Archive for the ‘Montag Press’ Category

International TableTop Day!

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

We here at the Studio are proud to announce that we’ve been invited to participate at Games of Berkeley for International TableTop Day. This is a huge event that takes place all over the country (if not the world) to celebrate board and card games. Games of Berkeley, in their mission to stay awesome, invites local game designers as part of their celebration.

If you’re interested in checking out Feed the Shoggoth!, or a host of other games, swing by Games of Berkeley this Saturday, any time from 10am – 7pm.

In other news, layout for The Things We Leave Behind is at a stall right now. I’ve done pretty much everything i can, and am waiting for Stephanie (head honcho at Stygian Fox, as well as cartographer extraordinaire) to finish all the maps. Once those are plugged in, the book’ll be done, but she has other assignments that she needs to get completed first (contractual obligations, ya know).

Beyond that, there are a couple more RPG book projects down the line, and Montag has more stuff lining up for me…but right now, it’s kinda quiet.

Clearing the plate

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Well, at least it didn’t take until next year to post an update. Good gods. I’ve been terrible at this lately. And by “lately”, i mean for a long bloody time.

Since last we spoke, De Horrore Cosmico, a collection of Cthulhu Invictus scenarios, has been completed, sent out to Kickstarter backers, and should be on shelves at some point in the future (i would hope!). I’m rather proud of this book, especially since it was the first book i designed a cover for. Credit to Mark Shireman, also of GGP, for helping with some ideas on that. Check the book out; looks like you can get it on Amazon (edit: actually, it’s not available there!), but i would highly suggest purchasing it at your local gaming store instead.

De Horrore Cosmico

At least one fiction book for Montag Press was also completed during that time, and i’m currently working the layout for another one, plus going back and plugging in a bunch of corrections for a previous title, Xtremus.

 

Xtremus

But mostly, i’ve been working on Feed the Shoggoth! stuff. At this point, the game is done and dusted- in fact, it’s on the way here from China as i type this, and should be in my hands the first full week of October. Woot!

Speaking of Feed the Shoggoth!, i’ve learned yet another lesson through this process of self-publishing that i can pass along to you, dear reader. Make sure you’ve got your shipping costs nailed down before you start your Kickstarter. I’m not talking about the shipping fees that your backers will need to pay in order to get their stuff. I’m referring instead to the costs incurred from the printing company when they ship your product to your doorstep (or wherever you’re going to stash your product). I didn’t, and it’s come back to bite me in the ass, to the tune of $2000. Ouch. I have the money to cover it, thankfully, but i’m going to have to eat much of the costs of mailing out all the KS product out. And that’s going to suck.

Lastly, i’ve signed a contract to do the book design for a new company that’s a Chaosium licensee, Stygian Fox Publishing. The Things We Leave Behind will be a collection of six scenarios for Call of Cthulhu, all set in the modern era. It looks to be really good, and i’m excited to be a part of it.

Okay, that’s it for now. Oh, and in case you’re keeping an eye on it, i’ve finally updated my damn portfolio.

I’m not dead!

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Honest! I’ve just been…ummm, off doing stuff. Seriously.

As usual, i don’t mean to let my blog here slide, but when you have only so many hours in a day, you have to prioritize. It’s like editing, sometimes; you have to let slide bits and chunks of stuff that you know (or think, at least) that would be really cool, but just can’t fit for whatever reason. But i’m back! I swear!

What have i been working on? if your first guess was “Feed the Shoggoth!“, you’d be right. I won’t go into the long, boring details of it, but i spent most of the winter struggling with printer companies. One in particular that, even though they were highly recommended to me, ended up having the worst fucking customer service i’ve yet to experience in this process. You would think that when you’re telling a company that you literally want to give them your money, but they’re not letting you, they’d say something… This cost me precious time, and further delayed the game coming out.

Oh hell. You know what? I’ll out them. They’re called DeLano. I had gotten a quote from them about a year ago, and thought everything was fine. When i requested an updated quote…crickets. Several emails and calls went unanswered. Eventually, some emails were responded to…vaguely, as if they weren’t really paying attention to what i was writing.

Thankfully, i’ve solved that issue; we’re going with Panda Game Manufacturing now, and the difference is night and bloody day. The status of Feed the Shoggoth!, then, is this- pretty much everything concerning goodies for the Kickstarter have been created, paid for, and shipped to me. All i’m waiting for now are the minis and boxes. As far as the game itself, we were delayed (again!), when the pre-press fellow at Panda pointed out that our bleed amount wasn’t enough.

But, as of last night, i finished processing all the cards, after Damion went back in with Illustrator and did some tweaking. I need to do some last tweaking of the rules, and Damion is in the final steps to getting the box design finished. Then we’ll be off to get this all printed!

Of course, we won’t be done after that; there’s still the Print ‘n Play version to put together. But that should be easy (he says, well knowing he’s said that phrase before only to be kicked in the arse by it later).

Meanwhile, i’ve been working on some other projects. You probably know that Call of Cthulhu 7th edition is out now, at least in pdf form. I’ve been told that the dead tree version will be out…this month? May? Anyway, the new year has seen me working on the 7th ed revision of Cthulhu by Gaslight, which is about 90% done.  I’ve also been actively working on the newest book for Golden Goblin Press, De Horrore Cosmico. That particular book is a collection of six, standalone scenarios for the Cthulhu Invictus era. I’m currently done with the big pass on that, and am waiting for the proofreading feedback to get back to me. It’s been a challenge to not duplicate the work i did on The Legacy of Arrius Lurco.

What else…a couple of books for Montag Press that are in the can, and i really need to update my portfolio here….sheesh.

Okay, back to work with me!

2013 in review, and a look ahead…

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I don’t know why, but for whatever reason, 2013 doesn’t /feel/ like it was a busy year, but upon reflection, it was probably the most crazy year yet for us Squamous folk.

  1. Publication-wise, most of the stuff that Squamous helped shepherd to print were Miskatonic River Press books: Tales of the Sleepless City, Grimscribe’s Puppets, and Deepest Darkest Eden. Sadly, this would be the year that MRP decided to go on indefinite hiatus (though i know that they’re still working with Chronicle City to get Punktown out in the near future.
  2. Oscar Rios’ new company, Golden Goblin Press, started and completed their first Kickstarter, and we managed to get our first release, Island of Ignorance, out to backers in the timeframe that was announced. That was one hell of a project to work on!
  3. I joined Montag Press, and designed the first book for them, M Against M.
  4. Work began (and continued) on Call of Cthulhu 7th edition; by far, my biggest project to date.
  5. Continued work on my Feed the Shoggoth card game, with toiling away at the artwork top priority for that.
  6. A second book for Montag Press, Punish the Wicked, is in the works.

So what’s up next? Oh, nothing much, really…

  1. Call of Cthulhu 7th edition core rulebook and the Investigator’s Companion are released to the public in late spring. And if they don’t, you’ll probably never hear from me again, as a horde of CoC fans will have stormed my house and flayed me alive.
  2. Punish the Wicked will be out on the shelves.
  3. I plan on launching the Kickstarter for Feed the Shoggoth in mid-March. Watch this space for further developments!
  4. Golden Goblin Press’ next Kickstarter is about get underway for Tales from the Crescent City. Assuming that the KS is successful, i’ll be doing the book design for that as well.
  5. I’ve got a project for Cthulhu by Gaslight that i’ve had on the back burner for months that i’m just itching to get out. By hell or high water…

And who knows what else the year will bring? I’d really like to thank everyone who’s been following along here, and those of you who have been posting comments. They’re very welcome, and i’m happy to answer any questions you may have. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

I’m happy to announce that Golden Goblin Press first release, The Island of Ignorance, is in the can, and is now available for order! Anyone who wishes to grab the pdf version can buy it now from GGP’s website…or you can wait a little while longer for the dead tree version.

http://www.goldengoblinpress.com/island-of-ignorance/

Plus, i’ve finished my first book for Montag Press, M Against M by Declan Tan. It’s not up on Montag’s site yet, but should be soon. Once i hear that it’s out and available, i’ll definitely post about it here. But you can always check Montag’s site by going here.

Meanwhile, i’ve been making headway with the design for CoC 7th edition. It’s slow going at the moment, as i still have to wait for art and text assets to come in, but i’ve completed chapter 3, which is the Call of Cthulhu short story itself. I’ve also been working on more card art for Feed the Shoggoth, and that continues to chug along. Funny how some pieces get reworked as they do. One card, “Horde of Penguins”, is an in-joke, making a reference to the story “At the Mountains of Madness”. Obviously, shoggoths and blind albino penguins aren’t going to get along well. At all. (in the game, using the “Horde of Penguins” card allows the player to move the shoggoth a certain number of spaces in any direction; the shoggoth just wants to get the hell away of those penguins).

It makes sense to me, anyway.

 

*ahem*

 

When i originally drew the art, they were normal looking penguins. But in the story, they appear as blind, albino penguins. So i’ve taken this opportunity to go back and make sure they’re the right kind of penguins. Gotta get my in-jokes right!

Lastly, i updated my portfolio with the latest books that i’ve designed; four more this year! There’s actually another Cthulhu fiction anthology (with added sci-fi!!) in Chaosium’s print queue, but it hasn’t come out yet: Eldritch Chrome. I guess that’ll be in 2014.

So close to being done…

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

I’ve been slaving away furiously, attempting to get done the layout for Island of Ignorance. For a long while, i was pounding away at the looooong list of corrections that were handed to me from the proofreaders.

At this stage of the game, handling corrections like this can be…well, it’s kinda like throwing wrenches into the gears. I mean, most of the things, in and of themselves, aren’t difficult to fix; delete a word here, tweak those tabs over there, swap this art from that page to the other page…but it’s amazing sometimes how even one line of text, or even a single character, can result in over an hour of work. That one word might be enough to push a line of text to the next page, throwing off your header, making a stat block suddenly run against a graphic and making the tabs look like crap, create an orphaned text line…ugh. There can be (and there was) a lot of tinkering, massaging, and fudging during this period.

However…all that’s done! There’s just a few more things to do, and then it sounds like next week, the book will be off to the printer. Woot!

In addition, it looks like my first book for Montag Press, M Against M, is done and dusted, and i’ve already started basic layout for the next book, Punish the Wicked.

Lastly, i’ve more or less officially started on the layout for Call of Cthulhu 7th ed; i was recently sent the text for the Call of Cthulhu short story. I’ve created the page design, and dropped in the text. Looks pretty good, if i do say so myself. I’d like to spiffy it up a little, but by and large, /that/ chapter, at least, is almost done.

Almost there!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

My latest design mock up for Call of Cthulhu 7th ed. was reviewed by the authors last week, and the response was very positive. Outside of a few tweaks here and there, and pending approval from Charlie, i think i can consider the design for 7th ed. done. Somehow, i suspect that this was the easy part…

Now, i should add that i’ve been concentrating on the core rulebook only. However, in the course of coming up with the design for that book, i’ve been able to experiment with design elements that i’ll end up using for the Investigator’s Handbook. Expect to see two very distinct designs between the two books. I’m really excited about this; i’m hoping it’ll come across as an actual handbook, or field guide, if you will.

I’m currently attempting to wrap up production on Deepest, Darkest Eden for Miskatonic River Press. I’m pretty sure all that’s left to do is place the ads in the back of the book, and i’ll be able to officially put this in the “done” pile.

Similarly, my first for Montag Press, M Against M, is nearly done. Feedback from both the author and publisher have been enthusiastic, which is awesome. Everyone has different expectations on what they want to see in book design, and working for a company, completely out of the RPG industry, has been a real change for me. But since everyone is digging what i’m doing, i guess i don’t need to worry.

Work also continues on Island of Ignorance– i’m done with all the articles, and am now throwing together the scenarios in the back.

And, somewhere, lurking in the shadows, Feed the Shoggoth waits to be worked on….

More feedback

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I met with Charlie over the weekend to go over my mock ups, and get specific pointers on what he thought was going right, and what was going…not so right. Thankfully, overall, he likes the direction i’m going in. Most of the comments and criticisms he had were little things (increase the distance between paragraphs, get rid of the font point increase for the first paragraph, drop the transparency of this background art to 30%, and so on). The issue of header fonts continues to be a surprisingly sticky one; i’ve tried at least five iterations of different fonts for them, and so far, nothing can be agreed upon. I rather like the all caps one i’m using, but then, i liked the more period/tome styled font, too…back to the drawing board.

The basic layout design for the chapter start double page spread everyone seems to agree with, however, so that’s real good.

While that goes on, i continue working on Island of Ignorance for Golden Goblin Press, which is coming along fine. The only hitch with that book now is that, with everything else going on with the development of the project, getting someone to create the handouts for the adventures kinda slipped everyone’s minds, until i happened to bring it up. Whoops. 🙂

I’m also in the midst of polishing up my first book for Montag Press, M Against M. Had a bit of fun with it last night, creating my first [redacted] text for something. It’s always nice when something that i /think/ i can do in InDesign works how i planned it.

I also ran yet another playtest of Feed the Shoggoth over the weekend, and got more valuable feedback on it. I think this was the first time i ran it with seven players, and the game lasted about 1.5 hours…a bit too long, but not surprising. I think i may have to pitch the game as suitable for 3-6 players. And some interesting comments about any card that reduces scores actually dragging out the game, which is true. If i follow that advice, that’ll mean The Crown of the Yellow King will go under another revision…

And so it begins…

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Needless to say, the biggest news around here in the Shoggoth pits is Call of Cthulhu 7th edition (if you haven’t checked out the Kickstarter for it yet, you can do so here). I’ve been putting together design elements and resources, gathering fonts, and tinkering with page design. After some early struggles with InDesign not bending to my will, i’ve managed to get the start of a framework going for the basic page layout. Right now, i’m getting really fussy with fonts, and still haven’t decided on the final font for the header. But other parts are coming together, and i’m (mostly) happy with the results so far.

Part of the thrill and terror of this sort of project is that i feel that in some ways, i need to pull out all the stops, and use every ounce of skill and technique that i’ve learned over the years to make this the best book it can be. It also means a) still trying new things, and b) making sure i stick to my function-over-form rule.

I’ve been seeing a lot of clamor lately about “FFG edition/Spanish edition/French edition looks so gorgeous! That’s what we want!” on the interwebs. It would be really easy to try to mimic those designs, and i understand that some gamers really want a pretty book. But as a Keeper myself, i know that the first thing i want out of a rulebook is for it to allow me to read it easily, and find the information i need quickly. I cannot in good conscience let the organization of a book suffer to make it look more attractive.

Since i’ve been doing book design, i’ve by and large trusted my gut, as to what looked and felt right. That’s what has gotten me to this point. I’m not about to change that now. So…i hope people will be able to trust my judgement.

In other news, i’ve finished off Grimscribe’s Puppets (though i need to send the files off to MRP), and i’m making a lot of headway with my first book for Montag Press. I’m also gearing up layout for Golden Goblin’s first book, really diving back into art deco styling.

Beeeeeeg frikkin’ news

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Oh man. Where to start.

I guess i’ll be blunt. I’ve just, as of last week, been given the honour and responsibility of creating the book design and layout for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition.

*ulp*

Not only will i be doing the core rulebook, but i’ll also be designing the Investigator’s Handbook, as well as the Keeper’s Screen.

This, obviously, is a huge deal. And not something i take lightly. As someone who actively plays CoC, and knows about the….various opinions on how CoC 6th edition looks, and how i’m doing the book design for RPG i love the most, it’s a little daunting. Well, okay. A lot daunting. Kinda terrifying, but in a good way.

Anyway. I’ll be discussing my progress right here, at ol’ Squamous. Right now i’m in pre-production, going over the manuscript and getting ideas for the design. At this point, i’m pouring over fonts, how page elements might look, navigation, splash pages, and so on. One thing i’m keeping mind that, as pretty as this could be, it is still a /rule/ book, and needs to be easily referenced by people (one thing that people complained about with 6th ed. (me included) that it’s a bitch to find information in it sometimes). But i still want it to reflect a period look and feel, evocative of the Classic era. We’ll see how it goes.

 

Meanwhile, other stuff has been slithering around in the Squamous camp-

I’ve been pounding out a fiction anthology for Miskatonic River Press, called The Grimscribe’s Puppets:

GPCoverWebThumb.jpg

The first pass is already done; now i’m going back and making corrections and the usual lot. I still hate italics text.

Work continues on the card art for FtS!. I’ve kinda lost track of how many i’ve finished, but i’ve gotta be close to the 30 mark. I need to post more examples about that here. I’ll get on that.

In non-Lovecraftian news, i’ve been hired as book designer for Montag Press! I’ve already received my first assignment from them; more news on that as it happens.

Whew!