darkening the diamonds (as in the right side picture) and maybe moving the floral design to the border around the margin. I personally love the design as is. Keep up the good work.

    43. Cheapass Games 12-time creator on

      The coin is available as an add-on for $5. You can add that now or via the survey. :)

      Please keep in mind these are preliminary sketches. We'll continue to develop the design overtime, and samples will be send to us for playtesting prior to us printing the whole order.


    44. Matthew on

      I just want a simple and elegant board, but the designs on the cloth board, classic set, and back of the book aren't doing it for me. I currently don't have the funds for an arcanist board + pieces, so I think I will have to withdraw from this campaign. Hopefully I will be able to obtain a set in the future. Best of luck!

    45. David Odle on

      @Aaron I was going to immediately say yes, but as I inspect the campaign page closer I don't see the coin listed with the rest of the add-ons. I was going to pass on it initially and just go with Devi's box + companion book and add-on a Crazy Martin set and cloth board, but I'd really like to be sure it will be available as an add-on now that I have seen it. (unless @Cheapass Games wants to include it in the Devi's box pledge level as well... wink wink). Love the hole idea. Definitely going on my keychain.
      I also love the new board designs, and can't wait to see what Echo and Pat create regarding the delicate Selas flower pattern.

    46. Missing avatar

      Bi Cheng Wu on

      I love the design of the coin, but I think the design of the companion book could improve. Firstly, from the board design images, it seems the corners of the board are too close to the edge of the book. I would be afraid of the pieces falling off. Also, I would think that a 6x6 hybrid board (instead of the 5x5 hybrid board design shown) might be better to have (cause then 5x5 games which are probably most frequently played can be played inside the squares and not on the vertices)

    47. Avri

      Loving the "coin" and Companion board. My initial impression is that the Classic board is currently too busy - I fear it would be distracting to actually play on.

    48. Missing avatar


      That metal gaming token looks pretty nice! That will be available via the BackerKit at the end as well?

    49. Keith Pishnery on

      Love the coin! I'm also really digging the Pete Venters' board...but I would like to strongly suggest giving the board more room around the edges. It was advertised as a 5x5 board and I love that it's now a hybrid board, but I think providing enough room for a comfortable 5x5 game is extremely important.

    50. Jason