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shop floor

RPGnet

RPGnet is one of the oldest and largest role-playing game websites on the Internet. It was founded in 1996 by Emma and Sandy Antunes, Shawn Althouse (etrigan) and Brian David Phillips, as a way to unify a number of transient game sites. In 2001 it was purchased by Skotos Tech, but maintains creative and editorial autonomy. Currently it is being run by: Shannon Appelcline of Skotos (site oversight, columns editorial, programming); Allan Sugarbaker (editorial oversight, reviews editorial, operations); and a variety of forum moderators and administrators.

RPGnet services

Forums

The site's most popular feature is its message board, which has over 30,000 unique users each week. RPGnet is the second largest roleplaying forum, after Wizards of the Coast.

The forums have grown over time. Tangency, the off-topic forum, has the most posts per day. There are also computer and board game forums, an "other media" forum that covers television, comic books, movies and books. The site also hosts small forums for photography, parenting, and other specific interests.

Like most large forums, RPGnet has developed numerous in-jokes, taglines, and recurring flame wars. Moderation was at one time very loose, but now follows fairly strict guidelines (see link below). Many game writers, artists, and designers post.

A wide range of tastes are present on the forums. Smaller "fringe" or indie role-playing game are particularly well-represented and the latest releases often generate a great deal of discussion. Threads on Dungeons & Dragons, World of Darkness, GURPS and other popular systems are fairly common. It's notable that discussion of Rifts and other Palladium games is rare considering those games' popularity, and those discussions that do take place often become heated. Exalted, on the other hand, is known for generating a particularly large number of discussion threads.

Other websites will excerpt or reference forum posts that (much as with the Fark PhotoShop contests) have lasting value, such as ZenDesign excerpting WoW-erizing movie quotes and From the Shop Floor borrowing from the Demotivators thread.

Reviews

Reviews have been an important part of RPGnet since its inception. Today, RPGnet has an active archive of approximately 7,500 reviews. Most reviews are of roleplaying games or supplements. In the last few years, users have contributed numerous reviews of board and card games. RPGnet also publishes reviews of movies, books, music albums and comics, though less frequently.

The review system was overhauled in early 2003 and since then reviews have appeared with numerous cross-references in an effort to try and improve navigation of the large review archive.

Currently, reviews appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. RPG reviews are published on Mondays and Fridays, while reviews of other products are published on Wednesdays.

Columns and articles

RPGnet currently has approximately 20 regular columns. Columns are posted on a four-week, Monday-Friday schedule (with 3 to 4 columns posted during a typical week, as per columnist cooperation), with any "extra weeks" in the schedule filled in with additional columns, as they become available. Most columns cover gamemasters offering advice on running roleplaying games to other gamemasters, but there is some variety.

Notable columns have included: 52 Pickup which promised to offer a new game every week for a year (it got to about a dozen before the initial author gave up, then another dozen before the second one did); Behind the Counter which continues to detail the runnings of a gaming retail store; and Freelancing is Not Free which describes how to freelance in the gaming industry. Noteworthy columnists have included game industry veterans such as Ross Winn, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Chad Underkoffler and Matt Drake. Sandy Antunes' monthly column has run without interruption since inception.

The columns software was upgraded in 2006, and it now includes full RSS feeds as well as a variety of database-oriented lookups and full integration into the RPGnet forums.

Prior to 2008, Columns Editing was handled by C.W. Richeson (2008), Shannon Appelcline (2006-2007), Michael Fiegel (2001-2005) and Sandy Antunes (inception - 2001). As of January 2008, it is handled by Shannon Appelcline.

RPGnet columns have been referenced on Slashdot (including Gaming Girls of GenCon and A History of Wizards of the Coast), on Google Answers (The $1K Company), and many blogs and gaming sites.

Wiki

The RPGnet wiki was added in early 2005. Its original purpose was to offer a place for people to jointly design roleplaying supplements and game systems; there has been some work on this, but others have begun to use it as a place to assemble an encyclopedia of roleplaying terms.

The RPGnet Wiki is built on MediaWiki, the same software used by Wikipedia.

News

2005 also saw a facelift of the News & Press section of RPGnet. RPGnet now aggregates RSS feeds, with over two dozen feeds in six different gaming categories available.

Gaming Index

In 2006, RPGnet added a Gaming Index, a catalog of RPGs added by users. This new system is intended to hold every English RPG product, and is searchable through a variety of means, notable hyperlinks to other products by the publisher, authors or game line and links to RPGnet's reviews of the product. Users can also rank the products and comment on them. As of July 21, 2008 the site has 9144 games, 1229 additional editions, and 1288 magazines, accounting for 541 unique game systems.).

Other features

RPGnet features a RPG store, which is a RPGnet-branded version of RPGShop The site also offers a membership program which gives subscribers early access to reviews, a few forum privileges, and online access to some Days of Wonder games.

References

External links

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