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OPEN GAME TABLE: The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs, Volume 1 Perfect Paperback – March 23, 2009
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The Open Game Table Anthology is a treasure trove. A tome worth slaying a few orcs for. Because it had such a diverse range of material to choose from it has been able to collate not just quality writing and ideas, but a real breadth of discussion that you don't get as often as you would like in role playing materials. There are chapters for GMs and DMs on Play Stlyle, Monsters and NPCs and Campaign Setting Design. There are articles for players such as "Advice On Being A Good Player". My favorite chapter was Chapter 9 which details some great historical moments and commentary on how RPGs have become what they are today. Open Game Table has two clear strengths: content and content. The quality of the content and the breadth of the content make this anthology worth the money. The amount of ideas for GMs on how to handle player conflict, managing scenes, improving your role playing are well chosen and topical. In many ways, this book is like a continuous improvement handbook for RPG groups across the globe. It has ideas and tips throughout each article that can help you create better games and engage better as an RPG Group and ultimately have more fun - which is what it is all about, really. Braunstein I personally would buy the whole book for just the section on RPG History. The article that describes a young Dave Arneson taking all before him in "Braunstein" - the world's first ever role playing game - is delightful. The passion with which the author, Ben Robbins encourages us all to talk to those who were at the beginning of it all, and to capture and learn from that history is what an anthology like this is all about.... ---- WIRED Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
There are nearly 50 posts here in all, their topics ranging from the very first roleplaying games -- there's an article on Braunstein, the wargame that developed, more or less accidentally, into an RPG -- to the newest edition of D&D, released less than a year ago. The articles sift through history, mull game theory, provide helpful tips, offer new mechanics (including an entirely new homebrewed fourth-edition D&D character class) to plug into games, and even include how-tos on such topics as creating your own tokens (a cheaper substitute for the miniatures some games employ).
If you play or run roleplaying games, there's something here for you. The material's as good as anything you'd find in an official sourcebook, and most of it is applicable to a wide variety of games. This is an impressive first volume featuring some very talented authors.
I can't wait to see volume 2.
Reading the book will also help you identify your assumptions and help you talk to others about their assumptions, so that the whole group can communicate about expectations. And that's just the first half of the book.
Then you get some interesting characters, weapons and classes that you can use as they are or as a spur to further creativity. And if all that isn't enough there's a great series of articles on the history of D&D that would be worth it all by themselves.
I do know that before I join another campaign I want the DM and all the other players to read this book.
The articles range from "Old School" Dungeons and Dragons, represented by James Maliszewski's Gygaxian Naturalism, all the way to the newest 4th edition of D&D, represented by the "Musings of the Chatty DM". All of the posts are thought provoking, well written, and fun to read.
Looking forward to the 2nd volume!
Open Game Table is a true gift for gamers; gathering together the most popular content scattered across the blogosphere and organizing it into one print collection. Jacobs has done a fine job organizing the various articles into logical categories, and the table of contents provides readers with an informative reference to what is inside the book. An index might have been nice, if for no other reason than those moments when you want to quickly find the page that references the Tome of Horrors or if you wanted to note all of the pages that mentioned OD&D for reference later. But it's a minor issue.
The presentation as a whole is simple and clean, and in many ways feels like an "old school" game supplement. Several artists donated original artwork to the project to compliment the articles. To be honest, a lot of it has a somewhat cheesy feel, and yet it is precisely that cheesy style that gives the collection a certain geeky charm gamers will appreciate. (I have to ask artist Jennifer Weigel...exactly how many feet of rope did that little critter use anyway?)
The bulk of the book's content is Dungeons and Dragons(tm) specific, though considering the market share the system holds and the explosion of third party content available for D&D perhaps that is to be expected. However there is still plenty of non-system specific RPG theory to be enjoyed (including a really great piece written by Ben Robbins on what could in effect be considered the "origin myth" of the entire hobby).
Jacobs has done a fine job of making sure this collection has something for everyone. Both GMs and players will find articles catered to them, just as both new recruits and veteran gamers will find articles catered to them. Yet while each article caters to a specific demographic, the information in each article is still wholly accessible to the entire gaming community.
Of course, perhaps the obvious question is why would someone pay good money for a print version of articles they can find online for free? But as obvious as the question might be, the answers are just as obvious. Jacobs, with the help of an army of dedicated bloggers, artists, and volunteers, has done the hard work by culling through the hundreds of hobby-related blogs and pulling out the true gems. This is not just a slapped together print-out of assorted blogs. It's a gamer's primer of all that is good about the hobby in general and the online gaming community specifically.
Open Game Table is the reference guide equivalent of a Deck of Many Things, except all of the crappy cards have been replaced with 50,000 XP and a medium magic item...and you can draw from it again and again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Above is the link to my gaming blog, wherein I reviewed this wonderful tome. I will be brief so as to not repeat myself too much.Read more