Using the Game Board
These frameworks have a dual use: as a flow (as shown in the series example) or as a game board.
Flow: the "winding road" is an unusual but effective alternative to a gantt or timeline. The series example is a visual way to show the overall arc of a woman's career.
Game board: a variation from this series can be used as a projection or a "road map" for specific events that will take place. Bridges can be added to bypass sections of the path. Use animation to reveal the events.
Customizing the Game Board
Group the segments of the game board and resize/rescale (hold shift key down as you resize) all at one time. Ungroup and proceed with other formatting.
Color can be applied to the segments of the game board from the color palette in your company's template. You can color code related sections of the path. The series example uses the same color for segments related to the employer and another color to segments related to eduction, etc.
If you want to add drop shadows, go ahead. Stay away from most of the other 2007 formatting choices though.
If you choose to use 3D, be sure that the depth is extremely small. The focus should be on the content of the fields, not the fields themselves, so don't overdo the formatting.
Shadows work okay if they are close to the segments. Don't use shadows that are cast onto other segments.
Gradients, patterns, and pictures
Don't apply anything wild to these frameworks. Save the interest for the content you place over the segments.
Animate with simple reveals for both types of charts (history or projection).