Leaving Assumptions at the Door
I’ll admit right off the bat, I was never one much for tabletop gaming magazines. Not really sure why, maybe it was my assumption that they were all horridly laid out or that a mixed bag of systems/games I’ve never played in wouldn’t appeal to me. I also kind of thought of the content to be amateur-ish and always convinced myself I’d much rather have something straight from a game publisher – official books, modules and supplements rather than something ‘joe schmoe’ came up with.
Boy was I wrong about all of those things.
Recently I’ve had the pleasure to browse an entire issue of Kobold Quarterly, the Spring 11′ issue to be exact. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found inside. I’ll keep this short and sweet and just bring up a few highlights, being that otherwise I’d just be droning on about every single article within the zine.
Points of Light
9 Ways to Launch a Great Campaign, was an enjoyable and quite useful read because hey, who doesn’t want to kick off their campaign with a rock solid start!? Another article entitled The Right Way to Do Wrong – which was all about cons, grifts and swindling was also excellent. Even though it was tuned to pathfinder (which is not one of the systems I play) I found it extremely useful for my thieving NPC endeavors as a DM, as well as for those rare occasions when I’m actually playing a PC. I actually found that a majority of the articles were very useful, regardless of what system or setting you might play.
After being pleasantly surprised to find that KQ wasn’t just a dumping site for stat blocks and hackneyed fluff, I decided to take some time to point my eyes toward some of the truly amazing artwork that coincides with the amazing writing inside. It seems that some of the pieces are comissioned specifically for the article itself instead of just being picked from a bank of existing images. A prime example of such would be, well…the cover! Just look at this masterpiece! It made me want to jump right in and stab that dragon in the face myself!
One slight thing about the KQ magazine that bugged me was there were a few instances where a full page ad was plopped right in the middle of an article – extremely minor I know, but an annoyance nonetheless.
Another little thing that bugged me was that it seemed for every simply awesome few pieces of artwork, there was at least one mediocre piece that seemed to be pulled from a library of archaically styled drawings of yore.
All in all I found KQ to be an extremely useful resource that I think most any gamer would appreciate, they offer a variety of subscription options. The main subscription model runs 28$ a year for 4 physical issues along with complimentary PDF copies which isn’t bad deal! There’s also a PDF only subscription that will only run you 16$ annually.
Sure other magazines you might find in a newsstand or bookstore are cheaper, but you’re not going to find any magazine that covers the entire gamut of tabletop RPG’s just sitting on a shelf in Barnes & Noble. Not to mention the PDF copies are really nice, especially if you’re environmentally conscious and/or already own a tablet or eReader. KQ appears to me a magazine hand crafted with a lot of love by gamers, for gamers, and that alone means it’s got a lot going for it.