More Reviews of Vol 1

Over at Story Games, Matthijs Holter wrote:

I just read John & Emily’s articles. They both gave me a lot to think about, and a lot of very good ideas for my current campaign.John’s article is full of the sort of stuff that easily slips by you if you don’t pay attention – like a comment that “players need to be proactive for this to work”, which deserves to be – and is – a whole article in itself. His laid-back, non-edgy writing style often fools me into thinking he doesn’t really have anything important he wants to say, but he does.Emily’s article starts a bit slow – a lot of facts I think many people already know – but does a good job of categorizing different techniques, providing clear and concise examples, both from game texts and personal experience. Almost every page, I had to stop and jot down an idea for my campaign, or for a whole new game.If I’d read the articles when the book came out, I’m not sure they would have had the same impact at all. I read them the morning after a session when I had a lot of ideas and things to work out, and the articles addressed several issues I was thinking about. Yay!

And then Ryan Macklin wrote:

I just got my copy of Push Vol. 1 a couple weeks ago. I’ve been reading it piecemeal, digesting bits and thinking about the material as I go along.I enjoy reading games and then reading designer’s notes. So reading Jonathan Walton talk about how “Waiting for the Queen/Tea at Midnight” came into being alongside the game was very cool.Shreyas Sampat’s game was fascinating, and something I was able to use as a talking point with a friend who is into cultural anthropology but has also been burned on RPGs (thanks to some bad roleplaying experiences). I don’t know if I’ll ever play the game, but it is an eye-opening bit of interesting. I partly wish that there were some designers notes on it, but at the same time the lead does enough to set up the actual idea — what if RPGs grew out of something other than wargaming — so it doesn’t really need the added info.The contrast I’ll make here is that in how each, to me, handles “New Thinking About Roleplaying.” Jonathan talks about the idea itself some before going to the actual application whereas Shreyas jumps right out of the game with application. Both are awesome and rather complimentary. Shreya’s piece seems to follow the “show me, don’t tell me” model, whereas Jonathan does half-and-half. I like both, but I don’t think I would enjoy an issue that was more focused on showing at the determent of telling.I can’t say I found Emily Care Boss’s article particularly insightful, but then I’ve been dining from the plate of new gaming idea for some time now so the topic isn’t new to me. That being said, I think it’s well-organized and interesting. And there are plenty of folks for whom these topics are new — there are a couple people in my gaming groups who are going to be handed my copy when I’m done and told to read this article specifically.

Eero Tuovinen has some interesting things to say, but unfortunately I don’t. It was a neat look into a different gaming culture and the effects of globalization, and I’d be interesting in reading more such things, but I don’t have any particular comments.

I am a bit ashamed to admit that I haven’t finished John Kim’s article yet. Rather, I haven’t finished it a second time. It’s interesting, but I need to digest it a bit longer before I’d have more to say.

As far as the commentary goes, I’m a fan. I particularly like it when the commentary offers an alternative point of view or some other reference point for the discussion.

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