While playing around with creating a points tracking system for my classroom game I stumbled onto a pretty cool trick with Google Drawing. Using the Google Drawing function, I created some basic XP / MP type signs that I was going to laminate to keep track of guild points. (This is also a cheap and easy trick for updating leaderboards. By laminating the signs you can use an dry erase marker and it will wipe off when you need to make updates). The signs looked terrible though. My first efforts were just empty white spaces with a solid color for the background. They were functional but not at all attractive. I wanted to create something nice to look at while also incorporating some theme elements. I found some images that I though represented each of the “Nation” territories (go here to learn more) and tried putting the white spaces on these backgrounds.

My first try at a sign for the Land of Gruul Nation.

The Gruul Flag is on the left. The Nation’s Name is at the top. I left a space for each guild to create their own personalized name. The XP (experience points) section is a minor leaderboard and the MP (Movement Points) section tracks the number of hexagons each guild is capable of moving at that point. The box in the lower right has the class meeting time and day (i.e. 4B for 4th block on Tuesday/Thursday). It’s better… Certainly looks nicer than a blank background and incorporates the theme better but there is still a lot of wasted white space.

Here is the Quick Trick

Copy the background image and make it 80-90% transparent.

To do this you click on the picture and select the “Format Options”. Then under the “adjustments” section on the new menu on the right adjust the “Transparency” Slider Button until its 80-90% transparent. Place the image back on top of the original piece. I left mine at 80% and here are the results.

It is a subtle difference but you can see the difference – especially when printed. Once laminated the numbers can be put on the sign and changed with a simple dry erase marker. Here are the rest of the signs while I’m here.