I recently bought a modern assassins RPG called Hollowpoint just because of this excellent review by Lowell Francis of another game (about Cold War spies versus vampires, yes!) called Night’s Black Agents.
Working backwards, I read the same writer’s also-excellent review of Hollowpoint as well as his also-also excellent addendum, on his own blog, of how to use Hollowpoint’s mechanics to play very different (non-assassins based) games.
(Here’s a useful post by one of Hollowpoint’s authors on its design. “…We frequently leave a few things out — sometimes on purpose, mind you — and therefore leave to instinct.”)
My point is, Francis somehow writes clearly and compelling of a game about which I previously knew absolutely nothing; he writes at length, describing the general rules system, feel of the game, and even taste of the rulebook’s prose. And in all this, he doesn’t give anything away: He makes me want to read the “real” book—and play the game.
This is a good RPG review, or a good game review in general—tempting.
One reason I love reading the rules of RPGs and playing them is precisely that they are so abstract. Reviewing them is even more abstract—describing rules in summary, without the benefit of “flavor text” and handy reference charts. Props to Francis and anyone else who can do so deftly.
In closing, to give just two more examples:
- Here is a good review of Carcosa >> – Made me buy the Carcosa PDF as quickly as I could find it (here)
- Here is a good review of Skyrealms of Jorune >> – Made me want to track down yet another old school game that I will never play (though I will happily cannibalize it for 100 M.Y.)