Foldable character sheets

edited May 2010 in Story Games
I'm thinking at the moment: Why aren't more character sheets designed to be folded? If you have a character sheet that can be folded, this means that it could be reconfigured during play to display different information, depending on what is happening in the game. You could have a section for combat stuff, or out of combat stuff, or relationship information or whatever your game calls for, and have it display two bits of character info together while avoiding the stuff that is currently irrelevant.

For example, I was playing around with designing a character sheet for a D&D character. On that sheet, you have all your non-combat info (skills, feats, rituals, etc) on two adjacent panels that can be displayed when not in a fight. And all your combat powers are on a separate section, that can be opened up on your turn and folded away when not in a fight. And your out-of-turn but in combat stuff is on a flap that can be folded over when you're attacked easily enough. (For a different character, I might have rearranged the At-Will/Encounter/Standard setup of powers to be based on action type so that you can have the Immediate Action flap open with your AC and HP information.)

That's just using a straightforward trifold brochure layout to make a character sheet, and it gives you several possible configuration for your data. So you can use the sheet in different ways depending on what's happening in game. For a game focused on something else, the different information on each flap might be entirely different. But with that brochure, you can present information A, B, C and X, Y, Z in a variety of ways: A and X at the same time, or C and Z together or A, B and C or AB but no C, etc.

One classic Paranoia sheet had all you public information on one pice, which was folded over a second part that had all your secret information. That's some good design, there, because it considers what the game is about (hiding secrets from your friends) and uses the sheet to facilitate that. A few Larp projects I did had similar concepts in mind for the layout: you print the sheet two sided and fold it in half like a booklet. Then all your secret motivations and information can be hidden while your public info is on the outside.


  • The Reverse Engineering design challenge, a while ago, got people to design games around character sheets. As I remember, a few of those sheets were foldable. There's lots you can do.

  • Ask Andy about his game MANCUBE and its origami character ... uh, cube.

    There's also the "fold the end up to make a little table tent" sheet that made the rounds and is very clever.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarAsk Andy about his game MANCUBE and its origami character ... uh, cube.
    MANCUBE was a failure, but a delicious failure to be added to the Journal of Negative Results in Amateur Game Design. The lesson there was "having an awesome idea, and a better game name, does not mean that the actual game will fall into place".

    However, after reading up on some recent developments like How We Came to Live Here and Archipelago, I'm almost thinking about giving it a second shot, using more abstract things on the cube faces instead of Numbers or Roles/Character Classes, etc.

  • edited May 2010
    We did this for Diaspora so that Aspects would be handily visible to the GM (and the rest of the players for that matter) all the time which greatly facilitates Fate play. The idea wasn't new with us, though -- Jeremy Keller put us on to it via his game, Chronica Feudalis. If I recall, he got the idea somewhere else again.
  • Posted By: HalfjackWe did this for Diasporaso that Aspects would be handily visible to the GM
    Having a part of your character sheet fold up or otherwise be visible with information relevant to other people is a real good idea.
  • edited May 2010
    DeBracy here on SG did some neat character sheets for Panty Explosion.
  • Paul Beakley did a thing like this for IGC a while back. The whole game fit on one double sided sheet, including the rules. Which portions were folded outward reflected your role and available actions in the game in various ways. (My memory is very foggy, forgive me.)
  • Character sheets for Chronica Feudalis are foldable so that the GM can see names and "key aspects".
  • *sniff* *sniff*

    Do I smell the next Iron Game Chef theme?
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