Do RPG Books Answer Your Questions?

When picking up a new roleplaying game, I have two related questions in mind:

(1) Why is this game fun?

(2) What can I do in this game?

Answers to these questions are our first priority when we interview people for the Atomic Array podcast. They’re also the focus of the first two paragraphs of any review published on Game Cryer.

Without knowing why a game is fun, and how I can experience that fun, I’m not really interested in a full description of the setting, a list of skills and spells, a catalog of gadgets and weapons, or a historical timeline. So why don’t game books open with answers to these questions?

Most of the books I crack open start with a short story and/or a discussion of the setting. Some try to summarize the game in the Introduction, but this is usually condensed setting fluff that rarely answers my two most important questions. I usually have to skip the first 10-20% of the text before I find out why I should care about the Newfangled RPG.

What do you want to know when you pick up a new game?

Are publishers answering these questions for you? Are they doing it up front, or do you have to search for your answers?

Icon courtesy: Open Clip Art

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