Monday, August 24, 2009

Your Thoughts on the Production Values of the New Books

It's getting about time to think about budgeting for Insect Shrine's printing, and since I tried some new things in the production of No Dignity in Death and People of Pembrooktonshire, I guess I should ask what you thought before moving forward.

How do you like the covers? Not the artwork, but the physical material and finish?

Do you notice the difference in the text layout between the books? Which do you prefer?

I know having a pull-out section reduces the "collectability" of the books, but my concern is usefulness for play (which makes me committed to saddle-stitching and the A5 format as well). Is there something with the production (not necessarily map quality - I think I've got a guy that will be making maps for me on this project so that quality will increase) there that I should think about? I don't think the "map on the inside of the cover" makes sense if I'm going to have half a dozen maps, so they need to go elsewhere.

One thought I'm having is doing mini-poster pullouts, perhaps two if physically possible.

Of course, I will work to fix things like making sure I have true full bleeds for the full-page illustrations and leaving hanging section headers like the "Day 5" on page 17 of NDiD.

So what production issues do you think I should be aware of for my future releases?


  1. I've only had a chance to glance at the books when they arrived on Saturday, but I will say that I like the quality of Dignity and Pembrooktonshire better than DFD. They seemed more polished and substantial in a way, and the text layout was a little better.

    As for maps, I'm not a fan of pullout or poster type maps. They're simply overdone 99% of the time. Simple, utilitarian maps that are easily legible printed on the last page or inside cover are superior for use, though if it really becomes an issue, you might consider offering PDF copies of the maps for play use so that refs don't have to flip between pages.

  2. I like these two new books, and if the production is affordable for you I'd stick with it. I wouldn't mind a slightly thicker cover, but I don't know how much that would raise your costs per unit.

  3. I had originally asked for thicker covers, but I was advised that a thicker cover would suffer undue wear and tear.

    Booklets made on a digital press don't lay perfectly flat when printed (a problem I've noticed on a lot of other game books I've bought the past couple years), and having too-thick covers might crack or outright bend on booklets as thick as I was printing.

    At least that's what I was told, and I wasn't about to risk a 250 print run to test it.

  4. I can only comment on pull-out feature and I just can't bring myself to do it, I've bought too many secondhand rpg products missing the removable sections to vandalise a product myself. It's just not right. :)

  5. I liked the thicker covers of GDF #1-3 and Death Frost Doom better, though your conserns for undue wear and tear are propably right. I like the paper thickness in all the products though.

  6. My favourite of these booklets as far as handling and simple aesthetics go is Death Frost Doom. The detachable cover is particularly good, and the style of art and paper go well together. The slick cover stock of the new products feels unnecessary in comparison, perhaps because the internal layout and contents are still very down to earth and functional. The maps in No Dignity in Death feel like they'd be more useful and to the point if they were laid out directly in the text, with perhaps more eye on being compact; some of these, such as the hedge maze map, feel like you could just cut 80% of the map area and not lose anything of import.