Mad Props to EZG -- is this a record?


Product Discussion


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Every night before I finally pass out (around the time the sun rises, as it happens) I go to brush my teeth, and while I do so, check out Endzeitgeist's website to see if something I've written is being reviewed (these events tend to coincide).

Yesterday was an absolutely stellar day in that regard, and I have it on good authority that it is not bad hat to thank Endzeitgeist publicly for his totally awesome (and 100% accurate) reviews for two things I've penned recently: Underworld Races: Hoyrall (review, product) for AdventureAWeek.com and Spring of Disorder (review, product) for Rogue Genius Games.

The first review I got from Endzeitgeist was encouraging, but not very good—we went back and changed The Clockwork Wonders of Brandlehill around and he was good enough to give it a second go, and I think everyone was happier with the results. However, the experience didn't leave me feeling like I was up to par with everyone else out there.

To say that I was a little stunned to find not one, but two 5/5 + Seal of Approval reviews taking up the day's posts, would be understating it.
I dropped my toothbrush and was up for another hour from the adrenaline boost.

So this is a few things:

1) A heartfelt thank you to Endzeitgeist for reviewing all of our products. You bring folks into the marketplace with your efforts, Thilo, and we are all in your debt for doing so.

2) I am a pretty awesome game designer.

3) Who doesn't love alien bug men? Or thieving raccoons?

4) When you fail, do not retreat in the solace of resentment; get up, do it again, do it again, do it again, and do it again—you will get where you are trying to go.

5) I think I'm the first game designer EZG has given two 5/5s + seals to in the same day? I hope so because it really does make me feel special. :D

So thank you, Endzeitgeist! You are an excellent human being, and, someday, I look forward to creatively killing one of your PCs as a more personal way to show my gratitude. ;)


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Congrats! :-)

Shadow Lodge

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Awesome work man =)

Sovereign Court

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Third Party Publishers: take note.

Before I buy any Pathfinder product, I check to see if Endzeitgeist has reviewed it first. If it reviews poorly, I don't buy it.

I learn about most 3rd party offerings through Endzeitgeist's website.

Takeaways: Endzeitgeist's reviews create customers. Please continue to support him.

Thanks Endzeitgeist!

Shadow Lodge

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^ that ^


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MikeMyler wrote:
3) Who doesn't love alien bug men? Or thieving raccoons?

Ronan the Accuser.

Contributor

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Thilo is absolutely a community treasure. I very much appreciate the work that he does in getting all these products thoughtfully reviewed. I am in awe of what he does. Snakes (medusa joke)off to you, Thilo!


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Fubbles the Baby Cow wrote:

Third Party Publishers: take note.

Before I buy any Pathfinder product, I check to see if Endzeitgeist has reviewed it first. If it reviews poorly, I don't buy it.

I learn about most 3rd party offerings through Endzeitgeist's website.

Takeaways: Endzeitgeist's reviews create customers. Please continue to support him.

Thanks Endzeitgeist!

I'm a rare poster but constant reader of both these boards and EZG's website, and I have to wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

I have yet to be proven wrong by EZG, and my two favourite purchases due to his reviews are magnificent - The Expanded Spell-less Ranger and Companions of the Firmament.

Keep it up Endzeitgeist!

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

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End treats us third-party publishers very, very well if we deserve it.


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We must get a resin statuette of Thilo doing The Thinker atop a pile of sourcebooks, then mail it to him.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

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The Thinker with an RPG book across his lap. ;)


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Thilo sets the quality that we all aspire to, so as well as providing a bridge between publishers, particularly small ones such as myself, and customers, he also pushes up standards.

He also puts in an amazing amount of time and care in his reviews which make them great to read for publishers as well. As writers, we all reach out to the community with our thoughts and ideas, and Thilo is fantastic for answering us back.

I always look forward to reading his reviews of my products, and I too use his reviews of other people's products to inform my purchasing decisions.

Richard


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Thank you to Mike for posting this and a HUGE thank you for the 3pps and people who chimed in - you really made an otherwise exceedingly crappy Monday of Garfield-esque proportions suck so much less and brightened my day. :)

Liberty's Edge

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Mythraine wrote:

I have yet to be proven wrong by EZG, and my two favourite purchases due to his reviews are magnificent - The Expanded Spell-less Ranger ...

Thank you - that just made my day! :)


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Chuck Wright wrote:

The Thinker with an RPG book across his lap. ;)

The pile works better, if only because a statue with one book would devolve into endless arguing and bickering on who gets their book in the statue. :P

Of course, we can always just ask him what his worst reviewed product ever was and put that on his lap.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I don't always get a 5 star and seal of approval rating from Endzeitgeist but when I do...I call my mother and tell her.

But seriously, it's a great service that Endzeitgeist does for the 3PP community.


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I'd like to change the topic here.

Endzeitgeist does a huge deal of work for the community, and he does it all gratis, which makes it even more impressive. The simple truth of the matter, however, is that this most valuable of resources is in pretty serious jeopardy.

Now, I haven't gotten a recent update, but our dear Thilo either just got or is about to get a graduate degree. Once he is thrust out of the gestation vat of academia, money is going to become a larger concern for him than it already is, and should he have trouble lining things up, loss of regular reviews becomes a very real possibility.

In order to ensure that Thilo continues to plug along and give us this resource, we as a community need to find a way for the man to monetize what he does. Certainly, he gets freelancing gigs once in awhile, but that is work in addition to what he does for free and, frankly, at this point we all know he'd get freelancing work even if he had to stop the reviews for economic reasons.

He tells me he once tried ads, and they didn't work. What would you suggest he do?

Personally, I'd love to see a curated online store attached to the blog that only sells products with his seal of approval or better. It'd be the most trustworthy PDF store in all the land!


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Hm. Have you considered Patreon perhaps? Let's someone chip in so much per item he delivers (in this case reviews). Might be a strong enough following for it to work.


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I would also suggest Patreon - a crowdsourcing platform

Dark Archive

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I would suggest an anonymous donations system a-la wikipedia (I'm not sure if those are anonymous but I think anonymity would be best).

Could do more than one thing, of course.

Richard


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He already accepts PayPal donations on his site iirc.


He does, but from his worrying on the topic of money, it doesn't really do diddly.

Sovereign Court Contributor

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Hmmmm...Kickstart a Year of Reviews. Get 3PPs to donate product he can give away in the kickstarter? Including future products?

Just noodling at the wall to see if anything sticks.


I'd cover the stateside shipping for that (way cheaper on the overall) and would definitely put in a few copies of Veranthea Codex. :D

Maybe then we can get Thilo over here for GenCon too!


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First of all: Thank you to Brad for drawing attention to my predicament and to everyone else commenting in this post.

I'd wish to extend my gratitude to any 3pp who has employed me in any function. You are ensuring, in the immortal words of Freddie Mercury, that the show does go on.

Now here are the harsh facts:

I'm struggling to make ends meet with my real life jobs.

How bad are things?

Well, they're at the point where I can't even afford to buy the RPG-supplements I want; that is, the ones I don't receive as complimentary copies from the publishers who value my opinion and hard feedback. The last couple of KS I managed to back have been paid for mainly by my freelancing (and selling some books) and secondly by affiliate sales, because I wanted to give something back to the community, thus rendering that particular avenue a zero-sum game - not that it would suffice for either rent, gasoline, insurance or anything like that in the first place.

Without GMS magazine and Paco's support, there quite frankly wouldn't be an endzeitgeist-hp. Without the complimentary copies I receive from OBS as a featured reviewer and the publishers who directly send them, there wouldn't be half as many reviews either - kudos especially to the latter. It takes guts to send me a product and not complain/whine/etc. about reveiws that don't end up like you wanted them to be - while I try to remain constructive and positive, I'm also aware that I'm pretty hard on you guys, so thank you for keeping the average quality infinitely higher than during even the best of 3.X's days.

I included a paypal-donation system and promptly received quite some flag for it; I *do* wish to extend my gratitude to EVERYONE who donated even a few bucks. Every time I receive a donation, I grin from ear to ear and am truly happy, feel like my reviews mean something to someone out there. You, ladies and gentlemen, make my days, you keep the spark alive.

The cold hard matter of truth is, though, that I simply do not receive many donations. It's a busy month when I receive 2. And we're not talking about hundreds of bucks.

Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to continue doing reviews in this manner and frequency, I have to face up to the growing need of setting up a full-time 9-5 job; I'm just tired of being utterly poor and not even being able to attend UK conventions or the like, much less fulfilling my dream of coming to Gencon to play with all my American friends. 2015, things need to change, one way or the other.

So yes, I talked to some people about this and, no matter how I put it, I'm honestly ashamed and not particularly content with the situation. I would love to continue doing all this work for free - because I *love* it. I really do. Alas, I don't even have a family's financial net to fall back on, meaning that I'm facing very real poverty if I don't get something done soon.

Why no KS?

The issue with a KS, which I've contemplated doing, is simply that I'd be dependent on 3pp-products donated for it and receive a one-time boost, then...nothing. And yes, I'd love to be able to go to Gencon, have wanted to go there for as long as I can remember. But the flight alone is a massive expense far beyond my current grasp. And there's the shipping issue. Patreon would allow one to set up a monthly support, which would probably help me out more and render judging how much time I can devote to reviews much easier.

So here's the result of my ruminations - I'm going to set up a patreon. I'll continue reviewing either way, but the amount of time I can devote to the process...well, that will be in the community's hands. Now I don't expect the patreon to net a lot, but my situation does demand that I re-evaluate spending x hours per week writing these reviews.If no one cares enough, I'll put them on the back burner behind real life, design, etc.

On another note, should my financial situation improve to the point where I don't have to fear for my livelihood due to a day-job that does pay enough to cover the basics such as energy, gasoline, insurance, food, etc., I'll shut down the patreon again after fulfilling any remaining commitments.

This is a long shot, I am aware of that - consider it a wild stab in the dark, one shot of capturing lightning in a bottle.

(And yes, if by some miracle enough comes together, I'll start saving for gencon and potentially go full-time reviewer - but that realistically won't happen.)

As always, I'm open to suggestions; Critique, development etc. are definite possibilities regarding higher patronage levels. We'll see.

Thank you for reading this.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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You should consider publishing a "how-to" guide for up-and-coming designers and publishers, detailing all the things you find that the best products have in common. You've probably reviewed more 3pp content than anyone else on these boards, so aspiring designers would want to know your thoughts. And I suspect you could get permission from publishers to cite specific products by name as examples of the design principles you discuss. (Who wouldn't want their product mentioned by name as an example of good design?) That, alone, would set your "how-to" design guide apart from anything else on the market.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

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I would definitely consider setting up a Patreon account. That seems much better for what you are trying to achieve than a kickstarter. I've just recently discovered Patreon and follow a few blogs to get a feel for the site. It seems like a cool way of getting a monthly income while doing what you love.

(That said, if you go down the Kickstarter route I'd happily stump up some PDFs for backers).

A "how to" book suggested by Epic Meepo is also a great idea, but you'll need to write it first and that could take ages. ;-(

Finally, thank you again for everything you do for us 3PPs. It's great to have someone who isn't afraid to be honest about a product. It makes our products better, which results in a better gaming experience -- which is what it's all about.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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In the past, people have used IndieGoGo to fund going to a convention- usually getting 3PPs to donate some PDFs as a "reward." Might be something to consider for GenCon in the future.


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Epic Meepo wrote:
You should consider publishing a "how-to" guide for up-and-coming designers and publishers, detailing all the things you find that the best products have in common. You've probably reviewed more 3pp content than anyone else on these boards, so aspiring designers would want to know your thoughts. And I suspect you could get permission from publishers to cite specific products by name as examples of the design principles you discuss. (Who wouldn't want their product mentioned by name as an example of good design?) That, alone, would set your "how-to" design guide apart from anything else on the market.

Hey, it worked for Wolfgang Baur. Multiple times. There's a bunch of merit to using that as a Kickstarter.

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