Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Palladium can do to re-invent itself

1) Stop buying first drafts. While we've all heard the stories of writers who got screwed because KS had to re-write their work, one horrible implication that hasn't really sunk in is that KS pays writers for their first drafts. Any other publisher would blue-pencil that draft and send it back to the writer for a re-write rather than spend valuable executive time on that sort of work.

KS really needs to learn to be an editor, rather than a writer and designer. One of the things keeping Palladium back is the fact that so much of their output is from his sweaty fingers. If he would just let his people innovate, Palladium could keep being an industry innovator.

2) Playtest. Every other game company does internal playtesting. If a Palladium book gets playtested, it is because the writers took it upon themselves to do that. But then it gets the KS re-write anyway, invalidating about half that work.

And a writer's playtest is,. by necessity, limited. One group, maybe two if they're industrious. Enough to help the book conform to one playstyle, one set of house rules. But not enough to bang it into greatness.

Open playtesting (like Paizo does) could help Palladium go viral, but even closed playtesting with select volunteers has the potential to generate more buzz than KS can on his own.


  1. I've been trying to follow the rules change threads that Kev and Alex opened up on the Palladium forums, but it's like watching the proverbial trainwreck... nobody can agree on anything and lots of threads are slowed or stymied by the "Palladium Rules Are Perfect Best EVAR" crowd. I've invented a drinking game for it, too: every time someone takes a backhanded shot at another game system that is "inferior" to Palladium's, take a drink. Hilarity will ensue.

  2. @Ryan: You havent died of alcohol poisoning yet?
    Im impressed!

  3. The problem is that the changes that Palladium needs are systemic within the company, not the games. The fact that the rules have not changed significantly in 20 years is a symptom of the problem, not a cause.

  4. There have been some times that I have been really intrigued and impressed with the work put out by Palladium. Then there are times when it feels like they completely rushed something to market with no play testing or real thought and consideration put into it. I completely agree that KS needs to stop buying first drafts. Instead, read the submission, mark it up, and send it back to the writer to fix. Let the writer do the writing for you. I have been a long time fan of Palladium but I am not blind to their faults. I would love to see a revitalized Palladium in one of the top spots with a revised rules system, play test process in place, and a solid editing process.