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Adventure Design in Practice
Publisher: ThinkDifferent
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 22:49:36

A strong offering from ThinkDifferent, this book talks about tabletop adventures for what they are: interactions with players in a time frame. The ssay discusses how to handle pacing, player death, villian behavior, and other topics in a way that's both practical and exciting. And in ways a lot of other "How to GM" guides do not talk about, at all. This book pairs well with "Elegant Encounter Design" for a guide on how to take your gaming to the next level.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Design in Practice
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much Jason for this and all your other reviews. You have really taken time to read in depth my publications. I'll update this book with the later materials to contrast how the actual game play is both influenced by the original prep work but how much it also will differ from the outline. This should help in particular newer GM's to see prep vs. improvisation vs. between session adjustments work in practice. I have a feeling that if "Elegant" books were converted to a proper book format you would give them +1 star, wouldn't you? :-)
Conversation Guide for Role Playing Characters 3.0
Publisher: ThinkDifferent
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 22:24:01

These worksheets take up a lot of space, and they lack easy-to-find blanks for common deatils like "name" and "location." The advice is great: "think in terms of what a character wants, and what they will do if they get or if they don't". But that idea was presented better elsewhere, including the author's own "Structured Free Association Story Plot Method" and "Elegant Encounter Design." Those other books would be better if they integrated these ideas. Any GM trying to use these worksheets will have a worksheet with 20% useful information, 10% more scribbled in the spaces NOT provided, and 70% toner used up for nothing.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Conversation Guide for Role Playing Characters 3.0
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Jason, I will use your input to produce a more economical and toner-friendly version.
Thanks Jason, I got a new version 3.1 out now that is more printer friendly.
Modern Day Theme Inspired RPG Plots & Hooks Expanded
Publisher: ThinkDifferent
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 22:16:11

A slideshow with brief ideas for role-playing game plot ideas. Brief and to the point. One warning: the ideas are presented with a generic Dungeons-and-Dragons type fantasy in mind. (Many ideas talk about monsters, or farming, or shape-shifters, or multiple-diety pantheons, etc.) So despite the title, this book is useful for fantasy-type games and not so much for historical, sci-fi, or even modern-day adventures. A good read.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Day Theme Inspired RPG Plots & Hooks Expanded
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Jason, I will edit the description to better state the strong focus on fantasy. These days, fantasy is all I play, my interest in sci-fi, horror etc has been waning unfortunately......
Structured Free Association Story Plot Method 2.0
Publisher: ThinkDifferent
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 22:07:09

There's some great advice here for recognizing that the story may diverge based on what players may do, and that the players should be the stars of their own story. But where this book falls down is the "free association" part of the title. A short list of keywords is presented at the end, and there's talk of using them randomly, and that's about it. The advice on "don't over-prepare" is particularly good. Free association needs to be building on what the players are already doing, and there's not a lot of advice on how to deal with players going off on tangents. For all the talk about procedural generation, there's very little here. (And even less, if you're not interested in fantasy.) "Elegant Encounter Design", by the same author, has better advice for how to structure stories around branching paths.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Structured Free Association Story Plot Method 2.0
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Jason. This being my first title, there has been evolution with further titles. That said, the general principle presented with using your existing writing as the baseline for keyword association is still very valid I think.
Elegant Encounter Design
Publisher: ThinkDifferent
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 21:31:49

Not a book, but a slide-show presenting different types of encounters. Presents a variety of ways to tell a story. While it's nice to have a lot of charts, all too often they're reather confusing. (Where do we start? Why are some arrows clashing but others are in a clear path? What's the difference between an 'obstacle' and an 'encounter'?) Some good forward-thinking ideas here. (Antagonists presented as people with goals of their own; creating urgency by having time-sensitive goals; encounters as a purposeful event rather than a random happenstance, etc.) Good reading for beginning game masters who want to take the next step from "monsters wait in a dungeon."



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Elegant Encounter Design
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Jason! This title with Story Plot Method seems to be among my most popular. Some of my own proudest moments in this publication is the goal and obstacle chaining that comes from problem-solution chaining of consultancy work context. I'm glad it communicates the large variety of how encounter dynamic can be structured. I've been influenced by (movie) screenwriting a lot and incorporating that learning to my RPGs. The charts don't indeed have a proper "entry" and "exit" if you will. I will take your advice and see if this could improvement for better readability. Thanks for the tip.
Elegant Initiative Design
Publisher: ThinkDifferent
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2017 21:22:41

A slide-show presentation on initiative methods, as seen in many RPGs. The graphics and writing are clear and concise. It's not clear where "elegance" comes in -- most of the presentation is about describing the methods and how they work, and then there's a wrap-up on "try new things." A breakdown of the pros and cons of each method would have been useful, especially with references of the games that use them. (And there's some glaring omissions: no mention of ticks, abort-to-defense, action-point systems. etc.) Might be useful to a designer looking for alternative initiative systems, but it's not comprehensive or critical enough.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Elegant Initiative Design
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Jason, I'm aspiring to do a more evaluation on various mechanics and in general create more combined mechanics of various initiative / turn order management methods. I would hope the 'engagement-pull' and 'wait and interrupt' mechanics in particular would be more widely adopted. I use them myself and they are very compatible with almost any existing initiative system.
Furries Create Insanity - Volume 1
Publisher: Furries Create Insanity
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/24/2015 13:16:53

Witty, informed, and just a little risque. Plays great as a stand-alone game. Comes in a very nice translucent box to protect the cards. And the cards themselves are glossy and sturdy, to withstand the toll that a party game like this often dishes out. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Furries Create Insanity - Volume 1
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