I looked at doing more thumbnails today, this time focusing on the character or characters the players would use to play the board. This idea came about on Tuesday when my character design lecturer expressed that he loved using figures in board games due to their innate interactiveness. Players can use these icons to wander about the village (that makes up the board) to hunt down cards and chase after bad spirits. The use of multiple figurines brings up the question of how many players, whjich means how many distinct figurines are needed.
4 feels like a fairly balanced number to me, but the number of players won't make the game unplayable if there are only 2 playing the heroes of the story. It might affect how many cards players can gather before Nian show up (still not specific) but in the legends there was only one stranger. 4 is also a good balanced number for the number of characters.
I wanted to give the adventurers an enigmatic feel; they'd have been wanderers, Someone unfamiliar to the village so I looked into designing them with a bit of mystery. All four (or maybe not all) could/would be characterised by a bright red cloak to identify them, which could be fun when it comes to designing images of the character in action.
I also did some passing thumbnails for villagers that would be vulnerable to the spirits and Nian. This contribution to the story provides a window to include them as figurines into the game. What is evident when looking up costume, hairstyle and dress for the ancient Chinese on the internet is there is a lot of preference for bright, well-trimmed or elaborate clothing even in demonstrations of Chinese art. But I'm designing peasants, who most definitely would not be wearing long hair in elaborate buns or walking around in multicoloured robes. Which while great designs if the game was set in the streets of Beijing's administrative district but doesn't exactly fit with the image "rural village in China".
Now there were cases in the colonial period where natives of foreign cultures were portrayed as dressing in highly elaborate clothing and positively covered in jewelry but that was to point out how "other" these cultures were to contemporary European ideas in regards to what is proper. I don't want to go there.