Style vs Substance

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.

 

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4 thoughts on “Style vs Substance

  1. Hello Gentlemen ^^

    (excuse my bad english : I’m a french frog ^^)

    I would like to thank you so much for this “way of thinking”… Which is simply for me the respect for your customers. About 2 years ago, I totally stopped the GW stuffs (beacause of a lot of reasons, for examples the high silly costs and the foolish rules) and I discovered Osprey with Rônin first (if you see my blog : http://letempledemorikun.blogspot.com/ you’ll notice that I’m “a little” fond of Japan ^^) and second with IHMN a friend of mine spoke me about.

    I can say that I was so glad by this very simple rules (and the fact that I could play japanese lists ^^) that I bought your 3 books at once !! I’ve read it and it was as I expected : not expensive, simple, clear, efficient and absolutely fun (and I like the A5 size personnally ^^) !!

    I prefer rulebooks like yours instead of the GW ones : ok there is a lot of beautiful (or not !) pictures but we must pay out of minded prices for something which would be out few months after…

    Other thing I really want to quote is which we call in France “Service après-vente” : your bonus materials + IHMN fiction and Gothic are absolutely awesome OO and it’s very pleasant to see that you follow your products and your costumers (and listen to them !) !!

    I find with you this spirit I lost in GW and only for this I would be highly grateful to you !! ^^

    I’m painting some Japanese Dystopian Legion minis to play your japanese army list I’ll post pics of it very soon on my blog and I’ve planned a lot of things !! ^^

    I didn’t know your blog before but I put it in my personnal blogroll. If you have some time, please, feel free to visit my Temple, you’ll always be welcomed ^^

    Serviteur,

    Morikun

    • Hi Morikun,

      As a Rosbif I can assure you that your English is a lot better than my French 🙂
      Thank you for your kind words and I shall look forwards to seeing your figures.
      There are other places you can visit to get involved in the IHMN and Daisho communities:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/InHerMajestysName/
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1668152890087837/
      http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?board=82.0

      I have always been a fan of French fantasy from Asterix and Tin-tin to Metal Hurlant and Moebius. I was also a great fan of Rackham who produced some of the most beautiful games and figures I have ever seen. Though Cadwallon was a perfect example of art overcoming gaming. We need more French games companies!

      Cheers,
      Craig

      • Thank you Craig you’re very kind ^^

        I’ll try to visit your links but I must confess that I hate facebook (and twitter) and social network in general ^^’

        I’ll tell you when I’ll post my japanese minis ^^

        Just for precise : Asterix and Tintin are not french but come from Belgium ^^ but I understand what you mean.

        On my side, the english fantasy has always got my preference : Tolkien of course and Roald Dahl are my best writers.

        Rackham was very famous indeed… But AFAIC, I didn’t like the minis (it’s very dangerous for your life in France to say that XD) but you could rediscover it with Drakerys.

        A little french game company (which the leader is a friend of mine ^^) is FURY OUTBURST CONTROL, a skirmish game absolutely mad XD

        There is a second crowdfunding campaign which is in its final days :

        If you want to visit it, don’t hesitate ^^

        May I suggest you an another list typically french for IHMN giving a lot of possibilities of play : “La Cour des Miracles” :

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cour_des_miracles

        Serviteur,

        Morikun

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