Sunday, June 19, 2016

On Grain Into Gold and Horseshoes (it’s not really about horseshoes)

OK, so Grain Into Gold is Board Enterprises’ best-selling product of all time. Well, OK, maybe second to Legend Quest, but certainly our best on-line seller. Because of that, I take all criticism on it very seriously! (Maybe too seriously!)

So a reviewer pointed out that he got confused with the way that I described the cost of horseshoes. He’s right. I started getting into all manner of specifics about what could raise or lower the cost of shoeing a horse, and it got confusing. But here is what I’ve learned over the years:
It is better for me to simply state something I believe to be true as a fact, rather than try to show people why it’s true. Case in point: Another review of GIG (and several of them seem to go this route) mentions that I use “unsubstantiated” details. That is true. I do not give references for where I determined the pounds of wheat that can be grown in a fantasy field in a fantasy world during a fantasy time period using fantasy methods. Look, I’m not just trying to be a jerk here. I have researched things - WAY!! too much research! I’ve touched on this before in this blog, but the crop yields in California are vastly different than the crop yields in Michigan. So how do I present a tool for GMs to use? I mean a useful tool, not one with fifteen grids showing temperature, rain fall, weight of manure, etc. Really something that they can use!

In Grain Into Gold, I say that we’re using averages and that averages are never right. I thought I pounded on it too hard, but it is true. I know it seems that I’ve wandered quite a bit from horseshoes here, but here’s the point: The average cost of steel is 1.6 silver coins per pound of steel. Where is that the cost of steel? Well, theoretically nowhere. It’s the average. What does a farrier charge for his time? Again, on average about 4sc. What does that include? That’s where I confused this original reviewer, because I threw in ideas of traveling to the farm, recycling the old shoes, quality of workmanship, etc.

Rather than try to argue that I did it all right, it really is better for me to present the best averages I can, using the most consistent pricing models that I have built, and just leave it at that. For 95% of the people with the book, that’s all they want. For the other 5% of you: I will happily engage with you in the privacy of email and walk you through exactly how I came up with all this nonsense.

I have to give this latest guy credit! We got in contact with each other, and he admitted that he misread a couple of things. He really carried himself as a gentleman. As we all know, that’s pretty rare on the internet.

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