There has been talk on our social media channels about the orientation of the 13th Age GM’s Screen. It’s going to be portrait, and I wanted to talk about that choice.
Our Keeper’s Screen for Trail of Cthulhu is three-fold and portrait-oriented. We’ve just reprinted it. Strangely, I have never had any push back or comments on the portrait vs landscape version Keeper’s Screen since it was released many years ago, so the comments were unexpected.
The first thing to say is that there are strong arguments for both – in fact, it’s purely a matter of taste. However, it’s a binary choice so it’s literally impossible for us to please both groups without doing two screens.
I chose vertical for the Keeper’s Screen because the primary purpose of a Keeper’s Screen is to hide the Keeper’s notes. Portrait screens do that job better. They have the downside of hiding more of the GM, but I don’t think that’s enough of a reason to make them landscape. From an aesthetic point of view, I think the potrait oriented screen has a more pleasing aspect ratio, closer to traditional triptychs.
The same reasoning applies to the 13th Age GM’s screen.
This did lead me to wonder – am I in a minority? So, I contacted Danny O’Neill of Hammerdog Games, who produces the World’s Greatest Screen who offers both a landscape and a portrait version and has no skin the game.
He told me that portrait screens sell marginally better than landscape screens, but there’s not much in it. It’s a truly even split.
So what can you hardened Landscapers do? Well, one of our forum members has created a landscape-oriented screen you can print out here. And who knows, we might do a landscape version in future.
Now, with that dealt with, I’m waiting for the four-fold crowd to kick off.