Is the RPG hobby dying? [RPG Blog Carnival]
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  1. #1

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    Is the RPG hobby dying? [RPG Blog Carnival]

    The question posed in this month's RPG Blog Carnival, hosted by Mad Brew Labs, bears some serious consideration by our community.

    Here's my answer.
    Turning Hard-Bitten Soldiers Into Dice-Rolling Fiends!

    Enjoy. Discuss. As a community, we're really good at that.

  2. #2

    Titan (Lvl 27)

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    Excellent question.

    I think that more companies should take a page from the Expeditions program that WOTC is using. Paizo has got it's Pathfinder living campaign (I'm sorry, I'm blanking on the name right now) and that's a fantastic step in the right direction. Other RPG companies need to do this.

    Small con's and meet-ups. This is a more grass-roots sort of thing that local gaming communities can organize. Find a space - community center, whatever - and run small, one day conventions or meet-ups. Get organized with local gaming stores and have a few door prizes, that sort of thing. Do entry level one shots of a variety of games. Not just RPG's, but board games and cards. Be as inclusive of the community as possible.

    Evangalize the hobby. Don't be afraid to tell people what you did Sunday night. Don't do it in a negative way - always, always be positive. THIS is what's great about what I did. THIS is why I'm excited. I had such a fantastic time. Hey, you want to come too?

    Every game needs quick start rules. Always. You should have a five or ten page (tops) pdf that people can print out and hand off for new gamers for any game on the market.

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

  3. #3
    • How would you like to see the hobby grow?
      Through gameplay and the activities around it. GMs running games for full tables. People telling their friends. People blogging or writing about their games, sharing ideas, self-publishing, creating fanzines, et cetera.
    • How can the community or publishers help grow the hobby?
      By focusing on game-play. The hobby of RPGs is the foundation that supports the business of RPGs. Not the other way around.
    • What are you doing to advance the hobby?
      Playing the games I enjoy. Introducing them to new players (I recently started running an AD&D game for my 15-year-old nephew and a group of his buddies from school.) Writing about the game. Submitting articles to fanzines. Buying stuff I like.
    • What is hindering the growth of the hobby?
      For me, personally, it's lack of time. RPGs require a time investment, especially on the part of the GM. However, that's just the way it is. If RPGs have value, are fun, and people like them, then the hobby will expand or shrink to whatever level it "should" be at, based on demand.
    • Is technology a key component of growing the hobby?
      It's made it a hell of a lot easier, by making communication easier. My main OD&D group is made up of guys who came together through message boards and said "hey, we're all on the same page, gaming-wise, and we're all pretty close. Let's start meeting face-to-face and get a game going." It's also easier for anyone in the hobby to publish and distribute, or even just to put up a campaign log or a blog.
    • Is the hobby fine the way it is?
      Yes.
    • What are some pitfalls in trying to grow the hobby?
      Falling into the trap of thinking the hobby *must* grow or *should* grow (or *must not* shrink). Also falling into the trap of thinking the hobby lives or dies based on the success or failure of the biggest company or the biggest brand.

  4. #4

    Magsman (Lvl 14)



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    As a gamer, there is one basic anti-pattern to avoid: Don't be a jerk.

    * When in a group or at a convention, be nice to people, shower, socialize, listen when other people talk at the table, don't try to steal the spotlight, don't argue with the DM, if you criticize something be positive.

    * Remember that gaming is one hobby and gamers are one community. Just because someone plays "the wrong edition" or doesn't like your favorite product doesn't mean he is an enemy. Also, gamers are gamers regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or number of tentacles.

    * Tolerate if someone is not interested. Don't bore people with stories of your 15th level Paladin if they obviously don't care.

  5. #5

    Gallant (Lvl 3)



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    Quote Originally Posted by mkill
    Tolerate if someone is not interested. Don't bore people with stories of your 15th level Paladin if they obviously don't care.
    I wish this rule of yours could be shoved in everyone's face.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had to endure a friend raving about Magic the Gathering, or how much someone else loves Kurt Cobain, or a random stranger going on about how much he loves football, because to tell them "Sorry, not interested." would make me the antisocial bastard. Because you're not at fault for boring everyone to tears about your high score in Halo (I honestly cannot be bothered to go learn whether or not Halo is any different than Space Invaders or Double Dragon).

    On-Topic: The game industry is dying... huh. Where have I heard this before. When WotC bought TSR? When 3e was released? When 4e was released?

    Sounds exactly the same as [president] did [scandal] therefore America and freedom will die very soon. Y2K... anyone remember that? Me neither. What about the LHC? Nope, doesn't ring a bell. Interesting how the extinction of humanity at the hands of swine flu was wholly averted by everyone suddenly not caring. 2012 oh em gee mayan calandurz! *peers three years into the future* Can you believe that everyone freaked out over that 2012 crap? "What, Hanna Montana going into rehab?" Heh...


    Relax. Chill. Gaming isn't any more in its death throes than the music industry dying with the advent of CD burning, the movie industry dying because of the VHS, and book-writing becoming obsolete thanks to the printing press. This alarmist junk is older than dirt, and history will repeat itself until the end of time because everyone loves a good doomsday fantasy.

    How else can you explain the popularity of grimdark or the horror genre?
    Last edited by BrokeAndDrive; Wednesday, 14th July, 2010 at 07:34 AM.

  6. #6
    amerigoV
    Quote Originally Posted by BrokeAndDrive View Post
    Gaming isn't any more in its death throes than the music industry dying with the advent of CD burning, the movie industry dying because of the VHS, and book-writing becoming obsolete thanks to the printing press.
    What I find interesting is how these various industries are trying to cope with the rapid pace of technology. The music industry is not dead, but their have been many casualties as more music is distributed electronically. Newpapers struggle with drops in subscriptions but no one is willing to pay for on-line access to their news. Why have cable when I can stream the shows I like and use Netflix for the movies?

    The gaming industry seems to be on a fence of do they engage the electronic world or just use it as a form of awareness of their product. I am torn on this myself as a long-time gamer. I use Maptools and Skype in my groups to keep wayward gamers connected. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like having everyone at the table just playing without all the gizmos. Wizards has experimented with more electronic tools (DDI) with interesting results. The DDI tools seem good enough that they could liberalize the GSL without feeling like they are losing sales (whats the point of a 3rd party making "yet another fighter" if you will not have access to it in DDI?).

    The most important thing is to keep the pipeline open to new, younger gamers. My generation (I am 41) has supported gaming for a long time - from teens begging for money for a gaming book to spending the disposable of an adult. 4e seems to be a push to attract younger gamers* (more CCG and anime features vs. older editions). Although some may grumble, if it attracts more to the hobby, then it is good.

    * Pure piece of irony. I went to a D&D Meetup for the first time. There was a 3.5 game, a 4e game, and a Traveler game. The 4e game pretty much had the 20-somethings and above. The 3.5 game had a few older players and a bunch of kids (10-14 year olds) - and from the screams they were having a blast. Traveler, of course, had no players - as from anything I have ever seen, people only roll up PCs and never actually play Traveler.


    So, I do not think the industry is dying, but I am not really sure what it will evolve into.

  7. #7

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    Quote Originally Posted by mkill View Post
    As a gamer, there is one basic anti-pattern to avoid: Don't be a jerk.
    This pretty much sums it up. New gamers could care less about age old arguments like edition wars or badwrongfun and it's this kind of thing that drives them away in the end.

  8. #8

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

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    When did "geek" become synonymous with "nerd?"

    I've just recently noticed this trend and it is bugging me.

  9. #9

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    Yes and no - If you look at sales, it looks like it but sales everywhere are down, bad times and they have been for years. Yet, if you look at figures for GenCon, you see figures that are constant or some growth.

    What is happening here? We have a hobby that has a core cost that can be spread out over years. Once you buy the books, you do not need much more to play. We create our own adventures. We do not need to buy new stuff.

    So, what do you see as active players?

  10. #10

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leatherhead View Post
    When did "geek" become synonymous with "nerd?"

    I've just recently noticed this trend and it is bugging me.
    It was a sad, rainy day, with the feeling that something had changed, something was off, think it was August 2007, I was there...It was an event like when pulp was split into fantasy and sci-fi...just happened over a cup of coffee and no one seemed to notice. They tried to add dork also but felt that was just too much at the time, it was quite and took place in the back room of game store, between the comic section and the gaming area. Path were cross and worlds collided.


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