[Fat Goblin Games] but Really [On Behalf of All 3PPers] -- Please Review our Books


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I've seen this kind of Call to Action from others, and I thank deeply those of you that have answered it (Malwing, I'm thinking of you, and doc_the_grey, but I know others have said it and are trying to do it).

But today in my blog-post for Fat Goblin Games, I try to make a very general plea:

Please, Please, PLEASE!!! Review the Books You Buy. If You Buy 3PP, Your Voice Really Can Matter.

Also, just a general "Thank you" to those of you that do already try to review all the books you buy!


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That moment when I realize that I've bought a few bundles of yours and just haven't had time to actually sit down and read through most of your products

<_<
>_>

As someone who has done basic reviews on products before, are there any tips on how to leave good ones? I wrote up a review for the Saurians book (seeing as how i've already read that one through a bit) and RPGNow. Really happy with the book and made it 5/5.

The post you wrote was also incredibly insightful (even if i'm a little biased as a EZG fan :D ) about the nature of 3pp material and selling overall. A lot of info that I would not have known at all.


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First of all: THANK YOU, Lucus! Not only for the kind words, but also for linking to my patreon - FWIW, next week, I have two Vathak-books scheduled...and today another review of a Halloween-ish book you worked on.

I second your rallying call - I try hard to cover everything, but on my own, it's pretty hard.

Also: Thanks for the kind words, Sepik! :D


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Sepik... "constructive criticism" is often the best, in my experience. One of the best/worst things to read in an EZG review is "I'd give this product a 4/5 stars, but for XXX" ---> and typically before that point (he wisely saves his "reveal" of a star count till the end) he's already given pretty solid "I like this, I love this, I'll use this, I'll ignore that bit, this is wonky, and this looks a LOT like something I've seen elsewhere, or even, why use this when X exists?"

One of the really nice things is Endzeitgeist "catches" things, problems, and poor design choice that, at this point at FGG, has passed by at least two, if not up to four types of editor (For a book in the Call to Arms line now, I edit and develop with the freelancer, Troy E. Daniels does a copy-editing, and then Rick does an edit as he does layout, so the writer + 3 people have stamped approval).

My only other comment is that very often many people's hands have touched a PDF or book before you see it (as in my example). If you can suss out where the problem you have is and accurately call out "The content is great, but I hate the art" or "The layout is beautiful, but these mechanics are as broken as the worst of 3.5" etc... it helps praise those that did do well, even as some aspect is left wanting. A few reviews I've seen attack the author for "a bad book" when really they mean bad editing, bad layout, or bad presentation, and the IDEAS and the PROSE are actually fine to great. <and at many publishers, once a freelancer hits 'submit' the next time they see their work, it might be their complementary copy from the publisher when the book goes live.

My 2 cp at least.

Endzeitgeist... Excellent! THANK YOU for the review you posted for Carnival of Sinners, man, I'm sorry you're so far behind our schedule! Thanks for the feedback on our prior Halloween charity product, we are doing final review on this years and I *think* you'll be pleasantly surprised! Regardless, thank you very much for what you do.


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I've been silent lately. Mostly because of a recent marriage, increased livestock responsibilities and a buttloade of extra things to do at work, but I have new reviews lined up and just started a blog to cover thoughts beyond just reviewing and looking back on old reviews.

I'll post about it when I put my SciFi post up. FGG gets highlighted because of Fantastic Technology.

Sovereign Court

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I've done my bit, and I'm trying to focus on smaller scale items. Those 1-4 dollar items need love too! Sadly, I have... reasons for not reviewing Fat Goblin products. I wish that I could, though. I call on other reviewers to do so.

And Endzeitgeist, thank you again for all that you do. I know how busy you are.


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We really do appreciate the reviews, folks; quite aside from the business end of things (reviews generate exposure & interest and thus sales), there's very little worse than that ongoing panic attack between releasing a thing and finding out if you screwed up or not. Even getting the flaws pointed out is a great relief.

Remember: authors need feedback to LIIIIIIIIIIVE.


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Malwing, your & other's reviews of Fantastic Technology are DEFINITELY influencing Garrett's write ups for Amazing Technology (planned for January, but we'll see if we (FGG) hit our publication date).

And yeah Lorathorn -- publications of all types need the love. But keep skipping FGG, as your name is starting to appear in our products ;)

And Prince of Knives -- Too true, too true. It's not like we most of us do it for the money, per se.


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Lucus Palosaari wrote:

Malwing, your & other's reviews of Fantastic Technology are DEFINITELY influencing Garrett's write ups for Amazing Technology (planned for January, but we'll see if we (FGG) hit our publication date).

And yeah Lorathorn -- publications of all types need the love. But keep skipping FGG, as your name is starting to appear in our products ;)

And Prince of Knives -- Too true, too true. It's not like we most of us do it for the money, per se.

Glad to hear the ETA on the follow up. I don't frequently buy stuff from you guys because of my buying tendancies but Fantastic Technology got me to pay attention to your releases for things I might need making Amazing Technology an auto-buy for me. Speaking of which, as a side note; What the heck is a Steampunk Musha and why isn't it for sale?

Sovereign Court

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Oh, and another thing... anyone reading this and needing a review, please let me know. I have two upcoming reviews that I am in the process of doing, but I am free after that, and am always happy to take on more. Please private message me if you are interested in a review for your product.


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I love this post. Please, please review products. How else do 3PP know what you like and don't? As a new publisher it's what keeps us going. (A big thanks to Lorathorn for his reviews on our products.) We love nice five start reviews and compliments, but we also love to hear how to make improvements (just like Lucus Palosaari says). Things like "Love the art, but layout needs work" or "Writing is awesome but this product is just way out there and not useful to me at all" or "More powerful NPCs please" actually do help us.

We thought our newest tavern ( Tuffy's Good Time Palace ) was awesome, but it's been way less successful than our first ( The Bull & The Bear ) and we aren't sure why... feedback from readers would help us understand, or help other potential readers give it a try.

In my opinion, 3PP are here because they want to be (why else would we do it?), but we need support from the customer base, and reviews are a part of that.

Sovereign Court

I would consider asking other publishers to see if there is a natural drop from first product to second. I would imagine that to be a factor, but I'm no publisher.

I think that maybe Tuffy's was more niche in terms of its scope? But now I'm just taking stabs in the dark. To its credit, Tuffy's was every bit as good as the first one, and better in that you guys really did take advice to heart, and I love that.

And I imagine too that you will see an uptick for the compilations. I know that I tend to wait to get a compiled product, and lots of people may not have known that you had planned to release several taverns and later a compilation, so there is that.

Anyhow, just thought I'd offer my 2 cents.


Malwing wrote:
Lucus Palosaari wrote:

Words

Speaking of which, as a side note; What the heck is a Steampunk Musha and why isn't it for sale?

The answer is long, so I'll spoiler it:

Steampunk Musha is a "new" setting from Fat Goblin Games. I put quotes around new because it was originally announced and started as a project in the Iron Kingdom's game system, but FGG previously had a successful Kickstarter for porting it over to Pathfinder with massive updates, three years ago. There IS an Explorer's Guide that can be downloaded for free, but its almost all fluff, no mechanics. It fell into a development Hell and all the original talent has since moved on. Also, in 3 years time, the system has changed in interesting and important ways, so in addition to needing to update the updated materials, we're trying to expand while meeting the original specifications of the SpM setting.

If you'd like to see updates, follow us on Facebook or check out my FGG blog-posts. As of now, I'm the de facto lead on the project, but our revision of our already popular and selling Shadows over Vathak is taking priority as that was more written and needed only a few weeks to finish, versus the roughly 9 months+ I've had to put into reorganizing and rewriting and re-everything-ing SpM. Also, editing and helping authors like Garrett develop CtA: Amazing Technology, which is what I was originally doing for FGG before taking on this project, get higher priority as they actually pay me a tangible dividend AND are small enough that one or two weeks worth of work leads to a product to sell, rather than trying to put together what may well end up being a 400+ page book...

The Steampunk Musha setting "will be cool" when it's done, but doing things like steampunk properly is very hard. Doing things like an Asian-inspired setting well (and not being offensive) is very hard. Doing them together, while an entire massive system of rules and mechanics and settings already exist make it additionally tricky, as I want it to be a good setup, that uses a good building mechanic, not just something copy-pasted from others or otherwise shoddy.

So, Steampunk Musha is an Asian inspired setting that is undergoing an Industrial Revolution that was half-forced upon them by Western-style foreigners, and thus leads to a setting where ancient traditions are put at odds with "modern" conceptions, with threats both new and old brewing in a world that is and isn't shared with our popular Shadows over Vathak setting.

But it isn't for sale yet because new developers and writers (myself and others) have had to pick up a project that lost its creative team long ago, and needs to be fully realized anew while respecting some pre-existing materials AND adapted to more recent developments like say the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures ruleset.

So yeah... hope that helps.


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It'll be awhile before we get to the compilation just because we want around ten taverns before we do that and it's slow going, but yes, we are hoping for an upswing with that, we just don't want to go big and jump to that if there isn't an interest in the taverns. I'm sure any 3PP can attest it is a lot of work and a labor of love. Fingers crossed for our third release and thanks again for all your support and kind words, Lorathorn!
It is a good question for other 3PP though.. thanks!

And keep those reviews coming folks!


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Lucus Palosaari wrote:
Malwing wrote:
Lucus Palosaari wrote:

Words

Speaking of which, as a side note; What the heck is a Steampunk Musha and why isn't it for sale?
** spoiler omitted **...

Dude that's rough. My ears perked up as soon as I saw it because I wanted to eventually come back to a homebrew japanese setting that I was running. I had left it in a state where it started getting blackpowder and coal, but it seems like you've got someone else's old promise to fulfill.


It's coming together. Much more work than people may realize, but I think worth it. But it's a BIG project, and payout for said work is long term in the extreme. Meanwhile, I still want to make some faster money, etc. so while I work on a 300 to 400 pg book, I try to intersperse smaller, faster products to make $ and every delay pushes a publication date on SpM further and further out, additionally compounding the frustration of backers of the Ks, etc.

Joys of the industry, I suppose.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Wanted to pop in and echo the sentiment in this thread- every review helps! As both a 3pp designer and a reviewer, I can tell you from experience that reviews help in all aspects of the 3pp industry. They help generate trust in a product, which has a direct impact on sales. They help generate interest in a product, which again, helps with sales. They help designers see what they could do better, what they've done wrong, and what they've done right, which helps improve the quality of future work, and in many instances can lead to updates and errata on the current product if it turns out that that's something it needs.

Reviews of 3pp products do something else important as well- they help build the community. There's a lot of GMs and players out there who assume that 3pp materials are all imbalanced in some way or another, and that that's why a 1pp like Paizo didn't do them or something similar, but that's simply not the case. Paizo has a very conservative approach to the game they produce, preferring not to introduce new subsystems that create "1 more thing" for GMs to learn, particularly since one of their major engines for growing the game is Pathfinder Society. They have specifically cultivated a strong 3pp community to help explore the areas of the game they themselves have chosen not to venture into. More than that, many 3pp actually are the same people writing for Paizo! Paizo's new designer, Mark Seifter, was discovered in no small part thanks to his work in the 3pp field, and you can bet good money that whenever they hire another designer, it'll be someone with a 3pp portfolio of their own. When someone does a review of one of these products, they're not just saying "here's what I thought" they're also saying "I put down my own money to support this company/designer/idea", and a positive review says "and I think you should too!".

I know that occasionally people ask how to write "good" reviews, so I thought I'd mention the things I consider when I do a review. Note that these are just my personal thoughts and ideas, and you can feel feel free to agree or disagree. It's just a little direction and insight for those who've requested it-

1) Start by just describing your general thoughts and impressions. What was the product advertised as, and did it match the expectations it set? Was it well written and edited, or did you find that the editing and format made it hard to digest the materials?

2) Recognize the difference between a quality issue, and a personal appeal issue. There's been a few products that I gave 4 or more stars to that I'll probably never play with again, because they're well written and do a great job of doing what they set out to do, but it turns out that that, whatever it was, just wasn't my thing. I, personally, never mark a product's rating down for personal preference reasons, because at that point I'm literally taking money out of the pocket of the publisher and everyone who relies on that publisher to put food on the table for no real reason.
Just ask yourself- Would I buy a 3pp product that had an average rating of 3 stars or less? Because most people's answer to that will be "No". Paizo can put out a 3-star product and reasonably expect to still sell several thousand copies. 3pp publishers are extremely lucky when they sell a couple hundred copies, and the chances of them doing that plummet with each star they lose. I am both a 3pp designer and reviewer, and even I have a bad habit of scrolling past anything that has 3 or more reviews and an average rating of 3 stars or less; I'm literally more likely to buy a product with no reviews. There's just so many options out there, it's easy to feel like you don't have time for anything but the best.
I'm reminded of a review I received on a product that had been very well received by most people, where the reviewer knocked off multiple stars because a single class .pdf release didn't have items and races and all the materials one would expect of a larger, Advanced Player's Guide type release. It was very frustrating for me to see someone knocking down the score for things that simply weren't within the scope of that $5 .pdf, especially when the materials he wanted were slated for a later release in that same product line!
Just remember when reviewing- what is the intent of this product, and does it meet that stated goal?

3) Be willing to talk about your review. Sometimes a publisher will reach out and ask you to elaborate on why you liked or didn't like something in their product. This isn't an attempt to play "Gotchya!" and prove that you're a bad reviewer (if the remarks were negative) or revel in your adulation (if the remarks were positive), it's generally a sincere attempt by a designer or publisher to understand how the materials they create are being viewed by the rest of the world and continually refine their art.

4) Be willing to edit your review. In the internet age, it's easy to say your piece and then walk away, never to revisit that topic, but publisher's are listening to you, and you may find that a given product gets updated based on your feedback. It's good form to acknowledge that acknowledgement in turn and update your review accordingly. Conversely, it may turn out that something you really hated about that product, or that you thought broke the game's math or something similar, was really a misunderstanding or a result of you skimming over a really important line in the rules text of the release. It's going to suck if your product gets a bad rap because (for example) "psionics is clearly broken because a psion can spend 10 pp at level 1 to do 10d8 damage!" when there's been a rule there the whole time that says psions can't spend more PP than their level on a given power. Keeping an open line of communication between yourself and the companies whose products you review helps both side's credibility and reputation.

5) Be yourself. Don't worry about saying something in an "official" voice or manner of speech, just talk about the product the same way you would with your friends. Just because this is 1/10 the size of item 2 doesn't make it any less important.

6) You don't have to put stars on it. While it's awesome as a designer to see something you wrote get 5 of those shiny buggers, it's also understandable that you may not feel comfortable using the stars as a grading system. Maybe you'd rather lay out your own grading system in the review, or maybe you just want to talk about what you thought of the product without stressing about grading it. That's fine. Don't feel constrained by the constructs of the site you're posting the review on, and don't feel like reviewing a product means you have to grade it.

Anyways, that's all I've got.

Sovereign Court

All good advice, Sslarn, and advice that I will take to heart.


Love it, Ssalarn. Very well said and all very true. Thank you for taking the time to write that post.


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I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.

Many thanks and all the best

Richard


Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:
I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.

Richard, do you find many people actually write the review? We did this with the two products we've released and some people were awesome. (Shout out to Lorathorn and Nicos for reviewing all our products so far!) Some people took the "review" (aka: free) copy and split. Maybe we'll see a review from them one day... but I was wondering if you find the same thing.


I can review some stuff but I have a few that I need to do first that got derailed by some IRL stuff.


I try to review 3PP stuff as I get it. ^^ Some of what I've ordered isn't done or out yet, so naturally, I can't write about those just yet... but I do understand how important reviews are for everyone, and I'll continue to try and provide them as I get more books.


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Flaming Crab passes out ten free copies of each product we release. That, unfortunately, translates into very few actual reviews.


JGray wrote:
Flaming Crab passes out ten free copies of each product we release. That, unfortunately, translates into very few actual reviews.

I've seen that you give out ten copies and wondered what you saw back. Good to know it's not just us!

Rednal wrote:
I try to review 3PP stuff as I get it. ^^ Some of what I've ordered isn't done or out yet, so naturally, I can't write about those just yet... but I do understand how important reviews are for everyone, and I'll continue to try and provide them as I get more books.

If you ever feel like checking out one of our taverns, let me know and I can send you a review copy.

Malwing wrote:
I can review some stuff but I have a few that I need to do first that got derailed by some IRL stuff.

I sent you a PM.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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I always make a point of reviewing anything I'm given as a review copy, though sometimes that means I either have to do a rushed review or it gets delayed by a couple weeks until I can squeeze it into a real game.

...

Which actually reminds me that I should go revisit my Path of Shadows review, which was unfortunately briefer than the book deserved due to the fact that I absolutely had to get it posted for people and was already like a month behind at that point :P

Add those to my list of reviewing tips:

7) If it's a particularly good (or bad, honestly) product, post something to let people know, even if you don't have the time to go in depth. The Path of Shadows supplement I mentioned above is an absolutely wonderful release, and I ended up having to throw a one paragraph review with a 5 star rating up because of scheduling issues at the time. The important thing for me was letting people know how great that book was, even if I didn't have time to go into detail on all the reasons why.

8) If you're given a review copy, please, please, please actually do a review. It's just good etiquette. The same way that one would expect a food blogger whose been given a free meal to actually blog about it, or a fashionista whose been given free clothing/makeup/etc. samples to wear them and talk about them, if you've been given a review copy, it's with the expectation that you'll.... you know.... review it. Sometimes, I know, you feel bad because you don't feel like you can give it a good review - that's okay. The publisher gave it to you because they want your feedback, good or bad. Other times you may feel like you don't have time; if that's the case, leave that review copy for someone who does, or write an abbreviated review that discusses your basic impressions and initial thoughts, and then revisit it later when you have more time.

***EDIT***

Reviewer pro-tip:
Write your review in a Word document and then paste it into whatever site you're posting the review on, if you don't have or aren't using your own blog site. I just went and added 3 paragraphs of review material to Path of Shadows, didn't copy it, and when I clicked save I lost all of it. The worst part is, I knew better, because this isn't the first time Paizo's review page has done that to me.


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dire rugrat wrote:
Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:
I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.
Richard, do you find many people actually write the review? We did this with the two products we've released and some people were awesome. (Shout out to Lorathorn and Nicos for reviewing all our products so far!) Some people took the "review" (aka: free) copy and split. Maybe we'll see a review from them one day... but I was wondering if you find the same thing.

The return rate on review copies that I have sent out is about 50 to 60% on getting actual reviews. That doesn't count sending out review copies to all featured reviewers on OBS.

Thanks to everyone who has posted a review for 3PP products. It really does help.

Sovereign Court

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I do my job and review every single review copy that I get. Unfortuantely, I'm sitting on roughly 4 reviews right now and a slammed schedule. for those waiting for a review, I promise that I will get them done.

That having been said, I always do my reviews. I'd lose sleep if I didn't.


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I review every book I get a review copy of. Unfortunately, I'm just a single guy and thus, there's pretty much a massive list of to-do at any given time. (If anyone manages to get IRL time thief levels, please tell me how - I'd definitely need them... ;P)

That being said, I agree - if one takes a review-copy, one delivers. In my mind, anything different is not okay. It's okay if it takes time; reviews are work and proper analysis takes time...but review copy is review copy.


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I have to imagine the "reviewers" who constantly don't deliver their reviews get noted by 3PPs and stop getting their "review" copies at some point. That's sort of our plan. (Now I sound like I'm black-listing people... isn't that terrible? I just mean if someone is always asking for a review copy and never writes a review, publishers must catch on at some point.)


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As for all the reviewers out there who do write their promised reviews (even if it is just at some point - I get we all have real life obligations as well), any time you'd like to review one of our taverns, let me know!

Dark Archive

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dire rugrat wrote:
Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:
I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.
Richard, do you find many people actually write the review? We did this with the two products we've released and some people were awesome. (Shout out to Lorathorn and Nicos for reviewing all our products so far!) Some people took the "review" (aka: free) copy and split. Maybe we'll see a review from them one day... but I was wondering if you find the same thing.

One thing I haven't done is send out review copies to all featured reviewers on OBS. The only person who gets an automatic copy is Thilo (endzeitgeist).

After that, most of the reviews I've had have come from people who bought the adventure normally and then wrote a review. I haven't had that many people take me up on my offer of a free review copy, but all those that have, have delivered a review.

And very grateful I am to all of them too.

In my case it probably doesn't make sense for people to sneak themselves away a free copy of a product that only costs $4. Especially an adventure. Anyway, happily, I haven't seen that happen.

Richard


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richard develyn wrote:
One thing I haven't done is send out review copies to all featured reviewers on OBS. The only person who gets an automatic copy is Thilo (endzeitgeist).

I haven't sent anything out to the featured reviewers on OBS either, though I was thinking about it. Does anyone on this thread send their products out to all them?

As for the second part of that... I'm scared to give Endzeitgeist a copy for review. I'm scared even knowing he has been reading my posts.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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dire rugrat wrote:
richard develyn wrote:
One thing I haven't done is send out review copies to all featured reviewers on OBS. The only person who gets an automatic copy is Thilo (endzeitgeist).

I haven't sent anything out to the featured reviewers on OBS either, though I was thinking about it. Does anyone on this thread send their products out to all them?

As for the second part of that... I'm scared to give Endzeitgeist a copy for review. I'm scared even knowing he has been reading my posts.

I find that if you care enough about your product to worry what Thilo will think, it's probably better than you're giving yourself credit for. Love shines through your work, generally speaking.

That being said, if Thilo does lambast something in your product, it's probably a good idea to take it on the chin and learn from it; doing so will make you better at your craft :)

A lot of the tips and stuff I mentioned earlier in the thread were actually things I regularly see in action in Thilo's reviews, and more than that, Thilo actually has his own established following who use his reviews to influence their purchasing choices. It is very common to see a spike in sales and/or product interest after an EZ review, so I'd seriously consider making sending him a review copy part of your regular routine.


Alright, Ssalarn. I've done it. I've sent one of our taverns to all the OBS reviewers, which, as I understand it, includes Thilo/Endzeitgeist.

I am both afraid and hopeful for what may come of this.

But you are right, spikes in sales are quite possible from Thilo's reviews. A bad one will just be crushing, but a great learning experience. (*there is now some reassuring mumbling about learning experiences and how it will all be fine*)


*Offers some cheese*

It may be a little while before some of them can actually do the reviews. ^^ If it'll help, though, I'd be happy to review one of those taverns with a focus on constructive criticism and how future works could be improved. Unless something absolutely unexpected happens, I should be able to get it up within 24 hours of getting the document.


Rednal wrote:

*Offers some cheese*

It may be a little while before some of them can actually do the reviews. ^^ If it'll help, though, I'd be happy to review one of those taverns with a focus on constructive criticism and how future works could be improved. Unless something absolutely unexpected happens, I should be able to get it up within 24 hours of getting the document.

Thanks, Rednal! I'll PM you.


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Props to Ssalarn for the very informative and helpful primer on writing 3PP reviews. I'll integrate his reviewing tools into my current reviewing toolbox ... which has been immensely influenced by dissecting & absorbing Thilo's amazing reviewing modus operandi.

My 2 Pathfinder groups and I make fairly large weekly 3PP purchases at OBS (DTRPG), Paizo and D20PFSRD. Collectively, we literally have purchased many, many hundreds of 3PP PDFs across a number of game system platforms (primarily Pathfinder rules). The reason I mention it is that we also collectively wish we could post more reviews to help support the awesome 3PP publishing community. The majority of my gamers are folks with insanely busy lives and who rarely participate in online gaming forums. So yeah, a lot of us feel guilt about our glaring silence. We do have as an objective for 2016, to try and repair this situation by posting more "thoroughly playtested" reviews (those 2 words in quotations are due to Thilo's good influence). We're all very aware that our collective love of 3PP PF isn't going to grow & evolve if good 3PP publishers don't get exposure and consumer momentum. So in essence ... we're sorry about the past ... and we'll all get more involved in 2016! Lol.

In the interim, I have posted about 7 fairly recent reviews here at Paizo Forums. More are coming. Especially since my love affair with amazing 3PPs like Raging Swan, Rite, Jon Brazer, Purple Duck, 4 Dollar Dungeons, Everyman, Dreamscarred, Legendary & Interjection Games needs to be consummated with helpful reviews that give back to them what they've given to my friends and I.

Happy Halloween to y'all!


Crai wrote:

Props to Ssalarn for the very informative and helpful primer on writing 3PP reviews. I'll integrate his reviewing tools into my current reviewing toolbox ... which has been immensely influenced by dissecting & absorbing Thilo's amazing reviewing modus operandi.

My 2 Pathfinder groups and I make fairly large weekly 3PP purchases at OBS (DTRPG), Paizo and D20PFSRD. Collectively, we literally have purchased many, many hundreds of 3PP PDFs across a number of game system platforms (primarily Pathfinder rules). The reason I mention it is that we also collectively wish we could post more reviews to help support the awesome 3PP publishing community. The majority of my gamers are folks with insanely busy lives and who rarely participate in online gaming forums. So yeah, a lot of us feel guilt about our glaring silence. We do have as an objective for 2016, to try and repair this situation by posting more "thoroughly playtested" reviews (those 2 words in quotations are due to Thilo's good influence). We're all very aware that our collective love of 3PP PF isn't going to grow & evolve if good 3PP publishers don't get exposure and consumer momentum. So in essence ... we're sorry about the past ... and we'll all get more involved in 2016! Lol.

In the interim, I have posted about 7 fairly recent reviews here at Paizo Forums. More are coming. Especially since my love affair with amazing 3PPs like Raging Swan, Rite, Jon Brazer, Purple Duck, 4 Dollar Dungeons, Everyman, Dreamscarred, Legendary & Interjection Games needs to be consummated with helpful reviews that give back to them what they've given to my friends and I.

Happy Halloween to y'all!

This may be coming out of left field, but have you considered a podcast/vidcast centered around 3pp products?


While my system mastery of 3.5 D&D is certainly upper-tier, I can't say the same for Pathfinder rules ... *yet*. Both my groups have been slowly transitioning over the years from 3.5-Only, to 3.P-Hybrid and finally to Pathfinder-Pure. So before I go around parading myself on being a Pathfinder rules authority, I wanna get some more immersive play experience in PF. Especially in regards to rules-lawyering, buildcrafting and theoretical optimization practices (which will help me understand rules thresholds a lot better).


Crai wrote:

Props to Ssalarn for the very informative and helpful primer on writing 3PP reviews. I'll integrate his reviewing tools into my current reviewing toolbox ... which has been immensely influenced by dissecting & absorbing Thilo's amazing reviewing modus operandi.

My 2 Pathfinder groups and I make fairly large weekly 3PP purchases at OBS (DTRPG), Paizo and D20PFSRD. Collectively, we literally have purchased many, many hundreds of 3PP PDFs across a number of game system platforms (primarily Pathfinder rules). The reason I mention it is that we also collectively wish we could post more reviews to help support the awesome 3PP publishing community. The majority of my gamers are folks with insanely busy lives and who rarely participate in online gaming forums. So yeah, a lot of us feel guilt about our glaring silence. We do have as an objective for 2016, to try and repair this situation by posting more "thoroughly playtested" reviews (those 2 words in quotations are due to Thilo's good influence). We're all very aware that our collective love of 3PP PF isn't going to grow & evolve if good 3PP publishers don't get exposure and consumer momentum. So in essence ... we're sorry about the past ... and we'll all get more involved in 2016! Lol.

In the interim, I have posted about 7 fairly recent reviews here at Paizo Forums. More are coming. Especially since my love affair with amazing 3PPs like Raging Swan, Rite, Jon Brazer, Purple Duck, 4 Dollar Dungeons, Everyman, Dreamscarred, Legendary & Interjection Games needs to be consummated with helpful reviews that give back to them what they've given to my friends and I.

Happy Halloween to y'all!

You have my undivided attention. Do feel free to drop a PM whenever things manifest; one cannot appease one's simultaneous senses of vanity and crippling self-esteem problems without aid from others, after all. Glad to hear of folks getting in on 3pp ^_^


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I approve of this message. I am trying to catch up on my review backlog.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think I'm up to date on reviews (certainly on products I've previously been sent a review copy for, as far as I know: if I've had a copy and not reviewed it, PM me!), and in the market for more. Please give me a shout if you have something (anything, though I have a marked preference for crunch over adventure material, it's just where my knowledge lies) that you want reviewing.

Silver Crusade

Honestly, I used to be pretty anti 3P (had some BAD experiences with it), but as I've seen the 3P community grow and slowly become a member of it, I'm starting to realize the value of reviews to help avoid anything that would give a bad name to 3P.

If anyone has any products they'd like to have reviewed, I could give a crack at it. I'd like to think a hero of guide writing like myself could have something to add to this, especially since in a way my guides are basically like massive reviews of all possible options.


Rusted Iron Games wrote:
dire rugrat wrote:
Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:
I'd just like to repeat the invitation that I made on another thread on this subject that if anyone would like to review one of my adventures then please drop me a PM and I'll send you a review copy.
Richard, do you find many people actually write the review? We did this with the two products we've released and some people were awesome. (Shout out to Lorathorn and Nicos for reviewing all our products so far!) Some people took the "review" (aka: free) copy and split. Maybe we'll see a review from them one day... but I was wondering if you find the same thing.

The return rate on review copies that I have sent out is about 50 to 60% on getting actual reviews. That doesn't count sending out review copies to all featured reviewers on OBS.

Thanks to everyone who has posted a review for 3PP products. It really does help.

Man, that figure is depressing. I always figure the least I can do when someone is nice enough to give me something for free is spend fifteen minutes writing a few paragraphs saying what I liked/didn't about it.

Granted, I don't get many review copies, but I doubt it's a time crunch thing anyway for the people who don't write one.


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Thanks for posting this thread. It made me realise that I hadn't left reviews for the third party products that I own. I've fixed that.


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I know my name is attached to fourteen 3pp products as editor or writer. Of those, three have been professionally reviewed (by the great and powerful EZ). Adding in non-professional reviews, we bump that up to six 3pp my name has been attached to that have had reviews (eight if you count star ratings on OneShelf without any review attached).

So, as a creator/editor I am seeing less than half my work reviewed. I know at least 100 free copies of products with my name credited inside have gone out to the public. That doesn't include copies sent to preferred reviewers via OneShelf.

I suspect the "less than half my work" statistic holds up for most creators. Reviews are important for companies because it helps sell books. Reviews are also important because they help writers build up their portfolio. Being able to say you have written a top reviewed book is a lot better than being able to say you have written a book with no reviews. And, of course, constructively critical reviews help make us better writers. They let us know what to fix and where to improve our skills. There will be a second edition of my first book, Spellstaff, specifically to correct problems reviewers found with it. Without reviewers, I wouldn't have known to fix those problems in the first place.

So, those of you who review! I salute you. Thank you. Those of you who haven't, please consider doing so. We don't need novels but any feedback helps.

As a side note, I honestly do think a pod/vidcast dedicated to 3pp products is something our little hobby needs.


JGray wrote:
So, those of you who review! I salute you. Thank you. Those of you who haven't, please consider doing so. We don't need novels but any feedback helps.

Hear, hear!

Sovereign Court

A podcast you say...


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Lorathorn wrote:
A podcast you say...

I think it is a small niche that had not been filled.

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