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Saturday 3 May 2014

Publishers, Bad Reviews, and the Money

Another note on this issue with the author of Isle of the Unknown.  Some people have suggested, besides the fact that I "don't understand old school" (an absurd claim which I already addressed in the previous entry on this subject), that I am additionally "too mean", to the point of being "unprofessional".

Let me explain something here:

I have done literally HUNDREDS of reviews of products, all of which are sent to me, for free, by publishers, for a fucking REASON.  Isle of the Unknown, for example, was sent to me as part of a huge fucking box FULL of LotFP stuff sent to me by Raggi himself, at no doubt enormous shipping costs, because he knows the value of the job I do.  In every review, I go out of my way to be:
a) thorough
b) regardless of my bias, to try to express what the product itself is about, to judge it on its own claims, and to try to present ideas about which group may or may not like it, whether or not I like it.

If you don't fucking believe me, for the thirtieth time, go to theRPGsite's "Reviews" subforum and read my reviews of DCC, or ACKS, or Majestic Wilderlands, or Vornheim, or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, or any other of dozens and dozens of OSR products.

Now, what would be the point of having a 1-10 grading scale if you didn't possibly rate stuff at 1 or at 10?  And what would be the point, within a review that covers the two things I mention above, to avoid making it interesting? People read my reviews both to be informed about the game itself, and to get the particular Pundit take on it.

I've reviewed plenty of products from LotFP before, some of which I praised and some of which I totally trashed.  And you know what LotFP's reaction was to those earlier reviews? They sent me an enormous motherfucking box of more books to review (including Isle).  So whatever you think about this brouhaha, please don't buy any idea that the poor publishers who send me things are suffering from it.  Again, there's a reason why I get all those hundreds and hundreds of free books to review.

Geoffrey McKinney may have someone's panties in a bunch, but I'm quite sure that if James Raggi is crying that I didn't like his product, he's only crying all the way to the bank.

He'll keep sending me books, because he knows that all of this is only going to jump his sales.  Me hating Isle of the Unknown is the best thing that could have happened to Raggi in all this. If he'd sent me a dozen products and they all got 6 out of 10, his money would have been wasted.  The worst result you can get from the Pundit's review is a lukewarm reception.  But with a 10/10 and a 2/10 in the first two reviews thus far, you've hit the fucking jackpot.

And I bet you that he'll end up getting more traction from that 2 for Isle than for the 10/10 I gave the LotFP core book.

Its my curse, and I'm well aware of it; I make stuff I hate famous just by virtue of my hating it.  I accept that.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Classic Series Rhodesian + C&D's Crowley's Best


  1. I hope you review 'The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions'. I have similar problems with it as Isle, but from almost the opposite point of view. Much of it is too mundane.

    Although I wouldn't give Isle a 2 as I find it a useful source of inspiration. I did agree with your criticisms of it. I wonder what your detractors would do to improve Isle, I suspect they would fix a lot of your complaints, even while defending it.

  2. I'm afraid that I think that was not one of the books Raggi sent me; maybe he thought I wouldn't be fair to a book written by that author. He'd be wrong if that was the case, I would judge the book on its merits; though I suspect from everything I've seen of the author that it wouldn't have many merits.