Showing posts from November, 2017

Who I am, What I do (or why this blog exists)

Since somebody asked elsewhere, I'm laying out the (current) reason for this blog's existence here.

My name is James D. Hargrove. I'm a former professional RPG reviewer. For more than a decade, people compensated me to review roleplaying products, usually in the form of free merch. I did this for many different publishers, a few different web sites, and even a 'zine. I quit doing this for a couple of reasons.

First, with a few notable exceptions, I found that the people or companies compensating me wanted reviews entirely devoid of criticism because they compensated me (and felt that doing so entitled them to ad copy, as opposed to an actual review). I always made it clear up front that what I would deliver would be an honest review, not ad copy. And this was fine. Until it wasn't. The number of publishers who refused to accept even constructive criticism was absolutely maddening and resulted in my stress level spiking several times a month as I found myself dealin…

Tatzelwurm - Retro roleplay via 1980s Germany

A couple of weeks ago, a small-press game called Tatzelwurm found its way into my RPGNow shopping cart. I'm very glad that it did. I'm always on the lookout for light, inventive, takes on classic fantasy roleplaying and Tatzelwurm definitely fits the bill. Taking inspiration from the homebrew rules of the designer's youth spent in Germany's fledgling roleplaying community during the 1980s and the earliest edition of Germany's most popular fantasy RPG, as well as Blood of Pangea from Olde House Rules, Tatzelwurm is a real gem of a game.

First off, the physical - well, digital - thing is very pleasing. Weighing in at 60 pages, Tatzelwurm embraces the old-school, small press, aesthetic by using public domain art to evoke that DIY feel. That said, the art used in Tatzelwurm is incredibly consistent in presentation, despite being culled from the public domain. Additionally, the use of an uncluttered single column layout, blocked out text boxes for optional rules, and la…