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*

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

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

  1. Well, the good news is, for every guy like that, there’s someone like judge Jeramy Ware (my replacement after I resigned), who took the time after that nastiness to post to the RPG Bloggers mailing list and ask some questions. (But you can see where my suggestion for Best Gaming Blog landed!) So there’s good and bad in everything, I guess!

    Nice to see all this coverage! I’m excited WIRED will be giving it some coverage.

    Zacharys last blog post..Song of Ice and Fire RPG Now Available In PDF

  2. The Anthology looks incredible. I think its going to open a lot of eyes.

    I especially hope it does for the ENnies. Considering one of their current judges considers blogs, well, as he put it:

    "I would protest 'Best Gaming Blog' with the fire of a thousand suns going supernova simultaneously. Most blogs are a waste of time; at best of interest to close friends and family, at worst vanity-driven ego sops full of posts by the same half-dozen people plus a couple of trolls. The remaining good ones are free to submit as best fansite. Podcasts are bad enough; there's no way I'm wading through pages of people spouting off ad infinitum about their cool homebrews. If I want that, I'll go to ENWorld, where at least there's some give and take with the community and it isn't totally one-sided".

    …I'm not hopeful. They have some judges in there of better account than that, so hopefully a different stance will win through.

    <abbr><abbr>Zacharys last blog post..Designing The Mega-Mega Dungeon</abbr></abbr>

  3. Well, I think honestly, all of that stuff aside, the product will turn a lot of heads. I'm proud of our community coming together on it, and I think we'll see a lot of good feedback from folks who pick it up.

    <abbr><abbr>Zacharys last blog post..Designing The Mega-Mega Dungeon</abbr></abbr>

  4. @zachary – I agree, I expect this product to turn quite a few heads. I think Jonathon has done an outstanding job. As I've said before, I think a lesser man would have quit a long time ago (or at the very least produced a lesser product). I'm very proud to both have help doing assistant editing on the project and provide some finical support to the project as well. I consider them good deed and keeping with my promise to give something back to the gaming community.

    <abbr><abbr>Bonemasters last blog post..Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail….</abbr></abbr>

  5. I didn't know the ENnie judges (or at least one of them) was opposed to blogs. His words are more than harsh. Although I agree that there are a lot of bad blogs out there, especially the several RPG blog networks all over the world have shown that they can produce some pretty high quality content. Perhaps this judge should check out some of the excellent blogs on this network before spouting out such nonsense.

    I am 100% sure that the Open Game Table book will help to show the world that blogs are not just a waste of time.

    @Joshua: <code>: roll : (without the spaces)</code> = 🙄

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