#RPGaDay Day 8: Game Formats

Today’s #RPGaDay Question:

August 8: Do you prefer hardcover, softcover, or electronic books? What are the benefits of your preference?

  • Are PDF books better than print books? Is print better than digital? Tell us why!

Like its direct predecessor on Day 1, on its surface this can like like a ‘take sides’ situation, but the intention of RPGaDay is to be positive about our hobby, it’s about sharing and explaining, rather than rallying around a flag sunk in the sands of preference. To be clear, the question does ask you to identify a preference, but that is just the start of the journey~

Many of the responses from Day 1’s question on dice, dice apps, and diceless gaming reflected that distinction by posting on if and when they use the three options, and how they use them. While many seemed to feel it was a foregone conclusion that dice would “win” the reality of the posts out there demonstrated a lot more flexibility and practicality than sticking to a preference, no matter what. We gamers seem to be a much more open-minded lot than we think we are… or that we might want others to believe.

Today’s question asks about preferences for the format of a game, be that print or digital, and if in print, if you favor hardcovers or softcovers.


My answer is much like my answer to Day 1. I am drawn to hardcovers most, and although I greatly appreciate and make great use of digital media, namely PDF versions of games in my day to day life, games that I truly like I end up wanting to have and share in hardcover.

I find my preference for hardcover interesting as games in softcover tend to be easier to actually use at the table, and softcover games with a ring binding are best of all. Still, despite those ‘facts’ I will take a hardcover over those options any day of the week.

In use around the table, I find that as I game away from home I want to have all the books in PDF and on my tablet. That way I can go with a single device and dice, needing no paper for notes or anything else, risk damage to no books, and enjoy the trip to and from the gaming location, rather than cursing the weight. Were I to be able to game at home, PDF would be much less important to me.

That said, they are what I use most often. I find that the options in tablets and other devices for fast-switching between books, or keeping multiple books open, to be improving all the time. Speed of access through the book now seems to be much more a factor of how the publisher prepares the pages, than the application. This is where things still need work. There are still some games with deadly lag in page turning despite all the improvement on the application and device parts of the equation. This needs to change if the utility of the format is to be realized.

I like books, but recognize that at its heart, that is just a preference. In actual use, more than 60% of my reading and reference is digital, and I would game much, much less without the advent of options like PDF games. When the barriers to speed and easy reference diminish to equal or exceed print books, and when access to files on my hard drive can be as pleasant and easy as taking down a book, I hope I can shed those decades of preference~

Tomorrow’s Question:

What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?

  • What helps make a game session go from being good toward being ‘perfect’ for you?


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