Cartographer’s Annual ’07 Review pt. 1

Given that I got sick over the weekend, I decided to take the day off yesterday, and now again today, so that I can recoup and return to work both healthier and with more energy. In the meantime, I have decided to take the extra time that I now have and use it to go over the mapping bug that has been bothering of late and return to Campaign Cartographer 3’s Annuals that I have been neglecting the past couple of years. I decided I would post my thoughts on these annuals here, but instead of doing the whole thing in one big long post, I decided to split it up into chunks of 4 months at a time.

For those that don’t know, Campaign Cartographer 3 is a tool to allow DMs and Game Designers map out their world. It is actually a pretty good tool and at only $50 isn’t a bad buy at all. The third edition of the software has been out for a couple years now. Instead of selling bunches of small addons as they had in CC2, ProFantasy decided to sell a subscription service instead where you get new maps, techniques, tools, and symbols every month in a different theme. I have subscribed for the first two years and have already pre-ordered the third year as well as I have liked what I’ve seen in them thus far.

A section of my Mercator Map showcasing the political bordersFor the first episode, they released a historical overland map called the Mercator. This one was quite cool, and had a cool name as well. The style really looked quite old which was nice, and I loved how the political borders in it looked as well. The symbols were nice, and most importantly I thought the tutorial that went along with it was quite helpful. I Learned about sketching which I don’t think is that useful. And I also learned how to trace when making borders and such which I think is completely awesome. Now let me say that I’ve never mapped seriously so these types of tips I never knew about previously because I’ve been very casual and haven’t read through the manual well either. Overall I felt this edition was quite good.

The second month was similar to the first in that it was historical, only this time it was a city map based on John Speed’s maps. It had a lot of potential but in the end I didn’t particularly like it and I eventually gave up. I did learn how to add symbols and such on to each other with the walls which was nice, but i found the whole process a bit complicated for what I was getting out of it. In addition, I was a little disheartened when I got to buildings and it said essentially that I would need to use the base houses they provided to create more elaborate buildings which kind of sucked. I understand they have a limited budget for these things, but the least they could have done was come up with a second month with maybe a different aspect of the style. I loved the style, I just thought it was badly executed.

The third month was kind of forgetable. It was essentially a ready to use map of an Inn complete with descriptions. Now the intent of this one was to give you an idea of how to use dungeon designer and its sheets, and I will likely go back to this one when I am looking at doing similar things just for that reason. But I quickly looked at it and moved on.

A quick creation of mine in CC3 using Sarah Wroot's map styleThe last one that I will talk about in this post is a style based on the artwork of Sarah Wroot, and it just happens to be my favorite of the first four. They symbols included on it were top notch and I felt like I could create a really attractive map with it. I just loved everything about it. I decided to include a sample of what I did with it. Now keep in mind that my map that I did took only about 20 minutes to create and was only really done to get a rough idea of how the style worked. But I must say that I just fell in love. In particular, I liked how the mountains looked (with each range having a different color), and I loved the sea work (the depths blended in nicely to make it look very realistic and I liked the little breaking waves at the edge as well). The included font was quite nice as well and not too much.

Overall, it was a fairly good beginning to the Annuals of CC3. The first two overland maps were phenomenal and really set the bar for ProFantasy. The city map and Tavern map weren’t great, but they still showed what this series could do in followup months. I still think that it was well worth the money even if not everyone hit a homerun.

One Reply to “Cartographer’s Annual ’07 Review pt. 1”

  1. Thanks for doing this review Razakius. I am certain to buy all of these now. I am also interested in the source maps series, but only if they have special tools that aren’t available elsewhere.

Comments are closed.