Crocodilian Logos with Inkscape

So I decided that my primary Blood Bowl team, made up of Impact Miniatures Sarcos crocodiles (run as Lizardmen in BB) needed a team logo.

I spent some time messing around on Google Image Search, and tried another jaw/tooth-based logo out for a bit before tripping over the Aztec “cipactli” glyph, which is a cayman/crocodile and also "e;a primeval sea monster, part crocodile, part fish and part toad, of indefinite gender"e; (from this Wikipedia article) which sounded cool enough as a concept, fit the jungle/tribal/vaguely-Central American theme usually found with Lizardman teams and looked easily reproducible and scalable as a team logo. I found a couple of versions of the cipactli glyph I liked, redrew them in Inkscape so I could work in SVG vector format, then started messing around.

One of my favourite things about Inkscape is that the canvas is infinite. Unlike GIMP or Photoshop where you define an image size and usually have to fiddle around to expand it, Inkscape will show you your defined page size, but the canvas around that page has no boundaries. Want to grab a copy of some part of your image, drag it to one side and fiddle with it separately or create different versions of it? Copy or duplicate the objects you want, and go right ahead and drag them somewhere out of the way to play with them!

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Inkscape working file screenshot. See text for details of what you’re actually looking at!

Above is a quick screenshot I took of Inkscape and the working file I’ve got for Croc team logos and related graphics. See the tan rectangle in the centre? The grey box surrounding it is a North American-standard Letter-sized sheet of paper (roughly A4 for the rest of the world) so the “real” size of this working area is theoretically huge.

The green box on the left is an entire standard-size Blood Bowl pitch with 30mm squares (a 26 x 15 square pitch, for non-BB players!) that I set up to check scale and sizes. The collection of black toothy shapes were an earlier, now abandoned idea for a team logo; the various red things are interations of a possible cipatcli logo.

cipactli

Variations on a cipactli theme. See text for details and click for larger.

The closeup screenshot of possible cipactli logos above shows where Inkscape really shines. Rather than work on just the one image and rely on undo/redo to track changes, or creating lots of versions of a single file and having to have them all open at once, if I want to tweak an object in Inkscape I can just grab a copy (Ctrl+D for Duplicate is useful, it’s Copy+Paste right over the existing object) then drag it off a bit on that infinite canvas. Rinse and repeat until you have a version you’re happy with!

Oh, and the cipactli varient I’m most likely to use, at least at this point, is the third down and third along. The slightly longer snout makes it look more croc-like, but for some reason the even longer nose of the rightmost one doesn’t work for me. I might well try another few variants, there’s no shortage of room!

Chinese Warlord Cards & Blinds

Corey recently started painting up a Chinese Warlord force from Copplestone 28mm figures to extend our Russian Civil War gaming in a more Back of Beyond direction, and he’s actually getting units painted and ready for the tabletop (normally I bug him about being the world’s slowest painter…) so I sat down with Inkscape and created a basic set of cards so his Chinese Warlord forces can run in our Through the Mud & the Blood-powered games.

This isn’t quite the full set I made for the Red & White Russian forces; it’s currently missing a LOT of the cards needed for a full M&B game. It works just fine for a Chinese force allied with a White Russian force, though, which is how they’ll be appearing in the next while, until the force gets bigger.

The PDF is four pages long. The first two pages are the cards, set up to match the earlier Russian cards. Page three has the basic graphic needed for colourful markers for a Warlord force – we use these to mark units that are activated or units that are on overwatch (what M&B calls “Wait For It”). The last page is a pair of blinds.

RCW_Warlord_complete_24March2013 — PDF, 349Kb — this file is Copyright 2013 Wirelizard Design/Brian Burger; permission granted to copy or print for personal use.

I’ll do up a full set of Warlord Chinese cards eventually. When I redid all my Russian cards in January I reconfigured the SVG file in Inkscape to make it a LOT easier to edit and create new versions. I’ll also be producing a set of British cards, so my long-neglected Brits in tropical kit can join the Back of Beyond madness in proper style.

Draft Versions of New M&B Cards

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been rebuilding my Russian Civil War cards for Through the Mud & the Blood over the last few weeks. I’ve finally got the revised versions of my existing Red & White Russian card sets for RCW to a point where I’m happy with them, so for a change of pace this evening I set out to design some cards for some of the other forces we’ll have available.

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Quickly assembled screenshots of draft M&B cards, some revised, some new.

Above, a quick screenshot of the current state of my cards. The Red Russian card has slightly changed background art; all the Big Man cards have a significantly changed layout with more information, and I’ve got a basic background for both British and Warlord Chinese forces! I have a small force of British in tropical kit, and late in 2012 my brother picked up a starter force of Warlord Chinese from Copplestone, which he promises to paint up one day.

One thing I’m not sure of: flag or star insignia for the Warlord Chinese forces? The flag fits in better with my other force cards, but the star works a bit better with text on top of it, as that black stripe on the flag really gets in the way of legible text. Opinions in comments below, please!

The British are also, of course, likely to be useful for other M&B folks, so I’ll get that set done up next, probably in February after GottaCon 2013, where I’ll be running an M&B-powered RCW game!

Happy New Year, Have a Pulp Travel Sticker!

I haven’t posted any random pulp graphics for a while, so here’s a 1920s/30s style British India luggage sticker featuring the Taj Mahal.

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The British Raj in India, etc – an interwar-style graphic for your amusement.

I’ll probably throw together a “Warbard’s 2012 in Review” type post this coming week, but in the meantime, hope you had a safe and entertaining New Year’s Eve, a good 2012, and are looking forward to an even better 2013!

(Incidentally, the Taj Mahal graphic was originally from the awesome Open Clip Art Library site, home of all sorts of awesome Public Domain SVG & PNG images. I’ve mentioned OCAL here before, but it’s always worth reminding people of!)

Rebuilding my RCW M&B Cards

As we’ve played Through the Mud & the Blood-powered Russian Civil War skirmishes over the past year or two (has it really been that long?) we’ve gradually tweaked and modified several of the custom cards we use. This has lead to a number of cards with pencilled notes all over them, a few blank cards re-purposed as hand-written replacements, and various other inelegant things, so I’m taking advantage of some post-Christmas quiet to begin rebuilding my custom card deck.

New cards in progress – new version in the top row, originals in the lower row.

I’m starting with the Big Man cards, which are by far the most common in an M&B game deck. I’ve removed the “Big Man” text, as it’s obvious without having to be pointed out every time. Command Radius has been joined by a reminder of how much a given BM can influence Fire/Melee die rolls, and there’s space for special abilities or whatever. I’ve also gotten rid of the “Big Man #x” text, as we found we were often ignoring it in favour of a simple pencilled number at the top of a card.

I’ll be adding some notes on the rules to many of other cards, especially Heroic Leader, Dynamic Commander and Friction, which often cause confusion. As well, I’m going to do up a series of “Troop Cards”, which will be quick reference cards for the players roughly the size of recipe cards, with basic details on the troop types, equipment and vehicles in their forces.

A Zeppelin Baggage Sticker

I haven’t posted one of my “World More Pulpy” graphics in ages, but here’s something that’s been lurking on my harddrive for ages and needs some fresh air.

Here we have the luggage label for a piece of First Class Cabin Baggage on the American-Pacific Airship Company’s famous “Luxury Airship to the Orient” routes.

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Luxury zeppelin to the Orient! Well, in an alternate world, maybe. One without a fireball at Lakehurst, perhaps.

There were supposedly American companies considering trans-Pacific airship routes at one point; the Great Depression scuttled the first round and then there was that fireball at Lakehurst…

Here’s a couple of real photos from the actual Graf Zeppelin herself just as bonus content. These are once again from the spectacular Flickr Commons account of the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives. The GZ’s cabin in profile and plan, from a postcard:

Zeppelin

…and a detail shot of the elegantly streamlined engine gondolas of the Graf Zepp:

Zeppelin

I actually have a couple of pulp figures on the painting table currently, the first in far too long, so perhaps I’ll get back to some pulp-flavoured posts here soon, in amongst the blizzard of Russian Civil War material recently!

Templates for Cards

Because I happen to have a stockpile of them around the place, several years ago I started using pre-punched Avery business card sheets as gaming cards – Encounter Cards and vehicle cards in .45 Adventure, stats sheets for minor characters, more recently the Russian Civil War initiative cards for Mud & Blood. Even if you haven’t got pre-punched sheets around, the 2×3.5″ size is easy to use and handle printed onto ordinary cardstock and cut out.

There is of course a Microsoft Word template available right off Avery’s own website but I created my own templates from scratch in Inkscape, first because Word is a lousy program for actual graphical work, and secondly because the Avery templates are set up with vertical (portrait) orientation of the sheets, while for most gaming cards having a landscape setup makes more sense.

Accordingly, I kicked Inkscape to life, took some measurements from the Avery sheets and from their template and created a new template with the cards set up on a landscape (horizontal) sheet, which makes laying the cards out like small playing cards much easier.

I’ve uploaded three versions for people to use: a PDF version, a PNG version (probably the most generally useful) and finally, for those of you who have taken up Inkscape, an SVG version, which is in a ZIP file as WordPress doesn’t like SVG,

If you’re not sure which version to use, grab the PNG version, any modern graphics program should read PNG. Most should also be able to import PDF, which might get you a more accurate template.

CC0 To the extent possible under law, Brian Burger/Wirelizard Design has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Card Template Blanks (various file formats). This work is published from: Canada.

The little grey block basically means that whoever downloads these can do whatever they like with them, including use them in commercial products. Go nuts. And if you’re from that rather large part of the word that doesn’t use Letter-size paper, sorry, but you’re going to have to come up with your own templates!

RCW Cards & Blinds In The Flesh

Finally got around to printing and cutting out a full set of the Russian Civil War Mud & Blood cards I created a few weeks ago, as well as the earlier Blinds.

Here’s the full set spread over my painting desk.

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They actually exist! Printed versions of the cards and blinds I've created for playing Russian Civil War games with Through The Mud & The Blood.

You can, of course, find the PDFs for the cards and the blinds in earlier posts here at The Warbard, so you can print your own.

Corey and I will be doing our second session of RCW M&B today (Sunday) at our regular games club meeting up at the local university. Game reports and possibly photos here, as usual.

RCW Cards for Mud & Blood

rcw m&b cards

A couple of cards for both sides for RCW-flavoured Mud & Blood gaming.

The TFL rules “Through the Mud & the Blood” use a Game Deck of cards for initiative and game events. The construction of each deck will vary for each game depending on the forces available but there’s a limited total number of cards and many of the same cards will appear in every game.

With that in mind, I’ve started work on a couple of sheets of Russian Civil War cards for the White Russian and Bolshevik sides. Nothing in publishable form yet, but here’s a quick sneak preview for your amusement — and because blogging about this stuff encourages me to actually finish it!

Russian Civil War Blinds

A number of the TooFatLardies games, including Through The Mud And The Blood, feature “Blinds” — markers used on the table at the start of the game to disguise the exact location and composition of your force and introduce some fog-of-war elements with a minimum of bookkeeping.

RCW Blinds

A quick screenshot of the two styles of RCW Blinds

Richard of TFL recently put out a PDF with a couple of generic blind markers to support his recently released I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, 3rd Edition WW2 rules — they’re on the TFL Yahoo Group, assuming you’re a member. They’re rather elegant oval markers, designed to print about 6″ wide and 4″ deep.

These inspired me to fire up Inkscape last night and create blinds for the Russian Civil War forces I am building for Mud & Blood. Continue reading