#RPGaDay 2017: Day 5

Question Five asks us to examine the covers of our roleplaying games and choose from among them the one which in this moment they feel best encapsulates the spirit of the game. This is not about favorites per se, although the covers chosen might be favorites. This is about the ability of the cover art to convey the nature of the game within at a glance. This is about the cover that whispers to you, “Come here… I know what you need.”

I wrestled with this question. I even considered changing this question altogether. However, in the end – despite the stiff competition – I reached a conclusion. It might not hold, but for now, I have my answer.

In my video response to this question, I have shown a number of covers which vied for the title as ‘most evocative of contents’ and that is the format most-suited to that sort of comparison. For this written response, I think a quick look at why these covers qualify in my mind is better. Don’t worry, my commitment to brevity for #RPGaDay 2017 is solid…

For me, cover art which intends to convey the spirit of the game it is advertising needs to show us some fundamental truths about the setting, the typical characters, and the expected activities players will use their characters for. When we start looking at a lot of covers we can see four basic types: no art, characters posing, a vista of some kind, or some sort of action sequence.

My preference in a cover is for no art, just a title and a high-quality finish, but this question is not about that. Still, a blank cover can convey something about its game by virtue of being made to resemble an in-world document. Not all do, but the ones that do speak to me.

Covers with posed characters tend to do nothing for me. There are exceptions, of course, such as the revised edition of SLA Industries with Halloween Jack sitting in an airduct, but they are few. These show me something of the game, but do not by themselves make me understand the spirit of the game. A cover with the characters engaged in an activity, no matter how mundane, however, stands a better chance of doing that.

When choosing and refining my choices down to one, I was left with 5 that really stand out to me. I kept my choices restricted to core rule books for reasons of sanity and time.

The lock and chains cover of Wraith tells me a lot about the game. The dynamic covers of Hollow Earth Expedition, Desolation, and All for One, tell me more. The one that covers the look, feel, swagger, oddity, and action of its setting the best though just might be the art for Eden Studios’ Army of Darkness roleplaying game.


Hail to the King, baby~

Question six asks us to describe what we would do if we had an entire week set aside for nothing but gaming!

Speak your piece~

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