Layout Contest 2009


The winner for 2009 is José Jiménez. Check out the layout contest winners.


We’ve seen many game design contests. Now, take a stab at designing a killer layout from an existing game.

Layout takes some creativity and a lot of work. The length of the text in this contest is significant. I deliberately designed this contest to mimic the hard work it takes to design a game. You will learn and improve as a book designer in this effort. Stick with it!


You have until June 30 to complete an entire RPG book design for Conspiracy of Shadows: Dirty Hands by Keith Senkowski. This is a horror RPG with a pseudo-historical Europe background. It’s a wonderful, under-rated game, and the text is free.

For this contest, you’ll be using a specially edited version of the game text. It is the full game rules. However, I’ve trimmed the Life Paths and Rituals sections to help make the contest more manageable. (Don’t get too excited! The text is still robust, and Keith will release a full version with all Life Paths and Rituals soon.)


Layout/art veterans Luke Crane (creator of Burning Wheel), Keith Senkowski, and Matt Snyder (creator of Dust Devils) will judge entries based on the following criteria:

  • (40%) Information Design: Consistency, usability, & readability.
  • (20%) Art Direction: Selection of artwork, contextual placement, cover design, overall vision, and original art or artwork modfications
  • (20%) Use of Typography: Readability, composition, and “color”
  • (20%) Aesthetic Appeal: Conveys color & atmosphere of the game, pleasing to look at


Everyone who completes an entry receives free Dust Devils and Nine Worlds PDFs.

Besides fame and glory from the notoriously grumpy Luke, Keith, and Matt the winner will receive the following hard copy products:

  • Agon by John Harper
  • Dust Devils by Matt Snyder
  • Mouse Guard by Luke Crane
  • A print of artwork from Conspiracy of Shadows by Keith Senkowski

The winner will be announced near the first week of July, time permitting for judges to review entries.

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