Big publishers, try harder

Rules scattered throughout the book. Rules hidden in the body text. Rules you have to look up instead of finding them in one place.
A majority of roleplaying books from major publishers are set up this way, and it’s a shame. Usability looks different.

I don’t know why the big publishers don’t take a page from the small ones. There are so many well-made rulebooks. The people in charge just need to open their eyes. For instance, what Chris McDowall has done with Bastionland (all relevant information about a topic is always on two facing pages) is groundbreaking. But even there you can see that the big-name publishers basically don’t give a shit. Gamers have been successfully raised to be consumers and will buy any crap.

6 thoughts on “Big publishers, try harder

  1. I agree. I think it’s a legacy from the hobbies humble beginnings as a word processor designed product that should have disappeared long ago as it became more and more professional with fancy graphic designers and all. Seems they study everything about the game and ignore the actual usability of the rules, which forms a barrier to entry for newbies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah. The big publishers will add glossy pages and fancy art when in doubt. Plus through in extra fluff text that doesn’t even really match with the actual mechanics. And adventures are even worse than the rule books.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks, Travis! Personally, I think the big names don’t care about useability at the table. They know most players are *consumers* and will buy, regardless of quality.

    I also think, and that’s another personal theory, the reason behind all the “roleplaying games as lifestyle” crap is to bind the customers to their product. It’s not about community, it’s all about the money.

    Liked by 1 person

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