Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Ever Look at a Release on DTRPG and Get Suspicious of the Reviews and Comments?

I suspect we've all done it. We look at the description for a release over at DTRPG and wonder, based on price, page count, and other factors, just how something got such rave reviews. Most of the time I ignore it. This time, I think I'll be putting the community's money where my suspicions lie.

Caravan! is the first release from Mountainside Gaming Group. It is a $15 release in PDF for 24 pages. Already, that's a huge flag for me. Additionally, there is no preview available. If you are looking for 15 bucks for 24 pages, approximately 60 cents a page in PDF, I'd expect you'd want to show off the product.

Here's the product description:

When you signed on to guard a cargo caravan, you knew there would be dangers, but not to this extent! Rival mercenaries, bandits, climatic hazards, and supernatural horrors are the perils you face on the trail. Drop off your cargo, survive the myriad dangers, and make your way back to the town of Gull’s Nest for payment—if you can!

This RPG hex crawl/ board game hybrid is compatible with the 5E fantasy rule set—and can be adapted to other game systems with a little conversion. Included in this package you’ll find the Caravan! instruction booklet (including new monsters and magic), a beautifully-illustrated game board/ map, and game pieces (digital options are included in the download, as well as printable copies). Our adventure format is designed for minimal preparation time and countless hours of adventure!

Be on the lookout for more releases from Mountainside Gaming Group in the near future.

Now, it says it's for 5e, but also bills itself as compatible with: Dungeons & Dragons, D&D-OGL, Classic D&D/AD&D, Basic/BECMI or OD&D, 5e-compatible.

That is a lot of assumed compatibility, and I suspect that the conversion is all in the hands of the buyer.

No levels indicated that I can see. That's a huge problem. Wait, if you look at the cover, it says levels 3-6. Its missing from the description though.

I'd like more of an explanation of the "hex crawl/ board game hybrid" that is mentioned.

But then we have the reviews. Two 5 star reviews. Both from August 2, 2021:

No reviews since.

How about comments? Two comments, both from August 2nd, the day of release. Who is spending 15 bucks on a 24 page PDF that doesn't have word of mouth?

Usually, you get questions like: 
Why is this 15 bucks for 24 pages?

Where is the preview?

How much for the printed version?
and similar questions. You don't get reviews in the Discussion/ Comments section of the DTRPG splash page for a product.

So, tell me now. Do I drop 15 bucks of The Tavern's Affiliate Monies to buy a copy of Caravan! to do a critical review? Hell, I might even be surprised by the content, but somehow, I strongly suspect I won't be...

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  1. That review by "Lauren R." sounds like just about every corporate sales schtick I've ever heard for a game published by a big company.

    But come on, it's only $15. Take one for the team, Eric!

  2. I purchased a pdf from Skirmisher Publishing once that had several good reviews and no bad ones. What I got was a useless piece of crap. I left a one-star review explaining why. The publisher took it upon himself to attack me personally - I believe he even used the 'living in his mother's basement' line. Shortly after, several 5-star reviews appeared, pushing mine off the main page.

  3. I think the same thing about virtually every RPG review Youtube channel when they review their free copy of any product produced by WOTC.

    They will criticize formatting on the rare occasion, but usually the criticism is still a quasi praise. Never is it called unimaginative, lazy or.... heaven forbid, not worth your time or money.

  4. Do eeeet!

    Seriously, I remember seeing this advertised and I am curious if it is a pre-built hex crawl or what.

  5. One male and one female purchaser. One male one female comment.

  6. Caravan! is much, much better than Cats. I'm going to play it again, and again!

    Reference video for the non-olds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH0UrqdH_8U

  7. I'd suspect by the wording, these are all playtester reviews, if they are real and not fake. How could someone play the 'game' the day OF release? It's possible, but I'm lead to believe it's playtester comments more than anything else. They 'purchased' the copy through a coupon probably as a reward for testing it. But I think it could be either or, really.


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