Friday, 21 January 2011

Society of Ancients Incentive Publication 2011

I learned last night that what I'm doing is not a game but a publication. It's a publication, see, 'cos it doesn't come with any dice, - you have to provide them yourself.

The things you learn when you are wargaming with such an erudite bunch.

It doesn't have any dominoes in it either but hopefully that won't be too big a drawback for most subscribers. And if people don't already own four sets of dominoes they can buy them fairly cheaply from Amazon. They'll really want to when they get this pack through the post.

A recap for new readers. Your hero (a shy, unassuming chap who goes by the name of Trebian) volunteered in a moment of weakness to produce the SoA's resubscription incentive game for 2011. He did this off the back of a succesful morning's running of his brilliant 54mm elephant game called "The Elephant in the Room" at Campaign last year when he thought it would be a wizard wheeze to combine this with President Steele's Henry V game to make a domino double header. After a few months he was taken up on his offer because extensive research by the SoA committee revealed that it would be a real winner with the Society's target demographic. Either that or they didn't get another offer.

The problem is that there's quite a bit of difference between designing a game that you are going to run yourself and one you are going to publish. Like most people who write their own rules what I need to know to run the game is contained on one side of A4. I don't need a 32 page booklet with all the "what ifs" in it because I know what they are or alternatively if something turns up I haven't thought of I'll make it up as I go along. And then the one off gameboard that's lovongly crafted from plywood and plasterboard has to be reduced to a graphic that can be printed on a sheet of A2. The playing pieces I discussed before and once more there's some work to do to get those right.

Actually most of the graphics stuff is sort of fun once you work out how to do it and there's so many aids in drawing packages for the less talented of us. The addition of a pen-mouse to my PC's arsenal makes close up control easier and I can even trace round shapes if I need to. So I've done the board for TEITR, mostly, there's just a bit of tidying up on the text to make it all consistent in font and colour. The cards are all done, except for the backs and I might not do those anyway.

I've spent the last couple of weeks working on the text. That's done for TIETR except for proof reading and tidying up. I've also done a number of diagrams illustrating how play works, so I now need to poll my local group to see if that's actually enough to make everything clear.

In the last few days I started working on the text for Phil's "The Greyhounds in the Slips". Helpfully he sent me through his rules and PC files on the game. From those I've started to work them into a rules text rather than the current aide-memoire format mentioned above. This was hard enough with my game, let alone someone else's. I've tried to re-write them so that they are in the same style and layout as the stuff I've done already so people feel the two sit naturally together. Alas as I don't know Phil's game as well as mine so far my rules amount to 7 pages and Phil's make up 2. I'm also aware that whilst mine contain a lot of clarifications (eg "This means you can do this but for the sake of clarity you can't do that...") based upon running it with the public quite a bit I don't have the same history with GitS. Still, I'm sure I'll get there and I've a month or so to work on it.

Plans for the GitS playing pieces are shaping up nicely. The game has a set of cards featuring rousing speeches from Shakespeares's Henry V and these look really nice on the screen in pseudo-parchment style. I'm also thinking about the board and I can see how that might look, - I'm toying with the idea of giving people cutout scaling ladders and rubble as well as a cutout tower. Should make it a fun game to play with your children.

So, on schedule if perhaps a little tight. Still need to produce a stunning design for the cover and work on other illustrations and then work on making the text and layout look attractive. But on the whole positive.

But it is all making a big hole in my painting schedule and irony of ironies is actually interfering with Real Life, rather than the other way round!

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