DTP Stuff

Home This Gamer Game Replays Ardennes '44 Iron Tide In Memoriam DTP Stuff Copyright Information Links



Making Your Own Counters The nightmare of all time, how to make replacements or how to mount those sheets of counters a DTP has sent you. (download pdf format of the linked page)
Blowing Up a Game Map How I manage to make larger maps. How you can do it too.
Blowing Up the Counters And another counter mounting exercise for the gamer who wants a large copy.
   Tools A short list of useful items to accomplish this construction activity.
   DTP Companies A set of links to DTP companies I know of. If I don't list them, it is simply that I don't know about them... yet.

An Introduction

DTP seems like a relatively new entry into the wargaming hobby, but mostly is just a growth area for a costly business which principally addresses a small hobby. This has come about because the expense of producing a game can be dramatically reduced if the majority of parts are actually assembled by the gamers instead of the publisher. Starting out companies don't have a large scale market and printing of any sort becomes dramatically less expensive per unit if you are doing so in large quantity. The larger the quantity, the bigger the savings on a per unit basis. That means when you can't be sure of selling a couple hundred copies, the costs for each individual copy are dramatically higher. So a game designer and their publisher  look for ways to reduce the expense.

In the late 1960's, there was a small startup gaming company named Poultron Press, which evolved into Simulation Publications Inc. (known as SPI, now out of business, which is a long story and not appropriate here). Even then the effort to get started in publishing wargames involved producing maps and counters, and printed rules. Their early games included counters that had been hand drawn and then copied onto a sheet of colored paper with the intent the gamer would then use rubber cement or other glue to attach the sheet to cardboard, then cut them out. The early maps were black and white, or shades of gray. They eventually evolved into a larger company capable of hiring printing services to do the die cutting, and some multicolor printing for maps.

It was common 35 years ago that if you lost a handful of units for a given game that was published with die-cut counters, the only way to really replace them was to buy another sheet of counters from the publisher. The hand drawn counters at home that one might glue onto cardboard tended to look and feel like poor substitutes.

So Gaming never had the home resources before that are available now. It's entirely possible to do an entire game of your own design, and send out the graphics and rules to another hobbyist without any physical components, and have them create the physical incarnation using their computer. I never quite realized when I got my computer that this would enable me quite the range of changes to my home gaming activity that it has.

As a result, I sometimes produce a few items for the purpose of enlarging the playing components of the game, or for the purpose of replacing counters that have been lost. Keep in mind I'm talking about making copies of titles I own for my personal use, not generating copies for resale or to pass on copies to friends. Staying within the bounds of copyright, you can still reproduce the counters or a large copy of the map and counter for yourself.

However a number of little operations that sell games for low prices that fall in this category of desk top publishing who will provide everything but mounted counters. I recommend checking out things for Cool Stuff Inc (Todd Davis, drop him a line to ask what he has), Kyber Pass Games, Markham Designs, Perry Moore Games, or any of the other DTP sites around. You can find more by checking out the game company support folder at the forums at ConSimWorld.

DTP stands for Desk Top Publishing.