Monday, June 20, 2011

Hacklopedia of Beasts: Beautiful. Pricey.

Checking out The Labyrinth yesterday, I ran across this post detailing what the new Hacklopedia of Beasts will look like. In a word, WOW. Talk about some nice production values!



That said, this sucker's going to cost $59.99, and I think I'm to that point in my life where I'm neither young nor old enough to spend that much on a supplement or core book, if you understand my meaning. I think Kenzer hit the price point right with Hackmaster Basic, but I can't see myself investing that much in a product, no matter how nice it is. I've got too many game books already I'm not using, and there's too much free/cheap stuff besides to roll the dice on something that expensive. Plus, aesthetic have never been on the top of my list, though I suppose there is something to be said for that "wow" factor.

I don't mean to single Kenzer out, because they're a) super-nice guys, and b) clearly have something that's working for them, but these days elaborately-produced, pricier books don't jive with my "budget" gamer realities.

19 comments:

Bonemaster said...

It's one of those things that has been talked about before. Seems there are people that think if a book isn't all in color and have unrealistic (IMHO) artistic values, they don't want to spend the money. The funny thing is that the artwork that still impacts me today is the older pen and ink stuff from people like Trampier. That's not to say the current stuff is bad. It's just my opinion that many games could get away with less and perhaps even drop the price of their games a bit. Of course, I will admit that I'm not sure how expensive it is print anything. I just now that all the "color" modern gamers expect really increases the price of something. Like you, I don't have free money to just spend on everything that looks flashy.

Jason said...

I'll go $60 for a book, if it's as nice as this one looks to be. That's about my limit, though. White Wolf is looking at charging $100 for their limited anniversary V:tM book--THAT is outrageous.

bighara said...

Is $60 too much for that book? Maybe not. It's nice looking and a lot of work went into it. It's still cheaper than the 8-9 volumes of HM4. Will I pay $60 for it? No. I bought the pdf at Garycon 3 and that will do fine for when/if I run a HmB game.

Atom Kid said...

As nice as it is, I'd have trouble coughing up $60 as well. I do like their products though.

Zzarchov said...

I just paid $100 for the Duke Nukem "Balls of Steel" edition even though I knew it would be crap. I have gotten maybe 8 hours enjoyment out of it.

$60 for a game? or even an expansion? Well within my budget (as my room full of impulse boardgames will attest).

I am not trying to encourage people to buy this game. For a long time printing a free RPG was too expensive for my budget. I am merely putting myself out there as an example of those who will buy books at such prices.

And I will not buy books without certain production values. The art style can be simple and B&W, but it still has to be good and evocative. Hell it can be public domain art, just find good art that is public domain. It must be hard cover is another demand. Ideally it will be classy on its cover, this Kenzer book has a nice stylized cover I enjoy.

The question is that is one sale to me worth alienating the 3 to 4 people who posted before me? Depends what amount of that is profit.

Zachary Houghton said...

Yeah, I definitely think it’s a relative value thing. Doubtless gamers with larger budgets or different value assignations won’t blink. I have no doubt many Hackmaster fans will buy it and be thrilled. Heck, I hope they do—Kenzer’s good people. But it’s not where I’m at just now.

$100 for V:tM? Ouch.

ADD Grognard said...

This, for me, is one of my major problems with modern game books. They look great-they play for crap. Brown text on brown backgrounds. Every page you keep expecting a leprechaun to pop out of the page from all that rainbow.

People teeter on this, but for me I'm a fan of AD&D 1e for many reasons and this is one. I want black text on a white page. I want art when it is necessary. A creature book would be the place for the most art but only for non-iconic creatures. I know what an orc looks like. I know what a skeleton looks like. And well done line art is a favorite.

The most important aspect of any book-binding. Nothing I hate worse than having pages popping out after a short period of time.

A color cover is nice, line art for new elements and good binding. Drop that for $19.99-$29.99 and that's a winner.

Tim Shorts said...

I've been eyeballing this book for a long time. Damn you Kenzer! Sixty is a lot, but I just plunked down over $90 for the Tome of Horrors. The reason I splurged was it's giant and will be able to beat up all my other gaming books and I think I'll get a lot of use out of it since I write adventures for the S&W system. The Hacklopedia would be a vanity buy. I just want it cause I loved all the other hacklopedias, but I've never used them.

George Fields said...

For a book that is $60, it's a matter of "Will I get my money out of this?"
In this case, yes, I will. The new HackMaster is my game of choice. I pre-ordered this and have been updating the pdf that came with the pre-order as it's been ready.
If your income is limited, and/or you don't play HackMaster, it's probably a book to pass on.

All that said, the pictures I've seen tell me this is probably the most beautiful RPG book ever publsihed.

Zachary Houghton said...

It’s definitely got the aesthetics down, I’ll give it that!

Derek said...

I've preordered this book and received the .pdf. It looks really great and the production values are wonderful.

What sets this book apart for me is not just the great artwork, binding and ability to hold up but also the Monster Ecology that is placed in here. There is so much information about individual monsters that a good GM could base an adventure off the information.

I also like the way the monsters are sized up against humans and the tracks as well. Even if you're not a Hackmaster (new version) player I think you'll enjoy this book. I don't play much Hackmaster but know that I'll use this book for other systems easily.

Zak S said...

The layout and stuff looks sharp but the actual drawing of the orc looks kinda "stock" to me. Is it all the same artist?

Revil Fox said...

@Zak S It is all the same artist. The theme of the book is that of an actual monster book found within the game world. So all of the art is sketch drawings like you see here. I've had the PDF of this book for a while now, and the whole package is simply amazing. I can't wait to get my dead tree copy next month.

fewilcox said...

There are exactly two class-based roleplaying games I like: HackMaster 4e and HackMaster 5e. So we'll definitely be picking up the HoB. Especially since $60 beats the heck out of HM4e's HoB comprised of eight $20 books and this is a MUCH higher quality book than those were.

OlmanFeelyus said...

Most commenters here are talking about the art and production values, but I think what makes the Hacklopedia truly intriguing is the content! I mean, come one, each two-page spread is like an encyclopedic entry on a monster species, with most of it being rich, nigh-anthropological flavour text. Whether you like that or not, that seems to be much more interesting to debate about its worthiness than the price tag.

stock tips said...

As nice as it is, I'd have trouble coughing up $60 as well. I do like their products though.
This, for me, is one of my major problems with modern game books. They look great-they play for crap. Brown text on brown backgrounds. Every page you keep expecting a leprechaun to pop out of the page from all that rainbow.

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Greylond said...

I just got my copy over the weekend. It IS, IMO, the best Monster Book ever published. Not just for the production values, but also for the content. It has every thing you need to GM encounters with each monster. Maps of where on Kalamar each one typically ranges. Encounter stories/notes In Character from NPCs. In most cases it has drawings of tracks that PCs will find. Pretty much everything that a GM needs to bring an encounter with each monster to life.

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