Value of the Gaming Dollar

One of the best things I have found about Savage Worlds is I feel that I am getting more for my gaming dollar. When I get a setting book it just oozes with gaming ideas. But as an actuary, we all know feelings have no meaning without facts and numbers. So I came up with the following chart to really see if I am getting more for my money these days.

Big Caveat: This method is purely from my perspective. It is where I am in my gamer life, not everyone is at the same spot.

So, what do I value these days? I like new ideas. As my family grows, I have less time to put to gaming (which is one of the attractions of SW – quick prep). So if I buy a gaming book, it want it to have a lot of ideas that get me jazzed to run the material. At this stage in my life, I do not need a ton of system crunch. Even ignoring SW, I still have D&D 3.5 and enough 4e that I could run stuff without needing more player option books.

My approach is to view how much of a book is crunch vs. fluff. I assign a weight of 1 to the fluff and .25 to the crunch. The crunch gets some weight as I believe there is flavor and ideas in the crunch that is worthy of value. Monsters I weight a 1 even though they have a lot of crunch because lets face it, many settings are heavily influenced by the opposition. The monster crunch gives you an idea of how powerful it is and their unique abilities that can easily be translated to your system of choice (for example, if I sell my 3.5 D&D books, I would keep my monster books because they provide great ideas for Savage Worlds).

The big flaw in my approach is that I do not review the fluff for how good of ideas that it generates. Lets face it, a crappy book is a crappy book regardless of the number descriptive words. As a counter example, the SWEX is a book of crunch, but there are sooo many cool ideas written into that book that it is a gem and one of my preferred gamer reading.

The results does align pretty well with my gut feeling. I was excited to get the Dark Sun setting but it has not resulting in the warm glow of money well spent and the numbers show me the same. Nearly half the book is crunch, which is not want I want (and lets face it, 4e crunch tends to be as dry as the Athlas’ deserts). The SW’s Weird War II book is a heavy crunch book. I love the idea of the setting, but it is not my favorite read. The D&D 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting is great buy regardless of the gaming system and it aligns with my gut feeling that it is has high value. The one outlier is SW Ripper’s book. I love the idea and the crunch is reasonable, but there is something about the writing that just seems to throw me off. Day after Ragnorak rocks and the numbers bear that out.

Everyone wants different things in a gaming books. Some make worlds and campaign whole clothe and really only want crunch books. They would flip the numbers and say “I got the ideas, I just want the players to have options.” But this approach does reflect my gut feel rather well.

Value of the Gaming Dollar

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