Getting Savage Worlds reviewed in trade magazines?

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Would you be interested in contributing $ to cover purchase and shipping of Savage Worlds products for review in major trade publications?

Yeah, I think it's worth it to help get the Savage word out!
6
26%
Naaah... Joe's right, nobody gives a hoot about magazine reviews!
17
74%
 
Total votes: 23

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starwars1138
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Getting Savage Worlds reviewed in trade magazines?

#1 Postby starwars1138 » Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:15 pm

Okay, so from a corporate standpoint, PEG does not submit products for review in trade magazines and the like. According to Joe U., it's a cost issue as well as that data shows that new players/customers do not come from reviews in magazines but more from the direct interaction with the end consumer (game demos, con games etc...).

I know that I have been swayed by reviews in the past. With Savage Worlds, it was through Sean Fannon's unofficial review that he gave me when I emailed him about enjoying his Fantasy RolePlayers Bible book.

Anyway, I thought it might be nice to see some of the PEG catalog get some press from some major outlets and since PEG won't spring for it, I thought I'd see if there was any interest in doing this at the grass roots level.

I don't know who we'd submit to, or how to go about doing that type of thing, but those are all things we can iron out later.

The present issue is would anyone be willing to help fund the purchase and shipping costs of some PEG products to some major industry news outlets?
Chris in Atlanta
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#2 Postby Savage Jason » Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:21 pm

I'd be absolutely willing to help. I know that when I read Knights of the Dinner table, I really look forward to the reviews, and often go to further investigate games I see there.
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#3 Postby solabusca » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:30 pm

Here's the thing to consider - in this computer savvy age of gaming, a number of reviews are being written by our fellow gamers. I like the feel of a review from 'in the trenches', submitted by someone who is actually playing the game for pleasure rather than just doing their job. That's why Grubman's '101 Days' thread on RPGnet is such a pull for Savage Worlds. That's why Ken Hite's comments in his weekly column carry the weight they do - yes, he's a top name in the industry, but he's a GAMER, too!

As another point, what would you consider top trade magazines in the industry? Does anything really qualify anymore? Most are pretty clearly little more than marketing appendages of their parent corporation: Dragon, White Dwarf, Rifter, No Quarter.

Really, I've found in my experience that most folk looking for opinions on a new game go to online resources - either an online reviews column a la Out of the Box, or reviews at RPGnet and other sites; some even post 'Sell me on X game' threads on their forum of choice!

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#4 Postby starwars1138 » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:24 pm

While I can see your point solabusca, I admit I am a bit suprised at how few people voted and the results of said vote. But hey, that's why I posted it - to see what people thought.

And you are right as far as trade magazines go. Maybe instead of trade magazines, maybe popular podcasts (I don't podcast so I have no idea what's out there aside from TGTT).

Anyway, thanks for your comments!
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#5 Postby solabusca » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:46 pm

starwars1138 wrote:And you are right as far as trade magazines go. Maybe instead of trade magazines, maybe popular podcasts (I don't podcast so I have no idea what's out there aside from TGTT).


Yes, I think podcasts would fall under the same category as online reviews - it's basically Just Some Guy and his opinions - providing us with a very intimate vox populi format.

.j.
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#6 Postby blusponge » Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:41 pm

Exactly what trade publications did you have in mind? I can't think of any off the top of my head that aren't in-house support artries for their respective companies.

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#7 Postby Savage Jason » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:09 pm

My original suggestion was Knights of the Dinner Table, which I'm pretty sure has a large readership.
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#8 Postby dap6000 » Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:57 pm

SPF's recommendation wasn't a review at that point, it was word of mouth.

I think PEG's current focus on convention and demo support is the way to go. Reading reviews of tabletop RPGs is like dancing to architecture. There's no comparison to actually playing the game. I'm not saying reviews are worthless. They can be quite entertaining and occasionally even informative. But they are a passive medium, so I think they appeal more to the collector types than the player types. And I've known several people in my time who collect RPG books like other people collect comics. I honestly think that market segment makes up a big chunk of White Wolf's revenue. There's nothing wrong with that. But SW products are a hell of a lot more fun to play than they are to read. I think the marketing push should reflect that, and I like what I see PEG doing on their own.

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#9 Postby starwars1138 » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:35 am

dap6000 wrote:SPF's recommendation wasn't a review at that point, it was word of mouth.

I think PEG's current focus on convention and demo support is the way to go. Reading reviews of tabletop RPGs is like dancing to architecture. There's no comparison to actually playing the game. I'm not saying reviews are worthless. They can be quite entertaining and occasionally even informative. But they are a passive medium, so I think they appeal more to the collector types than the player types. And I've known several people in my time who collect RPG books like other people collect comics. I honestly think that market segment makes up a big chunk of White Wolf's revenue. There's nothing wrong with that. But SW products are a hell of a lot more fun to play than they are to read. I think the marketing push should reflect that, and I like what I see PEG doing on their own.


You're right. Sean's reccomendation was certainly not a review. But, in the sense that had his book been published a little later, he would have said "Savage Worlds is the best system I've seen yet" instead of saying that about 7th Sea (which is what he said in the book). So, in a sense, it was "mass media" that brought me to SW. I tend to be somewhat detached from the gaming world and had I never seen the book, I'd have never heard of SW.

Again correct about reviews being a passive medium. I guess I am not so much interested in the "content" of the review per se (as any reviewer with ANY sense would see some merit to the SW system), I was thinking of it as more of a way to get Savage Worlds' existence out there. While I might be in the minority in that I don't keep tabs on all the different systems out there, I am sure there are probably others like me (though maybe not tons).

I guess my thought was that by having some more "direct press" about the system out there, it might provoke people to find out more about it. A reader sees a review in KotDT and then decides to investigate it more - finds this site, or Grubman's 100 days thread, or maybe seeks out a game at a convention or demo at a shop.

Like someone mentioned - a review in a trade rag is not going to convince them to buy a system. BUT, I contend that said review might actually let someone know that Savage Worlds even exists. And since so much of the shelf space at FLGSs is cluttered with D20 and other systems, that can't be a bad thing.

Anyway, just my logic.
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Re: Getting Savage Worlds reviewed in trade magazines?

#10 Postby Clint » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:37 am

starwars1138 wrote:According to Joe U., it's a cost issue as well as that data shows that new players/customers do not come from reviews in magazines but more from the direct interaction with the end consumer (game demos, con games etc...).


I just want to clarify this as it kind of makes it sound like the cost is the major issue and the other is secondary when in fact, Joe's comment was pretty much the opposite. I know it wasn't the intention to make it sound that way, but I figured it's not hard for someone to read it that way.

The fact that reviews do little to help compared to other venues and the administration of such a thing compared to putting the effort elsewhere in the company are the big things while the cost just kind of falls into the "and that won't hurt us either."

Anyway, just didn't want there to be any confusion.
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#11 Postby blusponge » Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:14 am

ImWeazel wrote:My original suggestion was Knights of the Dinner Table, which I'm pretty sure has a large readership.


In that case I would say no. I'm betting most KoDT readers are familiar with RPGnet and any one of many other RPG related websites, so they are probably already familiar with SW and its key points. Getting a review in there isn't going to do much. I know a guy who bought advertising in it a couple of times and never saw an uptick in sales. Annecdotal, I know, but depending on the amount of money they want, it could be better spent on demo support.

Tom

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#12 Postby starwars1138 » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:04 am

I agree with Tom that if they actually want to be PAID to write a review, I'd say to hell with that. I figured that magazines would review things that publishers submit to them... for free. But I am certainly not "in the know" with regards to the industry.
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#13 Postby PEGShane » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:13 pm

I think I misrepresented why I don't care to submit review copies a bit to Clint. It's not really the cost of sending out books to a few well-known, well-read sites. That's fairly negligible. What does get very expensive is sending copies to every site that asks and most important, the many "award" committees. The Ennies ask for 6 copies (best I recall). That's pretty easy. The Origins awards has an academy of over 300. Now *that's* expensive (and the awards are a shadow of their former self anyway).

The real point is that I just haven't found them particularly useful.

I have nothing against sending review copies to KodT. I don't read it regularly myself (hence the lack of focus on it previously), but I know those guys, like them, and would be happy to load them up with books.

What I have found incredibly useful are things like Grubman's 101 Days of Savage Worlds, and my own "Making of Savage Worlds." Even those are secondary to the demos we run (esp these days with the excellent and professional work of Mike and Steve), but they're the best we can do outside the convention / live circuit.

(Posters are useless these days too as game stores sadly continue to go the way of the dodo...)

What I want is a better way to spotlight those who run killer SW games and are willing (and grammatically able) to write them up with pictures and an acceptable level of excitement. There are several threads like this on these forums, as well as several websites I know of that do this already. (And make me green with envy when I see their setups.)

What we have to do is find a way to better publicize these things. A wiki linked off the main page would be good, but that also requires more work on Clint's part to catch spammers, inappropriate posts, copyright violations (we couldn't feature your homebrew Marvel game, for example), etc. And Clint, for those who don't know, is an official PEG guy, but also a volunteer who runs a major company, has a family, and has enough responsibility on his plate already. (And because I don't say it enough, thanks Clint!)

Right now our focus has been on getting Slaughter Gulch and a couple of our books done, but I suspect as the deck clears--and especially now that we have Joe Unger's help as well--we'll figure out how to make this happen in the coming months.

(Feel free to repost in the Hey Pinnacle! thread)

Shane

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#14 Postby starwars1138 » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:26 pm

Thanks for the insight Shane!
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#15 Postby Clint » Sat Mar 24, 2007 4:26 pm

PEGShane wrote:I think I misrepresented why I don't care to submit review copies a bit to Clint. It's not really the cost of sending out books to a few well-known, well-read sites. That's fairly negligible.


I think that's what I tried to say. Here I was trying to clarify that the cost isn't an issue, and I made it look like it is. :oops:

PEGShane wrote:...thanks Clint!


As always, it's my pleasure! :D
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#16 Postby SlasherEpoch » Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:01 pm

Probably too late for me to chime in after Our Glorious Leader has spoken, but I started GMing SW in 2003 and at least 5 people I know have bought core rulebooks off of games I've run, and all but 1 has actually run a game. I also know a guy who runs a game solely off the Test Drive and a couple "how would you do this" questions he emails me - my brother, actually; someday I'll be a good guy and buy him a copy.

So...those guys, at least, bought the game based on them playing it, not based on a review or even one of my overenthusiastic game stories.

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#17 Postby grubman » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:26 pm

PEGShane wrote:What I have found incredibly useful are things like Grubman's 101 Days of Savage Worlds,


It probably was so "popular" because I wasn't "sold" on the game myself at the time. I could have just as easily come away from the experiment thinking the system sucked. Now when I recommend Savage Worlds to others I'm just another one of "those guys" pimping their favorite game.

But I'm glad it helped, SW is one of those games that is just to easy to overlook or misjudge (even on a read-through or after a single game session). I wish it would have come out in the late 80s or early 90s, it would probably be a rock solid top 10 now instead of a relatively little known niche system.

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#18 Postby Bill » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:29 am

I have encouraged people to buy SW and got several to do so after I ran a game for them. It is true that playing is believing and generates more interest. Those of you who run games in your local stores are hitting gamers that do the buying of the products. Those of you who offer the play by email option are also helping out. Great gamemasters help make a great system even better and, from what I have seen on this forum, we have some of the best!
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#19 Postby Joseph_U » Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:33 am

Hey there folks,

Just wanted to say that I think reviews are quite useful actually and (as I said before) I admire the amount of work that goes into them. As many of you know, I owned an online game review magazine for 5 years+. If reviews weren't useful, that site would have never gotten the traffic it did and I wouldn't be here with Pinnacle today. :smile:

My point back in the other post was simply that our current tactic is to focus our efforts on getting in contact with players in a more direct fashion.

For instance - I personally saw Brent's Scary Tales demos at Gencon a few years back sell a stack of 6 SW core books and a few copies of 50F and Tour of Darkness to boot.

We *are* out there promoting the game quite hard. But, I would rather reward and spotlight your dedication and let your enthusiasm as players infect others.


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#20 Postby Allensh » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:50 pm

I have run a few sessions of Deadlands since getting the D:R book and the core book. Last week I ran a pulp adventure (Eye of Kilquato, actually; continued next week). All of these are at our local gaming club which meets in a comic book store called Hall of Heroes.

Our big problem is: other than Heroclix, the owner does not consider himself a gamer. He only stocks D&D stuff and the only other gaming stuff he has is some old stuff he got when he bought out the stock of another store. He'll order anything, of course, but the problem is that if the crew doesn't see it, they won't buy it. I am really hoping that continued exposure to SW will generate some sales but not being able to get stuff on the shelves hurts a lot.

I wonder sometimes how much of this "RPGs don't sell" stuff is a self-fulfilling prophecy on the part of retailers...

Allen


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