Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fight On #1 Cover to Cover - part 2

The PDF copy of Fight On! #1 has 31 pages, one of which is the cover. Page 2 is a dedication page. The issue is dedicated to E. Gary Gygax, who had recently passed away, and is a fitting choice. It was Gary who took the fresh ideas invented by Dave Arneson and massaged them into a printable product, starting the whole RPG era. There is a nice picture of Gary, and then a quote chosen from the famous afterwards on page 36 of Book 3 - The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures. The gist of the quote is Gary posits that his rules are a framework, and building on it should be easy and fun. He then advises people to take the game and make it the way you want it to be. An apt selection.

Page 3 is a busy page, with an introduction from the editor, a submissions guideline section, a table of contents, a list of illustrators and their artwork, and an explanation of the house terminology. The page is laid out in two columns, which is standard for the rest of the magazine.

The introduction is from Ignatius Umlaut, the editor. It is a three paragraph entry that sets a fantasy stage in the reader's head, then introduces the magazine's mandate. It is a positive, upbeat message and is a useful addition to the magazine. Beneath Ignatius' introduction is a really silly line drawing of what looks like a squashed troll. I am going to assume it has some significance for Mr. Umlaut, as otherwise it is a waste of space on a page that is already very crowded. The last section on the first column is submission information. It is clear about how to submit, ownership rights of submissions, and even has the very generous statement that the publishers will help any interested parties to connect with the authors. This in fact happened to me, as Ignatius connected me with a French roleplaying magazine interested in one of my submissions. What is missing from this paragraph is the information that Fight On! does not pay for any submissions, but will recompense you with a free PDF of the issue.

The second column starts with the Table of Contents. I never look at ToC's on my first read, as I just plow into the material, but it is absolutely crucial to have one, for when you need to find the article you want to mine for ideas. This ToC is clear and easy to find. It adds the authors of the pieces as well, which is nice but probably not needed, and does add a bit of clutter. After the ToC is the list of illustrations, where I find the cover logo was designed by Jeff Rients, and the illustration by Andrew Reyes. I do like this touch of listing all the artists and their illustrations. The next paragraph discusses the thinly disguised aliases for Armor Class (Defense Class), Hit Dice (Wound Dice), and so on. The use of these throughout the magazine proves to be annoying, but is probably necessary for legal reasons. The last paragraph on the page provides miscellaneous contact information.

This page is a crowded page, but the information is useful and fairly complete. Now all the necessary preliminaries are out of the way, the next article can focus on the actual gaming content. All told, the first three pages give a good vibe - you feel you are in the hands of professionals who know what they are doing, and are going to deliver what they promise.

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