Level 3: Power Ups

August 26, 2022

Welcome back!

Earlier in Level 2 we entered into the world of the game, now we've had some experience of what the game is the amount it's time to get powered up to increase our chances of winning.

Powering up our characters can take many different forms, such as:

  • An item that improves our abilities
  • Increasing our character's level
  • Unlocking new skills

There are three challenges to choose from.

Challenge 1: Power Ups

Visualising data about different POWER UPS, with datasets ranging from the landscapes of Minecraft to the depth of ocean warfare in battleship.

Pick one of the data sets below, or a data set you've found, and visualise it.

Casual Difficulty - For those new to data visualisation or with limited time available)

Normal Difficulty - A fair size data set that could create multiple data visualisations

Heroic Difficulty - A large data set for those with more time available

Legendary difficulty - Bring your own data or expand on the data provided by bringing new data to the project

For those considering the Legendary difficulty (bring your own data), here are a few ideas to get you started:

Looking for data sets? Check out Sarah Bartlett's Twitter thread for data sources

Stuck for Ideas? Here are some questions you could try to answer:

  • Mario's Power Ups: Which type of power up (mushroom, stars, flowers, etc.) have the most variation? i.e. how many different types of start have been over Mario's history?
  • Pokemon: Which pokemon's combat stats increase the most from evolving?
  • Breath of the Wild: Are there any key ingredients that feature the majority of recipes? Or ingredients that feature in the best recipes?

Challenge 2: Shapes and Icons

In this ICONIC challenge, we'll be exploring how to power up our data visualisations with shapes and icons.

Why should we use shapes and icons? Shapes and icons help us convey information quickly and effectively to our readers when space on a page is limited. For many websites a button to navigate to the homepage is a simple house icon rather than text saying "click here to return to the homepage", saving space on the website and reducing the information the user has to read.

In Helena Zhang's blog post 7 Principles of Icon Design Zhang walks us through key principles we should keep in mind when thinking about including icons and shapes in our data visualisations, these are:

  • Clarity
  • Readability
  • Alignment
  • Brevity
  • Consistency
  • Personality
  • Ease of Use

How can we use shapes and icons? In Martha Matthews' blog post Tableau top tips: 3 great ways to use custom shapes in Tableau shows us how we incorporate shapes and icons in our data visualisations:

  • As marks
  • As buttons
  • As filters

For those more comfortable with using shapes and icons, there are some more advanced use cases:

Where can I find shapes and icons? There are many websites providing icons to use for non-profit projects

  • Some of my favourite sites are flaticon and the noun project
  • Some companies make their icon sets available, perfect if you're theming a viz on that company or its products, e.g. BBC GEL
  • Tools like Figma and Canva allow you to create your own shapes and icons, as well as plugins to access icon libraries, e.g. Figma's Iconify Plugin


To add custom shapes or icons to your next data viz project, either:

  • As marks
  • As buttons
  • As filters

Also, when finding your shapes and icons please make sure you reference your sources, if you created them say so! Here are some excellent examples from the Tableau community on the use of shapes!

Welcome to Paradise, er, Calamansi by Gemma Francisco (Using shapes as marks)

Customer Complaints Dashboard by Zak Geis (Using shapes as buttons)

Endangered Safai by RJ Andrews (Using shapes as filters)

Challenge 3: Monopoly's most profitable streets

For this Data prep challenge, the #GamesNightViz team wants to be savvy investors when they're playing a game of Monopoly. We are interested in finding the best streets not just by their rent but also by how frequently they're visited. Using land probability data from NicoAdams/MonopolyProbs combined with property rent and cost data from falstad.com we'll find the best streets in the game. To keep things simple we'll only look at a street level and upgrade every property on the street by 1 house, e.g. we'll compare the green street with 3 houses, against the orange street with 3 houses.


  1. Input the data
  2. Join the rent and costs data sets
  3. Double the rent where upgrade = 'None'
  4. Join rent and costs to the landing data to find the set and perc chance to land on each square
  5. At a set (street) & upgrade level find:
  • the total chance to land on the street,
  • the total cost of the street
  • the average rent for the street
  1. Rent is collected each time a player lands on the street, find the number of times the street needs to be landed on to breakeven
  2. Calculate 1 divided by the chance to land on the street to find the number of player turns to land on the street
  3. Combine the number of lands to breakeven and the number of turns to land on the street to find the number of turns for the street to breakeven
  4. Sort the data set ascending by turns for the street to breakeven to find the best street combinations
  5. Output the data

Inspiration from the Tableau community

Your content may be different but focus on the choices the authors have made in presenting the data, what would you do differently? And what aspects would you like to emulate? Here are some vizzes to check out for inspiration.

Final Fantasy Tactics Stat Gains Comparison by Michael

Minecraft Potions Calculator by Joe Radburn

Witcher3 by gwentcards.com

Tableau Zen Master Jeopardy by Kevin Flerlage

Pokemon Evolution Group by Hiroki Uetake

Skyrim Mods by Theo

How to Submit

Team GNV

This project focuses a monthly theme that you can participate to challenge either data preparation, data visualization or visual design. Existing datasets on video games will be readily available and comes with difficulty scales to help those newer or with limited time to practice. You can also bring data from your own favorite games too! We love all types of games: card games, board games, video games, party games, game shows, the list goes on!

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