Shawn
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hello,

I was wondering what the best software is for making nice player aids and rule books. I know i could probably use Word, but is there a better solution, especially something that helps make docs with lots of graphics intertwined with text and call out paragraphs
 
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Joe Kundlak
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Ditch Word, enter Scribus/Inkscape combo.
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Sean O'Leary
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Adobe InDesign
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JP LaChance
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InDesign or Illustrator depending on how complex the graphical part is
 
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The neutral evil villain known as
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seanjoleary wrote:
Adobe InDesign



this, but there's a learning curve. I suggest "classroom in a book" if they still make them.
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chris schott
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A professional graphic designer would use InDesign or Quark. If you don't plan to be a professional, then stick with Word; there are ways of making it do what you want it to do.
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kSwingrÜber
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spacerx wrote:
A professional graphic designer would use InDesign or Quark. If you don't plan to be a professional, then stick with Word; there are ways of making it do what you want it to do.

Let me fix that for ya...

"A professional graphic designer would use [something expensive]. If you don't plan to be a professional, then stick with Word OpenOffice "Draw"; there are ways of making it do what you want it to do."

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Sean O'Leary
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There's a website called Lynda.com that offers in-depth tutorials on all kinds of different software packages (including InDesign) broken up into easily-digestible lessons. It's a subscription, but, if you think you might have need for it, it's an invaluable resource.
 
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kswingruber wrote:
spacerx wrote:
A professional graphic designer would use InDesign or Quark. If you don't plan to be a professional, then stick with Word; there are ways of making it do what you want it to do.

Let me fix that for ya...

"A professional graphic designer would use [something expensive]. If you don't plan to be a professional, then stick with Word OpenOffice "Draw"; there are ways of making it do what you want it to do."






You may be money ahead to have someone do it for you. There are plenty of us that use expensive software plus have the knowledge to use it, and will do it for the hobby aspect. Unless you really just want to do it yourself.
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Shawn
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oh no I'm not making a game or anything,

I just often see really useful player aids and documents in the files section of games and want to contribute something.

I checked out Scribus but it looks like the learning curve is steep... I don't know if I have the patience !blush
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Joe Kundlak
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For quick and layout-easy player aids stick with Word. It just gets tricky once you want to position elements around the page (and starts to get annoying pretty fast with that). That is why I use Scribus whenever I need a layout with small icons all over the place and images sprinkled here and there.

Maybe one day I will make a "Scribus tutorial for boardgamers" or some such whistle
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Eddy Sterckx
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I use Scribus - it's free and way more easy than InDesign to learn. There are some online tutorials - spend an hour on it and you'll have the basics down.
 
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rekinom
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Instead of Word, you could use Excel.

To get a nice small grid,

1. press Ctrl + A to select all the cells
2. with cells still selected, right click on one of the column headers at the top (A,B,C,etc.) and select Column Width, then set it to 1
3. with cells still selected, right click on one of the row headers at the left (1,2,3,etc.) and select Row Height, then set it to 9

You can then add borders and shading, and use merge (to combine cells) and wrap text (to wrap text within the width of a merged cell). You can use the Top and Middle Align icons to change the vertical alignment of text within your merged cell or rotate the text by clicking on the orientation icon. All of these icons are on the Home ribbon. If you want line breaks within a cell, press Alt + Enter instead of Enter.

If you add images, they float on top of the cells, so you don't have to worry about having them change your existing text layout, like in Word.

 
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Kris Barton
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Seconded for Scribus.

Relatively easy and FREE.

Check out the HOW-TO
for help with using it and making something awesome


No need to spend money or risk infection by torrenting expensive software.
 
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Sparr Risher
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I'm not going to advocate for either approach, but I just wanted to clarify some of the debate above.

Adobe software:
InDesign for publishing and page/book layout
Illustrator for vector graphics (logos, cards, icons, etc)
Photoshop for raster graphics (photos, paintings, etc)

Open source software:
Scribus for publishing and page/book layout
Inkscape for vector graphics
GIMP for raster graphics

There are, of course, more alternatives, but this should be a good summary of the equivalence and distinction between what people have been mentioning already.
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I'm an open-source geek, so I recommend Scribus. However, for folks just starting out, I recommend Microsoft Publisher. It is A LOT easier to do graphic-heavy page layouts than Word, which is an abomination and unholy. Start with Publisher, get good results for anything up to about 32 pages, then when you reach its limits, move on to Scribus.
 
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Chris K
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Adobe InDesign or Quark (which I call Quirk due to it's... well quirks) are super easy to learn.

You basically draw text boxes and image boxes and then fill them with copy/paste and ctrl-D to fit an image.

Anything more detailed is easily Googled. The problem is that it costs money unless you're willing to give the trial version a go.

BUT... you're going to need to use Photoshop or Gimp in order to work those images and graphics before importing them into InDesign. If you figure out Adobe Illustrator then you've got all sorts of graphics options as well.
 
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Chris K
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Alternatively, you could download some premade templates, which likely exist for Scribus as well, and then just fill them with text and images.
 
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Jan Tuijp
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Terra canadensis wrote:
Adobe InDesign or Quark (which I call Quirk due to it's... well quirks) are super easy to learn.


Oh puh-lease... That's ridiculous. Don't know about Quark, but InDesign is definitely NOT super easy to learn.

 
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Nicholas Vitek
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InDesign is very easy to learn for layout purposes.
Data Merge, page layout, picture layout and borders, etc.


 
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Bob Gallo
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Don't laugh, but PowerPoint isn't bad for down and dirty free form layout.

Admittedly, I spent half my life doing graphic design for print, later web and video so I turn to Adobe's Creative Suite programs for my own work but no single program in the suite is a complete solution and together it's close to $600/yr in software and a huge learning curve (yeah, I know InDesign is just a bloated version of PageMaker, but it's not complete, you still need some competence in Photoshop and Illustrator to produce more than rudimentary layouts).
 
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JC
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Corel Draw is my favorite when I need that kind of software. You can easily use the most basic Tools, which will be quite enough for making the playing aids/rulebooks you talked about. And if you need more Advanced features they'll just be there waiting
And the latest versions have a built-in PDF export function (though that kind of thing becomes more and more common nowadays).
 
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