One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Monday, April 1, 2013

Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep

Written by: Phil Vecchione, blogger from 
Published by: Engine Publishing
Format: 132 Digest sized black and white pages
Verdict: Totally Fucking Awesome!

How is it in the in the history of roleplaying we only now have a book about how to go about the process of prepping to run a game? I mean we a have a shit load of books that cover important advice that you should consider as a GM, but almost nothing on how to take all that raw material and process it into something useful during a gaming session.

This is a book that should be read at least by every GM at least once. It doesn’t pretend to be pretentious and tell us how exactly to prep for a game, but offers system neutral guidelines and tools to become a better game master. Its a short read, but jam packed with useful information. It identifies the stages of prep, why their important, and how you can adapt them to your preferred gaming style.

I found myself really identifying with the author. He answered questions I've long struggled with about what I need to work on and how in order to maximize the limited prep time I have available. Really thats what this all comes down to, time management and prepping what you need in order to feel comfortable at the game table. What that is varies from person to person but this book really helps you be introspective and figure that out.

For example when I ran my Arkham Heat campaign, despite having a rules light game engine I still suffered burn out from trying to keep one session ahead of my players. I felt like a failure and that perhaps I just wasn’t cut out to GM. In retrospect I think the problem was that I was focusing my time and energy in poor and wasteful ways. In addition with so much of my time consumed by my real life responsibilities I felt like I was never going to have time to actually run a pre-written campaign, never mind prep something from scratch. But this book shows you how to go about managing your time as well.

So to wrap this up, amazing book. Insightful and utile. Defiantly something I will be incorporating and experimenting with in my future game prep endeavours. I don’t care what game system or genre you prefer “Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep” should be mandatory reading for every GM worthy of the title. If I ever meet it's author Phil Vecchione in real life one day I will totally buy him a beer. In the mean time, thanks Phil for giving me the tools and insight to become a better GM!   

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