What's the reason making landscape screens difficult?


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I very much prefer landscape screens and would love it if a Starfinder one was produced at some point. However, I seem to remember there being a reason that landscape screens were logistically problematic.

I've looked over the Starfinder screen and it doesn't seem to me that the tables would suffer much if the screen was configured in landscape, rather than upright. I have this niggling feeling there's some detail I'm forgetting that someone spelled out on the forums once (Vic, probably). The borders of the screen or something?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Regarding the Pathfinder screen in 2013, I said "We did consider a landscape version, but the problem is that we really need 4 panels worth of charts—some would argue 5—and landscape screens that take up more than three panels are pretty darn huge."

Regarding the Starfinder screen a couple months ago, I said this:

I wrote:

Our screens are four 8.5x11" panels attached on the long sides (meaning the panels are in portrait orientation), making the finished product 34" wide and 11" high. Other screens have the panels attached on the short sides (with the panels in landscape orientation)—usually, those are 3-panel screens, so the finished product is 33" wide by 8.5" high. (You also occasionally see 4-panel landscape screens; those are 44" wide by 8.5" high, and they take up a lot of table area!)

Our 4 panel screen gives you 33% more room for reference material than 3 panels. (Actually, it's more like 36%: Since GMs usually have a bunch of stuff—minis, dice, etc.—right behind the screen, we design in a decent margin at the bottom so that your stuff won't obstruct the reference material too much; the area lost to this margin is higher for landscape than portrait.)

All dimensions in this post are approximate.

So my question to you is: Are you willing to drop a third of the information to shave 2.5" off the top?


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Cheers, Vic.

I personally am willing to lose information for a lower screen, yes. Although my actual preference would be for a big, four-panel, landscape screen.

I don't find the usage of space to be an issue, since I kind of "wrap" the screen around my notes anyhow, so a four panel screen is really just slightly broader than a three panel one (I angle the two side panels more acutely).

I seem to remember another issue - maybe the margin along the bottom of the screen or something implies that a landscape screen of identical area to a portrait one loses more blank space there or something(?) I know it's come up a lot over the years, I just figure with the "let's try new things" approach of Starfinder product development it might be worth a shot.

I have a generic one. It just doesn't have the art. :(

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Steve Geddes wrote:
I seem to remember another issue - maybe the margin along the bottom of the screen or something implies that a landscape screen of identical area to a portrait one loses more blank space there or something(?)

That is true, but it's not a huge difference. As I mentioned above, we design in a decent margin at the bottom so that your stuff won't obstruct the reference material too much. If you assume you have a half-inch margin on the top and sides, and an inch at the bottom, an 8.5"x11" portrait panel would have a print area of 7.5"x9.5", or 71.25 square inches. An 11"x8.5" landscape panel's print area would be 10"x7", or 70 square inches. Over 4 panels, that's a loss of 5 square inches, so you'd have to drop maybe 1 minor table.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I honestly don't care, but given the number of people asking for one over the years it might be worth a shot--perhaps if you do an "alternate cover" version someday, release it in landscape and see how customers respond.


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Vic Wertz wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I seem to remember another issue - maybe the margin along the bottom of the screen or something implies that a landscape screen of identical area to a portrait one loses more blank space there or something(?)
That is true, but it's not a huge difference. As I mentioned above, we design in a decent margin at the bottom so that your stuff won't obstruct the reference material too much. If you assume you have a half-inch margin on the top and sides, and an inch at the bottom, an 8.5"x11" portrait panel would have a print area of 7.5"x9.5", or 71.25 square inches. An 11"x8.5" landscape panel's print area would be 10"x7", or 70 square inches. Over 4 panels, that's a loss of 5 square inches, so you'd have to drop maybe 1 minor table.

Ah, I see. Thanks, Vic.

I'm afraid I'm heading towards fifty. You're going to get used to me repeating questions I asked a few years ago, I'm afraid. :/


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I'm firmly in the landscape screen column, and wouldn't hesitate to replace both my Pathfinder and Starfinder portrait screens if a landscape option were available.

Dark Archive

Landscape it is for me too.

I have the D&D 4th Edition Landscape screen, it´s one of the best products that came out of that mess. ;-)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Given the amount of clutter I have behind the screen, I prefer screens with vertical real estate. So, landscape is a no-go.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Given the amount of clutter I have behind the screen, I prefer screens with vertical real estate. So, landscape is a no-go.

Can you explain a bit? Why does having lots of stuff impact on the preference? (I also tend to have lots of minis, books, handouts and so forth).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

They tend to clutter up the bottom of the screen, so I expect that part to not contain any vital information. So, if the PF 4-panel screen was to be landscape, there would less space for information laid out in a way that is useful for me. I've have had several landscape and portrait screens and I always find portraits more useful than landscapes.

Also, more cover for me fudging the rolls and adding additional HP to bosses because they players are having too easy time. :)


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Ah yeah, Vic mentioned that above. One minor table's worth, he figured.

I always find screens to have some useless table I don't want anyway, so there's always something I'm willing to give up. Cheers.

Sovereign Court

I prefer a landscape screen. Still using my old 3.5 screen because PF are all portrait.


Vic Wertz wrote:

Regarding the Pathfinder screen in 2013, I said "We did consider a landscape version, but the problem is that we really need 4 panels worth of charts—some would argue 5—and landscape screens that take up more than three panels are pretty darn huge."

Regarding the Starfinder screen a couple months ago, I said this:

I wrote:

Our screens are four 8.5x11" panels attached on the long sides (meaning the panels are in portrait orientation), making the finished product 34" wide and 11" high. Other screens have the panels attached on the short sides (with the panels in landscape orientation)—usually, those are 3-panel screens, so the finished product is 33" wide by 8.5" high. (You also occasionally see 4-panel landscape screens; those are 44" wide by 8.5" high, and they take up a lot of table area!)

Our 4 panel screen gives you 33% more room for reference material than 3 panels. (Actually, it's more like 36%: Since GMs usually have a bunch of stuff—minis, dice, etc.—right behind the screen, we design in a decent margin at the bottom so that your stuff won't obstruct the reference material too much; the area lost to this margin is higher for landscape than portrait.)

All dimensions in this post are approximate.

So my question to you is: Are you willing to drop a third of the information to shave 2.5" off the top?

Absolutely! The amount of leaning and craning I have to do to see the tactical plot vs. the ZERO times I reference the screen info, makes it a no brainer. Having said that, I do want a screen that has pertinent info, I WANT to reference the screen.

As far as losing some screen space, no big deal. Covering too much table space? I see it as more GM space being shielded, but I will point out that back in 3rd ed. WotC made a landscape screen (a god send) that was a four panel, where the outer panels were shorter. Solved that problem.

Before that, I actually cut the top off an old six panel D&D screen, so I could SEE. It was SO much more comfortable.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Are we negotiating here? Landscape!


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As someone who doesn't use minis, I don't have to see the table much; just my players' faces. Portrait, and all of the tables it can possibly contain, works just fine for me!

Grand Lodge

I am in the landscape camp- As long as that includes 4 full panels. Reducing the number of panels would be a no-go for me even if it was landscape. 4 vertical or 3 landscape panels would not be enough space for my tablet computer, combat pad and enough space for dice and mini's and such. Let alone a open core rulebook instead of the tablet computer. I actually use a D&D 5E 4-panel landscape screen and have to create, print and apply charts for GM side and art for player side. I did this for running my last Pathfinder campaign and it was fantastic (but a fair amount of work- pdf's + Windows Snipping Tool to create documents) and I have been creating chart panels to clip to the inside and outside as I study the Starfinder Core Rulebook. This also allows me to customize what I want on the screen.


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3 or 4 panel landscape would work better for me, too.


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Throwing my hat into the Landscape camp (for any game that uses battlemaps/minis).

Edit to add: I really only use screens at this point for the secrecy, because my eyes are no longer good enough to read the info in typical game-lighting conditions (i.e. not overly lit). I'd love screens with larger type and more contrast so I could actually benefit from the info, too.

The Exchange

I miss landscape character sheets...I had a great one for 3.5 that was legal letter sized and folded into a booklet character folio. I miss it, and it took up so much less room on the table....and I like a lower height GM screen too...

Liberty's Edge

Half and half! (With the portrait screens on the outer sides.

OK. Seriously, portrait. I prefer not to fully wall off myself from my players and the is easier with a portrait layout.

The Exchange

Does anyone have a document (text, word, whatever..) with the tables on it that I could copy and paste into my own version of a landscape-style screen? I really don't want to have to recreate them all from scratch...


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Fake Healer wrote:

Does anyone have a document (text, word, whatever..) with the tables on it that I could copy and paste into my own version of a landscape-style screen? I really don't want to have to recreate them all from scratch...

You can buy the PDF of the GM screen and copy/paste from there.

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