See attached map of Middle-earth MECCG, including the Northern Wastes. This is at 50% resolution (32MB).
I am not sure what the base map this is made from was meant to represent in the first place, i.e.: what expansions it was meant to cover (other than clearly covering the NW). Whilst there are some regions to the South and East on the map, some of the expansions (which TBH I am not familiar with outside of the expansions that lead up to The Balrog), are clearly not catered for in full.
There are usability issues with this map, some of which I think are easy to spot now, and some of which possibly won't come out in full until I get it printed (using the full hi-res export from GIMP, which this clearly isn't, and which is over 100MB).
These usability issues might be:
- Site names are very small (almost unreadable in the low-res attached). I sized the Site names on the basis of fitting them all on the map in the most densely populated site areas, like around Udun and Imlad Morgul. This did mean the Site names had to be small and therefore, I fear, unreadable. I may have to increase the size of the site text, which is going to be difficult when it comes to fitting them all in to those densely populated Site areas.
- The sites only have icons for Information and Items (minor, major, greater and rings). For some reason, that is now irrelevant, I put text within each icon's to further help ID what they stood for, i.e.: I, Mi, Ma, G and R. I should have just stuck with solid blocks of colour (as I have seen on another MECCG map) and then added a Key to what the colours meant at the bottom of Belegaer. I should really add where Allies and Factions are playable too, but I do fear this will make highly populated areas even tighter on space. Plus additional complications are that some Sites can have factions playable, but only where certain conditions are met, which I am unsure how to represent.
- The inclusion of the Underdeeps is, I believe, necessary, but it does complicate the map still further. I am a little uncertain I have the numbers representing the chances of movement between Underdeeps sites correct.
- In the original game there were impassable mountains, but that seems to have been ditched in one of the post-Balrog expansions. Subsequent maps I have seen online, have some mountains with region symbols, whilst others still do not have them. It would be good to get some clarity on this.
- The Eastern and South Eastern regions (Nuriag, Relmether, Nurad, Chey and Heb Aaraan) have no sites. I am sure they must exist in some of the expansions (Central Plains?), and it would be nice to get them on here.
I plan to get this test printed on something like A0 paper (1188mm x 840mm, or 46.7" x 33"). When I zoom in to 100% View on the map within GIMP, everything is perfectly legible, so I do hold out some hope that the map, once printed, will be usable, even if it could be greatly improved with some tweaks. Ultimately I will try to reduce the map, in terms of printing it, so it can fit on my dining room table, with space enough for the players around the edge.
This map is clearly far from perfect, and I would welcome constructive feedback on how it might be improved. Once I have amended, post-feedback, I will happily send it to anyone who wishes a copy.
Please feedback as soon as you can.