Saturday, January 3, 2015

Children’s Magazines

Maybe I didn’t notice as a kid, but I don’t think that’s it. I see the magazines that my kids get (I happen to be talking about one with Disney Princesses and one with Marvel superheroes, but I remember that the Lego magazine was like this too). These are 9 pages folded to 36 pages of nothing but drawings. I swear most pages have less than 50 words on them. Even the “puzzles” are a joke, solved in under a minute. I know that not all magazines are this bad, because we still get Boy’s Life, and it has content in it.

My whole life I have measured “entertainment” by time. A movie is likely two hours of entertainment, where as a book is likely cheaper and lasts 10x as long. Same as a concert vs. the album. So it won’t surprise you to hear that I seldom go to the movie theater, but watch a bunch of stuff on Netflix. Netflix costs me about as much as going to the movies (not counting the popcorn and drink) and lasts a month, OK, not a full month of entertainment, but likely in the 12+ hours range. I’m not cheap - I’m demanding. I demand more for my money than two hours of entertainment.

Why does this matter? Because this is the way I think, and this is the way Board Enterprises produces our products. Do not buy Royalty or Urban Developments if you are looking for great art! Royalty has the 263 characters described. None of them have a portrait. I could have filled at least twice as many pages with art, and many companies out there are doing that. But then I have to charge you for that art. There are a lot of people who don’t like our products because we don’t have enough art for them. Honestly, I think these people are stupid. If you buy a source book and want really nifty art instead of solid ideas you can use in your game, then buy a comic book. Your chance of getting valuable source material is extremely low, but there’s art. Probably cheaper than the art heavy source books too.

So as always - Do you want pretty? Go read Disney Princesses magazine. Do you want better games? Read Board Enterprises. May I suggest Grain Into Gold?

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, what I do is this:

    I have a folder on my computer called "RPG PICS" and in it, sub folder named "armor", "pcs", "npcs", "ships", "towns", "scenery", etc.
    Sometimes I get lazy and just save pics to the big folder, with the intention to subdivide them later into their respective categories.

    Point is, I go to DeviantArt and download massive quantities of fantasy art. There is EVERYTHING you have and have not thought of there.

    I agree with John and would add a point; many supplements, for me, are sort of 'ruined' by their art. They give you mental images that you just can't shake from attaching to the content. Sometimes this is good, for "Eberron" lovers, the art suited the material. However, that's one of few that I can think of. BE art covers are perfect, they show historical, or mostly, art with no colour, however beautiful and intricate, or any indication that the cover is representative of the material within.

    When I bought the new BE Baker's Dozen Archtypes supplement, I immediately (well, almost) went searching through DeviantArt for PC portraits and such to match up to the hundreds of possible characters which the material provides a stat/info/gear list/etc for.

    After finding BE, I notice myself looking at $10-$20 supplements at RPG or $60 print editions of D&D 5th (which really, meh) and seeing all that art, which although I am glad the industry supports the artists and I do sometimes buy them; I find myself returning most often to my BE Folder (the only publisher dedicated folder on my PC) to find inspiration and information and tables, etc.

    In fact, I challenge anyone to read the FREE Fletnern intro that I read the other day, just google Fletnern, and on BE homepage it's at the bottom to download for free) and not succumb to the same excitement that you did as a ten year old reading the "Rules Cyclopaedia" or whatever, age depending; it is a compact mass of information that made my brain work, not my eyes. Pretty pictures are all over, and artists create beautiful things; go support them. I regularly give premium memberships to my favorite DeviantArt artists as a
    "reward" for all of the great images they give me to use in my home game or home settings.

    I once asked John why he didn't put more art in his supplements and charge a fortune; well, if you read this blog regularly you don't need an answer, but if not; BE's mandate is more for less. I paid $35CAD for one small supplement describing five Eberron kingdoms, and got a boxed in setting, where everything was laid out like a book and I felt that if I ever ran a campaign there, the whole house of cards would collapse and the setting book useless. What happens after five years in the setting? Imagine having to figure it all out for the five hundred plots and storylines woven into the setting.....not me.
    The Free Fletnern setting intro, however, made me awe in its greatness as a setting first, then made me vow to work harder on my own world. I am working on a couple small duchies and its gruelling but fun to find art online for, and fill out the details with BE's help.

    I think that way back in days of its infancy, the colour and fluff of supplements was a sacrilegious notion to the industry. Not until the cheap colour of the late nineties did it come to overpower and take our imaginations hostage.

    Think of BE products as a series devoted to the GAME, not the industry. Then it makes sense. For me anyways.

    Signing off,