Intro and Gameplay

Fit to Print is a tile-laying game about delivering the news, designed by Peter McPherson and published by Flatout Games. The woodland creatures in their woodland realm are provided by artist Ian O’Toole.

From the publisher: The front page is due in just a few hours and you have no time for perfection. Grab the big stories before the other papers get a chance, and make sure you get the right photos too After you’ve picked out a combination of stories, photos, and ads, it’s time to lay out the front page.

Gameplay for Fit to Print adds to classic tile drafting and placement by introducing a real-time mode and separating actions into two distinct phases:

  1. Reporting Phase. Players grab newspaper tiles from the table (Galaxy Trucker-style) and place them on their desk. Estimating the right number of tiles is important, as unused tiles will result in negative points.
  2. Layout Phase. Players create their front page, placing articles, photos, and advertisements while adhering to placement rules (e.g., photos cannot be adjacent to each other).

Scoring is based on several factors, including adjacency of related articles and photos (identified by icons and color), balancing good news and bad news, and avoiding large gaps on the front page and extra tiles on the desk.

Game Modes

One of the first things that struck me about Fit to Print was the variety of game modes.

  • Real-time multiplayer is the standard mode, pitting editors against each other to lay out the best front page. This is the hook of Fit to Print that helps it stand out among other similar titles.
  • Turn-based mode harkens back to Flatout Games’ roots, reminding me of both Calico (CBG review) and Verdant (CBG preview).
  • The solo mode is strong, requiring a single player to face real-time limitations to deliver the weekend papers.
  • Team-based party mode adds an increased level of dexterity and required communication. The articles are placed across the room, requiring one teammate to carry those articles, “egg-in-spoon” style, on top of the desk back to their partner at the main table.
Playtest of Fit to Print Party Mode, SHUX ’22, Vancouver, BC

Accessibility

Colorblind Assessment

Peter McPherson is a colorblind game designer, which is evident in the colorblind-friendliness of his game designs like Tiny Towns (CBG review) and Wormholes. Beyond his personal color vision barriers, Peter ensures a variety of playtesters are included during development to review accessibility needs: “…I just tried to get the game in front of other colorblind players to confirm that they had no issues.”

Similary, Flatout Games embraces accessibility in their products, and Fit to Print is no exception. The color palette is generally good, and double-coding is used for all color-specific items.

I struggled a little with the prototype version of the green and pink icons, in particular during real-time play when quick decisions are required. I later learned that this color combination will be changed during production of the final components, as Shawn Stankewich shared with me.

“Although the tiles all have double-coding for colorblindness, we are still not happy with the color value/tone similarities between green and pink suits, so we are going to be changing those in the final game.”

He included screen shot of the intended change, which uses a darker green that will aid in distinguishing these two types. I’m impressed by Flatout Games’ openness about their development process and willingness to make changes to improve accessibility.

Revised Color Palette for Article Types

I have one remaining nitpick about the icons. The green and pink icon designs look similar to each other, and these are the two colors I confused during play. Business & Technology (green) uses a rectangular briefcase with a handle on top. Sports & Entertainment (pink) includes a rectangular radio with an antenna, which is also in the center-top. This resulted in the double-coded icons being a little less useful for me in real-time; I prefer more distinct iconography.

Other Accessibility Needs: Low Vision and Dexterity Barriers

Regarding the icons, some are quite small, which is understandable given the size of some tiles. This could impact low-vision players, especially in real-time games, but less so during other game modes. Additionally, the requirement to place articles on the small 3D desk could be a barrier to players with dexterity limitations. An easy solution here is to simply put the tiles on the table instead of the desk – this would not significantly impact gameplay.

Real-time Games and Accessibility. One advantage of tabletop gaming (versus video games) is that the real-time element is often removed. But when real-time elements are introduced to board games, barriers may also be introduced for anyone with accessibility limitations, whether dexterity, visual, hearing, or cognitive.

Fit to Print combines real-time with some light dexterity elements, which can be a difficult combination for gamers with disabilities. However, official game modes are available to mitigate these issues. For example, I found the turn-based mode just as enjoyable (and maybe even more) than real-time due to my own color vision barriers. Bottom line, don’t let the real-time mode keep you from trying this game.

Conclusion

I found Fit to Print to be an excellent take on the tile-laying polyomino genre, with the real-time mechanism adding a fresh challenge. The variety of game modes will allow everyone – even those who may not be drawn to real-time games – to find a Fit to Print game type that works for them.

The game will be introduced on crowd funding in November 2022, and  www.FitToPrintGame.com is the best place to find out more.

Image Credits: Cover Image and Revised Color Palette: Flatout Games. All other images and video: Brian Chandler. Video editing support: Ilya Ushakov (Kovray Studios).

Disclosures/Disclaimers: Colorblind Games received a complimentary copy from the publisher for this preview. The game reviewed was a pre-production prototype; components and rules may change in the final game.

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