I spent most of the afternoon on the way to a from hospital and in a big-ass magnetic tube. But the day wasn't a total write-off.
I've spent the last couple of days making a prototype of Sumeria with the finished artwork. First I had to do all the layout of the punchboards and gameboard (I've not got around to doing the box yet) done, then I had to get it printed. That's never a simple job with my printer (an HP Deskjet 9800 which is nothing but trouble). When that was finally finished the next stage was to glue the art onto greyboard and cut it out.
Because all the punchboards are double-sided, I had to make sure the artwork lined up front-to-back. When doing Border Reivers back in the day, I came up with a method for doing this. In the artwork, I printed a couple of lines at right-angles that were a specified distance from the art. On the front I put them in the top left corner, and on the back I put them in the top right corner. Then when I glue the art, I cut the art to those lines and glue it to the same corner of the board - front and back. It works really well - the line-up rarely leads to a noticeable error.
The manufacturer wanted me to provide the art on one layer, and the die-line on another. In addition to this, I've added a third layer with crop marks showing me where to cut the prototype without being visible in my finished article, which the die-line would be. So once I've printed and glued the art, I then cut it out using the crop marks to show me where to cut. The finished article looks really good - Harald did a fantastic job on the art. The only thing I've tweaked is that I've 'filled in' the outline font he used on the tiles and board, I thought the original font looked pretty cool, but I thought it was a little hard to read.
Making my own prototype with the finished art and layout is important - it lets me test things out before I send the art to the manufacturers for printing. I've already found one problem - I'd done some of the counters the wrong way round on the punchboard - so instead of all the counters having the same image front and back, four of them had one image on the front and another on the back breaking the whole game! I had to fix it, print out again, re-glue it and then cut them out again. Having said that, the printers would probably have caught it (their data quality department was awesome for Carpe Astra), but it's better to be safe than sorry!
Tonight I'm taking it round to my games night - I feel a powerful need to show it off!