Erik Schmidt
Erik Schmidt



The Pale Bird

There are many kinds of tabletop RPG reviews. Most of them treat games as commodity items, to be evaluated on a normalized scale. Running through the visual presentation, the clarity of the rules, the amount and quality of setting information, and so on, a numeric rating is provided. This game scored a 4.6, that game scored a 4.8. Better buy the 4.8, right?

Might as well be at Best Buy. Should you buy Acer or Dell? GE or Whirlpool? Be sure to check the Consumer Reports ratings first.

But tabletop RPGs are not appliances. They are scaffolding for the imagination. So when a game activates you in some way, when a game is more than just a collection of rules and setting information and art, reviewing it like it’s just another commodity does it a disservice.

Which brings us to this love letter of a review from Max, aka The Pale Bird, one of the most well-known figures in the Degenesis fan community. It’s not objective, it’s not delivered at an emotional remove, and it doesn’t treat its subject as a mere physical object.

In this era when most of what we come across online has been ruthlessly homogenized and commodified, Max echoes the subject of his review by refusing to follow the well-trod path. If you want to know why Degenesis evokes such devotion in its fans, watch this video.