Greetings one and all,
It’s no secret that I love Necromunda. The setting, the rules, the artwork, I love it all! But by the God Emperor of Mankind, there are a lot of books to pour through to find a specific rule or bit of wargear you suddenly need mid-game or during gang creation. That is why today I’m happy to introduce this article sponsor Rulebook Tabs. So, if you, like me, want a little more organisation in your rulebooks, read on and be enlightened.
Who are Rulebook tabs?
Tell us about yourself and your background?
I actually work in Music. I'm a photographer / videographer working at gigs, festivals and touring with bands. That's my full time ‘gig’ pardon the pun. www.marklatham.co.uk
How do you get the ideas for your products?
I love Blood Bowl and that's the main game I play. I was always in and out of the books during games and it started to dawn on me that they should be tabbed somehow with quick access to rules so I started to look into a solution and came up with the idea of simple little colour-coded tabs. I was at a mate's house one day playing and spotted he had put post-it notes crudely on a few pages and it kind of proved my point that people need to get to info quick in games. I set about designing the tabs and sourcing printers that could create the tabs. It took a long time to find a company that could produce them and once that was confirmed I created the Kickstarter as its a good way of seeing if it's something people would actually pay for. It launched and hit its fund point within a day so that really confirmed for me that this was a product people needed.
Which product is your favourite?
Well after the BB project I then went on to Necromunda - a total of 14 books. My favourite will always be the BB tabs as that's what kicked all this off, I have a new project launching very soon and project #4 will come very soon after that!
What is your best seller?
At the moment the new Core Rulebook for Necromunda is the hot product. That wasn’t part of the kickstarter originally as that book got announced just as the campaign had finished - it was a bit of a spanner in the works but a lot of people requested it so I made them and pretty much all the backers added it to their pledges and since then its been very popular.
What programs and equipment do you use?
All this is done on my MacBook pro with Illustrator and Photoshop. Once I do the basic designs the printers studio takes over and they produce the artwork files that are used for the print runs.
Any future plans you can share?
The next Kickstarter will be put out next week and I have another that's in the works ready to go to.
[Interview from the 13th November 2023]
What is their product?
Rulebook tabs produce a sheet of stick-on laminate tabs for Necromunda and Blood Bowl, but we’re gonna focus on the Nercomunda tabs for this article. Thus far, nearly every book released in this current edition has been covered, except the ongoing Aranthian Succession series, though I understand that is coming soon, which is very exciting.
The tabs themself are very well thought out and I must praise the effort in trying to keep the artwork of the tabs themselves in keeping with that of the books. But I’ve not really yet explained what the tabs actually are, have I?
I’m going to lean upon the creators' own explanation here as they explain it better than myself.
“Each tab has a bottom half with non destructive clear adhesive half so the book isn't damaged if they are removed. The other half is a full colour tab. They are then finished with a second layer of Clear Matt Laminate (20mμ) for strength and durability.”
Think of them as a custom-made bookmark that won't damage your book, which looks good and will help you find that rule you need without interrupting gameplay, and you can’t go far wrong.
How does it work?
It’s very simple, you have a sheet of tabs, you follow the link provided on their website ( http://www.rulebooktabs.com/TabbedPages-Necro.pdf or if YouTube is more your thing there is a YouTube channel which explains it all at https://www.youtube.com/@rulebooktabs) and you stick them in on the designated pages, making sure that the clear sticky bit is adhered to the page while the colourful bit with writing is sticking out so you can see it. Hell, there are even a couple of blank tabs in two sizes so you can write out and put your own tabs in as well, which is really handy for customising your book.
Is it any good?
Okay, so, now we get to my opinion… Well, that's not quite true, you see I thought I would take the tabs to the rest of my Necromunda group and get their takes on this product too so I could get a few more opinions and see how well received they might be, so I’ll start with myself and then the other three can give you their thoughts as well.
Firstly, my thoughts… I like this product. The tabs feel in-keeping with the theme of the game and the provided tabs seem to cover every important rule, character, list of wargear or skills in each book I’ve seen (and as they were generous enough to give me all of the tabs they do for Necromunda I've seen them all). The tabs themselves are of a high quality material and the glue doesn’t leave any residue if you have to remove a tab.
As for downsides, honestly, there is only one and it feels a little petty: it would be nice to have them come with a slip of paper with the page numbers the tabs are meant to go on. I know there is a website, but I’m an old soul and like having a physical bit of paper with some instructions on them.
The only additional thing I would say is that the suggested way of sticking the tabs in, with a row across the top and then down the side: I like putting my books on a shelf like most people and I feel the tabs running down the side would get damaged, so I’d run a double line of tabs along the top as a matter of personal preference.
Right, now on to our group's old man, with bad eyes, hands and attitude:
“Originally upon hearing about these, I had envisioned an acrylic sheet with a tab to place between the pages of the book. Well wrong again, but never mind. What you get is a sheet of acrylic stickers that will, when applied properly, stand proud from the page edge. The stickers are colour-coded for the various categories, so kinda handy. The size and type makes them easy to read, for my eyesight anyway. The stickers are in two sizes: Top tabs ( large ) and right-size tabs ( small ), which as the only size difference between the two is in width makes no difference in practice. However, if you're going to place tabs on the leading edge of your page maybe having the type in a vertical orientation may be an idea.
So application of tabs. I decided I didn’t want any overlap or multiple rows of tabs, which meant I've got half the tabs on the top and the other half on the leading edge. The website mentioned on the sheet was handy and as it turns out my idea for placement seems to be the official one anyway (great minds think alike, fools seldom differ.You decide). Now to brass tacks. Applying the tabs is one of those jobs where three hands would make things easier, but not being a mutant my phone ended up performing as a wedge. Now they are in (not as neat a job as I would like, but that's down to me), they look alright and highlight all the important areas of the book, so far so good. But the question remains how long will the glue last? I’m assuming it's better than the stuff on post-it notes. Time will tell. The other downside is that when a new edition comes out you're going to have to buy another set, but at £7 (at the time of writing) who cares? It's not going to break the bank.”
Moving on to the next member of our group and the youngest, let's see what he has to say:
“They definitely help to navigate the book and the bookmarks themselves help to turn to the page they are on.
I find that they are quite cluttering though with so many different bookmarks on a smaller book like the Book of Artifice, the bookmarks can get in the way of each other
The bookmarks are mostly in order when you get them, save for the named NPCs you can hire onto the gang so you have to spend time to figure out the order they need to go in.
The addition of blank bookmarks is a really good idea especially if you have a specific page that isn't already a bookmark that you want to save.
Though the blank bookmarks aren't easy to write on.
And lastly, our own Build Monkey:
“Initially my thoughts towards these tabs were a sense of ‘are these necessary?’ because it seemed like a lot of effort to go to to design and make dedicated tabs for rulebooks like this. But given that I’m the type to historically fill up the top-side of my books with post-it notes to find the pages I most often use (which I can strongly recommend you do NOT do… Just don’t, it ruins the pages after a period), I was curious for an alternative.
The tabs themselves feel quite nice, they’re printed on a sort of vinyl with a small clear edge at the bottom of each that’s sticky to fit onto the pages, with the whole tab being only about 1cm high roughly, so they won’t sit too far away from the pages as to get in the way too much, which is nice. And each book has its own custom set of tabs, which again is nice. The best little touch I feel though is that each tab has been designed to fit the theme of the books with its colouration and style, so they really don’t look out of place, and because the sticky edge is clear, you can see the page through it so it doesn’t detract from the page at all. It literally adds to it, in more ways than one.
I ended up filling 2 separate books with the tabs to get 2 different senses of how they work: firstly whether I could figure out how to install them myself and how easy it would be, and secondly, how the intended way of installation would work in comparison.The first book I used was my own copy of the House Cawdor rulebook ‘Book of Faith’, which as mentioned before I’d been enough of a pillock to use post-it notes in the past… Which has left horrible residue on so many pages sticking half of them together facepalm so I repeat. DO NOT DO THIS... Initial thoughts on installation without instruction: getting the tabs into the book was easy, but on the tabs sheet you’d expect them to go properly left-to-right top-to-bottom as they’re laid out. But they’re not. Which is confusing, as that would make sense, you’d think. Which led to me testing out the tabs ability to be unstuck and re-stuck a few times as I hadn’t left room for some pages that I should have because of the out-of-sync order of the tabs. So not a great start. But generally, the installation was pretty easy. I went with putting them all across the top of the book in two rows rather than top and side because I don’t like tabs sticking out the edges of my books, as I think they get in the way on shelves and I look far too cluttered. But that’s my thoughts on it… And for me, they’re the perfect alternative to post-it notes I never knew I needed. They’re easy to see and read, and not too obtrusive… I couldn’t figure out how to write on the blank tabs though, because I couldn’t get a biro to work, and a sharpie is too thick to write clearly. So I just left the one blank tab I used blank… At least it makes the page visible.
The second book I tried the tabs on was the ‘Book of Ruin’, and for this one I used the ‘how to’ guide online which consists of a PDF and Youtube guide. Both incredibly easy to read and understand, but I find it a little strange that this is necessary in order to know how to put tabs in a book… I followed the ‘intended’ guide of how to install the tabs, which was across the top from right to left, and ‘up’ the side from the bottom of the book, using the PDF to tell me what tabs went on which pages from right to left, top to bottom on the tab sheet (for the most part). Which was easy enough as each tab was given its specific page number to go on and they all went in without any problem at all, with no overlapping so every tab could easily be seen… And I can completely understand why they’ve made the installation process like this, because it makes for clear visual page location without having to peer behind tabs of a closed book that might be in the way of what you’re looking for. But… I don’t like it. It looks too cluttered to me, which I worried it might, and I just know if I put this book on the shelf all the edge tabs are going to get scuffed every time I pull it out and put it away, which will ruin them in the end. But that’s just my opinion on the matter. The overall installation process, again, was incredibly easy, and this time it didn’t leave me having to take out and move various tabs because I hadn’t left enough space for others, and again, they look great. And they’re a major improvement to the post-it notes I used to use (though it doesn’t fix the glue residue they left behind. Sigh). In future though I might just stick to across-the-top in two rows for personal preference. There’s nothing wrong with the way the creator originally intended it to be done, but it’s just not for me.Tabs overall: they’re great. I highly recommend… I just wish I knew how I could write on the blank ones though…”
Overall, we really like Rulebook Tabs and their product and heartily recommend them. I’ve provided links below and encourage you to support them and the amazing work they do.