Evolution of Utara Symbols


I'm looking hiring the services of a custom dice manufacturer to make a single prototype set of Utara dice. Above, you see the prototype I worked with during the playtesting process and which I used to demo at Dreamation 2011. Simple blank dice with stickers and hand-drawn letters.


With an eye towards non-English speaking audiences, I thought it would be good to make Utara's faces non-linguistic. I based these on compass arrows. However, I realized that any time you introduce an arrow into an interface, the human will want to follow it in that direction. In the end, I figured out that there was such a thing as being too abstract.


So I went back to the NESW system from the prototype, but I wasn't content with simply putting letters on each face all on their own. I needed to add a thematic element to the presentation, something harkening to navigation by the stars. I needed constellations. Thankfully, boardgamegeek member BT Carpenter offered this diagram for turning a regular pip die into a Utara die. That's the perfect structure for making constellations that form the cardinal letters. Plus! The stars can be read as pips!


And here's a quick mockup of what the dice would look like in a perfect world. I have no idea if I can find a supplier for dice with this kind of marbling, but let's hope. At the very least, it'll be handy to show to a potential vendor or publisher.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.