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Author Topic: The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A  (Read 23470 times)

RPGPundit

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2007, 03:32:48 AM »
Quote from: jdrakeh

Now. . . I only need to get straight answers on the playtest investiture and how many people actually playtested the product and for how many man hours such QC testing actually comprised. Five or six months of four hour game sessions conducted by two play groups isn't going to meet my standards, I'm afraid. I'd consider that to be the bare miniumum for one round of playtesting.


Well, just like for $22 you can't really expect Ptolus-level layouts or art, you also can't really expect WoTC-D&D-level playtesting from a small print company project.

Round 1 of playtesting consisted of me running a series of multiple test games (probably about 24 playing hours in total) in the very initial stage to work out the kinks in the mechanics, followed by a multi-session campaign run in the Wilderlands (about 42 playing hours).  This stage had 9 playtesters who participated in total.  The playtesting in this round was done at various different levels of power and experience to try to figure out possible difficulties in low, mid and high level play.

Round 2 of playtesting consisted of playtesting run by Settembrini over in germany (including a couple of test runs in gaming Cons, where as I understand it the participants were people he did not personally know before the Con), and independant runs by one of the Round 1 playtesters here in Uruguay that I was not in any way involved with directly. I couldn't accurately tell you how many hours or people where involved with either of these.

Round 3 of playtesting was organized by Clash, and consisted of Clash giving the "Beta" version of the rules (essentially, the rules as I had given them to him at that time, with all the modifications that had been made from the first two rounds of playtesting) to a number of different people, who ran them with their groups.  As I understand it there were 7 different people who received these beta rules, not counting Clash himself.  We got a number of reports with a number of issues from this round, and this lead to some final changes to the rules. Most of these changes were relatively small cosmetic additions explaining or clarifying some of these existing rules, one of them was a relatively large change that helped make larger individual monsters much more challenging than they'd previously been.
Again, I couldn't tell you specifically how many people or how many hours were involved in total in the third round of playtesting.

I'd say that this probably beats the pants off of most RPGs published at this level of publishing, including most of the stuff done through the Forge, where their "playtesting" is a very insular incestuous affair done by people within the Forge itself (not to say that this is totally worthless, and I'm sure that there are some strong levels of criticism that can be achieved this way, but there is also some objectivity lost by having the only people who try out your rules be your own ideological "fellow travellers").

I'm pretty satisfied that the playtesting was more than thorough enough.

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JohnnyWannabe

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2007, 03:49:41 PM »
Quote from: jdrakeh
It looked very good in the previews but the previous layout made me hesitant to spend money on it and the fact that few people here locally enjoy sci-fi RPGs (well, other than Shadowrun and Star Frontiers) pretty much sealed the deal :( That said, since I don't know you from Adam, I can only positively assume that you're an impartial party and, thus, I'll take you at your word.

My partiality/impartiality has nothing to do with it - I can be partial and still be forthright. Clash's earlier layout & design was, in my opinion, crap. I told him so several times in the past and he admited it was an area that needed work. One thing that drove me bonkers was the glaring planes of white space (hedged in by block upon block of crowded charts). That's all gone now. Cold Space was where FM made the quantum leap. Are they "picturesque" manuals filled with "lush" artwork, the kind of books you leave on your coffee table as conversation pieces? No. They are crisp and functional.
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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2007, 04:30:02 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Well, just like for $22 you can't really expect Ptolus-level layouts or art, you also can't really expect WoTC-D&D-level playtesting from a small print company project.


All true, though since I don't expect either of those things (and never said that I did) it's not an issue. Anymore, what I do expect is Reign-quality artwork and playtesting or Burning Empires-level artwork and playtesting. Both of these games are one-man endeavors, yet both boast the aesthetics and design quality of games published by large companies (in fact, the latter is up for several Ennies due to its stellar production values).

That "small-press companies can't. . ." is a bunch of crap. If a small-press publisher doesn't budget money for good artwork or time for extensive blind playtesting, it's not because they can't, it's simply because they choose not to. This has actually been a pretty big issue elsewhere as of late, because "I can't. . ." has been an increasingly common justification for churning out crap.

Currently, I'm of the mind that if one "can't" then they shouldn't.
 

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2007, 05:32:41 PM »
I am totally satisfied with both the artwork and the layout of this book, as well as with the playtesting. I think also that any gamer who is honestly interested in getting the book, and not just spreading mistrust about the book because of a beef with me, is going to be very satisfied as well.

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Arminius

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2007, 06:30:12 PM »
One way or the other, James, you could just take a page out of my book and...wait to hear what the early adopters say.

Pundit, I'm intrigued by the term "collective combat", so if you could answer the questions raised about that I'd appreciate it.

Also, is the Spanish translation done? How will the book be distributed in Latin America, and what will the price be? Any plans for translation into other languages, e.g. Portuguese for the Brazilian market?

Do you think the cover art is going to be attractive to your South American target audience (which IIRC is basically 12-14 year olds)?

Finally more generally, are the Internet Cafes in South America basically big gaming parlors for kids, as they are in some other countries? If so what are the prospects for P&P tabletop RPGs; I seem to recall you saying that there's already a fair amount going on using largely "pirated" texts, which you take as an indicator of pent-up demand. Is that right?

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2007, 04:09:43 AM »
Quote from: Elliot Wilen

Pundit, I'm intrigued by the term "collective combat", so if you could answer the questions raised about that I'd appreciate it.


Did you have any specific questions about it?
The collective combat is basically that: you determine groups of combatants (it is usually all the "good guys" on one side, and all the "monsters" on the other; but you might sometimes divide the combatants into smaller clumps of groups based on positioning); and all of the combatants in one "group" will roll their attack dice, add their bonuses, and then add everything together. The other side does the same, and the comparison of the results determine the winner and the amount of damage done.

Quote

Also, is the Spanish translation done? How will the book be distributed in Latin America, and what will the price be? Any plans for translation into other languages, e.g. Portuguese for the Brazilian market?


The spanish translation is not yet finished.  The book does not yet have a latinamerican publisher, but the plan is to try to market it in a "magazine" style format, at a price as affordable as possible but definitely under the $10 mark (as far under as can be managed).  There's no current plan for a portuguese translation.

Quote

Do you think the cover art is going to be attractive to your South American target audience (which IIRC is basically 12-14 year olds)?


Depending on how things turn out, its very likely that the artwork would be completely different for the latinamerican edition.  It'd probably be uruguayan artists who'd do it, and it may or may not be in an "anime/manga" sort of style, which is very popular here.

Quote

Finally more generally, are the Internet Cafes in South America basically big gaming parlors for kids, as they are in some other countries? If so what are the prospects for P&P tabletop RPGs; I seem to recall you saying that there's already a fair amount going on using largely "pirated" texts, which you take as an indicator of pent-up demand. Is that right?


The internet cafes are definitely gaming parlors, but there's a huge interest in tabletop RPGs.

The case in point here is Brazil, which does have a number of succesful RPGs published, in an affordable magazine-style format, sold in kiosks.  They've had a number of huge homegrown sellers that way.

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jdrakeh

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2007, 12:41:13 PM »
Quote from: Elliot Wilen
One way or the other, James, you could just take a page out of my book and...wait to hear what the early adopters say.


I think I might have to go this route, as the unconventional use of standard industry terminology and the resulting presentation of playtest stages in the rulebook still bothers me. Levi's comments about the seemingly incongruous nature of the rules is making me falter, as well. Normally, I'd snap something like FtA up compulsively (the four rulebooks for BFRPG that I own attest to this). Right now I guess it's an inner struggle between my love of old-school gaming and my inherent distrust of anything with which Pundit is involved.
 

One Horse Town

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2007, 12:49:18 PM »
Grow up.

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« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2007, 01:10:33 PM »
Quote from: One Horse Town
Grow up.


Yes, being cautious about spending money is horribly childish. Not everybody buys things based on biased publisher and/or author promotion. Some people want qualified, impartial, third-party feedback. This is esepcially true when the primary source of promotion is a guy who has been banned from every major hobby-related message board (other than his own) for intentional trolling. You need to get real.
 

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2007, 01:29:58 PM »
I'm not against being cautious mate. Hell, i can't afford not to be.

However, basing that on an unconventional use of a word and playtest credits? Come on, you can do better than that. Distrust of an author is fair enough, if you really feel the need to be, but as this is his first release, you've got no design basis to rest that distrust on. It's just distrust of some silly posts on a message board. Let's be honest here.

If i could afford to spend money right now, i'd buy a lot of stuff. This would be one of them. If i found it objectionable, i'd say so, but let's leave your questioning of both clash's and pundits design methods out of it shall we? Clash wouldn't put his name on a dead dog, would he? So all we're left with is you trying to discredit this release and you're dragging Flying Mice into it as well. Think about it for a moment.

Note: I don't want to derail this thread further, so if you want to continue this discussion jdrakeh, it's probably best done by PM. :)

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2007, 02:09:17 PM »
Its pretty clear to everyone by now, I assume, that Jdrakeh is only here with the intention to try to damage the reputation of a product he's never read or even seen, with the sole purpose of attacking me personally, right?

Good.

Jdrakeh, you're welcome to open a new thread on the main forum or this "pundit's forum" about how much you hate FtA! and how it will make your babies deformed or whatever, show off your own stupidity over there as much as you like.
But over here, this thread is a Q&A thread meant to be informative.

Post again and I'll consider it a disruption of the forum.  

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2007, 04:36:44 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Its pretty clear to everyone by now, I assume, that Jdrakeh is only here with the intention to try to damage the reputation of a product he's never read or even seen, with the sole purpose of attacking me personally, right?

Good.

Jdrakeh, you're welcome to open a new thread on the main forum or this "pundit's forum" about how much you hate FtA! and how it will make your babies deformed or whatever, show off your own stupidity over there as much as you like.
But over here, this thread is a Q&A thread meant to be informative.

Post again and I'll consider it a disruption of the forum.  

RPGPundit


If FtA! is going to sell, it will sell because of the quality of the game, not because of or despite anything jdrakeh says. He doesn't really matter. What matters - the only thing that matters - is the quality of the game you designed. Everything else is window dressing. We will see what the verdict is, as rendered by the public.

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HinterWelt

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2007, 08:11:29 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Its pretty clear to everyone by now, I assume, that Jdrakeh is only here with the intention to try to damage the reputation of a product he's never read or even seen, with the sole purpose of attacking me personally, right?

For the fucking love of the gods, how did your tongue not turn black and fall off saying those words....oh, yeah, you typed them.

Good luck with the book Clash. I hope it will perform well for you.

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The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2007, 09:18:12 PM »
He asked a number of questions, all indicating his "extremely serious concern" about the product, these questions were answered one after the other; he continued to voice more and more outrageous statements of his "deep concern" about the product, his doubt that it would be any good, until he finally admitted that the only reason he's posting with all these criticisms is because I wrote the book.

How is this is any way a legitimate thing to write about on a Q&A meant to be informative about the game? Its clear he's not writing in good faith out of curiousity.

Now, if he wants to insult the shit out of me or FtA!, he is allowed to do so, in his own fucking thread, instead of trying to derail this one in a pathetic effort to damage the sales of a game he knows nothing and cares nothing about, other than the fact that I wrote it, so it "must be stopped".

RPGPundit
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


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The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
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Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.