Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Positive Negativity

I agree, ruthless criticism is the way for game writing to move forward. Now let me show you who is the best person doing that now. This dude, Bryce Lynch of the Ten Foot Pole blog.

He is insanely prolific doing reviews. He will read a whole One Page Dungeon Contest and comment on each and every entry. His comments on my entries have not been positive but they have helped me step up my game. He will gladly say something is crap and exactly why he thinks that.

BUT  his "darwinism" only extends to games, not people. He doesn't play in the controversy olympics. He reviews modules as modules. He pans Isle of the Unknown but does not say "Look at this lackluster production from the notorious child-rape advocate." At times he outright separates his opinion of the product from that of the person. "C'mon, you can do better, I know you can."

Of course, most of the people he reviews are obscure Dungeon magazine scribes and one-shot module writers, but the way he also treats the micro-celebrities on his list makes you sure that he really is coming from a place of love for the hobby. It makes his criticism of the games more effective.

There is a third way, between dick-jousting and fluffy hugs. Follow the ten foot pole.


  1. Seconded - thanks for stating that. After the latest round of name calling I'm now with Tim Brannan on this.

  2. And motion carries.
    '10 foot pole' definitely has my respect too. He was absolutely fair in ripping apart one of my OPDs and he had some nice things to say about another (which mattered a lot more knowing he's not just being nice).
    Anyone considering writing something for DnD should be reading him, and if I were publishing I'd want advance feedback from him for sure.

  3. Amen! I also appreciate the fact that he clearly states his criteria and sticks to it. When he's reviewed my stuff I've spent the first minute after reading the review thanking my lucky stars that he liked it--then immediately went back to reread the criticisms because I know they are solid.

  4. Wow! I didn't know about this blog. Yes, sir, following now!

  5. So, basically, be negative, but do it according to these rules that I have arbitrarily imposed.

    Of course everyone agrees. We've reinvented dissent according to kindergarten rules, so no one ever has to feel that change is difficult, uncomfortable, destructive or otherwise in any way like actual change. Ideal! Wonderful! The world is a happy fairy land!

    There is no law in the arena.

    1. "So, basically, be negative, but do it according to these rules that I have arbitrarily imposed."

      No, it's "be negative, but leave the ad hominem attacks out of the equation".