#RPGaday2015 – Day 10: Favorite RPG Publisher

RPGaday 2015’s Day 10 question is not one I have enjoyed considering that much. I enjoy games from a number of publishers, and I enjoy a variety of game types. I enjoy gorgeous, heavy, full-color books such as those produced by Catalyst and Fantasy Flight. I enjoy hard and soft cover, black and white publications such as those by Exile and TAG, or Chaosium and Design Mechanism. I also enjoy the lean and mean innovations of individuals in publishing like Mark Plemmons, Jason Morningstar, the Bakers, and John Wick. Sometimes the line between publisher and designer is hard to see, sometimes there is no line, and sometimes the grand canyon dwindles into insignificance in comparison.   How can one lay down a definitive opinion on ‘favorite publisher’ when the industry is so diverse, and operating on such different levels with such different intentions?

I guess I will muddle through by looking at a model of publishing I prefer and leave it at that. Who knows, maybe in the end I might pick one…

rpg-a-day-2015

After surviving the publication escalation war brought on by the likes of my beloved FASA and White Wolf, I developed a deep and abiding hesitation about supplements mirrored only by a newfound love of games which need only core books. It is not that I do not like supplements, but with the perspective of time and after breaking free of the arms race of metaplot secret harvesting and character options collecting, I found that only a few publishers seem to be engaged in collaboration with their readers to helpfully and usefully expand their game. Many are purporting to offer expansion and elucidation, but do so under a thinly-veiled, near subscription model of production designed not to dole out more material as much as to garner a regular dispensation from my salary. While this a bald and black and white statement unlikely to be entirely true, I trust you know the feeling at which I am pointing like an enraged old man on a well-kept lawn.

My favorite sort of publisher is as excited about a game as I am, and they want to play it and share it as much as I do. They want to get that game into my hands in such a way that looking at it, holding it, reading it, and talking about it will inspire me and keep on inspiring me. Not only are they excited about the game, they are excited by the enthusiasm of its players and the ways that they play it. They want to work with them to bridge gaps, offer support where players need it, and expand the line in ways that suit it. My favorite sort of publisher knows when a line is done, and lets its stand on its own merits, without being forgotten.

I know several publishers who I feel approach things in ways that match or near my expectations. I am not sure I can pin it down to just one. Triple Ace Games is my first example when I think of game companies I appreciate and would hope to emulate were I in the industry. Of course, when I think of them I also think of the Design Mechanism. Dedicated, hard-working, and commited to excellence. Both of these companies show me these traits in everything that they do. The quality of their work, and the quality of their interactions with the public demonstrate this time and time again. There are other companies that I hold to a higher standard, not just those two. Chaosium’s tenacity and frequent brushes with vision make them a lifelong favorite of mine. I have played no games longer, nor followed releases so closely as I have theirs. Brabblemark Press, with its constant and diligent attention to Corporia is another very positive example of the sort of thing I think publishers should be doing. I could go on describing all the companies I love, but in the spirit of the question, though, and with a look ahead at questions to come, I think I will choose to answer this question in a different way. I just don’t feel comfortable with the whole idea. Maybe you understand.

These days, less is more to me, particularly when so much is packed into the less that I could conceivably never want for more. So, to chose just one, a first among equals, so to speak, I will keep that as my guiding principle. For giving us Ubiquity, for inspiring cool game after cool game to use it, for producing lean and rich books that look great, feel solid, keep high standards, and inspire through word and image, I will cite Exile Game Studio as my favorite publisher in a mass of favorite publishers I would prefer to enjoy equally. Just writing it down like that doesn’t sit right, but I think things will balance out after the next few questions in the series have been asked.

How about you?

#rgaday2015

Comments
4 Responses to “#RPGaday2015 – Day 10: Favorite RPG Publisher”
  1. Tyler says:

    I had similar difficulty answering this question. I tend to think of publishers as a means to an end, rather than the entity I want to follow and invest in to the point that I could have a favorite. These days in particular, it seems that most writers and designers go where they can make a deal for their project to be published, and it’s usually the writer-designer who I am more interested in, because it’s their vision and spin that has me engaged.

  2. You equovatin’ muthaflocker!

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