Friday, June 10, 2011 vs Grindhouse, RPGPundit vs Vornheim

It's been an active day aside from the Nihilism discussion going on one post down.

There's an thread going on now about LotFP. "Am I being unduly critical, or is this as big a turd as it appears to be?" Read that here.

RPG Pundit has reviewed Vornheim. "about half the book is awesome, and the other half is, at risk of repeating myself, gimmicky." Read that here. Can't wait to see what he thinks of Grindhouse...

We've gotten to the end of my crash course on layout and design. We've looked over a whole bunch of games, both "professional" and "indie" and discussed their visual qualities ("that's effective, that sucks, that's effective, that sucks..."), and talked a lot about how to approach Carcosa. I've also got some typographical textbooks on the way via Amazon to follow up. Between these and all my history books I've recently purchased to research my own next project (not publishing project, but play project with the intention of being published down the line), those Amazon people must think I'm a real nerd.

I'll be home and reading my email again tomorrow.


  1. From Amazon:

  2. I'm impressed you're making the effort to learn about this stuff and improve your design skills. :)

  3. I couldn't make it past page 1 of the forum. I don't mind strong opinions, but when folks don't know the difference between "this is how I feel" and "this is objective reality," then I just don't see the point in discussing anything with them.

  4. Shitty reviewers are shitty reviewers, and 10d6 out of a 100 reviews are negative to be spiteful, but they represent only 2d6 percent of the actual gaming public.

    LotFP and Vornheim are amazingly brilliant. They're both brave and innovative and do thing in ways no one has thought of. The mainstream expects and desires more mainstream, which are safe. Safe = Boring. It's Spielberg vs John Waters. It's Back to the Future vs Pink Flamingos. The best things in life aren't for everybody. And it shows in the reviews.

  5. What about this? It's nothing special, I know, just my two cents.

  6. That layout is actually not a million miles away from what's being discussed here.

  7. Wow, sorta dickheaded and not critical is a constructive way at all.

    Just wanted to say that I think it is great that you are restless and want your books to look better and better. Too many game companies come up with a style that works, and then stick with it. Your books so far look awesome and the future can only be brighter for Lamentations. Keep on pushing and we will all keep on supporting you.

  8. And I'm addicted to Briton Rites, no real explanation. Thanks for that. Ha.

  9. "I couldn't make it past page 1 of the forum. I don't mind strong opinions, but when folks don't know the difference between 'this is how I feel' and 'this is objective reality,' then I just don't see the point in discussing anything with them."--limpey

    I read it all the way to the end, and there wasn't any point in discussing anything with some of those guys.

  10. "Wow, sorta dickheaded and not critical in a constructive way at all."--The Degenerate Elite

    You talking about the topic about LotFP or the RPG Pundit review of Vornheim?

    If you're talking about the topic, then you're understating its useless dickheadedness very generously.

    If you're talking about the RPG Pundit review, then yeah. It's especially pathetic how he sees Zak's greatest innovations as mere "gimmicks". It's like he can't imagine how anything that's a completely new way of doing something could possibly be of any real use -- even if it's actually the easiest way of doing that thing well that anybody has yet imagined and gotten the word out about.

  11. I had actually totally forgotten about the RPG Pundit until this link....

  12. To be fair, many of Zak's ideas are gimmicks. Good gimmicks, but still gimmicks.

  13. gimmick (ˈɡɪmɪk)
    — n
    1. something designed to attract extra attention, interest, or publicity
    2. any clever device, gadget, or stratagem, esp one used to deceive
    3. chiefly ( US ) a device or trick of legerdemain that enables a magician to deceive the audience

    Many of Zak's ideas are clever devices and stratagems. But the only people they're ever used to deceive are players -- and only in good ways.

    So the word "gimmick" still doesn't really characterize them fairly.

  14. "Gimmick" is the wrong term and the wrong idea to describe Zak's approach in Vornheim. Ed's right that the implication of dishonesty is inherent in the word and way off base. Another false implication is that Zak does not normally play this way, that he threw together a set of cheap tricks and added them to the book to help it sell. The truth is that Zak plays this way all the time in his home game - looking for outside-the-box ways to think about gaming - and Vornheim faithfully reflects that. Characterizing Vornheim that way in the review is sloppy.

    But then, most reviews these days are sloppy. Serious criticism is a dwindling but still much-needed craft.