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Monday, January 17, 2011

Book covers

One of my frustrations with the OSR is that many of the games have very poor cover art. I like the S&W core rulebook, the black and white WhiteBox rules (and I admit that's not even super art, but I like it), and the deluxe red Labyrinth Lord covers. Pretty much all the others are amateurish, usually in some perverse desire to ape the originals. Newsflash, if TSR could have afforded really nice art for their covers, we'd have had it. Notice the improvements in cover art through the 1980's and 1990's. There's a reason the old art style was abandoned as soon as TSR could afford to do so.

Most of the OSR covers appear to be designed for a 12 year old from the 1980's. If I was still that kid, I'd be happy. However, me, and probably 90% of OSR gamers, are in their 30's and 40's. I think publishers should take that into account.


Pontifex said...

Have you seen the art in Errant?

I was able to secure a lot of really great art compared to many retroclones because I am distributing free PDF only so I can use full color without problems.

biopunk said...

I'm in complete agreement with you Dan.

Grognard nostalgia aside, why are crappy cover illustrations considered a 'desirable' means of appealing to new players?

@Greg: While Errant's cover art is okay, to me it isn't particularly evocative of anything other than a late-summer's day in the Rhine River valley.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's rephrase that:
"If OSR could afford really nice art, we'd have it."
Think about it. ;)

Pontifex said...

@ Biopunk

That is actually only there as a placeholder for some commissioned art that my friend is working on for me. I would hold up Cascade Failure or Synapse as a much better cover right now. I was talking more about the art for the entire book with respect to Errant.

Dan said...

I think many games actually have good interior art. It's just the book covers that tend to look bad.

Pontifex said...

What do you think of the cover art on this game, Dan?

Obviously, not medieval fantasy. But the system is actually the same as my OSR game with some tweaks.

And before you ask, Yes, that is the cover art. The book is landscape orientation to be more pleasant to view on the screen.

Pontifex said...

Doh, forgot the link

Dan said...

I like it.

also: Word verification is pothed!

velaran said...

I wish whitebox would've used this cover:! It's very dynamic, unlike many modern RPG and comics covers. At least the 'Old' TSR stuff from the early 80's had ad sense of action! perhaps why they captivated the '12 year old from the 1980's' you mention.

Notice the improvements in cover art through the 1980's and 1990's.-YMMV. Easley, Elmore, Fields, and Caldwell weren't an improvement, imo over the departing Otus, Darlene, Trampier, Willingham, Jeff Dee, et. al not to mention DSL becoming their map guy. But there was BROM(they needed more BROM in more than Dark Sun, I'd say..), so it was good! (And Ruppehl could be good.) I didn't mind the Franks so much, I guess.

"However, me, and probably 90% of OSR gamers, are in their 30's and 40's. I think publishers should take that into account."-
this gives zero information. What would you like to see?(I'm not a publisher.) I want more action(especially where the outcome seems indeterminate[who'll win? Play and see!]), more monsters, more weird situations, evocative settings, etc.. and less posing by swollen-up looking dudes, and vapid bigtitty blonde(Elvishish vaguely) sword/staff chicks(some women do wear the armor, ya know, and not all look the same, especially regarding facial features!) in some knockoff of RenEval Merry Ol England, and/or a strangely 'modern' dungeon. looking(um, fighting) at 'iconic' monsters.

Wayne Reynolds needs a rest people, help the man out, he draws all the art for Paizo and WOTC!(Exaggerating only slightly.) Let's find some good new artists!