Teutons!: Assaults on the West, 1870-1940 collects three Lou Coatney designs (one each about the Franco-Prussian War and the two World Wars) in a single package. The major aim of the counter design was to clearly differentiate the counters for each game from each other, while maintaining a consistent style. Usually when you have multiple games in a set, or multiple battles each with its own set of counters, they're differentiated by some kind of small letter code or symbol printed on the counter. I'm not a big fan of that, actually, and wanted to find a more overt way to give each game its own look.
This began simply enough. When we first discussed the project with Mr. Coatney, the intention was to publish only two of his designs, France 1914 and Blitzkrieg: France 1940. As luck would have it, I had two sets of NATO symbols on hand that I had put together for Brian Train's The Scheldt Campaign, one "hollow" and one "filled-in".
In that game, they were used to distinguish combat units from headquarters and scratch battalions. So I could use the filled symbols for the 1914 game and the hollow ones for 1940. Viola!
Other assets from Scheldt were repurposed as well. I used the same chunky, easy-to-read font for the factors (though in this case there were only two factors instead of three or four) and the same basic gradient (though applied to different, and brighter, counter colors). That's one of the beautiful things about NATO symbol counters; you don't need to reinvent the wheel every time but instead can build on what you've done before, with subtle tweaks. (For example, the font and some of the symbols, without any gradient, make an appearance in my counters for John Gorkowski's forthcoming Plan 1919.)
Once it was decided to throw a third game into the mix, I then had the added challenge of finding some way to differentiate France 1870 from its other set-mates. I tossed around the idea of switching off the gradient, but that was just too subtle; it didn't make enough of a difference. I needed to do something with the central unit symbol, something that jumped out the same big obvious way the symbols for 1914 and 1940 did. I ended up using an entirely different symbol, abandoning our old friends "X-in-a-box", "slash-in-a-box", and "bathtub" for an older military symbol.
The result is - or at least is intended to be - three games that you can tell apart at a glance, yet all look similar enough that they feel like they go together.