05 January, 2013

GCR Reviews

The first review for Ghost City Raiders has popped up on RPGNow...

Ok - because I'm interested in RPGs, I bought the core rules, a scenario, and a character just to see what this actually is. Essentially it's a simple RPG (with standard-style attributes) that uses cards both instead of dice and to abstractly represent different locations. You compare a drawn card to an attribute when you want to move between locations (or defeat a barrier between two locations), search, attack, etc. That's all the core rules provide.

What gives it "color" are the individual scenarios and characters that you can buy (all centered around a post-apocalyptic world). The idea is that it's portable and quick to play.

The real guts lie in the character booklets - these have nice presentation and all the rules for that character's skills and abilities.

I think that's a great idea in general. However, there are a few things I don't like.

You get pocketmod formatted and standard formatted versions of the rules. However, both have grey backgrounds that are just going to use more ink and don't add anything to the presentation. I have no need for a pocket mod version - but the regular version would work on a smartphone.

I don't want to have to bring along a deck of cards - and as the image of a game in progress shows, standard cards certainly take away from the aesthetics. 

Also I would market it differently. Instead of selling everything separately, sell packs consisting of the core rules, a scenario and two matched characters for $3. Sell a deluxe version of the scenario with printable tiles and characters for another $2.

I can be thankful that the first review has come in, but there seem to be a few issues with it. I could have addressed these issues with a response over on RPGNow, but it probably would have looked like sour grapes over a mediocre review.

It's obvious that certain things just haven't sunk in for this purchaser. I'm not sure if that a factor of my transmitted communications about the product, or his received communications...but somewhere there is a breakdown. For one, the reviewer doesn't want to use cards, when cards are the central mechanism of the game (both in describing the danger zone, and in making attribute tests). Secondly, the comments regarding his desire not to print out the pocketmods...the combat system just doesn't work without them.

I'll be taking on board the last suggestion about the marketing, as there will be some variant ways to purchase a starter set as soon as a few more characters and scenarios are made available.

I'm also thinking of producing a custom deck for the game, something that looks appropriately like a dusty and ruined landscape, but the biggest problem here is that each of the scenarios interprets the cards differently to lay out it's field of play. But I'm never one to ignore a challenge or simply discount the advice of others.
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