State of the Watch: 2015-2016

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Now that we’ve just celebrated our 3-year anniversary, it’s time to discuss what goals we’ve accomplished in the last six months since the first State of the Watch, and the goals we have moving forward into 2016 and towards Issue 48.


Looking Behind…

This last few months, we’ve been trying to re-energize the magazine, and produce more and diverse content. Overall, we want to try and give you a broad depth of content, focusing on all of Mantic’s various games, offerings, and systems.

These were the goals we hoped to accomplish by Issue 36:

Improved Internal Layout: YES

Ironwatch is still being worked on in Publisher (Now updated from 2007 to 2010), but we have attempted to work with it in Scribus as well. Currently, between the two programs Publisher is able to accomplish all of our goals, and is significantly faster and easier to work with compared with the learning curve of getting up to a similar speed in Scribus. We will continue to look at and work on integrating Scribus in the future, but for now Publisher will likely be what we will be using for the immediate future.

However, we’re also working on cleaning up the internal layout of the Ironwatch, to make it more reader-friendly and to tighten up elements of the design to help make it a cleaner product. One element of this was what one editor called “font bloat,” which was an issue we had with using close to a dozen or more fonts in a single publication! This has been trimmed down significantly, and should be easier to read as well as being more consistent between issues.

Releasing the Ironwatch Annuals: NOT YET

We are still working on this element, as we have stitched the files together, but the text fields are turning up as blanks. This may have something to do with fonts needing to be installed (Again, a strong impetus to move towards fewer, cleaner fonts), but we’ll be looking to get this cleaned up and resolved, and try and get the first three Ironwatch Annuals to you all soon, and if the files continue to be obstinate, we can always go in and manually work to add the appropriate files and text.

Repairing the Lulu Print-on-Demand Options: NOT YET

This goal is also in the works, as we’ve managed to pin down the issue: Lulu’s interpretation of the files compresses them in an odd way, and turns transparent areas jet-black while also attempting to print webpages that are included in hyperlinks as well. We are investigating ways to compress the files to a what-you-see-is-what-you-get compared to the online-viewable options, and these should be repaired shortly.

Branded Merchandise: YES

We now have a shop! Let us know what images and designs you’d like to see, and we’ll make it available as we can. Currently, the prices are set by Cafepress itself, so we can’t lower the prices further, but as Cafepress releases discount codes and coupons to us, we’ll pass those opportunities directly on to all of you!


Looking Forward…

There are still several elements we’d like to work on integrating and working on in the future, and goals we’d like to accomplish that we didn’t manage to meet this last half-year:

Releasing the Ironwatch Annuals

We believe these will be a quick and important way for readers to get caught up on a lot of content quickly, and so we want to make sure this is available as soon as we can wrangle it.

Repairing the Lulu Print-on-Demand Options

This issue should be fairly quick to fix, and so we want to get it cranked out and done so you can get a hard coffee-table version of your favorite or latest issue. We’ll keep you guys informed if the compression alternative turns out to still be a no-go.

Recurring Article Writers

Mantic has a ton of games, but oftentimes entire Issues will go by without an article about Warpath, Dungeon Saga, Mars Attacks, or oldies-but-goodies like Dwarf King’s Hold or Project Pandora. We’ll be working to recruit regular writers for different games, so there’s a consistent level of content for all the games Mantic has to offer.

Ironwatch Newsletter

We’re now writing our own newsletter! This will be fairly infrequent, and primarily to inform you about new Issue releases as well as other content. However, please let us know in this poll what level of content you’d like, and we can make sure to adapt the newsletter to fit the needs of the readers.

Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Ironwatch Games

Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of cool content for special rules and scenarios for your favorite Mantic games: Rules for starship battles, duels on the high seas, elaborate military and territory campaigns, role-playing supplements, and more.

While we’ve been able to publish a small handful of them, there are many more we haven’t been able to fit in an Issue due to size or time constraints. As a result, we’re going to look at starting to release Ironwatch Game systems; These will be fan expansions and rulesets that we’ll work to clean up and format in the same way as an Ironwatch Issue, and we’ll be working with authors and content creators who have submitted art and stories in the past so we can populate the Ironwatch Game documents with story and art content drawn from previous submissions.

As with the Ironwatch proper, the Ironwatch Games documents will be free to download, and we’ll get them up and ready over on Lulu as well if you want hard copies. We’re looking at doing one of these game documents approximately once a quarter, and we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below on what


Thanks for reading, and Welcome to the Watch!

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