The Art of Gaming
Since the advent of effective digital printing and publishing technology, and the influx of money from Kickstarter/Indiegogo into the market, there has been a tendency amongst some wargames and roleplaying companies to value production over content.
Every week as I trawl through the various hobby magazines and news sites I look with envious eyes at the glossy, high-art productions of the big companies. Then I look at the prices of their books. Even with the economy that comes with the scale of production, the prices are way higher than ours, and that is because they feel they need to compete on eye-candy. Whether this then translates into a good gaming experience is for each of you to determine.
Now I like a well-produced book, with high production values and decent graphics, as much as the next man, but I value the content of the game more. After all, if it does not play well then all the marketing input in the world shall not make it better.
Yes, it will sell well initially, but the sales will quickly tail off as people realise that it is a turkey. Look along your bookshelf and count the number pretty books that you have tried once, but have never actually played again. I can see at least a dozen on my own.
Either the systems are clunky/over complicated, or they were obviously never play tested, or even that the layout is the victim of a graphics overload. If you can barely read it you won’t be able to play it.
The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare
One of the things Charles and I agreed on, right at the beginning, was that the KISS principle had to apply to the rules and the book had to be clean, clear and well-referenced. From this came our numerical cross-referencing system. I like to think that we succeeded.
Now, as independent publishers, we are standing by these principles, with the added realisation that art costs a lot of money. As the son and brother of artists I believe in paying them what they are actually worth. Which means, other than covers, we shall not be including a lot of original art in our books. Instead, we will include lots of photographs of the games in play.
We also took the decision, once we were independent, to go to A4 size pages and a decent-sized font. Clarity is not just about style, it is also about actual readability.
Our first book, Daishō, was late because we were so picky about the layout. Now we know what we need to specify, and how long a layout artist needs, we shall factor this into our future works.
So the essence of the Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare style will be clarity. We hope you like it.