Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why I no longer read Knights of the Dinner Table (Repost)

Repost from Facebook, originally written December 5, 2008.

Notes (2016): My apathy continues unabated... I only occasionally check Kenzerco to check if it's still in publication. Kinda like how I check on Spoony monthly to see if he's done any work... the difference being that, amazingly, KoDT is still producing content.

Ugh. Upon going to the Kenzerco website to verify that link, I was unfortunately reminded of the live action KoDT series that was kickstarted. If the Kickstarter preview was any indication, this is going to be painful. 

I started reading KoDT early on. Like, issue 6 was the first one I bought. Then I bought every one up to issue 108. Then there was a time when I couldn't afford much of anything, so the trips to the game store stopped for about a year. In that year the game store closed, so when I did have some money to spend, I had no source. Yeah, I checked the "other" game store, actually more of a comic shop with a game corner. The only issue they had was number 109 (and mind you, issue 120 was out at the time), but they didn't take checks. However, I eventually shelled out about $80 on KenzerCo's website to catch up to almost current.

Back in the day, the comics were short, funny, and had little to no continuity. Most delivered the punchline in only a single page. Over time they introduced more continuity, starting with the Knobby Foot eating Dave's cow era. Not bad. They still had one offs regularly and the Black Hands occasionally to mix it up. Then, came the dark times, the time ...of story lines, the bane of the new reader. This seemed to hook most of the current readers, but had to be intimidating to those picking up an issue for the first time. "I have to order HOW many back issues to catch up?".

Well, they started doing footnotes after a while as recap. That went over like coming back into a game (perhaps after being the designated pizza fetcher) and asking "What did I miss?", only to be told "Brian and Bob have been arguing about spell resistance against magic weapons, and Dave's been failing his climb checks for about 10 minutes." To that, you'd reply "Oh, so nothing."

I tell you, it got really bad, to the point where I couldn't identify an issue I already owned because they were doing the same thing for like five issues straight. I actually had to discern them by Spoony's Movie Rants (but, they eventually decided to drop those from the mag). It still had its humorous moments, but they started tapering off as well. There were perhaps 1-3 moments I actually found amusing per issue around the time I stopped trying to read.

That's just the thing. It took effort to read. It wasn't fun. It was a chore. It was an arduous task I had to slog through, and in the end, nothing was resolved. Just setup for the next issue. The bones I have to pick specifically are with Brian's "Cattlepunk" campaign (which lasted about a year) and the Temple of Horrendous Doom series (which I'm not sure if they ever finished, but at least a year). That kind of pacing works fine in a TV series where you only have to wait a week or a day for the next part, but a month between is too much. Not with as little payoff as there was. I never thought I'd say that something could drag-on worse than Dragon Ball Z... but KoDT did.

So I let them know what's bothering me. How does Jolly, the man himself reply to my negative feedback? "Well the subscribers like it". Well of course they like it! That's why they're subscribers! Meanwhile, they're losing subscribers who don't like the direction the mag had taken, and put off potential subscribers. So the mag gets sustained by the yes men while the input from the other side is ignored or regarded as an aberration.

Addendum (2016): This behavior is known as confirmation bias

I like to think about how good it used to be, much like the Simpsons.


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