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Printing & Binding from PDF

Starmada X: Brigade (PDF version)
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
$10.95 USD

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

(By the way, I have no idea why they bother to zip this file – the unzipped version is virtually identical in size!)

Jimu writes to explain:

ZIP files contain CRC (checksums).
It's easy to test a PDF for corruption incurred during download or archived on a harddrive or CD-ROM using tools like WinZip or PKZIP.
Without a CRC, you can never be 100% certain your PDF hasn't been corrupted.
This saves on-line e-document distributors some headaches when a customer says they cannot view a PDF. Is the file corrupted? Does the customer need to install or update Adobe Reader?

Revision Log
23 January 2006page first published

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Since there's been some discussion here lately about how to best print and bind a set of rules from PDF format, I figured I'd give it a try.

Two fleet sets

With two fleet sets from Brigade Models sitting fresh on my workbench, it seemed like a good idea to pick up a copy of Starmada X: Brigade - which includes not only the Starmada rules, but also stats for all of the starships from Brigade.

Starmada X: Brigade at RPGNow

I found the rulebook in PDF format listed at RPGNow for $10.95 USD - saving $9 USD from buying the printed version, plus whatever shipping would have been. So I placed the order, paying using my PayPal account, and received the email with download instructions...

Download email

...and pretty quickly had the PDF file on my own hard drive. (By the way, I have no idea why they bother to zip this file - the unzipped version is virtually identical in size!)

Starmada X in my Adobe Reader

However, while I don't mind looking up information and reading it on a computer screen, I'm not fond of reading game rules that way. Consequently, I printed the ruleset out with my inkjet color printer - the cover pages in full-color, the interior pages in black-and-white (there is no color in the interior pages), and everything in best quality on good paper.

Printed pages

(And no, I have no idea how much that cost me to print. I've never tracked how many pages I get per ink cartridge...)

This gave me 128 rather unwieldy pages (printed single-side), so I took everyone's useful advice and headed down to Staples (a business supply store) and visited their Copy Center.

Staples business supply store

They recommended the comb binding for a manuscript of this size, and said they could put clear covers on it - but I remembered what PaulCollins said, and asked them to laminate the color cover pages, instead.

Starmada X: Brigade - comb bound with laminated covers

It only cost $1.59 USD for the comb binding, plus $2 USD to have the front and back covers laminated.

With the comb binding, the book lies flat

The good side to this PDF-and-printing business is that I got my rulebook right away, and in a pretty indestructible format. I can search the electronic version if I have any rules questions, and I can print out all the ship stat sheets I ever need! However, I'm not sure I really saved any money, and the rulebook is twice the size of the regular version (since I printed it single-sided). I wonder how much it would have cost to have them print it for me, double-sided...

I was a little surprised that the PDF version didn't have any color on the interior pages, particularly of the starship models. (Weren't the original pics in color?) Also, it would be nice if the PDF back cover didn't have the $19.95 USD cover price on it - I don't want to look like no stinking pirate! Couldn't it say "PDF version" or something? grin

Why does the back cover say $19.95?

Now, to paint some starships...