Inside Pitch Card Printing

The outstanding Inside Pitch game offers cards in PDF format.

Just some personal notes here. (I hate perforations!) The goal is to remove the cut lines and get a nice 9×9 grid that minimizes cutting.

Reminder: The eBook must be on the C: drive. Trying to open them on the mapped Mac drive gave me problems. Also, anything earlier than Adobe Reader X seems to screw up the font—bad spacing.

First Try (1964)

  1. Convert to PS.

    $ pdftops cards.pdf

  2. Remove cut lines with a Perl hack.

    while (<>) {
        $skip = 2 if (/^(95\.9961|1730|3364|4998) (120|650|2770|4890) 4 (6364|6360|5830|426|1590|4136|2016|3710|4666) re$/); # vertical cut lines
        $skip = 2 if (/^99\.9961 (6480|4360|2240|120) 4902 4 re$/);    # horizontal cut lines
        print if ($skip-- <= 0);

  3. Print to PDF with 104% scaling. Minimize margins or go borderless.
  4. Submit to Staples. (Safari stinks on their site for some reason. Firefox is fine.) $7 printing + $2 cover stock + $4 cutting = $13. Two horizontal cuts to make thirds. Not complete, but takes a chunk out of the total cutting work.

Result: The printing looked great, but everything was a bit off-center, and the cuts were not made evenly.

These print quite nicely on the inkjet. Color looks very sharp on presentation paper, but that's pretty thin, of course.

Second Try (1985)

  1. Print to PDF using CutePDF. Page Scaling: None. Auto-Rotate and Center: unchecked.
  2. Convert to PS.

    $ pdftops cards.pdf

  3. Remove cut lines with a Perl hack.

    while (<>) {
        $skip = 2 if (/^119.996 .+ re$/); # horizontal cut lines
        $skip = 2 if (/^[0-9\.]+ 144 .+ re$/); # vertical cut lines
        $skip = 2 if (/^4036.8 .+ 4.80078 .+ re$/); # more vertical cut lines
        print if ($skip-- <= 0);

    These numbers seem to work with 1964 also, when processed under the same conditions.

  4. Print to PDF with 104% scaling. Minimize margins or go borderless.
  5. Print on the new laser printer.
  6. Cut.

Result: Doesn't work, because the new laser printer requires a 0.25-inch margin at the sides. Try again!

Third Try (1985)

Started from the "original" PDFs: 1985_NL_BW.pdf & 1985_AL_BW.pdf. Wrote, which performs the following steps.

  1. Convert (page at a time) from PDF to PGM with pdftoppm.
  2. Cut out the nine cards with pamcut. Measurements from a reference PGM. Adjust with a "shrink" border to trim the cut lines & some whitespace.
  3. Scale with pamscale. Trial and error until you get something that leaves a bit over 0.25 inch margins. That worked out to 0.975.
  4. Pad to the final dimensions with pampad. 1700x2200 is the 3x3 pixel size for 600 ppi.
  5. When all nine are cut out, paste together using four calls to pnmcat. (I would have preferred to use pamundice, but my version of netpbm is old.)
  6. Convert to TIFF with pnmtotiff and write to something like page_01.tif.
  7. When all the pages are processed, concatenate the TIFFs with tiffcp and convert to PDF with tiff2pdf.

Then print on the laser printer with 100% scaling. Select "Thicker Paper." Open the back so the pages come straight out.

Result: Looks OK. Tested with card stock.

Laser Printer Notes

  • No need to manually feed the paper. Card stock is picked up from the tray with no problem.
  • Biggest problem is paper curl. Most of the paper curl occurs after printing when making the sharp turn to the output area. Best way to fix this is to open the back and let it come straight out. The worst curling in this situation is right at the leading edge.
  • "Reduce Paper Curl" doesn't seem to have an effect. Neither does "Toner Save" mode.
  • The main effect of setting the paper type seems to be the speed at which it travels. "Thin" goes faster, while "Thicker" goes slower. Both card and cover stock have trouble at the "Thin" setting---the toner doesn't stick at the lower left.
  • Cover stock may be easier to uncurl than card stock.
  • In "Graphics" mode, text is more jagged, and the gray areas are nicely halftoned. In "Text" mode, text is smoother, and the gray areas have a darker, more complex pattern that produces banding. The naked eye can see the halftone difference, but not the text smoothness, so "Graphics" is the best setting.

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