Petersen Games

I worked on two very large projects from Petersen Games: Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 and Glorantha: The Gods War. These properties represent more than $4 million in total Kickstarter backing, and with good reason: these games are lavish, super-deluxe collectors’ items from famed designer Sandy Petersen. The company trusted me with the job of ensuring that all printed materials for these games were clear, correct, and consistent. While I am credited as these games’ editor, my responsibilities somewhat exceeded the title.

Cthulhu Wars is Petersen Games’ flagship product; the Onslaught 3 edition brought more than a dozen new products to the existing Cthulhu Wars product line and added 50 pages to the instruction manual. Editorially, I was responsible for ensuring that this new, 226-page book and roughly 150 pages of collateral materials (cards, packaging, rules reminders, etc.) met standards and matched the style of previous editions. I reconciled errata and new procedures with the existing text, repaired older grammatical errors, and edited or rewrote packaging copy for multiple SKUs.

On the technical side of the job, I had to learn the details of more than 40 different products and their interactions with each other. On its own, the main game is already fairly complicated; each add-on item raises that complexity and increases the chance that something will break. The instructions contain cross-referenced FAQs, diagrams, maps, and art that try to anticipate and respond to any issues (hence the large page-count). I was responsible for making the game “bulletproof;” that is to say, unambiguous and unbreakable in any combination. I believe that I was quite successful in this effort, and repairing numerous small and large problems also allowed me a modicum of creative input.

My creativity was not limited to problem-solving, as I also edited and rewrote several of the designer’s fiction pieces. My work also had elements of project management, and as the subject matter expert I was uniquely positioned to work with the art director on matters of layout and design. I advised on section layout and art placement across multiple redesigns, and it was with my authorization that more than a thousand elements (instruction manual, cards, punchboard tokens, etc.) were deemed ready for print.

Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 rulebook
Please note that this is a 72 MB download.

Glorantha: The Gods War is an epic-scale game set in a rich, fictional universe. As the editor of the deluxe first edition, I was responsible for reviewing every printed component for content and clarity. With 124 pages of rules and another 50 pages of collateral materials, this was no small task. While Glorantha presented several unique challenges, it also gave me an opportunity to take editorial ownership of the project.

I standardized the game’s extensive set of keywords and developed style guides to ensure consistency throughout all materials. With the assistance of proofreaders (whose efforts I coordinated), I rewrote and restructured the rules to provide a more comprehensive and user-friendly experience. My research made me an expert on the subject matter, which made it easier for me to resolve technical questions and advise our artists on various issues of graphics and design. All of this allowed me to exercise my creative skills.

My technical skills were put to the test in learning the game’s systems and translating them into clear and unambiguous language. This included rules, FAQs, cards, and a wide variety of other components. As with Cthulhu Wars, I ensured that every bit of text was “bulletproof.” I had final editorial approval on all printed materials, and my duties also included scrutinizing component sheet layouts in order to ensure that all items would print without error. Our artists’ frequent design changes required my vigilance, but I am absolutely confident in the quality and consistency of the final product.

Glorantha: The Gods War rulebook
Please note that this is a 132 MB download.