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The early prototype for Tara, Seat of Kings was originally called King Of The Castle and came with appropriate Medieval (clip)-artwork and pseudo-terminology. However, none of us felt particularly happy with this theme for what is, basically, an abstract game and being Medieval sailed rather too close, stylistically, to our first ever product: the 2-player card game Coppertwaddle. Never ones to wish to repeat ourselves, we retired to an excellent Mexican restaurant in Essen after the last day of Spiel 04 (and four days of selling Bloody Legacy) and, over fajitas and fruit juice, established the Celtic Irish theme for the game; its major advantages being:
a) It is more in keeping with the structure of the game; for instance
four village boards became the four Counties of Ireland, the placement
spaces in the pyramids mapped to the hierarchy of Celtic Irish society
So, with these ideas brainstormed, discussed and agreed (and further
spicy dishes digested), my thoughts and inspirations revolved around a
core source: The Book Of Kells. The Tara box-art would be as intricate,
colourful, organic and rich as the pages from this incredible work with
the components reflecting detail elements contained within that central
picture now thats setting ones sights high!
The intricate page that was now being built up afforded me the chance to slip in a few visual references and jokes for the more keen-eyed viewer. Those of you who have visited our other games websites will already be familiar with our tendency toward hidden detail, japes, tomfoolery and (wherever possible) deception! Take a closer look at the Tara box and youll find such items as Alan Paull (Author of the Game) sneaking a quick forty-winks; myself as a wise old bird; a detached eye (freshly-popped) from Bloody Legacy; a wormy-unravelling of knots; the titular chalice from Coppertwaddle and a suitably-surprised Celt!
Having sketched, re-sketched, knotted and joined all of the components onto a single page a sheet of A0 (zero) cardboard it was then necessary to add that all-important colour; this is where the graphic designer's work began! Although I considered hand-painting, I couldnt achieve the depth of colour that I felt was necessary especially after one had scanned, into the computer, the various pieces there was always a significant element of retouching required.