RPGNow.com
Close
New Account
 
  
 
 
You will lose your chance to get the free product of the week.
One-click unsubscribe later if you don't enjoy the newsletter.
Close
Log In
 
 Forgot password?
 

     or     Log In with your Facebook Account
Narrow Results
 Publisher Info









Back
KOBOLD Guide to Game Design, Vol. 3: Tools & Techniques $18.95 $14.95
Average Rating:5.0 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
1 3
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
KOBOLD Guide to Game Design, Vol. 3: Tools & Techniques
Click to view
KOBOLD Guide to Game Design, Vol. 3: Tools & Techniques
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Brian F. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/22/2013 11:40:01
The kobolds are back with another amazing collection of twelve thought-provoking and informative essays from some of the best designers and writers creating roleplaying game material today. The essays cover everything from the simple question of “What is Design?” and work through contentious topics of creativity, craft, and how to recover when things don’t go well. Anyone who’s tried to write professionally understands the power of the blank page, rejection, and the unforgiving and untapped potential of any great idea you can’t quite find the words to express, but it’s a rare treat to get advice from some of the stars of the roleplaying game industry to address those problems. It’s nice to know the kobolds care.

As someone who aspires to be a game designer and writer, I find that rules are hard for me and settings are relatively easy. So as I perused the pages of the guide, I found myself trolling for tips and tricks to simplify my rules process and make finishing projects more of a reality than a wish. With that in mind, I will avoid talking about each essay in depth and instead focus on a couple that I found particularly helpful.

Wolfgang Baur has worked on some of my favorite gaming projects over the years, from the original Planescape line at TSR to adventures for Alternity, Call of Cthulhu, Pathfinder, and a whole lot of D&D. He’s edited the Kobold Quarterly, Dragon, and Dungeon magazines and is the publisher and founder of Open Design – a collaborative game design company. Oh, and in his spare time he publishes the Kobold Guide to Game Design series.

Baur’s essay “What is Design?” tries to define a term that doesn’t lend itself well to a definition unless you have context on your side. In this context, he defines it as “its own discipline, but it always borrows and builds on other modes of creative work.” What does that mean in terms of roleplaying games (RPGs)? It means there has to be a balance between rules and setting. When they are out of balance, you can end up with a less than fun experience for your gamemaster (GM) and his or her players, which may cost you fans or customers. Rules must be focused on the setting and the setting must keep the rules in mind at all times. It’s a balance I know I’ve not yet achieved in my own games.

The other essays build on Baur’s beginning, covering the similarities between designing RPGs for the computer and for the tabletop; the basics of combat systems; the power of a good design, hook and dastardly plot; and the fun and heartbreak inherent in collaboration and any creative enterprise. Each essay is lovingly crafted by a master in RPGs today who knows what they’re talking about.

The other essay that really got my attention was “Basic Combat Systems for Tabletop Games” by Colin McComb. As I said earlier, system design is my Achilles’ heel. McComb manages to explain, in a Q&A-type of format, what you need to know about attack systems, who attacks and when, how things like area of effect attacks affect a group of targets, how to measure the consequences of combat through permanent or temporary damage, and so on. He then lays out a sample system using his own rules (minus stringent playtesting) to show how the questions can help you come up with a working system. The practical aspect of the article provides a ton of hints and help to avoid the common problems that plague beginning system designers (like myself).

Colin McComb was involved in 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, but helped create one of my favorite settings for that edition – Planescape – and even helped with two of my favorite computer games of all time – Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2.

Rob Heinsoo has been involved with the 4th Edition of D&D and seems to have written half the sourcebooks that have been published so far. He’s the force behind the D&D Miniatures game and its first nine expansion sets. And if that’s not enough, he’s worked at Daedalus Entertainment, Chaosium, and A-Sharp in the 1990s.

Ed Greenwood is simply a legend in the gaming industry. Not only is he the author behind the Elminster Series, including Elminster: The Making of a Mage and Elminster’s Daughter, but he’s written hundreds of articles about gaming and continues to GM his own campaign. Where does he find the time when he’s typically writing three novels at a time?

And Monte Cook… What can I say about Monte? When 3rd Edition D&D and the d20 system came out, he was one of the three principle designers behind the efforts. And since then, with his own design studio Malhavoc Press, he’s managed to create several award-winning products such as Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved, Ptolus, and the Books of Eldrich Might. In my opinion, he has one of the most unique voices among the game designers of today.

If you’re a GM, a game designer, or a RPG player interested in getting into the design side of how to create your own games – you can’t find a better introduction than The Kobold Guide to Game Design – Volume III: Tools & Techniques. These 96 pages will provide infinite food for thought and hopefully save you some pain and suffering along the way. I certainly have a lot to think about now…

As a final note, I think that kobold on the inside cover is up to something… don’t you?

Article first published as here on Blogcritics.org: http://blogcritics.org/rpg-book-review-the-kobold-guide/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
KOBOLD Guide to Game Design, Vol. 3: Tools & Techniques
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Jose L. F. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2010 15:34:54
I couldn't yet read the previous volumes of this great collection, but I sure will after reading this book. Volume III is a hybrid product, half-insider in the game industry, half-game master advices. Wolfgang's chapters are specially interesting: you get practically a full script of how to design and create your product (even the psychological side of the process is discussed). There are no magic formulas here, but the articles really make you stop and ponder about how to implement your ideas (with great tips, even if you're just a GM working your home campaign).

Almost half of the product deals with more traditional themes (encounter, hooks, campaign structure etc), useful for DMs and professionals alike.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
KOBOLD Guide to Game Design, Vol. 3: Tools & Techniques
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Tom A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/19/2010 00:05:52
Instead of me heaping praise on the authors of this book (they are all luminaries in the field) I will offer a suggestion for the potential purchaser. Get out that old notebook you’ve had since 7th grade.
While this book is ultimately intended for the “next level” guys trying to get to published, I think that it will serve your average Game Master very well.
If your players get up and wander around or check their facebook page while you're stumbling through the read-aloud text, you might want to purchase this book and the first two entries of the series.
While reading the collected essays (a free review copy) I wrote my self a couple of dozen yellow stickies and scribbled furiously in my notebook. Will this book help me get published? Not sure, but it will help me be a better game master.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 3 (of 3 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG