Monday, August 27, 2012

Review of Banners On The Cheap


Of course, I love my maps, just as any good gamer does. I've sketched, traced, painted, and designed map after map for RPG campaigns of all types. So when I was approached by the folks at Banners on the Cheap, who felt their service could be used for gamers looking to have their map and prop designs printed, I decided to give it a shot.

Basically, the Banners folks allowed me to upload an image via their site, and have it printed out on a vinyl sheet of my choice of size. I had a few sketches of campaign worlds I was working on, but ultimately I wanted to go with something full-color, that would prove a challenge for their services. 

Since I was looking at running an alternate history game set in the years right after the American Civil War, so I went with the 1867 Mitchell map of the United States. It's full color, with plenty of small detail areas. In addition, it's in the public domain, so there were no copyright issues to worry me.

The cost at checkout for a 3' by 5' vinyl printing with grommets (for wall hanging) ended up at $27.88, which was pretty good compared to local print places I checked (our local ship here would have been at least $40 for something comparable.

The quality was high, and I have to say whatever machine they're using for their printing really does a nice job. I was very pleased with my experience, and if there's a Game Master or gamer out there looking for high-quality printing for their cartographic creations, I would spare no time in recommending Banners On The Cheap

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Awesome Kickstarter For Supers Fans

Kickstarter has been a lot of fun in the past year, even as I've had to try harder and harder to balance some form of a gaming life with everything else going on. Companies are finally aggressively going after niche products, with a clear-cut idea of just how many people are interested in a product before they go to press.

That's not really news to gamers, who have been among the earliest and best adopters of the Kickstarter/crowd funding strategy, but the nice part is the gaming hobby has found a powerful ally in getting many projects off the ground. Currently, the one I'm all about is Stark City.

If you've messed around with the ICONS RPG, you know it's a relatively light game that handles a sort of Neo-Silver Age feel exceedingly well, along with everything from the Avengers to the plight of the solo hero. While the game has had some delays in terms of support products (I know we're all shocked that would be the case for any RPG), Stark City looks to address that in a big way.

Sometimes, you just read the description for a product, and know you have to have it. That's how I feel on Stark City.

Both a modular city setting and city-building toolkit for ICONS (and therefore probably very easily used with any number of FATE-based iterations and/or supers games), Stark City can boast not only the talents of Steve Kenson (creator of ICONS and all-around Supers guru), but Steve Perrin (yes, the RuneQuest Steve Perrin!) is doing the backstory! In addition, there's a whole all-star host of artists and writers also playing their part with this project.

You can a pre-release copy of the Stark City pdf for a $10 funding pledge, or a softcover book, pdf, soundtrack, and your name in the credits for $25. Of course, there are swankier packages available, but I'll let you look at those yourself.

As I write this, Stark City has 37 days to go before the funding period closes, and is at $1,419 of $2,600 needed to ensure this project becomes fully funded. I'd love to see folks jump on board with this, mainly because I'm selfish and want this made, but also because this seems like the sort of setting that could become a very fun shared campaign world.