Another idea for drawing the audience in, and I apologize if this was done in the sailor moon one as I did not see it, is to have an announcer ( one with an awesome deep narrator voice) Start the match off with narrating a story of why these characters are there fighting each other. Ok order vs chaos. Ya sure we know they are enemies but why are they at this location mingled together. Is there an ultimate power source they are fighting to control? Why?
I find the narrator with the right voice can make something awesome. Has anyone ever seen any of the video previews for white knight chronicles that were available off the playstation network? I bought the game because the narrator sounded awesome in them. I think once the theme is set out we need a story to announce to the audience about why these events are happening. If you guys like I would even be willing to write it once the theme is decided.
Another suggestion, and I mentioned this to chibi in a pm, I was thinking maybe after you guys tape down the board, you could then tape a different shape into each square. When the announcer tells a piece to move they could then say move forward two steps and left one onto the triangle. I found some people had trouble figuring out where to go. Especially after the took a piece in battle, alot of people were unsure where the piece had been standing. That might make it easier on players.