This is a fantastic book. It's one of the best "Art of..." books I've ever seen for an RPG line, and I'm not just saying that as a former White Wolf production intern and sometimes illustrator (alas, never for this iteration of MAGE). Most RPG art collections do just that: they collect artwork, artwork that, if you're a fan of that particular game line, you're likely already pretty familiar with. This volume certainly does that, but it surrounds that artwork with really interesting information not just about the art, but about the individual artists that created it, and about the creation of Mage The Ascension as a whole. Phil Brucato gives us an insightful and entertaining insider's look at how the game was created, including a step-by-step breakdown of the production and publishing process (ah, I remember it well), and tells some fun stories about his days at White Wolf along the way. What's more, the art isn't just randomly placed throughout the book, it's organized by artist, with an introduction to each that puts each artist's work in context. This focus really makes M20: The Art Of Mage feel like a personal journey. It becomes about the artists themselves and the creative spirit that they brought to the game as much as its about the art, and that's something I, as an artsit, really appreciate. Reading this book, you get the sense that Brucato feels very deeply for this material and has a great love and reverence for the artwork that graced its pages. One gets the feeling that the art of Mage: The Ascension played as important a role in the game as the words. And, again, as a former White Wolf illustrator, that notion warms my heart. It's a wonderful feeling to know that we bring something other than just simple decoration to the books and products we help create. Well, done, Phil (or is it Satyros, now? Whichever, you're still awesome).
[5 of 5 Stars!]