Tuesday, March 18, 2014

RPG Review Thoughts

I was fortunate enough to read through a pre-production copy of an RPG this evening/morning. It looks like a fun game, but I realized a few truths about myself.

When I am reading something for a review, it's impossible to shut the editor off.

I really enjoy the art and like commenting on it (good, bad, or ugly) in my reviews. Taking that art away doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the product, though.

My mind works different than others. After going through several passes by several people, I was catching phrases that just caught me wrong. They read fine to all those other people. Yet still, I found issue with one here or there. And, even though it might be okay for the majority, not being okay for the few was bothersome to me. I want everyone to get the same thing from the book. I hate rules lawyers and I hate rules debates.

When I'm let in early on a project like this, I find myself considering myself part of the team in a strange way. I noticed my notes referred to "we" a lot, although I had nothing to do with the project. I sure hope that doesn't offend actual team members who poured their blood, sweat, and tears into the product.

I can never seem to find a happy medium for fluff in an RPG book. There's either not enough or too much. Yet, somehow, none seemed to work just fine for a fast and easy read.

This is my first time doing an independent review where I've agreed to so many stipulations including an pseudo-NDA and agreeing to allow the publisher to review the article before it's to be published. Many of the terms were similar to my "work for hire" contracts, but my only pay here was an advanced copy of the pre-production. I'm not complaining, but that I did that kind of surprised me.
I think this will be a decent product and I'll let you know more when I can. I am excited to see it published in its final form and I am going to have a go at running it as well.

RPG reviews are important. You'll find a lot of goofy ones out there where people don't seem to have read what they are reviewing. Or, there are some people who follow their mother's advice. You know, "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." I know a lot of people get free copies here and there and I do sometimes. More often than not, I'm reviewing something I spent my money on. I can be harsh, but it's rarely for the sake of being harsh. I want people to strive to do better. And, sometimes, my matter of fact nature simply comes across as being harsh.

I haven't had any hate mail yet, so I guess I've done okay there. Or, you know, I just haven't publicized my blog enough.

What kind of review realizations have you come across? Any fun review stories? Not so much of the product, but of the review process itself. Share them here, I'd love to hear them.