|February 16, 2010||Posted by Kurt "Telas" Schneider|
In what must be the most brazen or naive scheme ever devised by those foul-smelling doglike lizards, some Kobolds have asked us Gnomes to review the latest issue of their magazine, tempting us with a free PDF issue.
Do these Kobolds really think that a new edition means that all the old rivalries are forgotten? Do they think that a simple bribe will make up for past atrocities? Can Kurtulmak take a joke? (Heck no.)
Greed and curiosity trumped Gnomish pride, so I accepted their offer. I fully expect this review to be like a Kobold’s life – ugly, short, and ending violently at the hands of an angry Gnome.
Kobold Quarterly is a gaming magazine that focuses on all aspects of gaming, from design to play. Apparently it’s published four times a year, and is available in both print and PDF formats. Honestly, I’ll be impressed if Kobolds can string a sentence together, much less publish a quarterly magazine.
Let’s check the table of contents, and see what kind of desperate fanboy would agree to be published under the banner of the Kobold. We’ve got Wolfgang Bauer, Monte Cook, James Jacobs… This can’t be right; these are some of the bigger names in gaming… Phillipe Menard! Et tu, Chatty?
This is some kind of practical joke, right? Gnomes like practical jokes, so let’s get to the bottom of this. Surely these Kobolds wouldn’t be able to craft an essay like Monte Cook, especially one titled “The Myths and Realities of Game Balance”. After all, Kobolds can’t even craft pants.
Wow, that’s really a nice piece of writing; it’s all practical and no joke. This article alone is worth the price of admission. But even Kobolds can roll a natural 20; let’s see what else is in here.
A nice mix of color and line drawings, all of which add to the articles. Beautiful cover, with a nice winter motif. The fonts are very readable, sidebars are obviously sidebars, and stat blocks are in a familiar format. Even the ads are well done, and remind me of gaming magazines of yore. (Sniff.)
In its 69 pages (including some full-page ads), this issue of Kobold Quarterly has a nice balance between the many facets of gaming, from crunch-heavy variant monks for Pathfinder, to Phillipe Menard’s excellent 4E article on weaving skill challenges into combat, to a review of an RPG adventure turned into a school play. And much more.
Just like another print magazine named for a scaly fantasy beast (now somewhat reincarnated), Kobold Quarterly focuses on the sword and sorcery genre, and primarily on D&D 4E and Pathfinder as gaming systems. However, mechanics are not the point of the magazine, and even a Savage like myself can find plenty in the fluff and system-independent articles.
Reviewing this issue of Kobold Quarterly made me realize that a gaming magazine prods the imagination by delivering a wide variety of articles in one place. There’s something about a magazine that leads me to read articles that I’d normally skip over on a website. “The Ecology of the Froghemoth” is a perfect example. They’re still goofy monsters, but now they’re a cool kind of goofy, and I’m much more likely to use them someday.
Do I like Kobold Quarterly? As a Gnome, I’ll go on record as saying that the name needs some work; nothing this good should be named after those filthy critters.
That said, actions speak louder than words: I’m subscribing today. It’s that good.
Do you have an opinion of Kobold Quarterly? Sound off in the comments and let us know!