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Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
$24.95 $11.95
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
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Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
Publisher: Encoded Designs
by Alessandro M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2015 12:48:32

A good manual to improve your mastering skills. It give you some frameworks to organize your campaing and tips to avoid common mistakes.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
Publisher: Encoded Designs
by Nearly e. D. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2013 13:45:23

After spotting that Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management had been released for pre-order, I decided now was a good time to have a nosy through this book, and see everything that I do wrong when managing my campaigns.

I won't lie, my initial thoughts of this book forced me to have flashbacks of management lectures at university. Well, at least the ones I remember considering I slept through most of them. I was worried this was going to be a dry tome that would not educate me because obviously I knew EVERYTHING about being a GM. Most GMs have a flavour and style of GMing, and the idea of reading a book to improve on that seems like an alien concept. We all learned through the hundreds of failed campaigns we tried to run, the dozens that fell at the first hurdle, and then finally reaching the few that are still talked about as the "Best campaign EVER!". Then there are the GMs who prefer to improvise a lot more than spend hours pouring over his notes and preparing for sessions.

Allow me to dismiss all of these fears and questions. This book isn't boring or dry, but lays out the facts that everybody has to usually learn the hard way. There are plenty of stories and examples for each stage, that helps break up the information dump that comes from such a book. The writing styles are clean and easy to read, without huge piles of abbreviations or in-jokes, which means even the newest of aspiring GMs can dig into this book and understand what it is trying to tell you.

The information in the book may feel like "well, isn't this obvious?" if you have been GMing for a while, but there certainly are plenty of light bulb moments where I have gone "Why did I not think of that?!". The book is also clear about what it is, and what it is not. This book is about the bigger picture than just session by session preparation. It is about getting that initial campaign off the ground, and how to absolutely nail the first session to keep your players coming back for more. I can see a more experienced GM might view this more as a reference material rather than a hefty document (although there is less than 200 pages of actual information) as there is an absolutely superb index. This sort of book needs an excellent index to allow those who just want to find the advice they want without pouring through all the sections. The book is also bookmarked and hyperlinked throughout to help you find what you are looking for easily.

There are three main sections of the book. There is a bit of a blurb at the beginning from each of the writers, as well as their thoughts on why managing a campaign is kinda a big deal. After that we move onto starting a campaign, managing the campaign, and finally ending a campaign. In each of these sections is step-by-step advice on how they think each section could be managed, and what the best case scenario is and the worst case scenario is for the outcome of each section. This is combined with stories from the author's past describing similar issues they discuss in the sections.

I have only had the chance to read through this book once, but already I feel like I have picked up some valuable information for when I run my next game. Some GMs might find the approach a bit formal but it is correct that sometimes, especially when emotions can be on the line, that is the best way to treat this. I am also thrilled to see the book emphasise that GMs need to be enjoying the game as well, not just the players. After all, everybody is meant to be having fun!

I would heartily recommend grabbing yourself a copy of this book and gets a full thumbs up from me. The advice available is useful and well thought out, and will improve your GM skills.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
Publisher: Encoded Designs
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/12/2013 20:43:40

If there ever was a university course for Game Mastering, I would probably find Engine Publishing’s Odyssey in the list of textbooks.

The fourth of their series of books to help GMs run better games, Odyssey joins Never Unprepared in taking a look at a facet of the hobby that is often unaddressed in the industry: that of game (and people) management.

It’s not surprising that our hobby is a social one, and it is inevitable that the GM, often the de facto head of the group has to exercise a form of leadership and management to keep the group running. It’s not enough that the game itself is good, but there are steps taken outside of session prep and running the game that makes up for a large part of the enjoyment and experience as well.

This is where Odyssey steps in.

Odyssey is an honestly written book that looks at the real-life issues of managing a group of people to show up and commit to a game. It looks at campaigns from the very start, from concepts and frameworks, and into the management of players, story, people, risk and change. Finally it wraps up with a discussion of ending Campaigns, with a refreshingly frank take on how to end Campaigns in a manner to avoid a “bad” campaign end where players feel unsatisfied and upset.

The book is very well illustrated and laid out, with interesting art pieces that break up the discussion and augment the text. Short fiction pieces help illustrate how games go well (and badly.)

I loathe to pull specific quotes from the book because it’s very, very good. It’s clear that the authors are veterans who have given more than a fair share amount of thought and work into the book. The advice they share is meant to help people, and it shows. There’s a solid sense of “I’ve done screwed up this way before, and here’s what I think can help you avoid making the same mistake.” going on in the book, and it’s a kind of sincerity that I certainly appreciate.

Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management lives up to its name. There’s a lot to learn, and the book makes it easy. I would certainly recommend this book to any GM, and if you’re a player, do your GM a favor and buy this for him. It’ll do him (and your games) a world of good.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
Publisher: Encoded Designs
by VP401533 K. H. L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2013 11:54:38

As what the author said at the beginning, it's more like how to manage a campaign than how to design a campaign. Guess I didn't read the title carefully. Nevertheless, I read as much of it as I simply can (since I am a PM by profession too) and I can say it is really a management guide. It's good for a one time read through but if you intend to use it as a reference guide, then you'll be disappointed.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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