I do accept guest posts. Here is one such from an "Anonymous Tavern Patron":
Tenkar (or Grumpy, whichever you prefer),
I don't think this is really news, but I figured I would share with you some thoughts on a product I got my hands on recently.
I have always been a fan of d100 systems like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Basic Roleplay. So when I heard about Chaosium releasing Magic World, and that it would be a distilled compendium of only fantasy material within their BRP line, I was excited. I even remember you posting a comment on Dorkland! about this product at one time. I love the BRP 'gold book,' but man it is taxing sometimes to go through all the skills during character creation. So I waited patiently for the financial opportunity to present itself and I ordered a copy of Magic World.
And man... how I have been disappointed. Honestly, it is one of the laziest attempts at a publication I have seen in awhile. There are about 30 errata issues with the book. Some of which is from basic information just plan missing. Also, there is a lot convoluted explanations from copied and pasted material from other systems, like bad math on how rolls should be determined (if that makes sense). Not to mention a lot of typographical errors. But for me the major flaw is that the layout of the art being just plain terrible. Much of the art was scanned or imported with extremely low resolution making much of it pixelated and stretched, or so dark and washed out that I can't tell what the hell I am looking at. Even the banner on the title page has 'Magic World' blurry with bad aliasing. The fucking title page? Come on!
I don't know, maybe I am making too big a deal out of it, but for me art is always a deal breaker. I can tolerate some errata issues if the art is excellent and presented well. It is like listening to bad sound while watching a beautifully shot movie. In this case the movie wasn't shot so well either. I am all for supporting the hobby. I am willing to shell out good hard earned cash for products from varying publishers/companies big and small. Hell, I have even bought PDFs and turned around and paid for hard copies because I like the product so much. But the product has to be worth it. On top of all my complaints, what really pissed me off (despite all the issues) is that the book is priced at 40 dollars soft cover, and 20+ dollars for the PDF. And it doesn't look like a second printing is coming anytime soon, so folks are stuck with all the errors with a 40 dollar price tag.
Am I making too big a deal out this? Does art make or break a tabletop product for you? Do you think errata (even this much) is just part of the way things are? Just wondering.
Great questions. I'll add my own:
At what point does a product's physical failures out weight it's gaming potential?