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Virtual Scribe Reviews

Virtual Scribe Reviews

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Inspired by various discussion and complaints of the lack of reviews and feedback for prospective buyers and authors, I have decided to step in and provide critical reviews of RPG products that have Fantasy Grounds modules. My goal is to provide concise, critical, and constructive reviews of products created for Fantasy Grounds so that a) prospective buyers will be able to make informed decisions before buying a product, and b) so that authors can receive useful feedback to help improve their current and future products.

In short, Iím tired of hearing the same complaints from both gamers and authors and have decided to make a contribution to the gaming community. I also want to recognize those that have helped me with reviews of my products, so this is a way to pay it forward.

I will review the following types of content
  1. The content must already be published via either; the DMsGuild (www.dmsguild.com), the Fantasy Grounds webstore (www.fantasygrounds.com/store), or another recognized website.
  2. The content must include a Fantasy Grounds Module or Extension, and it is this module/extension that I will be reviewing. See below for review of PDF versions of content.
  3. I must be provided a complimentary review copy of the content via email to my gmail.com account LordEntrails. Preferably through the website distribution system (i.e. the DMsGuild has this functionality for authors and is the only way I can provide a rating or review on the DMsG site).


Review Ratings
I will be using a 50 point system that will correspond to star ratings as follows;
46+ points = 5 stars
36-45 points = 4 stars
26-35 points = 3 stars
16-25 points = 2 stars
<15 points = 1 star

Review Criteria
  • Quality (15 points) Ė From spelling and grammar to images and artistry, how usable and readable is this product?
  • Completeness (10 points) Ė Does it have everything I need to use it?
  • Creativity (10 points) Ė Is it original and creative?
  • Value (10 points) Ė Is the product worth the price?
  • Versatility (5 points) Ė How broadly can this product be used?


What I will not be evaluating, and what I will not be doing
  • Playtesting, this simply is too time consuming
  • Making detailed power or balance evaluations. If something seems out of balance or ill-suited, I will say so. But I donít intend to worry about min/max implications.


What my rating mean to me
In todayís world, many consider anything less than a perfect rating a bad review. I donít. Hereís how I see things;
  • 5 stars: Awesome, I would consider buying this just to have it for inspiration or to support the incredible work done. (Honestly, I donít expect many of these to come up).
  • 4 stars: Great Work, if you have a need for this, then you will want this and will love it. Itís solid, well thought out, well executed and meets all my expectations of an experience professional product.
  • 3 stars: Good job, it is very useable as is. It is well done and has solid concepts and execution. There is room for improvement, but this is a respectable product that most gamers will be happy using or will enjoy plundering for ideas or artistry.
  • 2 stars: I see potential, and there are some ideas or artistry here that is valuable, but the product needs serious revisions before it reaches a professional level product.
  • 1 star: Uninteresting and poorly executed. I donít expect gamers to be happy with this product and an author really needs to step back and do a significant amount of reconsideration, study and review of similar products to learn what they should be looking to produce.


Other product format considerations
If the product is also made available to me in other formats I can access (such as PDF), I will perform a limited review of it and will comment on it in the review. But, the FG module versions is what will be rated and is the basis for the review.

Where I will post your review


Updating a Review
When requested, because of major updates to a product, I will re-review a product and update the review(s) for it. I will only do this once per product and only when requested by the author.

About Me
I was born in 1970 and began playing Dungeons in Dragons in second grade (circa 1978). Since then I have played dozens of systems of RPGís and numerous related board and card games. Note, I do not claim to be an expert on any of them. I am a Big Picture thinker, an engineer, and I look at things critically with a systematic view.

Considerations
I will do my best to provide all reviews in an unbiased manner as I can. If I have any professional or personal relationships with any of the authors or products I review (other than as a possible or previous customer of them) I intend to make full disclosure of this in the review. I will also be as timely as I can with reviews. I expect to be posting reviews most weeks, but will not commit to a release schedule as I have other priorities and projects.

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Updated February 7th, 2017 at 02:34 by LordEntrails

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Comments

  1. MarianDz's Avatar
    It is great idea "LordEntrails".
    And seems this your Blog is first published in our FG BLOGs section for year 2017, so it looks you starts new era. Hope soon we can read first review
  2. LordEntrails's Avatar
    Just finished writing up my first review and will be posting it shortly
  3. Seya's Avatar
    Awesome can't wait to read them.
  4. Bidmaron's Avatar
    I have found your first three highly informative and very accurate. Thanks!
  5. LordEntrails's Avatar
    So, I'm thinking of changing my review policy a small bit and I would like the reader's feedback. What I'm considering is that after I perform the review that I send the details to the author and put a ten day delay on posting the review in case the author wants to make updates and have me re-review it.

    This would mean several things;
    - There would be a delay in reviews getting posted in the next few weeks as this goes into effect
    - Hopefully overall product quality would be improved as authors would be encouraged to improve their products after receiving the draft review.
    - More work for me

    Thoughts? Would it be of enough additional value that it's worth my additional effort?
    Updated January 13th, 2017 at 15:34 by LordEntrails
  6. LordEntrails's Avatar
    So, I really liked the 10 day waiting period, until I thought a bot more about what that would mean to me, and ultimately to you. If I were to go with a 10 day waiting period, it would mean that I would not be able to post links from the threads or on other sites until those 10 days had gone past.

    And honestly, it means I would probably forget, and in the best case would mean more work for me.

    I think I will try a waiting period for just for reviews on the DMsG (as those can not be modified once posted) for any reviews of 3 stars or less.

    The other change (only in words, not in actuality) is that I've added Extensions to the list of things I will review.

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