To Try or not to Tri-Fold?

I realized, a bit too late, that formatting my playbooks on legal size paper (8.5″ x 14″) was perhaps not the best, or at least not the most accessible choice.

I did it for obvious reasons, I was looking at the Apocalypse World playbooks and they were on Legal. I had done it already with Dead World (my Deadwood hack) and hadn’t heard any issues with it. But I only ran that hack once, so there wasn’t as much opportunity for feedback.

The concern I have heard is that most people don’t have legal paper, and outside the US, it’s not even a standard size. Shrunk to fit on letter size, the playbooks can be printed, but are hard to read.

So, I’ve been thinking about how to switch from a tri-fold (legal) layout to a single fold (letter) layout.  The issue being, of course that I will lose 3″ on each side, which is a total of 51 square inches lost (not counting margins). Also, of course, the entire thing needs to be redesigned, which I can say from doing the first playbooks in In Design, is not a trivial task.

But I persevere!

There will be some great rewards to moving to letter, namely:

  • Easier printing for everyone.
  • Easier folding (fold marks change when you cut off the edges, which I like to do)
  • I can put all of the pages in a single PDF file without worrying about printers getting confused by the different page sizes.

Hacking away

Thus my first task is looking at what can be removed or condensed, preferably without shrinking the text any further. Ideas I have so far:

  • Back page: Supplementary moves (how to use supply, gangs, vehicles, etc). That is important stuff though and would need to be somewhere (possibly a second “The Moves” playbook)
  • Front page: “Create a …” instructions on the upper left pane. Instructions are pretty much “pick all this stuff”.
  • Front page: Look box in the center pane as the look options have already been circled on the left pane
  • Front page: Improvement instructions in the center pane. Players probably don’t need to be told how to get XP and spend it for advancements.
  • Front and back pages: The various boxes to put things like holds, supply, and other playbook moves in.

Any other suggestions on what could be removed or condensed? I’d love to hear them. For reference, here are the Core Playbooks.

9 thoughts on “To Try or not to Tri-Fold?”

  1. I dislike trifold legal paper size, and would encourage you to make it a bifold that fits on both letter and A4. I like the way Monsterhearts does it. Or skip the folding entirely.

  2. Although your tri-fold looks amazing, I have to chime in with the pragmatists above that bifold letter is MUCH easier for the folks doing the printing/prep work before a game.

    Again, +1 Monsterhearts.

  3. Thanks all. I agree, the forgone conclusion really is that I should move to bi-fold.

    Now just to, you know, do it.

  4. I have never printed a Tri-fold on legal paper. I didn’t realise that was the way they were supposed to be!

    1. There could be a tri-fold format for letter size, but the one used by Vincent and myself are formatted for legal. When I shrink the Galactica books down to letter they are really hard to read.

      1. I wonder if DW is the same. I always end up with lots of white space at the top and bottom. Good for notes.

        Monster of the Week uses a bi-fold too. Formatted for A4, I imagine.

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