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 Post subject: About Those Maps....
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:00 am
Posts: 5095
Location: Milwaukee, WI
OK, it shows up in just about every review of our products (other than for BoP...)

Why do we use two maps, one white, one blue, with different sizes of hexes on each side of the map?

The short answer is printing.

One of the printers that we use has a press that's a single color press (so we can only get black ink on it) that uses a 24x39" sheet of paper. The really cool think about this press is that it prints both sides of the sheet at the same time for about $70 extra, when we do print runs of about 3,000 map sheets at a time. 7000/3000 means we're getting charged a bit over 2 cents a map for that reverse side printing. (It costs us more to have them folded, to be honest.)

Now, we can't change the color of the ink on the press - it only handles black. (It's basically a sheet fed offset press). We can change the color of the sheet of paper midway through the run; they basically stack it so that there's 1500 sheets of white and 1500 sheets of blue in the bin and turn the press on. Unfortunately, printing black on black paper tends to be very low contrast. ;) We use white and blue map sheets to make it easier to tell map sheet A and map sheet B apart, since the hex numbers are identical.

We print one side at 3/4" hexes, the other at 1.45" hexes. 3/4" is used primarily by Birds of Prey, where it's unlikely that you'll have two planes within "jostling distance", and they claim that the fact that the tilt blocks and minis overlap the hex edge isn't a problem.

I primarily use 1.45" hexes for my game play, or play a felt map.

Now, to give you an idea of how much these maps cost - they're about 56 cents per sheet. Or about $1.12 total.

Each fifteen cents of printing cost you put into a product adds about a dollar to the MSRP. So those maps are directly responsible for $6.50 of the cover price of the game, and without them, the game is unplayable.

Getting black maps done up in the sizes we use costs about $4 per sheet in the quantities we'd want to buy them in. (When you get to 30,000 of them at a time, they get to about 75 cents per sheet, but costs us $23,000 or so.)

So, if we put in two panels of black maps, the cover price of the game would rise by about 55 bucks. If we only put in one panel, the cover price would rise by about 27 bucks, but you'd have a very limited range of space to play in. At that point, it's cheaper for everyone involved for you to buy a deluxe felt battle mat, which will look better anyway.

Amarillo Design Bureau sells map panels for Federation Commander as well. We've talked about buying some from them to re-sell, but the hex sizes are smaller (on both sides), which is problematic.

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Ken Burnside
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Ad Astra Games


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 Post subject: Re: About Those Maps....
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:36 pm
Posts: 518
You didn't explain why there are two different colors....


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 Post subject: Re: About Those Maps....
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:20 pm 
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Location: El Segundo, CA
We almost always play Attack Vector with the smaller hexes. The tilt blocks overlapping the hex edges makes no difference. If we have two ships in adjacent hexes, we just butt them up against each other.

No one has ever been confused by the tilt blocks overlapping the hex edges. It's clear that the ship isn't in any of the surrounding hexes.

(As a point of interest, many games have used only hex center dots, without the hexes. World in Flames used hexes on land and hex dots at sea to provide quick differentiation.)

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 Post subject: Re: About Those Maps....
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Location: El Segundo, CA
Mike Zebrowski wrote:
You didn't explain why there are two different colors....


In theory, so that you can differentiate the maps in scenario setups. Because the maps all have to have exactly the same printing, it's not possible to mark one as map "A" and the other as map "B."

This feature has not seen much use.

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3-D makes no difference.

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Stop laughing.


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 Post subject: Re: About Those Maps....
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:00 am
Posts: 5095
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Mike - I edited and fixed that.

White and blue maps make it easier to say "Map sheet A and map sheet B" since neither of them is labeled A or B (because that defeats the purpose of just running them on one press set up).

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Ad Astra Games


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