Monday, 9 August 2010
open game table volume 2
If you ask me for a benefit of blogging, I'd say working on collaborative projects like this. Open Game Table is an anthology of blog posts voted for and reviewed by peers - a collection of fine RPG blogosphere items. If you're starting out on blogging about RPGs and want to see how good it can get or feeling your fires burning low, take a look in here. What you'll find are some stunning insights into how to make games fun, a sentiment echoed by the foreword, written by Justin Achilli. If you get an opportunity to work on something like this, take it with both hands and run. Not only do you contribute, you learn in doing. Peer reviewing posts makes you apply that scrutiny to your stuff and (hopefully!) makes you a better blogger. Hats off to Jonathan Jacobs for the heroic work put into making it happen.
The cynical may ask "OK, why would I buy this? I can just access the blog feeds right?" Here's the thing - blogs are sometimes more fragile than books. Posts vanish, authors hang up their shingle and the Wayback Machine isn't perfect. Having seen blogs on my feed join the blogosphere invisibule (to mangle a Parrot Joke reference), owning a copy means you can come back to stuff even if the worst happens. And if it doesn't, you're not trawling Google Reader for nuggets - you can just turn the page or if you've got a PDF, use the search facility. Also, each article has a web address to the article so you can see it (and the comments that follow) before editing. Now that is a web enhancement and shows the craft of the editorial team in action.
The visual feel is reminiscent of Flying Buffalo's classic Grimtooth series, the cover art may appear steampunk but don't be fooled, there is something for everyone in here, from the hoariest grognard to the indie designer to the new arrival looking to expand their horizons. The contributions are diverse stuff, from interviews with Dave Arneson, Robin Laws and Jonathan Roberts through campaign design and play style to encouraging new players and gaming with children. The section on 4E is a worthy successor to the D&D Players Strategy Guide and has the added bonus of new monsters and an NPC. Even the humorous articles have elements of how to make a better game sown in them. In short, buy if you want a lot of good content - and if you're buying in PDF and don't own volume 1, take a look at this bundle.