18 April, 2015

On the Nature of Book Formatting

I remember going into game stores when I was younger, and encountering gaming books in a variety of shapes and sizes. There were softbound books, hardbound, spiralbound books from local authors, boxed sets, photocopied supplements and wargaming systems that looked like the underground 'zines you'd find in record stores...different companies used different sizes of book, and different styles of cover.


I remember Palladium Books claiming that they were the first ones to introduce paperback books to the market, and watching the rest of the industry gradually fall into line. By the time of the early to mid 1990s, a few stalwarts like TSR kept the core D&D (and AD&D) rule sets in hardback form, then upstarts like White Wolf started releasing WoD core books in hardback and trend shifted slightly back in that direction. 



Most books around this time seemed to linger around the A4 page size, but with the rise of small press and eventually "indie games" in the early 2000s, more books took on the 6"x9" digest size format. 

In recent years, we've seen new innovations and other publishers returning to book variants of the past. There are scrolls, lo-fi photocopied 'zines, Pocketmods, and all sorts of other variants.

That's where I'm thinking about the way to format "Other Strangeness". At first I was going to do a black and white paperback with glossy cover covers in homage to the Palladium TMNT game that inspired the whole project. But I'm not sure that's the best option, so now I'm contemplating other publishing styles that might be more fitting for the game's aesthetic.

Maybe a series of 28 page comic books (maybe fleshing them out to 32 pages with "in-genre advertisements" depicting products from the corporations in the setting), I remember a few games doing things like this in the past. I'd divide the rules into a few books, such as one for character generation, one for playing the game, one detailing the default setting, one for the GM...etc. it's an easy way to add modularity to the game, and something I've toyed with before (but never managed to follow through on).

Possibly collect the comics into a "trade paperback" or even a limited edition hardback. 

Still thinking at this stage.
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