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Cover Art: "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."


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#1 BigJackBrass

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:27 AM

Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover. 

 

There has been an awful lot of bad, bad art in the gaming business since the start, some due to lack of funds, some due to enthusiastic rather than professional publishers employing the talents of their brother or best school chum, some due to... well, I've seen a few "what were they thinking?" pieces which seem to have no explanation.

 

I'm not here to talk about that art.

 

No, this is an appreciation thread, appreciating the art that dragged us into a game, that made us pull it down from the dusty shelf at the gaming shop, that made us need to play the game. It doesn't even matter if the game turned out to be a colossal turkey or hopelessly mediocre, the point is that something about the cover called to you, offering adventure, excitement and really wild things. It certainly doesn't matter if the art would stand up as a "good" picture, ready to hang in a gallery. What matters here is why it appealed to you. Tell us about the cover that sold you on the game and let us know how it managed it.

 

Please note: To avoid creating huge single posts and causing problems for people with slower machines, please post relatively small pictures and try to restrict yourself to two or maybe three in a single post. It's fine - indeed it's encouraged! - to post multiple times and tell us about several games, but the thread will be much more manageable if we don't go overboard. Thanks.

 

And to kick us off...

 

 

php6utqdAAM_zpsb5ad1921.jpg

 

 

He'd already done it with his explosive spy action cover for Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, but Brian Hamilton grabbed my attention again with this gloriously exotic, thrill-packed painting for Justice Inc. from Hero Games. It was an unusual colour for a game box at the time (still is, indeed) and the Hero crew matched it perfectly to lurid green lettering and enticing text. Spicy Stories! You only had to look at the sheet-clutching blonde to understand that. The immaculately dressed masked protagonist struggling with an armed man in exotic, almost eastern garb... Skull-faced cultists... Tommy guns... Minarets silhouetted behind them... I couldn't wait to get a copy. So much promise and possibility crammed into one perfectly composed image.

 

So... how about you?


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#2 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:47 AM

Todd Lockwood deserves mentioning, and not just for his excellent work forming the visual side of D&D 3E. He's got tons of skill and dedication - hats off to a painter who still prefers oil and canvas in the digital age.

For a young lad reading Dragon magazine and sundry publications, several of his pieces had profound influence. (That mech-slayer magazine cover even inspired an article on the topic, spurring additional pictures of that clearly capable woman, who must be exceedingly skilled in the art of fighting huge robots covered in sharp metal bits, if she can afford to prance about in her undergarments). :-)

One of the most memorable of Mr. Lockwood's paintings was the cover of a Forgotten Realms novel, one of the spin-off stories spawned by Ed Greenwood's retirement plan, AKA Drizzt:

 

http://www.toddlockw...ison_door.shtml

Even if the book itself turned out to be somewhat underwhelming, the front cover certainly did its job. Captivating, evocative, and darn fine craftsmanship. Having a surly barbarian glaring at the book's potential readers through the front cover was a surprisingly effective marketing strategy.

 

EDIT: Picture's not showing, so replaced it with a link.


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#3 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 04:30 AM

Haven't been keeping up with Knights of the Dinner Table lately, but they've had several attention-grabbing front covers:

 

kodt83.jpgkodt84.jpg


The exquisitely rendered character portraits that preceded issue #100 spurred many heated reactions from the readers, fairly mixed between "We love it!" and "Boo hiss!", all the way to "Is B.A. on crack?"

kodt95.jpg

 


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#4 Hal

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:41 AM

Oooooh and art conversation :)

 

OK! So my first game that I really got stuck into was Warhammer Fantasy (both battle and roleplaying). The iconic covers from those books and the art inside were awesome.

 

For example:

 

Warhammer Siege cover by Ian Miller

 

tumblr_ltf4rkEspj1r1g40zo1_500.jpg

 

And of course there is always the lovely art of John Blanche. Example, The Tragedy of McDeath cover

 

tumblr_lq19m73PCm1r1g40zo1_500.jpg

 

This stuff is where I started gaming. Then I found out that the art for Warhammer 40K is even more awesome spectacular :)

 

Hal :hal:


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#5 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:05 AM

There has been an awful lot of bad, bad art in the gaming business since the start, some due to lack of funds, some due to enthusiastic rather than professional publishers employing the talents of their brother or best school chum, some due to... well, I've seen a few "what were they thinking?" pieces which seem to have no explanation.
 
I'm not here to talk about that art.

 
No, there's no need to go around poking fun at the illustrations in much-loved games like classic D&D, Vampire: The Masquerade or Traveller. It's not amusing and frankly just plain childish.

 

OK! So my first game that I really got stuck into was Warhammer Fantasy (both battle and roleplaying). The iconic covers from those books and the art inside were awesome.


In that case, you definitely shouldn't click on this link, sir.


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#6 Hal

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:08 AM

 
In that case, you definitely shouldn't click on this link, sir.

 

That is really funny. I have to confess that some of the interior art in some of the less mainstream early Warhammer books was a bit shonky :)

 

Hal :hal:


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#7 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:11 AM

How can you resist a book with a cover like this?

 

ParabotanyCover.jpg

 

Yes, that's a sports car getting devoured by ginormous tumbleweed.

 

There's even more evidence of weed, and the consumption thereof, inside the book:

http://rpg.org/revie...run-parabotany/


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#8 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:12 AM

That is really funny. I have to confess that some of the interior art in some of the less mainstream early Warhammer books was a bit shonky :)
 
Hal :hal:


There's a market for everything, even shonky.


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#9 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:21 AM

Hey @BigJackBrass - have you ever heard about this game?
51tRe31ccwL.jpg
The title alone should be optimized to attract every conceivable cross-marketable demographic in the RPG-purchasing Zeitgeist, don't you think? ;)


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#10 BigJackBrass

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:22 AM



The title alone should be optimized to attract every conceivable cross-marketable demographic in the RPG-purchasing Zeitgeist, don't you think? ;)

It was originally called Orgasmic Ninja Maniac Chainsaw Vitamin Junkies, but Niels and Lou thought that might upset people  :D


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#11 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:30 AM

Warhammer Fantasy (both battle and roleplaying). The iconic covers from those books and the art inside were awesome.

 

Case in point, albeit from a later edition:

 

205.jpg


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#12 Hal

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:36 AM

I always liked the Realms of Chaos covers... I have both of these books and they are great.

 

realmsofchaos19881990.jpg

 

Hal :hal:


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#13 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:39 AM

He'd already done it with his explosive spy action cover for Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, but Brian Hamilton grabbed my attention again with this gloriously exotic, thrill-packed painting for Justice Inc. from Hero Games. It was an unusual colour for a game box at the time (still is, indeed) and the Hero crew matched it perfectly to lurid green lettering and enticing text. Spicy Stories! You only had to look at the sheet-clutching blonde to understand that. The immaculately dressed masked protagonist struggling with an armed man in exotic, almost eastern garb... Skull-faced cultists... Tommy guns... Minarets silhouetted behind them... I couldn't wait to get a copy. So much promise and possibility crammed into one perfectly composed image.

 

Hmm, interesting - turns out that RPG designer Gareth Michael Skarka was so enamored by B.K. Hamilton's cover art for Justice, Inc. that he purchased the licensing rights to re-use it for his Thrilling Tales:

http://pinterest.com...05906088551027/

Arguably, it is an outstanding painting.


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#14 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:09 AM

The venerable Swedish RPG, Drakar och Demoner (Dragons and Demons) was re-re-released in its 7th edition in 2006, as DoD Trudvang, complete with a graphic overhaul.
This included delicious new cover paintings by one of the grand masters, Paul Bonner:

pic518403_md.jpg

The interior art included a ton of fine black-and-white drawings by Alvaro Tapia (follow this link: http://www.seriegall...kar och Demoner and click the little images on the left for samples). Tapia also provided the covers for the Swedish versions of the Harry Potter novels, which are probably some of the best HP covers in the world (http://i.imgur.com/tHn9X.jpg):

alvaro+tapia+harry+potter+2.jpg

Oh, and just to make a hat-trick, they got Peter Bergting to patch up the rest of it.

Bergting who? He's the guy responsible for the iconic Roborally box art: http://boardgamegeek...49264/roborally
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#15 lordof1

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:18 AM

Here's mine...

 

greenpleasantlandmed.jpg

 

Always loved the Games Workshop artwork, the Call of Cthulhu edition is full of colour plates that lined my walls as a student (yeah, that really didn't help with the ladies, now I think about it)... but something about this cover in particular, The Green and Pleasant Land. I love that it's telling a story, your imagination fills in the next few moments to horrifying effect. I also love the disturbing idea of what lies beneath the genteel surface of England.

 

The book could never live up to that, of course!


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#16 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

Always loved the Games Workshop artwork, the Call of Cthulhu edition is full of colour plates that lined my walls as a student (yeah, that really didn't help with the ladies, now I think about it)... but something about this cover in particular, The Green and Pleasant Land.


"Blimey! That there Cuffhu- Kerfuddle-fellow is tryinna get us by the cricket balls!" [/BAFTAawardwinningCockneyOrphanimpersonation]
 

I love that it's telling a story, your imagination fills in the next few moments to horrifying effect. I also love the disturbing idea of what lies beneath the genteel surface of England.
 
The book could never live up to that, of course!

 
Mmm, this is what you're after...
 
british-porn.gif


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#17 BigJackBrass

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:33 AM

As I've mentioned it but not actually shown you what it looks like, here's the cover for Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes:

 

MSPEcouv.png

 

 

Evil mastermind... check. Exotic dame in a fur coat... check. French saboteur... check. Guy in a white suit kicking a fat bloke wearing a fez... oh yeah!  :D

 

You can still buy the game from Flying Buffalo, although unfortunately they only have the later reprint in stock now which has different, and rather disappointing, cover art  :(


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#18 Sinister-Ornament

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:20 PM

I stopped reading this thread as soon as I got to the cup of tea.

 

I'm just going to switch the kettle on....


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#19 Dr_Jomster

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:39 PM

Some lovely covers there. Particularly like the way some of them pull you straight into the right frame of mind for the game in question. Warhammer was brilliant for that.

Here's one from me. It didn't get me into the game but the fourth edition rules cover really captured the spirit of a certain type of supers game brilliantly.

Champions_4th.jpg

And yes, apologies for being so predictable... ;)
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#20 GKahla

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 07:40 AM

I always liked the Realms of Chaos covers... I have both of these books and they are great.

 

realmsofchaos19881990.jpg

 

Hal :hal:

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