John Smith
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Here is a list and a guide for the tools I use.

I. Improve the Maps and Counters

For this Step I would suggest Gimp. Photoshop should work also, but it costs a bunch of money and is not Open Source, so use Gimp!

Gimp (Mac, Linux, Windows)
http://www.gimp.org/

Check if the Map has a good quality if the colors are pale or you need intense colors for black and white printing.
If you need to modify the Map this step is for you.

Here is an exampe of a Map which can be simply improved by reediting:


1. Install Gimp
2. Open Gimp
3. Load Image in Gimp
4. Check if its Colormode is RGB, if not Click on it. (Image - Mode - RGB)


5. Open the Color Levels (Colors - Levels)


6. This should roughly look like this:


7. Now move the black and white sliders of the Input Levels more or less to the middle, this step depends on the material you are editing. Notify how the Color and the Contrast of the Map changes.

The white slider defines the white point: all pixels with this or a higher value (i.e. brighter pixels) will be white. This is great if what should be white in the map is not white in the image.

The black slider defines the black point: that means all pixels with a lower value (darker) will be black. You need this if the black in the scan is some sort of gray and you want it black.


8. Now play with the grey slider.
It defines the mid point of the color leves. If you are going left it makes the image lighter and more colored, to the right the image becomes darker and less colored.


Now the Image is ready even for B/W Printing!


II. Printing Maps

Now you want to print the map, but it is one large file and if you would print it directly the size of the hexes is similar to the size of pinhead?
Here is the tool that you need:

Posterazor (Mac, Linux, Windows)
http://posterazor.sourceforge.net/

I will spare a step by step guide, because it is quite self-explanatory. It splits one large image into single sheets and saves them as a PDF. Quite neat tool.
You can change the amount of overlap for the sheets - this one is important for gluing the map.

III. Beautify the Rules

Now that you assembled the map, you want to print the rules. But a bunch of single sheets isn't exactly what a BGG wants. He wants a nifty booklet!

If the rules come without a title page and you want to add one to your booklet simply create one and add it to your PDF using PDFsam before creating a booklet.

For the Mac user there is one tool:

CocoaBooklet (Mac)
http://www.iconus.ch/fabien/products/cbeng/cbeng.html


You load your PDF into it and it puts out a ready to print booklet version of it.
But beware: as far as I have noticed there is a bug if you let it split the file into two files (one for odd and one for even pages). The pages aren't rotated accordingly. You can use PDFsam to fix the problem. (If a someone finds out, that I am wrong and the bug is in my brain - please drop me a few lines!).

There should be Software for Linux and Windows which has the same purpose, a quick search brought nothing free. If you find anything, please post it!

But there is a Webservice you can use:

Bookletcreator (Web Service, max Filesize 20MB)
http://bookletcreator.com/

Just upload a file, choose from the options, than you get your booklet. Neat.

The Printing is a little brainteaser. First print the even pages. Than turn around the printed pages and print the odd pages on the back.
(It is easyer if you fold two sheets of plain paper to a simple booklet and number the pages, now unfold it and you should get a picture how this works.)

I would advise, that you try this step with only one page first before you miss print the whole booklet.

After the booklet is printed fold it. I am not one of the lucky guys who has a really big stapler - so there has to bee a workaround.

That is what I do:
I use a needle to stitch two holes in the booklet - one for every staple i will use.
I would advise not to do this on the kitchen table and to use paperboard as underlay.
For pressing I would not recommend your finger, if the booklet is thick you will need a lot of pressure. Use something hard made of plastic or paper. And be careful! I don't want to hear of anybody bleed to death using my instructions!



Than use a staple to mark the position of the second hole.



Now stitch holes at the marked positions, put a staple through the holes, bend it and you're done!

If you really want to go pro, you can use a cutter and a metal (!!!) ruler to cut the overlaying pages.


IV. Splitting and Merging PDFs using PDFsam

PDFsam (Mac, Linux, Win)
http://www.pdfsam.org/

This one is great. You can split and merge PDFs using different options. I use this to add title pages to my booklets or to split PDFs.
To workaround the CocoaBooklet Bug I use following steps:

-Split up the PDF into single sheets.
-Sort the odd and even pages into two folders
-Load the odd pages into PDFsam (you have to change and check the sort order!) and merge them. (Same for odd pages)

V. Creating PDFs under Windows

Here is a tool:

CC PDF converter (Win)
http://www.cogniview.com/cc-pdf-converter.php

Comments and further suggestions appreciated!
Have Fun!
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Gunther Schmidl
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For Windows, you can use FinePrint (http://www.fineprint.com/) to print booklets. It's not free, but well worth its price.
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Ron Parker
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Adobe Reader itself can do booklet printing, too:



If you change the Page Scaling dropdown to "Booklet Printing" it'll automatically create a booklet. Obviously, doing something as huge as the 797-page document in this image as a single booklet would be impossible (you'd want to do that in signatures of 16 or so pages each, then bind the individual signatures together) but it definitely worked when I printed a copy of the Risk 2210AD rulebook.

I cheated a little, though: I have access to a duplex printer, a saddle stapler, and a bypass cutter (used to trim the page edges to a uniform width.)
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Pelle Nilsson
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PosteRazor is very useful. I don't know about those other PDF tools, but I'll add them to my list of things to check out.

Inkscape should also be mentioned. It is for vector graphics drawing rather than bitmaps. You can still make bitmaps in GIMP and put them inside Inkscape drawings, as they are or tiled as pattern backgrounds to objects, but if you learn both tools you are likely to find that for the kind of artwork shown in the photos above is often easier to create in Inkscape.
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Andrea Doria
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Booklet printing is actually a capability of most word processors (and by "most," I mean Word and WordPerfect).
 
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Spencer C
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For rules booklets, if you have a lot of rules, a great way to bind them is to print them off in such a way that you have pages 1 and 4 on one side and 2 and 3 on the other [and for the next page, 5 and 8 on one side with 6 and 7 on the reverse]. Fold these pages (crease them really well) and then simply hold them together while you use PVA at the edge of the folds to bind them and attach a cover. The result is a rules book the size of a larger paperback book. Alternatively, if the printing scheme is too much of a headache, you can simply print out booklet style and cut all the pages in half.

You can also use this method with full-size sheets, in fact user Aenea just uploaded a tutorial for her method of perfect binding fullsize A4 paper a week or two ago.
 
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Adam D.
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I find Paint.net easier to use than GIMP on Windows, but your mileage may vary.
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Kito Impsta
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Just goes to show that if you give a fiddler a Stradivarius he won't make beautiful music
 
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Aloha!
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K P Impsta wrote:
Just goes to show that if you give a fiddler a Stradivarius he won't make beautiful music
Wow, that's needlessly mean-spirited.
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Ed Oviedo
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pelni wrote:
PosteRazor is very useful. I don't know about those other PDF tools, but I'll add them to my list of things to check out.

Inkscape should also be mentioned...


I have a list of free software useful for DIYers here. So you can add a few more items to check out list. :-)

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T Guiles
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Paint Shop Pro is a great and affordable alternative to Photoshop. I actually think it is superior to Photoshop. In other words, it has all of the functionality, compatibility with plugins, but the UI is superior, making it easier to use.
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Chris toph
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I need a tool to put a bunch of cards on one (or a few) sheet(s) for printing.
I'm doing this with latex for now, but this is not very efficient in terms of cards per sheet.
I'd prefer Linux or Mac but Windoof would work as well.
 
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Andrea Nand
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Modena
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Best. Game. Ever.
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I wrote nanDECK and BGG1tool
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stophle wrote:
I need a tool to put a bunch of cards on one (or a few) sheet(s) for printing.
I'm doing this with latex for now, but this is not very efficient in terms of cards per sheet.
I'd prefer Linux or Mac but Windoof would work as well.

Self-promotion mode ON You can use nanDECK (it runs on Windows and, with WINE, on Linux).

1) Download the current version of nanDECK:

http://www.nand.it/nandeck/

2) write a script like that (in the 3rd line there is the images' folder):

[size]=6,9
[img]=dirfiles("c:\bgg2nandeck\img\",jpg)
cardsize=[size]
image="1-{(img)}",[img],0,0,[size],0,P

3) Validate, Build & Print.

This is one example page (with 6x9cm cards):



And this is a script if you want to specify every single image:

[size]=6,9
cardsize=[size]
image="1","c:\image1.jpg",0,0,[size],0,P
image="2","c:\image2.jpg",0,0,[size],0,P
image="3","c:\image3.jpg",0,0,[size],0,P
image="4","c:\image4.jpg",0,0,[size],0,P
...
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Pelle Nilsson
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To match the nandeck self-promotion, making a sheet of cards from files in a directory, and with tools that Chris can run natively in Linux

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4643241#4643241

Also runs in MacOS and Windows. although to automatically include all images in a directory some external scripting would be required to get them all into the CSV file.
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Chris toph
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Thanks guys!
I'll check both out and will improve the printerfriendliness of my arkham horror card dividers(self promotion ) for the next version!
 
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Tuuli Mustasydän
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For a free booklet-formatting software for Windows, I use this:
http://opensource.marten.dk/sider/pdf-booklet-creator_67.asp...

It doesn't resize the pages, though, so you will probably have to print the file as 'Fit to page'.
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