Game design with 4-up printing

Seeking terminology advice. I’m building a Pokèmon-like game that is highly reliant on 4-up printing, but realize that not everyone knows how to do this, or even what it is. What comes to your mind when you see the phrase “4-up printing”?

(To spare the suspense, 4-up printing is when you print four pages of a document on a single piece of paper. Did you know that? Do you call it something else? Do you know how to do this with a PDF?)

I’m assuming I’m going to need to explain how to do this in the game book, with examples, but I’d love to be wrong.


I know what you mean, but agree that many people will not, or won’t know how to do it off-hand.

I’ve had problems getting folks to print a PDF 2-sided, landscape and flipped on the short edge. :frowning:


Honestly I had no idea what 4-up printing was until I read this.

Though it certainly sounds neat. Would be an interesting way to handle character sheets for “modular” games like a mech-game: each 4th is determined at character creation, and would have unique mechanics, resources, boxes, etc.

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4-up printing didn’t mean anything to me, is it a domain specific term from the printing industry?

I would have called it “4 page booklet”. And provided files which flip on the long and short edge, so those who have a duplex printer, but don’t know how to change that setting still can print the game.


I’d personally feel safer providing two documents: A single page PDF for i.e. electronic viewing and a 4-page print PDF. I was not familiar with the term “4 up”.


There is a bit of popularity amongst Print and Play game designers (myself included) to use the PocketMod format as well - which is an 8 page booklet from a single sided print with a single cut and some folding.


I’ve been working in a printshop the last couple of years, so I know how to print 4-up, but as a non-native speaker of english, the actual jargon wouldn’t have worked for me.

Also, looking at the people I’ve met at work … you totally can design a game that needs to be printed a certain way, but you will limit your possible audience by doing it and risks frustrating potential players.

This could be alleviated by explaining it instead in a bit more detail, providing links to online tools if you can find any that are easy to use or provide alternatives where possible. (Printing and cutting up, maybe? Digital character sheets for people without printers?)

But, ultimately, printing is messy and hard for a lot of people.

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That’s the plan. Going to be an uphill battle, it appears. The people who don’t love the printing instructions are really going to not love the python script alternative. :slightly_smiling_face:

The game is really niche anyway. Good thing it will be free!

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I usually design what I want to play first anyway - it’s only after I’ve done the majority of the work and possibly a playtest or two that I start to think about what the audience might want. Art to Craft is a grey area.

I wouldn’t know what 4-up meant.

Having read your description, I don’t know how to do it with a pdf but I would probably work it by myself with a bit of googling.

For context, I do know pocketmod and I’ve printed a handful of zines as booklets

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