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Mind's Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse
Publisher: By Night Studios
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2018 14:25:38

First, I find the content/conceptual update of this product from the BNS writers to be phenomenal, engaging, and very appropriate to the Zeitgeist of the early 21st century rather than the 1990s that birthed the earlier editions of Werewolf: The Apocalypse. In that regard, I do play and love playing this game.

My problems have been with the release. There is the general problem that it is too massive for its binding. I treat mine like a museum piece as a result, because I hear countless accounts of how 1 rough handling will break its spine in an instant, quickly leading to a fragmented book. That's a common and well-known problem with the hardcover edition.

But there are additional problems in terms of versions.

PDF version: I bought the PDF-only package early on (October 2016), because I needed access to the text and couldn't afford hard copy then. Fow what it is, it's good, although you still have to refer to the BNS Errata on their website for a last few and sundry patches to the text. (Some wrong, rogue, and missing sentences slipped by the final edit for the current PDF version.) But since the Errata points out those fixes, and there are rather few, it's manageable. And when I'm at my desktop with extra monitor, reading the book this way works well. Also, being searchable is the only solution sometimes, so that's good. You just have to make sure you check the Errata on some points.

Hard copy: I waited a year and a half before buying the hardcopy version (January 2018), because sometimes you just want/need a book, not a PDF. I also figured that (1) this would avoid early misprint/publication problems, and (2) since it's listed as Print on Demand, it wouldn't run out, and it would be up to date with any PDF revisions that might come up (as one did shortly after initial release of the game).

There are significant content problems with the hard copy edition.

The hard copy I received is printed from an extremely out of date version of the PDF (pre-October 2016), which has numerous additional errors in the rules for various Gifts and making Spirit NPCs not covered in the online BNS errata. Those are just the ones I know about. The BNS Errata does not cover the changes that were made between that old version and the PDF version now sold by DriveThru RPG, so there seems to be no indication of which parts of the hard copy are wrong as compared to the PDF. This means the reader is left to discover them like rotten Easter eggs at some point when looking at the book and the PDF side by side. And then you still have to check the BNS Errata for the lingering discrepancies in the PDF version (which on its own would be forgivable for an otherwise great product).

I ordered the book as a Print on demand product in January 2018. But it was printed from a pre-October 2016 outdated (erroneous) version of the PDF.

I submitted this to Customer Service with print lot number and everything per norma, hoping it was just a probem with one lot--bad luck of the draw for me. They looked into it for a few weeks, then concluded the issue with the offer of refund, because "Unfortunately it doesn't look like we will be able to get an updated print version of this book any time soon." This tells me that this is not actually a Print on Demand product, but that they are sitting on a big stock of misprinted hardcover editions that are faulty (or for some mysterious reason can only print from a very out-of-date version). Customer Service then pointed me to the BNS Errata online. But that Errata only covers the errors in the more recent PDF version of the book; there is apparently no Errata/Changelog available that shows what content changed between the outdated version used to print the hard copy and the PDF version that is sold now. Such a file should at least be provided to customers as a courtesy.

Additionally, because I bought the PDF on its own first, then the hard copy separately, I was not eligible for the bundle price, nor did Customer Service offer that as an option--i.e., keeping the faulty book, but at reduced (bundle) price via partial refund (or even credit). So it's either all or nothing on refund for the book. You either settle for a book that is from a version of the text that is 18+ months out of date (and undocumented), or you have no hard copy at all. Having paid full price for both parts of the bundle, I am left using the hard copy (because sometimes PDF is really inconvenient, especially for extended reading), but then still having to check the PDF for some rules updates and then also the BNS Errata online for additional rules changes. This seriously reduces the value of a hardcover book that cost $60 (Standard Heavyweight) in addition to the $25 PDF.

I am tolerant of a lot of things, but this release gaffe has hit my bottom line for hobby budgeting pretty hard, with no solutions being offered by the sellers.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mind's Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse
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