Today’s #RPGaDAY2015 topic is Favorite RPG Publisher. That’s simple. My favorite RPG publisher is the one that pays their freelancers a good rate and in a timely manner. When that’s done, it’s a signal that a company not only values their employees, they value their entire work.

It’s disappointing this is my answer.

It’s disappointing that there are enough publishers that delay payments, act in bad faith, or are actual charlatans that we can actually define a subset of game publishers as “the ones that actually pay their contractors”. But you know what? It’s true.

Just to single one of the companies out that I’ve worked for, Magpie Games is great. I’ve been working on products for them for over a year and a half now and they’ve consistently fantastic about prompt payment, at times bugging me for an invoice so they could get me paid! This is a three-person operation working on products that have small print runs, compared to an industry that has smallish print runs. Yet they can get their freelancers paid, quickly. They’re one of my favorite publishers.[1]

I’ve experienced and heard of good things from other companies, too many list (and I’m afraid that I’d accidentally leave someone off, implying that they aren’t a good player in our industry).

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But if we’re not talking about how a company treats their employees and freelancers, what other metric can we use?

How about how the company’s public faces behave in public?

Let me tell you why I love Evil Hat Productions.

Several years ago, they published this game, Spirit of the Century, and this one guy does a review of the game. Dude was extremely negative in his review (if I recall correctly, purposefully so). Dude generally hates games that deviate from the 1970’s style of D&D roleplay and gamers that like games he doesn’t.[2] It’s a reason to crap on a game while disguised as a review.

Evil Hat directly responds: “Thanks for taking the time to review our book. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it.”

So Evil Hat, one of my favorite publishers.

swf02-twileksnowspeederMaybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s which publisher publishes your favorite stuff? Or which one made your favorite game? Or which one has a constant output of new stuff, continually making your game better and better?

Too many choices. Too many ways to answer the question. Fantasy Flight Games has amazing art direction (and game mechanics) in their Star Wars games and has a steady stream of supplemental materials. Dog-Eared Design has the one game and when they went for a Kickstarter campaign for the new edition, they didn’t add on a bunch of goofy stretch goals.[3] Too many things competing for “favorite”.

What criteria would you use to determine a “favorite” publisher?

  1. It doesn’t hurt that put out good stuff, either! The Fate Core and Apocalypse World systems are among my favorite game systems. Magpie Games has been doing some neat stuff with those two bases recently. []
  2. I’m painting with a broad stroke here. []
  3. Which I found rather refreshing. []

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