#RPGaDay 2017: Day 23

Our question for today for #RPGaDay 2017 concerns our thoughts on and reactions to the layout of an RPG book’s information on its pages. Dipping into hyperbole, the question cites ‘jaw-dropping’ as its descriptor for layout that impresses you into a gape-mouthed response of appreciation. It might be beautiful. It might be spare and utilitarian. It might be clever in subtle ways. The nature of the layout’s quality and value is up to you.

In these times of an accelerating shift to digital formats for content delivery, I will answer today’s question with a book that is sharp in print, but really stands out in PDF due to its full use of the format to aid in its reading and rapid use.

Which game is it? You might be forgiven for thinking I am talking about EABA, but I have something else in mind: Corporia.

Image result for corporia

The print copy makes extensive use of clear page references, color codes, highlights, and authorial notes to help speed access to related sections of the book, and by doing so helps settle the rules and concepts of the game more deeply in the reader’s mind. The book is written to be used, and the author, Mark Plemmons, was unafraid to help you learn to do that to your (and the game’s) best advantage.

The PDF copy takes this to the next level with internal links in places where they can do the most good, such as a fully linked character sheet example, linked sub-headings on the chapter splash pages, as well as all the page references in the body of the text itself.

When I got the game and saw what could be done with the format, while staying true to the aesthetic of the book, I have to admit I had to wonder what is holding the rest of the industry back in this regard. Years later, and the layout decisions made to heighten the utility of this game book are still a high-water mark.

One of the big complaints about the use of PDF games at the table is that not all tablets and similar devices are up to the task of visual searching for material, which is still the most natural mode of search among gamers it would seem. Corporia is an example of how a good table of contents, a real index, and internal links can alleviate or perhaps obviate that pervasive complaint.

On top of all of this layout-goodness…? The game rocks.

Question 24: Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.
In other words, let us (and them) know who is giving great work away for free when by all rights, they should be charging for it.

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  1. […] have been many great examples posted for today’s question. In particular Runeslinger’s answer introduced me to a very impressively designed […]



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