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Play Unsafe: How Improvisation Can Change The Way You Roleplay Paperback – January 20, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
But there's one thing I can't get over: it's 74 pages. With a lot of white space in there for tables, boxed asides, and illustrations. If it were reduced to monospace text, even with reasonable section breaks, it would be maybe half that length. So if you want this book, you're going to have to pay almost a quarter a page for it. For me, that just wasn't worth it.
Still, as far as I'm concerned, it successfully accomplished what it set out to do, which was to illustrate some guidelines so you can be able, as a player or a GM, to spin the story of your adventure into new directions. I just wish it were cheaper.
Preaching Tone: If you don't like being lectured to about how You Are Doing It Wrong, this might not be the book for you. The author adopts from the very beginning a mantle of 'True GM'-style authority as if there was one way to GM and he was about to let you in on the secret. There is no such secret, no such path, and while the information bestowed was sparse and slim, it was handed out as though bestowing upon you the Secrets Of The Universe.
Contradicting Proclamations: In the space of a single page-turn the author proclaims that you should never do something, as it would be horribly injurious to your game, then immediately tells you how you can use that very same thing as a really spiffy narrative device. The whole book is disjointed and scrambled and in places comes right out and contradicts itself, completely eroding the percieved focus of the book as well as the deific mantle taken on (see previous paragraph) by the author.
Whitespace: There's just not a lot here. I'm not talking about the size of the book, I actually like the trade paperback format, especially for RPG materials. I'm talking about the fact that if you flip through the book you see an appallingly small amount of actual ink on the pages. It seems like there's enough space to put in a whole second book. What comes to mind is a high school student trying to fill out a minium page count on a paper by fiddling with the margins, spacing, and leaving extra lines 'to separate things'. There's no reason to skip 80% of a page just because you completed an idea.
In short, not worth the (very small amount of) ink it took to print it, and you can get more out of some of the (free) columns on rpg.net or just about anything written by John Wick or Robin Laws.
The book covers specific techniques as well as some general philosophies. A lot of what is discussed is also more broadly applicable to storytelling in general: Things to avoid, things that can strengthen your stories, things that can make it easier to collaborate with others in storytelling.
I didn't find the tone preachy, dogmatic or critical; if the author's going to present ideas about new ways to run a game, he's somewhat obligated to tell us why we should be interested and how these techniques could be an improvement over traditional methods. It's not that anything else is wrong or never useful; he's just presenting a different approach, another tool for our toolboxes.
With its advice you'll find you're able to go into a game cold, without preparation, and create something awesome together. You'll push yourself out of your comfort zone and have some incredible experiences.
And the attitude in Play Unsafe is viral. If I model the stuff in here, it's catching.
It may have a high price-per-word but after what it did for me I'm glad to have it on my shelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has excellent suggestions on how to make your role playing more fun and less work. His experiences resonated with me because he is a longtime role player.Published 8 months ago by Damon
This book is succinct. Don't let its lean contents fool you, if you apply these principles your game will improve. Read morePublished 15 months ago by K. Lau
In the few years since I read Play Unsafe my thoughts return to it again and again. The more I and my fellow gamers approach our games as improvisation the more fun we have. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Monkeyboy
Put into the gaming perspective, but pretty common sense stuff. Less details than I would like, but a good starting point for timid DMsPublished 23 months ago by Daniel Camarillo
At six dollars for the Kindle version, it's overpriced. It would be a bargain at three dollars. However, it does distil improvisatory game mastering into 74 pages, read in half an... Read morePublished on January 30, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Even though I do not LARP, I do play D & D and found the book helpful in helping create better story lines.Published on September 13, 2013 by Amazon Customer