6/05/2015

In Lieu of my 100th Review a Recap of the Previous 99...

In Lieu of my 100th Review a Recap of the Previous 99...
Today I'm attending the Origins Game Fair and it'll be day three of a five day convention which means I'll be tired, but not exhausted. Normally I pre-write my posts when I'm away like this, but I really didn't want to phone-in what I think is my 100th review. I actually have what I think will be a fun item to review, but I also thought I'd get more out of it if I enjoyed it at Origins, or maybe on the long plane ride there & back.

Instead I'm going to do a bit of a recap/review...recycling if you will of my previous 99 reviews and list my three favorite products I've reviewed, along with my three least favorite products. I think by stepping back and looking at these in the aggregate I can drawn some conclusions on what I prefer in a RPG product.

My Top Three Frugal GM Reviewed Items:
The Smoking Pillar of Lan Yu-Aside from just some good writing, this PDF wasn't just unsecured...the publisher made most of the content free to re-use and even provided said content without having to hack it out of the base offering. Really above & beyond.

Side Treks Village I-Bonus points for coming from a friend, but the real reason I loved this product is that it gave me just the right amount of detail to make it useful to me.

d30 Sandbox Companion- Beautiful production values in a well-bookmarked PDF.

What do these three have in common?
1st of all....it was damned hard to select only three items for the top-three and I could easily substitute these three with a dozen others without feeling guilty about it. I chose these three in particular to represent the larger group as a whole. What I see in the products I really like comes down to a RPG product that gets me what I want & need without getting in its own way. No ridiculous format, no absurd level of PDF security, and easily tweakable to meet this GM's (an presumably other GM's) needs. Good content leads to and easier go of things as a GM and more fun. I'm glad to have gotten to know more producers in this industry largely because I've liked their work so much.

My Bottom Three Frugal GM Reviewed Items:
Avalon Models Fantasy House-I so remember trying, and failing to put this together. The colors were a little garish, but the unforgivable sin was not actually putting in all the required pieces & parts to make it work. I doubt that this had been tested before it was put out.

Schema: Halls Beneath the Hills- Nothing like packing a crappy product with extra, unannounced content nobody wants in order to "beef up" the downloads size.

King For a Day Map Pack-This steamer outright lied as to the contents of the download and had a HUGE map that you couldn't use anywhere but on your screen.

What do these three have in common?
In general it seems to me that the worst RPG products I've seen clearly were not tested from the standpoint of how the customer would use it. Another common theme is that there is padded content, often in the form of excessive advertising. A full page add even in a four page PDF is fine, but approaching 50% (or more) of "extra/unwanted" content in any product is too damned much.