Wednesday 16 September 2020

Editing Wargame Rules

In the last week I've written four posts illustrating how to improve the presentation of wargames rules with basic table design and formatting. In case you missed them they are:

This might seem a lot of work for a free set of American Civil War rules from the internet.  In some ways it is and in others it isn't.  It's good to keep your hand in but the strong structure underpinning these rules made it both quick and fun.

As I said in my original post the rules are only 29 pages, with a clear, well spaced layout.  They are very easy to read with a good structure and lots of useful tables etc.  You can see for yourself: visit Wargame Vault where the rules are a "Pay What You Want" download.

Anyway, it been a while since I did any editing work so I spent a few hours editing the text surrounding the tables I'd redesigned.  After a while I thought I'd better contact the author; Nigel Emson. I did and five hectic days later Nigel has a fully edited set of rules which he is going to release as version 2.0 in the near future.

As I expected there were a few glitches which Nigel soon sorted out. There were one or two "do you really mean that" and "that's not what is says on page 12" discussions but that's why rules should be edited. Nigel also took the opportunity to streamline certain mechanisms so version 2.0 should be even smoother in play.

One benefit of the editing process is that the layout has been tightened up. The page count has dropped from 29 to 26. I cut one page from the front section and two from the rules themselves. A 10% drop isn't bad especially as I didn't make a special effort to minimise white space in the layout.

Booklet Printing
As I'll need a print copy for final proof reading, and to play the rules, I decided to make an A5 booklet from the A4 originals. Luckily, there's software that can do that for you.

In essence the software puts two pages on one side of A4 (reducing the size of each page to A5 in the process) and does it in an order that, when printed double sided and folded, gives you a nice booklet.

Booklet printing also saves paper. The 26 page rule book was reduced to 13 A4 pages which used only 7 sheets of paper when printed on both sides.

For booklet print on Linux I use Boomaga which is in the standard Ubuntu 20.04 repositories so it's easy to install and use. Windows equivalents are available.


Nigel Emsen said...

As an indie author I have not worked with an editor before. Having experianced the review process I cannot stress the importance of Martin's help in that role. The rules look and feel much more tighter than I thought would be possible. Martin is very good at getting you to reflect on what you have written and balance it against what you want to achieve/infleuence or impact in the game. I have also learnt as the editor Martin also brought suggested options, but you are always left in control of the final product.

Vexillia said...

Replaced all links to "Quick Play Rules" and "Firepower Games" with links to Nigel's Wargame Vault page. Original sites are dead.