Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 23

23rd) Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?

This is a difficult question for me to answer, partly because "jaw-dropping" is not a word that often occurs to me when considering RPG books, and partly because I own a number of quite lovely RPG products.

I've already mentioned the full-color interior art of Blue Rose, Second Edition (see Day 12). The book's art director and graphic designer, Hal Mangold, has been making Green Ronin books look amazing for quite some time now, and he keeps finding ways to outdo himself time and time again. Other titles that Hal has designed in the past 2-3 years include Freeport: The City of Adventure, the Freeport Bestiary, and The Book of the Righteous--and those are just the gems that I personally own.

Apart from Hal's work, the first book that occurs to me is Big Eyes Small Mouth, Second Edition. The rulebook was in full color, with a bright, bold layout and lots of lots of colorful anime-style art throughout. (Sadly, I lost my copy in a flood. My Second Edition Revised book survived; it reproduced most of the art, but often at a smaller size and only in black and white.) The BESM Third Edition rulebook was full color and quite pretty as well, but it just wasn't as lush in presentation as the Second Edition.

And finally, I composed most of this post ahead of time, before I bought the Starfinder Core Rulebook last week, but that book deserves at least an honorable mention here.


  1. I'm much more interested in words than pictures, so I don't tend to notice the kind of presentation that impresses most people. However, I do notice bad presentation, and that has a couple of stand-out examples.

    The first edition of Fuzion happened when Mike Pondsmith had just discovered desktop publishing, and was wildly overdone. If he'd been able to get flashing ink, he'd have used it.

    C°ntinuum, meanwhile, is just incompetent in its layout. So much so as to make it hard to read.

  2. I'm a very visual-oriented person, so I do notice such things, both good and bad. I, too, have come across a few RPGs that were quite painful to look at and read, but fortunately, most of them weren't good enough games to justify the shelf space to keep them.