D&D In The Mainstream - Again!

With the latest mainstream article (this time the New York Times for the second time this year!) from a major news outlet covering the resurgence of D&D, I thought I'd take a quick look at similar articles which have appeared on the radar of major newspapers and broadcasters recently, including The Guardian, the BBC, the Washington Post, and more!

merlin_164220960_81de6c63-179c-48d9-b21a-fa977a9f502b-superJumbo.jpg

Image from NYT, depicting live-streamed D&D show "Rivals of Waterdeep"


Just yesterday, the Washington Examiner joined in. Forbes also covers the game fairly regularly. It's pretty amazing that this hobby is now appearing in mainstream media on a regular basis. There's a major mainstream article every couple of months now, it seems. The articles are usually very similar -- the surprising revelation of the "rise" or "resurgence" of D&D, and reports that D&D is now 'out of the basement', a few words from somebody at WotC about how the current year is the best year yet, and perhaps an interview with a gamer or two explaining why they think D&D is resurgent now, as well as quotes from a celebrity gamer.

The New York Times was surprised about the popularity of D&D twice this year - this week on D&D's resurgence, and back in April on "why the cool kids are playing Dungeons & Dragons". The Times looks at the strangeness of D&D becoming cool, while the Washington Post wonders how D&D became more popular than ever. IGN explains the recent surge in popularity, and the Guardian tells us we're no longer nerds because D&D is cool now (update: and then again in November). The BBC covers the phenomenon, as does Australia's ABC.

It'll be fun to see what comes next, if D&D's resurgence becomes no longer 'news' but accepted fact, and the outlets get to report on more focused aspects of the hobby -- hopefully the coverage won't die down. It's come some way since 2004 when the BBC asked "What happened to Dungeons & Dragons?" They've certainly got to stop being surprised at the resurgence soon!
With a bit of Googling, you can also uncover a ton of local news outlets which have covered the game, such as the Liverpool Echo, the Oxford Observer, the Washington Examiner, or the Chicago Daily Herald, as well as many comic book and general geek sites. D&D is everywhere!

I'm sure there are more! Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head.
 
Last edited:
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Aaron L

Adventurer
So the D&D game is taking some of the same place the local bar (pub) took in generations past?

I can buy that. Though I am seeing a lot more people play D&D at my local bar, combining activities.
That would be AWESOME!

Well, at least it would have been awesome for me back in the day when I actually went out to the bar. ;)
But I'm happy for others who get to enjoy it now!

The explanation is just my best guess, really; I've never been what you would call attuned to popular culture or the way "normal" people think and interact. Most of the time it's like watching bugs crawling around on the other side of a glass wall for me... not meaning that I see other people as insects, but that they might as well be a completely different species of creepy crawly things for all the more I understand the way they scurry and skitter around the way they do.
 

Rygar

Explorer
Keep politics out of it, please. You know the rules.
Um...

You've listed 5 far left politics sites, and 2 that actually try to produce news. I'd argue that this is more damaging for the brand than helpful, because if people start associating the product line with political parties than the sales will drop until they match the prevelance of the political parties.

What we should be shooting for is to get coverage from places whose primary product isn't clickbaiting political content. Otherwise, this is a indicator of trouble, not success.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Um...

You've listed 5 far left politics sites, and 2 that actually try to produce news. I'd argue that this is more damaging for the brand than helpful, because if people start associating the product line with political parties than the sales will drop until they match the prevelance of the political parties.

What we should be shooting for is to get coverage from places whose primary product isn't clickbaiting political content. Otherwise, this is a indicator of trouble, not success.
Keep politics out of it, please. You know the rules.
 

Daniel D. Fox

Explorer
Do we have any mass media professionals around who can comment on the odds of some of this publicity actually being paid advertising?

Because as @OldGeezer69 notes, some of it sounds like advertising. And as @Morrus notes, the articles are a little, hmm, boilerplate?
Hey gang, Daniel here.

I can't speak to the Dungeons & Dragons articles with the New York Times, but I can tell you how the Zweihander Grim & Perilous RPG article on Forbes.com came about.

Rob Wieland is a contributor/reviewer for Forbes.com, Geek & Sundry, ScreenCrush and several other media outlets. He is on the Andrews McMeel Publishing publicity list, thus he receives PR for our games. As is common with PR, we send out books to all our media contacts. People in our PR list are not obligated to provide anything in exchange – we have no expectations of a review.

A few weeks after PR dropped for the Zweihander RPG Phone PDF, Rob reached out to me personally on Twitter, indicating he was going to do a review for Forbes.com, and needed some key pieces of art. Like any good reviewer, Rob is a consummate professional, and didn't indicate whether the review would be positive or critical. We honestly didn't know what to expect, and didn't ask. We buckled up for what was to come next.

Rob's review on Forbes.com keyed in on the most important elements of Zweihander RPG: its history, the game's intent, the value in randomly determining a character's traits and what the game does differently than Dungeons & Dragons. Very happy to see that he was able to distill down a 667-page omnibus into seven short paragraphs.

 

Vanveen

Explorer
Here's the thing--the "boom" in Dungeons and Dragons is an echo of the first boom--a baby boom, actually.

The game took off in the early 1970s largely because of a demographic bulge of early-20s Americans, many of whom were going to college (a "petri dish" for the spread of the game). We're seeing that now with the Millennial generation. Yes, the oldest ones are in their late 30s--but the overwhelming majority are 24, 25, and 26. In fact, 26 year olds outnumber every other American age. (Check out Pew for more detail.) They don't have kids, still have casual friend groups (from college, first jobs, and casual Meetup-style activities), have a little disposable income and few time commitments (no kids on sports teams, for one thing). It makes a LOT of sense that D & D--and hobby boardgaming--is huge right now. It was in the 1970s too, as the Baby Boomers gradually entered adulthood.

"Thirtysomething," the TV show, was a fictional and actual watershed. There was a very real feeling in the early 1980s that youth was passing and now you were, well, thirtysomething, with kids and a job and hey! where did that old Woodstock feeling go, man? Right about that time roleplaying took off anew with Generation X, which disguised the fact that the rest of the industry was in freefall because the Boomers had mostly turned to other pursuits. (Yes, some stayed, but there were so frickin many of them that of course some would stay.) The biggest casualty: wargames. It just took TSR a few more years to die.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Here's the thing--the "boom" in Dungeons and Dragons is an echo of the first boom--a baby boom, actually.

The game took off in the early 1970s largely because of a demographic bulge of early-20s Americans, many of whom were going to college (a "petri dish" for the spread of the game). We're seeing that now with the Millennial generation. Yes, the oldest ones are in their late 30s--but the overwhelming majority are 24, 25, and 26. In fact, 26 year olds outnumber every other American age. (Check out Pew for more detail.) They don't have kids, still have casual friend groups (from college, first jobs, and casual Meetup-style activities), have a little disposable income and few time commitments (no kids on sports teams, for one thing). It makes a LOT of sense that D & D--and hobby boardgaming--is huge right now. It was in the 1970s too, as the Baby Boomers gradually entered adulthood.

"Thirtysomething," the TV show, was a fictional and actual watershed. There was a very real feeling in the early 1980s that youth was passing and now you were, well, thirtysomething, with kids and a job and hey! where did that old Woodstock feeling go, man? Right about that time roleplaying took off anew with Generation X, which disguised the fact that the rest of the industry was in freefall because the Boomers had mostly turned to other pursuits. (Yes, some stayed, but there were so frickin many of them that of course some would stay.) The biggest casualty: wargames. It just took TSR a few more years to die.
Do you think if 5e was like 3e or 4e we would be seeing a boom like this?
 

Vanveen

Explorer
Do you think if 5e was like 3e or 4e we would be seeing a boom like this?
Yes, actually. Barrier to entry isn't the rules, REALLY. It's finding a DM, first, and having time and friends to play--which every edition after 3rd has considered a top priority to solve. As I often say, 5e (anything after 2e) is not necessarily a better game, but it's a much better product.

My perspective as someone who does behavioral marketing is that rules complexity is the red herring--EVERY edition of D and D is too complicated. If you're willing to engage complex rules at all, you're in. There are a lot more millennials willing to do that, because there are a whole lot more millennials. I might add that 5e has a lot more marketing money spent on it, which any pro will tell you is how you make a thing work.

Yes, 5e is a lot "simpler" or "more streamlined" than older editions. That's about YOU, pal. People getting into this game don't care if the water is 8' deep or 20' deep. It's still too damn deep. They're people who are willing to jump into deep water. And without a DM it doesn't matter how deep the water is. In other words, YOU are the one who can make complexity judgments about rules. They can't and they don't care.

And all of you are too young to remember BECMI, probably the best balance of options and simplicity ever devised. You don't know enough about rules and game design to recognize this, which means you yawp about "edition wars." But if you're considering RPG systems based on rules and you understand the foundational matrices of RPG design, that's probably the best one. Really.

Now here's the mind-blower: the best rules system, like the best computer operating system, is seldom the one that wins. Why that is, is beyond the scope of this post--and also the secret to success at work.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And all of you are too young to remember BECMI,
No, we aren't all too young. In fact, lots of folks on the site have played BECMI.

At the moment, you sound like you are about to start ranting about walking to school in the snow, without shoes, for six miles, uphill both ways... and maybe telling people to get off your lawn. It doesn't come across as superior understanding or wisdom to belittle the opinions of others due to their age, dude. Especially when, on the internet, you don't know if someone is a dog, or older than you.

How about, instead of this "I know better than you, whippersnapper!" you leave space for rational people to actually have different, but still perfectly valid, opinions about what makes a game good? I think you'll end up with a better discussion that way.
 

Vanveen

Explorer
Rude... and pretty unwise. Have a nice break from the thread.
You're missing the point, wistful vampire. What you chose to address is by far the least interesting part of my post. In fact, I'll give it up now. Yes, I was wrong. So many people on this thread recognize old rule sets!


The real issue is the witlessness of so much of RPG discussion. I dunno, maybe I'm the idiot for thinking it could get better. But when some gatekeeper swoops down and advances the crappiest straw man argument I've ever seen--the whole uphill in the snow both ways thing...dude...--I have to wonder if people are able to think, or to read.

Go ahead, reread my post. A-a-and, think about it a minute. My real point is a) a lack of historicity in most of these discussions and b) the fact that the complexity of any rule set is IMMATERIAL to the popularity, reach, etc. of a roleplaying game. Which makes edition wars, the sedulous business of the witless, completely irrelevant. Can you dig it? Can you...get it?

Of course, you may be a dog.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Oh, we get it. You have a good point, but your tone screwed it all up.

You start with "Here's the thing," end with "you may be a dog," and fill the space between with gems like "all of you are too young," "you don't know," "as I often say," "strawman argument," and "I wonder if people are able to think, or to read." You shouldn't be surprised if people respond with hostility or dismissal.
 

Vanveen

Explorer
Oh, we get it. You have a good point, but your tone screwed it all up.

You start with "Here's the thing," end with "you may be a dog," and fill the space between with gems like "all of you are too young," "you don't know," "as I often say," "strawman argument," and "I wonder if people are able to think, or to read." You shouldn't be surprised if people respond with hostility or dismissal.
[/QUOT
lol
 
You're missing the point, wistful vampire. What you chose to address is by far the least interesting part of my post. In fact, I'll give it up now. Yes, I was wrong. So many people on this thread recognize old rule sets!


The real issue is the witlessness of so much of RPG discussion. I dunno, maybe I'm the idiot for thinking it could get better. But when some gatekeeper swoops down and advances the crappiest straw man argument I've ever seen--the whole uphill in the snow both ways thing...dude...--I have to wonder if people are able to think, or to read.

Go ahead, reread my post. A-a-and, think about it a minute. My real point is a) a lack of historicity in most of these discussions and b) the fact that the complexity of any rule set is IMMATERIAL to the popularity, reach, etc. of a roleplaying game. Which makes edition wars, the sedulous business of the witless, completely irrelevant. Can you dig it? Can you...get it?

Of course, you may be a dog.
Well...actually the rule set isnt completely lacking any effect on popularity.

The simpler the rule set is will actually shift average iq down for instance.

The more modular and build it your self option laden the rule set is the more it will attract dms who like to add tons of things.

Yes. The ruleset effects popularity. Mostly in the "which part of the game will be particularly popular/unpopular with select demographics" kind of way. Otherwise you are mostly right.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
We have to remember many gamers are used to complex rules thanks videogames. And many movies and videogames as Warcraft or Lord of the Rings indirectly has given TTRPGs advertising. D&D is different, but not too strange.

And today players want board games where they can do things in videogames aren't possible as improving social interactions to trick nPCs.

In the next years fantasy action-live movies and series are cheaper to be produced thanks to the technology of stagecraft software. This means more elves vs orcs battles in the big and little screen, and classic movies set in past ages, based in famous novels.

* It is curious. Here in Spain the second most popular TTRPG was World of Darkness, maybe the first in the last years before 3rd D&D Ed because translations stopped. But now WoD isn't in the top of the wave. Call of Cthulhu is famous, but not so much, and the translation of titles is even slower than other lines. At least Lovecraft's myths have got some movies or even videogames.

I guess after Bloodlines 2 the things will start to change. WoD is easier to be adapted to the screen because it is set in the current age.

* Easier rules is opening doors because new players are children with their parents or older family. It is time family is together and more controlled by adults, but youngest members have fun using their imagination and without videogames.

* If D&D is popular now... what about novels? After the end of Harry Potter saga some readers would find in Dragonlance the next target, at least reading books by family.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The real issue is ...
... that you are being rude and dismissive, actually.

Sometimes, when one of the staff enters the conversation, folks who were overly condescending can figure out that maybe they need to step it back, without our having to make a public deal out of it. This was apparently not one of those times.

So, let us make it official - you are being rude. You are done in this thread. Please, before engaging with anyone else, consider your approach. If it isn't based in having a general respect for your fellow gamers and posters, please leave off until you are of a disposition to treat people better.
 
We have to remember many gamers are used to complex rules thanks videogames. And many movies and videogames as Warcraft or Lord of the Rings indirectly has given TTRPGs advertising. D&D is different, but not too strange.

And today players want board games where they can do things in videogames aren't possible as improving social interactions to trick nPCs.

In the next years fantasy action-live movies and series are cheaper to be produced thanks to the technology of stagecraft software. This means more elves vs orcs battles in the big and little screen, and classic movies set in past ages, based in famous novels.

* It is curious. Here in Spain the second most popular TTRPG was World of Darkness, maybe the first in the last years before 3rd D&D Ed because translations stopped. But now WoD isn't in the top of the wave. Call of Cthulhu is famous, but not so much, and the translation of titles is even slower than other lines. At least Lovecraft's myths have got some movies or even videogames.

I guess after Bloodlines 2 the things will start to change. WoD is easier to be adapted to the screen because it is set in the current age.

* Easier rules is opening doors because new players are children with their parents or older family. It is time family is together and more controlled by adults, but youngest members have fun using their imagination and without videogames.

* If D&D is popular now... what about novels? After the end of Harry Potter saga some readers would find in Dragonlance the next target, at least reading books by family.
Totally just a tangent but:

I hate harry potter.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Me neither I am a fan of Harry Potter, only I saw the first movie in TV years ago, and reading some articles from the wikipedia.

When I was a child I saw the worst witch, the 1986 movie with Tim Curry.

But Harry Potter was a great hook to get new readers among children. Do remember somebody started with Endless Quest gamebooks, or Dragonlance movies.

* Fantasy Forest and Heart Quest could be interactive comics, or interactive cartoon movies, or for media streaming services. Let's remember now the tablets are replacing the TVs. But I warn fantasy romances for teenage girls may be too easy to be parodied. Hasbro could create a smashing-hit as Prodigious: adventures of Ladybug and Cat-noir, because maho-shojo or magical girls is a very popular subgenre.

Why not Endless Quest gamebooks, but this time as interactive comics for media streaming services?

* I have seen in youtube some minutes of the Dragonlance movie. I like the draw, but the CGI was horrible, today a mobile videogame has got better graphics, this got old very bad, and the animation, the characters moving, wasn't so good as other cartoons from previous decades. And the level of violence was too high for parents to allow their children to watch it. The death by innocent victims should be off-screen. Books and movies have got a different action rhythm, but Dragonlance would deserve a second chance as animated adaptation, maybe as webserie, with a module to allow different levels of censure for distinct public (+7 and +13). In the streaming media services this could be possible.
 
Me neither I am a fan of Harry Potter, only I saw the first movie in TV years ago, and reading some articles from the wikipedia.

When I was a child I saw the worst witch, the 1986 movie with Tim Curry.

But Harry Potter was a great hook to get new readers among children. Do remember somebody started with Endless Quest gamebooks, or Dragonlance movies.

* Fantasy Forest and Heart Quest could be interactive comics, or interactive cartoon movies, or for media streaming services. Let's remember now the tablets are replacing the TVs. But I warn fantasy romances for teenage girls may be too easy to be parodied. Hasbro could create a smashing-hit as Prodigious: adventures of Ladybug and Cat-noir, because maho-shojo or magical girls is a very popular subgenre.

Why not Endless Quest gamebooks, but this time as interactive comics for media streaming services?

* I have seen in youtube some minutes of the Dragonlance movie. I like the draw, but the CGI was horrible, today a mobile videogame has got better graphics, this got old very bad, and the animation, the characters moving, wasn't so good as other cartoons from previous decades. And the level of violence was too high for parents to allow their children to watch it. The death by innocent victims should be off-screen. Books and movies have got a different action rhythm, but Dragonlance would deserve a second chance as animated adaptation, maybe as webserie, with a module to allow different levels of censure for distinct public (+7 and +13). In the streaming media services this could be possible.
No such thing as a tim curry movie that isnt good.

That said, his appearance in the worst witch was little more than a cameo and thus i dont consider it a tim curry movie. I was dissappointed.

Another side note. Alan rickman's metatron from dogma is gutbustingly funny. Also his deadpan humor seals it.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
In that movie he was without moustache nor beard, and he sang a song. But it was a little role.

Please, don't mention Kevin Smith's Dogma, Code da Vinci, Garth Ennis' Preacher or movies like this because because for other people is as if somebody talks about theological lessons from Maria Valtorta's visions. Wouldn't you feel uncomfortable? (Sorry for the off-topic).

Hasbro and Allspark studios have to learn to do good titles, and then to dare to produce the ultimate D&D adaptations. And the main cinema studios still are working to find the right key. Transformers were a true blockbuster, but in the last knight there were too burnt. Power Rangers wasn't so good. The second movie of G.I.Joe was not very popular.

Hasbro wants good relations with Disney, and this wouldn't like Star*Frontiers (d20 Future) as potential rival. But Spelljammer is another matter. It is curious but Disney could create its own fantasy franchises, but they haven't done it with the D&D style yet, but more like Elena of Avalor. The cartoon Black Cauldron and the action-live Dragonslayer are practically forgotten, but a remake, or a sequel is possible.

Have you seen "The Dragon Prince" in Netflix? It could be a good example as reference.

* Fantasy Forest could be a chibi version of D&D, about a forest linked to the demiplane of the dreams, and some dream spirit can incarnate into living creatures and be tamed as harmless monster pets, a mixture of living spell and illusory astral construct with shape of dragons, dinosaurs or furby-like creatures.

* Hasbro could produce a movie about toys getting alive and sentients and they have to save a group of children, their owners, in a monster mutant post-apocalypse.

* If "my little pony" is as kodomo (manga+anime for children) how would be the shonen (teen male) and shojo (teen girl) version, with centaurkins and centauresses? (centaurkins were canon in AD&D, and also some new creatures in 3rd Ed).

* Now I am thinking again WotC wants a new edition of d20 Modern, but this needs a lot of work, because not only there are firearms, but usually there are more investigation and social interactions, and the balance of power and XPs reward is broken when PCs or enemies can use modern weapons as help. Should surviving a sniper be a XPs reward as a trap with a shooter mechanism?

How would be Ravenloft spin-off "the masque of the Red Death" set in the XXI century?
 

Ulfgeir

Explorer
Well, as long as they keep printing good stuff about rpg's, instead of the old morality panic-stuff, then we should be thankful that they write about rpg's at all..

Finally they realize that we nerds/geeks are much cooler to write about than overpaid footballers, celebrities who are only famous because they are famous etc... =^_^=
 

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