Edition Fatigue


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Stormonu

Legend
Out of all the RPGs I know, D&D is one that is probably slowest to roll out a new edition. A lot of newer RPGs - many having just existed since the 90's, are already on their 4th edition or later. Perhaps we are too spoiled to expect long periods of time beteen edition changes, myself included.
 

Treebore

First Post
D&D, and RPG's in general, need to figure out how to market themselves to be much, much easier to play so that they CAN break out of their niche market. Board games, video games, etc... are all easy to start quickly. To break out of this niche RPG companies need to package their RPG's to be similarly easy to start playing, and then they, and we, need to market this easy and fast to start playing RPG to everyone we possibly can so people will find out how awesome the strong points of these RPG's are, and see that it is worth their time to invest even more time into the more classic bigger and high page count products.

As long as RPG's keep presenting themselves as these daunting 100 to 5,000 page RPG's it is going to keep itself locked up within its niche because the bigger market will never risk investing its time into learning such a huge product.

They need to get it down to about 30 pages, with maps, miniatures, and other cool props.

Like I have been thinking, if they took the Ravenloft board game and tweaked it a bit more, it would be a great intro into 4E gaming that would be appealing to the board game crowd and possibly pull them into playing RPG's as well. Then RPG companies need to develop a $30 set that gets you started, and to steal them from the video game crowd give them access to an online interactive video environment in which they can play fully digital modules. Give them 30 to 60 days of free access in which to hook them, and then charge a $10/month fee.

I don't know about everyone else, but I found many of the Neverwinter Night "modules" to be a lot of fun to play, now imagine using that to integrate with printed books and how effectively it may draw people into investing time into learning the full table top RPG's.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think Treebore and a few others pretty much have the right of it.

Comparing Catan to D&D (or most RPG's) is comparing apples to oranges. Catan is not a hobby. It's something you and three or four of your friends can play in about two or three hours and you're done. Mastering the rules takes about three play throughs.

It would be pretty strange, I think, to see many people taking basic Catan and playing it every single week for two or three years. But, that's precisely what we expect D&D players to do. Get your core three books and play a campaign for a couple of years.

It's a totally different experience.

The board game player demographic totally dwarfs the RPG player demographic. Probably by an order of magnitude. How many houses in the English speaking world don't have a single board game in them? It might only be Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit (which dwarfs Catan) but they are there.

Any parallels between board games and RPG's is tenuous at best.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Different company, though. The original Hero Games is long defunct, after joining up with Iron Crown Enterprises, splitting off from them, partnering with R. Talsorian Games, and then being bought by Cybergames. The new company is actually "Defenders of Justice d/b/a (doing business as) Hero Games." However, they've managed to take a system considered pretty much dead and bring it back with steady support for nine years as of this year. In terms of edition count, they launched with a Fifth Edition in 2002 (although the manuscript's actually a couple of years older than that date would suggest), did a Revised Edition a few years later (mostly an expansion and errata collection), and launched a Sixth Edition in 2009. However, the changes are less dramatic than the 2E-3E or 3E-4E changes in D&D--the changes between HERO's 5th and 6th Editions are probably closest to 1E-2E.

Steve Jackson Games and Palladium are still around, but almost all SJG's revenue these days comes from Munchkin, and Palladium appears to be treading water.
This kind of sums it up, I think. Selling splatbooks will only get you so far.

D&D, and RPG's in general, need to figure out how to market themselves to be much, much easier to play so that they CAN break out of their niche market. Board games, video games, etc... are all easy to start quickly. To break out of this niche RPG companies need to package their RPG's to be similarly easy to start playing, and then they, and we, need to market this easy and fast to start playing RPG to everyone we possibly can so people will find out how awesome the strong points of these RPG's are, and see that it is worth their time to invest even more time into the more classic bigger and high page count products.

As long as RPG's keep presenting themselves as these daunting 100 to 5,000 page RPG's it is going to keep itself locked up within its niche because the bigger market will never risk investing its time into learning such a huge product.

They need to get it down to about 30 pages, with maps, miniatures, and other cool props.
Agreed, though TFT had about 60 ages of rules in total.

Like I have been thinking, if they took the Ravenloft board game and tweaked it a bit more, it would be a great intro into 4E gaming that would be appealing to the board game crowd and possibly pull them into playing RPG's as well. Then RPG companies need to develop a $30 set that gets you started, and to steal them from the video game crowd give them access to an online interactive video environment in which they can play fully digital modules. Give them 30 to 60 days of free access in which to hook them, and then charge a $10/month fee.
Also agreed - I have had the same thoughts myself

I don't know about everyone else, but I found many of the Neverwinter Night "modules" to be a lot of fun to play, now imagine using that to integrate with printed books and how effectively it may draw people into investing time into learning the full table top RPG's.

I would go along with this but an even simpler integratred VTT might also work. Which is why I am hopeful forthe new VTT and associated online tools. However, the bottleneck is to train up new DM's. Lacks of DM's has always been the limiting factor in the spread of rpgs.
 

I think it's about bright ideas. What happens is, people play the game and then have an idea, and they say, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" and they write rules to support their idea.

Then someone thinks, "Wouldn't it be cool if we shared all these bright ideas with the players?", so we get rules supplements and splatbooks. After several years, in order to play the complete game you're lugging around armfuls of rules.

Then someone thinks, "Maybe all these bright ideas weren't really so bright. Wouldn't it be cool if we didn't have all this rules-bloat and we released a simplified, clarified, better version of the game?" and before you know it, you get a new edition.

Then someone in the publishers' management decides it would be best to stop selling the old edition in the hope that this means the publishers can sell more copies of the new edition. Meanwhile, the people who liked the options and the splatbooks start rewriting their favourite add-on for the new version of the game, so they can publish them again.

Everyone in this cycle is genuinely motivated by trying to improve things for the players--except that one person in the publishers' management who decides to stop selling the old edition, who's trying to extract money from them.
 

LeStryfe79

First Post
Yeah, despite the fact that I liked several things about 3/3.?, I think there were lots of things that could have been improved about 2ed AD&D without wiping the slate clean. From 1978 until 1999, AD&D was basically the same game. If wotc would have simply focused on making a cleaner more digestible product, I think the AD&D brand name would be a lot stronger now. Make no mistake, classic AD&D will always be the form in which it existed in 1ed and 2ed. Face it, we all got greedy, and so did wotc. Unfortunately, in the process, we've all lost our identity as well...
 
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BryonD

Hero
D&D, and RPG's in general, need to figure out how to market themselves to be much, much easier to play so that they CAN break out of their niche market. Board games, video games, etc... are all easy to start quickly.
I don't believe this will ever work.

For starters, table top roleplaying *is* a niche market. You can put "complex", "big", "simple", "quick", whatever on the front of that and you are still just rearranging who you target within the niche starting point.

It isn't all just black and white, there are certainly people who could be brought into the fold, so to speak. But it isn't now or ever going to be any more than a niche market.

Simplicity is good. Virtually any time two things achieve the same result, the more simple option is better. So if you can simplify it will be a benefit and, first, you will get a much bigger slice of the niche and, second, you will probably also reach more shades of gray, thus expanding the niche. But you will not get beyond a niche.

But, it is very rare for simplicity to come with no cost. A big chunk of the RPG fan base likes the meat of RPGs. And when simplicity takes away that meat, you will do more harm than good.

Yes, early D&D was a lot more simple and was hugely popular. But, it was also the corner on the market. It was THE game and was also very complex in its own right. But, as the market matured more complex games became successful because they offered what old D&D offered and even more.
 

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