AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

For discussion of the AFF Fanzine
Sukumvit
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Sukumvit » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:06 pm

It's Miller time! 8)

Robb 1
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Robb 1 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:22 pm

Quartely sounds good to me :D

Sukumvit
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Sukumvit » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:50 pm

It sounds perfect, particularly when you consider how much stuff people are bombarded with now, which they feel pressurised to keep up with. Back when Fortean Times was bi-monthly (possibly even quarterly - I can't remember,) I used to read it cover-to-cover; now it's monthly, I'm still reading the current issue when the next one arrives. People are getting overloaded these days - there's too much of everything. A quarterly publication allows people to give the zine a go alongside the other mags they read, without being overwhelmed by content.

I think it's important that a zine should have a mix of articles for newcomers and material aimed more at established players. If it devotes itself too much to promoting the reasons why AFF is a great game, it will come across as too evangelical and will also outlive its usefulness very quickly; if it concentrates on appealing to existing players, it will be harder for novices to get a foothold. "Something for everyone" makes for a successful magazine.
Last edited by Sukumvit on Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bifford
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Bifford » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:16 pm

I've made a new forum and moved this thread over. There's a "shadow" left in place so I don't confuse people with the sudden disappearance. It means you can start extra threads (ie a "Layout Discussion" or "Art Thread") with impunity and without clogging up the AFF forum.

Nuvole!
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:49 am

I managed to reach here through mentioned "shadow".
He's a real Nowhere man, sitting in his Nowhere land, making all his Nowhere plans for Nobody.

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Dawndeath
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Dawndeath » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:03 pm

Sukumvit wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:50 pm
I think it's important that a zine should have a mix of articles for newcomers and material aimed more at established players. If it devotes itself too much to promoting the reasons why AFF is a great game, it will come across as too evangelical and will also outlive its usefulness very quickly; if it concentrates on appealing to existing players, it will be harder for novices to get a foothold. "Something for everyone" makes for a successful magazine.
Yeah, I think that's a very good point. If we make sure we're aiming some material at newbies - how-to guides, getting to know AFF and Titan, examples of play, that sort of thing - and some material aimed more at the long-standing members of the community - house rules, monster variants, deeper lore of Titan, &c. - then we should hopefully be able to make each reader glad they opened the mag, and keep them coming back for more.

Sukumvit
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Sukumvit » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:56 pm

That's the thing. I think it's also true that roleplayers are generally more welcoming to newcomers than they used to be, so veterans will hopefully be more tolerant of material that they might not have too much use for themselves - they'll see the wisdom of it being there. Back in the 80's, things were quite different; I remember endless complaints in the letters page of White Dwarf, decrying articles aimed at "newbie kids who've come here from Fighting Fantasy" (yes, that's us they were talking about.) It's a far less elitist scene than it used to be, thank God.

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Dawndeath
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Dawndeath » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:47 am

Okay, so I know we're still waiting for official approval, but I think we can start gathering together our ideas about what to include in the zine. It might be helpful to tentatively outline some sections for the magazine, based on the items people have suggested so far. Something like (in no particular order):
  • A bestiary section (Glimpses of the Pit? Shadows of the Pit?) - one or two new monsters or monster variants per issue;
  • A short adventure (multi-player or solo) - possibly original, possibly converted from another system, possibly based on a FF gamebook;
  • An 'introductory' article - something about getting to know Titan, or how to create a character based on a particular theme or hero from literature, &c.;
  • Deeper monster or setting lore, written as if by an in-world writer;
  • New weapons, armour or other equipment - possibly fantasy-themed, possibly historically researched, possibly including magical items;
  • New spells or priestly powers, or even whole new magic systems for particular locations within Titan;
  • Ideas for new rules / rules modifications to cover particular situations - for example, how to introduce an HONOUR stat for use in adventures based in Hachiman;
  • AFF stats for famous characters - both from within FF (EG Zanbar Bone, Nicodemus, &c.) and from other works (EG Aragorn II, Merlin, Robin Hood, Red Sonja, &c.);
  • Something related to Stellar Adventures - ideas for settings, conversions of existing sci-fi works to the SA system, &c.;
This list is by no means exhaustive, and not every section needs to be included in every issue of the zine, but it gives us a start to organising what we need to produce. We could create individual threads within this forum for each section, where people can submit and discuss more specific ideas.

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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Sukumvit » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:25 pm

As far as contents go, that sounds about right; it's pretty much what you find in any RPG magazine, really, professional or amateur. But these things are constant features in mags because they work and they're what people want to see. Certain types of content will need to be in each issue, particularly things like adventures. I don't know what others think, but I'd be inclined to concentrate on multi-player scenarios more than solos - Fighting Fantazine already has solos covered, and they would take up an awful lot of space in what will only be a 30-page mag. Scenarios, on the other hand, can cover quite a lot of ground in only 4 to 6 pages, particularly if they're sketching out the essential structure, setting and characters of an adventure without going into exhaustive detail.

A separate thread for each section or "department" would be useful for people to bounce ideas around for a while and briefly discuss who's doing what; this will avoid any duplication of effort. But we need to be aware that there's a danger we could get into a situation where the zine's contents are being determined by committee; despite its democratic appeal, this will slow things down to a crawl (especially when you consider that there are often quite long pauses between posts on these forums.) Ultimately, someone will basically have to assume the role of editor and sift through submissions, deciding which will go in each issue and which won't; if there's a schedule to keep to, things will have to be moving fairly quickly. To avoid any hurt feelings and bad blood, though, it might have to be a case of "it's not going in this issue, but probably the next one;" this isn't a professional endeavour, and everyone should have a chance to see their words in print.
What we need is someone with the free time to take on this role (I'll be the first to rule myself out, to spare other peoples' embarrassment!) Any takers?
Last edited by Sukumvit on Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by HedgeWizard » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:37 pm

I agree on the role of the editor. Although I can’t promise enough time to be part of the central team I’m happy write articles on a range of subjects on the list.

Nuvole!
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Nuvole! » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:08 pm

Bifford is the obvious candidate :P
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Bifford
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Bifford » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:35 pm

Nuvole! wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:08 pm
Bifford is the obvious candidate :P
Well thank you for the vote of confidence :P

Assuming I have the time I am happy to edit/proofread. I wouldn't want to put the item together per se, but I'd happily ensure everything looks right and works and make/suggest changes. It might be worth having two people for the task as a double-pass mechanism.

Also, I highly recommend doing a mock-up edition before you do anything solid. Throw all the ideas into a rough-draft with fake headings and fake text and images so you can see what the LOOK and pace of the item is like.

I've been part of a crew on a magazine before - a long while back now.
Total Amiga. http://www.totalamiga.org/ I wrote for it and proofread for them from about halfway through the run onwards.
PDFs are freely downloadable from that site, and I found the style and layout to be exemplary.
But look to RPG fanzines and magazines too.

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Dawndeath
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Dawndeath » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:31 am

The Total Amiga magazine really is impressive - do we think we can produce something like that? Unfortunately I don't know jack about desktop publishing, so I've no idea what is within our reach.

If that's beyond us at the moment, I do think the most important thing is quality of content. So as long as we can produce something that looks good, reads well, and gives readers things that will keep them coming back for more, then we'll be fine.

In terms of layout, at the opposite end of the spectrum to Total Amiga was Trollzine (I think still freely available on DriveThruRPG). The layout was really basic, but the content was great (if your were into Tunnels & Trolls).

Warlock (I know not a fanzine, but a good example nonetheless) was somewhere in between Trollzine and Total Amiga. The presentation itself was more gripping than Trollzine, and the content was mostly superb. Perhaps that's where we could aim our sights as a start.

Does anyone here have any experience with desktop publishing? I think Bifford's suggestion of a mock-up is a good idea, as it will let us know what kind of production quality we're working with, and give people a chance to make comments before we commit to a finished product. If Graham is seeking approval for our endeavour from the Powers That Be, a mock-up may also help to make our case - if he has something to show them so that they can see it will actually look good and reflect well on the FF brand.

As for submitting and determining content, what Sukumvit said is what I had in mind. People can submit articles / article ideas in the forum threads, from which the editor selects what content goes into each issue. Then the selected articles can be passed onto the person/people responsible for layout, to be put together into a provisional edition of the magazine, which the editor can then review before giving final approval for publication. Does that sound about right?

Sukumvit
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by Sukumvit » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:23 am

Well, Graham's already said that he'd be happy to do the layout (and I'm very grateful to him - I know nothing about DTP,) so I don't think we really need to be worrying about that side of things. One day, we might be able to take responsibility of it and lighten Graham's load, but I think we need to learn to walk before we start running. In fact, I need to learn to crawl before I start walking...

I got the impression that Graham would be talking to Ian and Steve about this at FFF3, which is at the end of August; that doesn't give us much time to produce a sample issue! (I don't know about you, but I'm snowed-under at work.) But again, I don't think it's really necessary; Graham didn't think there'd be any objection to the idea of a zine.

What we really need is more than a few people expressing an interest in producing material, or this is gonna be a real short trip...

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bottg
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Re: AFF Fanzine (AFFFZ?)

Post by bottg » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:16 am

What I will do is put together a 30 page layout with the sections mentioned above, use some of John's existing art to illustrate it and fill the text fields with Lorem Ipsum. I will try and share that in the next couple of days to see what people think.

If Bifford and one other could take on the role of Editor and then we get volunteers to manage each section, that would be good. I am happy to write a 1 page article looking at recent and upcoming releases.

This would give me something to show to Steve in a couple of weeks time and would i think also help to focus minds a little.

So, do we have any thoughts on a title?

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