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2017 ENnie Awards and Layout Influence on a Line

7th Sea was nominated for seven ENnies. Products I worked on have been nominated for (and won) ENnies in the past, but not all of the awards are things I feel I should get an award for. Like last year Urban Shadows was up for Best Rules and Product of the Year. If Urban Shadows had won Product of the Year, I would have gone out and gotten a copy of the medal because layout has to do with creating the whole product. It won Best Rules, which had nothing to do with me, so I am okay with no award for Thomas.

7th Sea‘s Mark Richardson, our staff cartographer, was nominated for Best Cartography this year. Discussing the nominations, we realized this is the only award with nominations for 7th Sea products that was as close to 100% a single person’s award. Mark may have had guidance and feedback from others on the John Wick Presents team, but it’s as close to 100% his sole work as anything else JWP put out there.

This stood out to me because we’re pretty much working as a team on the products. On Pirate Nations, there are dozens of people who made that book into a thing that could be nominated for Best Supplement.

If we look at Best Writing, if a 7th Sea book was nominated for that, we’d have a lead developer, about six writers, two “additional” writers, two to four editors and proofreaders, and even me involved, sharing the credit. (Although my contribution to the writing is more in line edits, where I have collaborated with the lead developer to rewrite short passages to make copy fit into the space the design allows. Minor stuff, really.) But if we look at Unknown Armies (which is nominated), I would say that at least 97% of that is all Greg Stolze with some edits from proofreaders and maybe some developmental editing. On Unknown Armies, that was a creator’s vision going through the product; on 7th Sea, we have a developer for the book guiding a stable of writers through an entire work.

So I’m going to look through the nominations for product I’ve worked on, and show you how much input your layout artist has on each of these.

Continue reading “2017 ENnie Awards and Layout Influence on a Line” »

Separating Money from Reputation with “Cred” in The Sprawl

“So, we’re out, huh? I mean we’re out: this is retirement money. This is ‘go legit and buy an island’ money.”

-Hardison, Leverage, “The Nigerian Job”

One of the things I find Shadowrun and other cyberpunk “let’s be criminals” roleplaying games do poorly is the whole money thing. Shadowrun never gave good examples of what one would expect to get from a criminal gig, and they’ve got a whole economy built in the game, down to the cost of a combat knife. Yet in play, the protagonists seem to live paycheck to paycheck. There’s no real incentive to do criminal work when the same amount of income (or more) could come in from a safer job elsewhere.

Continue reading “Separating Money from Reputation with “Cred” in The Sprawl” »

Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures

Late last week, Modiphius released links to preorder their new Star Trek roleplaying game, Star Trek Adventures. Visually, it looks cool, perhaps up there with Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars RPGs, a series of game books that does a lot of things right. The cover of the collector’s edition is a very interesting angle of The Next Generation’s Enterprise’s main hull, rendered by the same people that provided the 3d model for the Star Trek: TNG Remastered series. The cover of the regular edition is original artwork — an illustration![1] The one spread we have of the interior also features an illustration of Picard’s Enterprise being harried by Romulan ships (and the announcement comes with another illustration of a starship battle!). This leads me to believe they’re going full-on illustration with the game rather than just using stills from existing movies and television shows[2]

But that spread — I’d like to take a few minutes and write down what I really like about it and what I see in the layout.

Continue reading “Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures” »

  1. Aside: When we worked on Firefly, we had illustrations for the covers. We heard from the distributors that they would not sell unless we had photos of the crew instead of illustrations — a claim I always thought of as full of crap. It’s great to see that a game based on an existing IP is going forward with an illustrative cover. []
  2. Firefly chiefly did that to save money on production costs. []

The Patreon

I have thoughts about the design space in games and must write!

I have worked in the roleplaying and board games industry for over a decade as a graphic designer and layout artist. During the past few years, I have written for online publications where some of my reviews of game products delved into a serious look at the presentation of the object. Reviews, critiques, examinations of how graphic design evolved in a work — these are some of the things I enjoy writing about!

Although I would love to write about layout and graphic design in these spaces, I often find myself unable to justify devoting time for doing so. Patreon provides an incentive to create. You can directly prompt me to do what I love and, at the same time, develop my skill at writing.

I have two goals for this Patreon.

1. Write at least two articles each month about physical design in games.
2. Become a better writer.

When I create articles for the blog, I continually improve my writing; by improving my writing ability, I create more articles for you to read.

There’s a third, secret goal.

3. Write and develop actual game things.

…but I’ve written more about that in the first patron-only post.

I want you to join my journey to become a better writer.

By becoming a patron, you continue to improve my writing while learning about layout and graphic design in RPGs and boardgames. Joining up lets you suggest topics for future writings and adds you to a discussion forum where patrons can tell me what they would like to see come of my work.

It’s simple to become a patron: just click that link or the button below. Your generosity can start at as little as $1 per post (and you can even limit that to as few posts per month as you wish), although higher-level backers get access to one of the rarest things in the world: I’ll high-five you when we meet in person.

Become a Patron!

Contact

Do you need help with graphic design for an upcoming project? Does your company need a freelance graphic designer? Please contact me and let me know how I can help. All inquiries are responded to within the next two to three business days.

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