The Cover to a|state 2e

Yesterday our friends at GeekNative exclusively revealed the cover to the a|state second edition. It’s coming soon to Kickstarter, and you can sign up to be notified of the launch here

a|state Second Edition Cover

The cover is of course by Paul Bourne, one of the co-creators of a|state

Jon takes up the story:

“We were certain that we wanted to echo the design of the first edition. It’s an iconic cover, showing the singular figure’s head. It’s an intriguing, minimalist image. 

a|state First Edition Cover

Fast forward 20 years though, and we knew, that like the rest of the game, some things would need updating. 

Of course, computer rendering has come a long way, as has the experience of the whole team. So there was always going to be a new cover. 

The new edition of a|state has a strong focus on community, and working as a group. it’s about troublemakers, set on challenging the status quo to improve life in their corner of the The City’s sprawling slums. A healthy branch of RPGs in 2021 tend to benefit from a strong focus for co-operative play, and a|state second edition brings this to the table. 

A singular figure didn’t seem to carry those themes quite so well. Nor did it reflect the more diverse and inclusive approach we wanted for 2021. And so it took a long time and many iterations to work out exactly how we wanted to reflect that while keeping the essential spirit of the original. 

We tried out montages of lots of faces, reflecting many coming together as a whole. We tried embedding imagery of The City, reflecting that main character as an embodiment of the hellish, dystopian setting. 

Each of these threw up more questions than they answered and none quite hit the mark we were aiming for – although like so often in cover design that mark was hard to see. We’d begun to despair of finding a happy solution.

Then, as so often happens, we found the answer. That single male face doesn’t have to represent what the players are or do in the game – and maybe it never did. 

The player characters could be present as a group, separate to that main visual focus of the essential big face, provided they fitted in visually into the design we were building. And you can see in this final cover that it works really well.

Cover detail

Here, our small group of troublemakers are set against the forces of The Trusts, the gangs, and the other malevolent forces that keep people down in The City. The giant head looming over them neatly represents all those threats they’ll face. It would be way too literal to call him “The Man”. But…”

The Kickstarter for a|state second edition is aiming to expand the book with more art and more setting content. The game, using the Forged in the Dark ruleset is complete, and a lightly redacted preview PDF edition will be available to backers on backing. 

You can sign up to be notified of the launch of the a|state second edition here. We anticipate launch late July, once most BEOWULF backers have their rewards.