Preview: “Open Game Table, The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs”

Cover ArtworkIf you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few months you have probably read about the upcoming “Open Game Table, The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs“. The 140-page book will be available on Lulu, Amazon, Indie Press Revolution and local dealers for only $22.95 on March 23rd, 2009. And if you ask me, it will be worth every penny.

As one of the contributing authors I was provided with a PDF of the final draft (only cover and foreword were missing). And so I had the chance to have a look at the book weeks before the actual release. So, let’s now have a look at the content:

The book consists of ten chapters: Play Style, Game Play, Characters & Players, Monsters & NPCs, Encounters, Settings & Location, Adventure Design, Campaign Setting Design, Classes, Action and Equipment, RPG History & Commentary and The RPG Toolbox. I won’t go into much detail here (I don’t want to spoil anything) but suffice to say that each chapter contains a couple of excellent articles from blogs all around the RPG Bloggers Network.

And that’s probably one of the great things about this book. You don’t get articles written by detached game designers sitting in some emerald tower but every article was written by one of us, a roleplaying game fan, who writes about his hobby on the internet. So you probably ask yourself why you should buy the book when you can read the posts on the ‘net for free. In my opinion there are several reasons: you get a beautiful book that you can read while commuting, sitting in your garden or wherever you like without the need of a computer or internet access, the anthology also contains only the very best RPG blog articles of 2008 and it is organized in a clear and sensible manner. You’ll probably find many awesome articles you’ve missed on the ‘net, mainly because trying to follow everything that has been written on the network is like drinking from the proverbial firehose.

I especially want to congratulate Jonathan Jacobs on how he has managed to transfer blog posts into print form. A feat that is probably much harder than you believe. Each post is properly credited and a link to the author’s blog and the relevant post is provided with each article in the book. Referenced URLs are listed in footnotes if necessary.

The book also contains quite a lot of artwork, something that I didn’t expect before. Most of the images used in the anthology have an old-school feel to them (especially the cartoon-style drawings) but that’s not a bad thing. The illustration in the book are black and white, but if you expect the RPG blog anthology to be a full-color book with artwork on par with WotC’s recent releases you will be probably disappointed. But in my opinion the artwork is top-notch and it never seems misplaced or out of context.

All in all I am very excited about the whole project and I can’t wait to get my print copy of “Open Game Table”! And I really hope that it’s just the first book out of many that will bring the wonders of RPG blogs to the unenlightened masses … or so to speak. 😆 And perhaps it will help to spread the word about the quality content you can find in RPG blogs these days.
And perhaps we’ll finally get a proper blog category for the ENnies 2010! *shakes fist at the organizers of the ENnie Award*