Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Penny Arcade Report

Hey - Penny Arcade - can we talk for a minute?  Quietly?

We love you guys.  We really do.  Even if we're not fans of your comics, you have done a ton for tabletop gamers. Your occasional raves about this game or that game have boosted sales as much (or more) than Wil Wheaton's Tabletop. Your ongoing D&D games have been well-documented and have certainly not hurt sales for that line, either.

PAX, for all of its video game focus, still has an amazing amount of tabletop gaming going on. There is more (and better) open play than GenCon and almost as much organized play going on.  Your convention games staff is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and - quite frankly - the best in the business.

Your Penny Arcade Report has become one of my go-to sites for well-rounded coverage of the video games industry. You have consistently had well-rounded coverage looking at all sides of an issue, and you usually pick good guest bloggers, too. We know you want to cover All Things Geek, not just video games.  We know you want more and better coverage of tabletop games. And we'd love to see it there.

Just please be more careful.  This kind of thing makes you look like you don't know what you're doing. Whoever vetted "Infinity" as a guest blogger didn't apparently do more than a cursory amount of homework. Maybe he wrote a good tip on your tipline, and you saw the bits on tabletop gaming news or other sites - all of which look professional. But you didn't (apparently) look for any reviews of The Future Belongs To Us. You definitely didn't get your hands on a copy of the game, first, or you'd have seen the amazing art (as featured in this review or this commentary).  All you apparently saw was "self-published indie RPG writer" and ran with it.

There are hundreds and hundreds of tabletop games out there, with hundreds more hitting the shelves every year. But Sturgeon's Law still applies.  If you are interested in getting more involved with tabletop gaming, maybe you should reach out to the community rather than waiting for the community to reach out to you.  There are literally thousands of gaming blogs of all sizes and abilities out there.  Find a post or two on one you like and ask permission to re-post on PAR. Ask an industry professional for comment - if you want someone Indie, Ron Edwards and Luke Crane are both active online and can string together a coherent sentence.  And both of them can put you in contact with dozens of others.  With all of the PR work you did for D&D, you should have contacts at Wizards of the Coast. Other publishers often have contact e-mail addresses right on their homepage. And all of these folks would love to get coverage in your blog.

Want to talk about board games?  Start with Wizards of the Coast.  Talk to Fantasy Flight Games or Steve Jackson Games - all of these companies have been at PAX, so - again - you should have a way to get ahold of them.

Even if all you get is PR from them, that's something.  You can apply analysis to the PR, you can give it a spin.  It doesn't matter: it'll still be better content than the thinly-disguised infomercial you posted last week.

Another good idea for the tabletop end of things is appointing a full-time (or part-time) tabletop editor.  Ben Kuchera does a great job with the video game end of things, but either he's not knowledgeable or he's too busy to do a good job with the tabletop thing.  Having someone knowledgeable there to vet your tabletop articles would go a long ways towards building your credibility and making you that one-stop-source you want to be.

That's all I really have to say, guys.  You're doing a good job in general, you just screwed up this time.  We all do - it's part of growing.

Thanks for listening (or not).

Eric

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