February 24th, 2007

GoPlay

Inspired by RPG.net, I give you - a game from my tired imagination!

Blood Bath in a Reality Gone Mad: Tom Sawyer vs. Huckleberry Finn

In this latest release from the creative genius of Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue players take on alternate reality versions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn who must work together to discover what has happened to the universe. Perused by the evil Megaraptors from one world to the next, the only hope the characters have is in finding odd clues from famous literary works that point the way to their final destiny.

Fred and Rob have done it again! In their recent brilliant RPG they finally deliver on what fans have been asking for for years - a coal powered Tom Sawyer who eats glass and has an airplane fetish. I received a free copy of this product. - C.W.Richeson, RPG.net.

The game... was... not... awful...! - RPG.net.

Fascist swine release another unreadable piece of forgist swinery! - theRPGsite
GoPlay

Authors and publishers who want a game to last need to keep talking about that game.

I don't mean having shills start threads on various boards or anything, but just regularly participating in the RPG community. People notice when authors and publishers hang out on various boards and talk about their games. They ask questions, listen to the feedback, and leave thinking about the game. Threads about the game grow longer, lurkers get involved, and they stay up on the main page longer. This is especially important for the small press publishers who may be able to find the time to chat on forums, but not the money to really market their game.

This (and the bad joke) is inspired in part from yet another Spirit of the Century thread up on RPG.net. A lot of critics said that SotC was just another fleeting interest at RPG.net, and that in a few months no one would think twice about it. Not only has that not happened, SotC remains a major discussion topic at RPG.net. I attribute this in large part to Fred and Rob continuing to weigh on on threads, offer constructive feedback, and do what they can to promote the game without being annoying. They don't just do this on RPG sites, but through LiveJournal and whatever other tools are at their disposal. With a growing community of consumers and publishers using LiveJournal I think they've made a good decision to embrace it as a means of marketing and spreading the word about their project.

I'm no expert, but I pay attention to what publishers are doing. Since I don't publish, but do write a broad variety of reviews, I think I have a bit more of an outsiders perspective on the topic. I notice time and again that the companies that send me review products often have little to no contact with the RPG community. They make a few web updates, may have a company specific forum, and that's it. I think that's a real problem because they're leaving discussion of their products entirely up to the fans. If there are questions out there, folk on the verge of buying a game, or simple misinterpretations of the game then those things are not being addressed.

More than that, though, they're missing an opportunity to seed good will through the community. I think that's more valuable than many people would give it credit, as when the author isn't around and someone says "tell me about SotC" folk might be more willing to say good things about the game based on the positive connection with the author. Fred, for example, posted a link to most of the content of SotC for free over at RPG.net. All the open license content has been hyper-linked and posted online. "He may lose a couple of sales because of that post" I initially thought "but damn does he have integrity." I'm actually more willing to buy future Evil Hat games because of stuff like that, and I don't think I'm alone. The author shows me he has an interest in the community and wants to help however he can, and there is no game support better than that.