• Brent Keath

Automate Board Game Changes with Indesign

The first time I designed Furtherance, every component was created as its own Photoshop document. So, naturally, when my playtesters told me I chose an absolutely horrid font (although there were a few who loved it) I was saddened because I knew it was going to be alot of work to fix. However, at PAX Unplugged a new friend (Ian) introduced me to something that would change my designs forever, Indesign.

Indesign is a document creation software by Adobe. Using it, you can create XML documents with all of the text in your game and links to all of the images used. Then, you import the XML document into Indesign, layout all of the graphics exactly the way you want them and save it as an Indesign template. Now, you can reuse this template for everything in your game and, if you want to make changes to the text or images, you just make a small change to the XML file, update the template, and viola! The change will automatically be made!

After discovering this, I now use Indesign for everything! Even more importantly, I highly recommend you do the same. And, if you don't want to rebuild any of your cards or images in Indesign, I at least recommend you build your rulebook using it. So, if you ever make any changes to the cards or text within it, you can automatically update it (and you know how often changes need to be made to rulebooks during game design)!

If you're just starting with Indesign here are some roadblocks I ran into when first using it (provided so that you don't hit them too):

-When using linking to XML images, you need to use this format:

<tag href="file:///filename" />

-Make sure the XML tag order is exactly the same for each document. If it is out of order, it will not link correctly.

-Wrap the XML in a <root> tag (the name does not have to be "root" but there should be an XML tag wrapping everything else

Also, if you have any questions while working with Indesign, feel free to reach out to me anytime. I would be happy to discuss it more!