shakeycat wrote:Is it clear that the only 'non playable area' is the water and the legend? I'm thinking now that periphery territories where I have faded names (Nerima, Itabashi, Suginami, etc.) are looking almost unplayable, as if they are outlying states we don't care about .. that needs to change. If you meant something else, please tell me.
The legend is ok, being brighter than everything else, but the water is very similar in tone, lightness, texture and saturation as the playable areas - there's not enough contrast between them. Some kind of contrast would do wonders for the clarity of the map. For example, the water could be darker than all of the playable areas - then there would be a lightness contrast between them. Or the other way around.
Another thing that can help is if you make the borders between land & sea stronger than the other territory borders. A dark inner glow for the water could also help.
Or you could utilize texture - give the land a smooth & shiny texture while making the sea coarse and noisy, or the other way around... although if you want to go for a "comic" look then strong textures probably aren't the best idea.
Another way is making the water a colour that is different from all of the land colours, but you have so many bonus areas that this can be difficult to achieve.
There's various ways of achieving contrast, but the important thing is that the playable areas "stand out" from the non-playable/impassable areas, this makes it easy to visualize and grasp the connections between the territories, which makes for a map that is easy to read.