The A5 Note Binder

I came to the conclusion recently that I prefer to work with analogue notes for my roleplaying games. Last week I took that idea a step further and ordered some A5 ring binders and packs of A5 dotted paper. This post is all about why.

Most of my gaming notes in recent months have been jotted down in my Bullet Journal (aka the BuJo). My notebook of choice has been the XL dotted pads from Paper Republic, fitting inside my XL leather Grand Voyageur. The only downside of this process has been that I get notes locked inside my multiplying pile of notebooks (I go through one every 2-3 months). You can’t easily reference a map like the one above a few months after it first gets drawn. Yeah, I scanned them but… well, I haven’t been getting along well with digital notes.

As I have been enjoying using the humble index card to organise NPCs, obstacles, and other quick reference types of note, I have chosen to add a simple metal ring to the pack of cards to help me keep them all together.

Next, I have sourced some A5 six-ring binders and a pack of A5 dotted paper that fits nicely inside. The idea is that I can draw on these pages and they can be moved around within the binder. They can also be removed from the binder or swapped between binders. They can be easily scanned for posterity but equally easily stored because the A5 binder is small and discrete. The A5 binder also fits on my computer desk (with zero overhang) where I play most of the time in these post-pandemic days of online gaming.

What’s also ingenious is that I can attach the ring-bound pack(s) of index cards to the interior of the ring binder so that I don’t lose them. I aim to have multiple packs – one for NPCs, another for obstacles, a third for party goals, and so on – each on their own ring but they can all fit inside the A5 binder.

All in all, I have begun to reorganise my note-taking and along with it inspire my creative self that gets the biggest buzz and excitement from working with my hands. I love using a pencil to sketch and drop down notes. The creative energy is greater when I work with paper, cutting and pasting in the old-fashioned manner. That’s a tip I got from Austin Cleon.

And that’s about all I have to say about that right now.

Game on!

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