4/12/2015

Frugal GM Review: Knights of the Dinner Table 20 Years of Covers

Frugal GM Review: Knights of the Dinner Table 20 Years of Covers
I had a couple sentence "review" of the Knights of the Dinner Table 20 Years of Covers book up on another site where it "mysteriously" disappeared. Normally this isn't something I'd review, for a couple of reasons, but due to the nature of this item it is eligible for review by my somewhat arbitrary standards.

1st off, I feel it is extremely important to note that while this is a book about the Knights of the Dinner Table comic and it was written by Barbara Blackburn, this is NOT a Kenzer & Company publication. The one star on this review is a shout-out to Barbara's work, otherwise I'd have seriously considered editing my review stars for a 0 star rating (I don't have one).

2nd off, I didn't purchase this book....technically my wife did as part of her funding of the Knights of the Dinner Table Live-Action Series on Kickstarter. The problems I've seen with this KoDT book stem from there.....

A bunch of KS BS
If you'll notice this bit of work on the right, straight from the Kickstarter, this book is part of the fundraising effort that is "Only available on Kickstarter. Not available after February 5th"

Please not this is also listed as "* Limited to 250 copies" for the hardcover.

You can still buy this, but I wouldn't recommend it!
d20 Entertainment's Store Front
This is all a bold-faced lie as you can purchase this book today (which is the reason I think this is eligible for review, since it isn't OOP), more than a year after this Kickstarter ended. There were also more than 250 copies printed.....at least 275 because the writer received 25 copies as part of her payment.

Copies 251-275?
You don't have to take my word for it....here are the pictures. Above is the current (as of this posting) webstore for d20 Entertainment and to the right is a picture from Barbara's ebay listing for her selling off most of her "free" books. Now I don't have any problems whatsoever with the writer getting her payment in cash from selling off some of the books, but thepublisher? That's just straight up lying on Kickstarter. Adding in an additional leather cover for $250 is just highway robbery, well it might seem like that when I get to the actual book....

The actual book arrived well over a month from when it allegedly went out via Media Mail, but a quick check of the postmark showed that it was just shipped a month later than originally informed. It seems many still haven't gotten there books so maybe the Mrs. was just lucky.

Stickered signature insert
The cover didn't look like I expected it was, but that is a minor point. It was packaged reasonably well with very minor bending of the corners. Opening it up I see that this was listed as copy #10 out of #250......which should be #270, or should it be #325 if you account for the "other" hardcovers? Normally when I see a signed & numbered book it is written in the book, not on a sticker applied to the book. I can't say if this is wrong or right, just not what I would have expected.

The book is pretty much just pictures of the covers and brief synopsis of the individual issues. They are good synopsis, but there really isn't any of the promised "behind-the-scenes commentary from Jolly Blackburn and the D-Team". Jolly does have a nice intro and there are maybe two "Jolly Says" asides in the book, and those are in the first couple of pages.

I can't tell you how many pages there are in this book because there is no table of contents, no index, and no page numbers. If one wanted to use this as a reference book to KoDT of some sort, well you are out of luck. Trying to find something out about a specific issue will be an exercise in flipping pages, and an exercise I wouldn't recommend at that. The printing is definitely sub-par in this book, which appears to have been printed in some kind of economy color. Comparing it to the $50 HackMaster Players Handbook, which was actually produced by Kenzer & Company, is a frustrating vision of what could have been.

Quality comparisons

I wish this picture did the discrepancy in quality justice.......

Bleed through with pages flat in the book
pages already coming looseNot only is the color, for lack of a better word, half-assed, but the book itself is a bit on the flimsy side. The cover sees sturdy enough, but the paper is so thin the words bleed through the pictures far too often. Since one of the major draws for this book is collecting all (or most of) the KoDT covers in one place, showing them so poorly is....well should be, a crime.

I've only gone through the book twice, more of a flip-through than an actual reading, and I'm already seeing wear on the binding bad enough to make me think that we'll be losing pages soon.

Frugal GM 1 Star Review: Knights of the Dinner Table 20 Years of Covers
Overall I'm severely disappointed with this book, it utterly fails to live up to its promises with the one notable exception of the issue plot summaries. This book will end up sitting on the shelf largely unread because it won't hold up to nominal use and the organization doesn't facilitate any sort of usefulness. I really hope that someday KenzerCo will come up with their own book for 1/2 the price and 4x the quality.

Until then I'd stay away from the Knights of the Dinner Table 20 Years of Covers. It just isn't worthwhile. Spend your money collecting actual issues of the comic or some Bundles of Troubles instead.