Edition Fatigue


Eternal Optimist
Anyway, here's the thing about Settlers: it came out in 1995.

That's right... Settlers came out over 15 years ago. It has changed very little in this time. It came out, won the Spiel des Jahres prize, and has rested upon its ever-increasing laurels since then.

While the basic game is fairly unchanged (the 2007 edition changes some cards and one rule), there are a host of expansions and spin-offs.

See here: List of Settlers of Catan products - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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It is impossible to compare DnD and SoC in any meaningful way because DnD is NOT a "session" type game (except perhaps 4E). It expects a large commitment of time to play it right--a way that includes all role-playing.

I wonder if products like Ravenloft might help to fill this gap? It's not precisely an RPG but it does seem to bring many of the elements of 4E into a single session board game . . .


Mod Squad
Staff member
All markets can theoretically be seen as marching towards saturation, inasmuch as theoretically once 6.5 billion people all have all of your product that they need, you can't sell anymore until people start having to replace it or new people get born.

Few products other than basic foodstuffs and energy have a market that includes every human on the planet as a realistically potential buyer. But, since new people are being born at an astonishing rate, large enough markets effectively never saturate - new folks come into it as fast as they leave. Every year there's more folks to sell children's books to - enough so Dr. Seuss never goes out of print.

When Settlers of Catan came out, it was just another weird little game in that niche market of weird little games that aren't Monopoly, Sorry or Clue. That's the whole point: it broke out.

Stepping over the fact that lacking sales data I don't know how far we can say it has broken out (I've not heard anyone other than my boardgamegeek friends speak of Settlers). But, as far as it has broken out - my point is that breaking out of that niche is not particularly difficult, because the action of playing Catan is not particularly different than playing Monopoly or Clue, either in practical actions, concepts, or player experience. The "small, obscure board game" niche is right next to the "commonly accepted board game" niche, and the barrier between them is as much one of marketing, as any quality of the product.

That's not necessarily true about RPGs - play of games in our hobby is qualitatively different from pretty much anything else people do after they give up Cops and Robbers. I don't think you can assume that RPGs as we know and love them will ever appeal to anything like the same number of people, because the activity is fundamentally different, and simply may appeal to fewer people.


First off it is possible to play D&D (and any other rpg) with little or no actual roleplaying.
Yes, it CAN be done. The game can absolutely be played as a strategic/tactical conflict resolution experience.

However, that is hardly ever done. Mainly because it just is not the expectation, but also because other media do that so much better.

I do think that the problem is not that people are not willing to sit around a table and pretend to be an elf but very very few people are willing to sit at a table and facilitate their buddies to pretend that they are an elf.
I'm quite confident that they don't want to do it in the first place, and in the presence of other people just seals the deal ten times over.

But, they really don't want to do it in the first place.

People equate WOW fans with D&D a lot. (At least D&D playing people). I think that is a pretty big error. The vast majority of WOW fans have background experience in other computer games. No one would presume that playing Halo means the same person probably plays D&D. And no one presumes any roleplay in Halo. WOW is FAR more accurately described as Halo in a fantasy skin than online D&D. Yes, there are huge differences. But it is still played and, more importantly, perceived much more closely to various first person teamwork games.

The bulk of WOW players don't think about their characters thoughts, motivations, roles, whatever. They are playing a game of overcoming challenges. The bulk of D&D players are roleplayers.

It may be that when us tabletop folks start talking WOW, a great deal of our peers are also tabletop gamers. And we bring that legacy along with us and hear our friends talking in the same terms. So we get a skewed view on the experience.

But a typical WOW player has no desire whatsoever to pretend to be a Night Elf. They DO want to use the Night Elf build base for their approach to computer gaming / challenge resolution. They don't even think of the idea of pretending to be a Night Elf.

Again, that isn't to say that there are not a lot of people roleplaying in WOW. They absolutely are there. But they are not representative of the mass scale phenomena that is WOW.


First Post

Not at all. If you keep the rules the same, tweaking them slightly each edition, you keep the game the same. This allows new players and old players alike to learn the same system and have the same game if they join together. At the moment an 2nd ed player and a 4th ed player and too different animals especially if they don't play the other's edition.


And yet, insofar as I know, D&D has never, ever been dethroned as the most popular, most played RPG. Other games did offer the same thing that D&D offered - but they were NOT D&D and when it came down to it fewer people wanted to leave D&D to play something else than continued to play D&D while wanting it to be/making it be something more/different than it was.
Fair enough. The point I was going for is it went from being 98% of the market to being the biggest single slice, but one of many slices.


If you mean SoC 'session' and 4E 'session' as the same kind of 'session' then 4E is in no way similar to SoC. Any role-playing game played in one 2-3 hour session, with no continuity between sessions would be absolutely boring.

I played in a 4E game where each set of encounters had a different DM and different plot. Most people simply played the numbers, and it was mind-numbingly boring, so much it was not a role-playing game at all. It would be like playing WOW or a computer game and having to do all the math yourself.

There was an attempt to take role-playing into a more mainstream venue through the creation of dinner party "murder mystery" boxed games.

The games are aimed at 6-8 people (3-4 couples). Each person takes a particular role in a self-contained situation and has a script containing a set of statements that need to be made to the other players over the course of the game. At the end of the evening once all the secrets are out, each player accuses his choice for criminal.

The games have a modest appeal to the non-gamer crowd (they'll typically try the games once or twice), but there is little interest evinced for more such play either structured or unstructured, with continuity or without.

Breaking into a wider community depends more on finding a magic feature that will appeal to those who only play anything casualy and that hasn't happened yet.


Limit Break Dancing
The Man in the Funny Hat speaks the truth. I would give XP, but apparently I need to spread the stuff around a bit.
What the GAME needs and what WotC needs are two distinctly different things which don't always taste great together.
The most important statement in the thread. Other gems:

IMO the game does need to change over time. I agree that it does NOT need to be revolutionized and/or reinvented from the ground up in ANY edition. Yet many of the changes that were made for 3E were overdue from 1E, much less 2E. 2E changed bupkus as far as the meat of the rules is really concerned. 3E, however, changed too much and WotC - IMO - took it down a road that it was NOT meant to go down. They are now seeing more and more that making "Rules Mastery" a built-in cornerstone of their vision of the D&D rules has downsides.

Settlers of Catan is NOT D&D, much the same way that Pictionary is NOT Monopoly.
It's hard for me to claim "edition fatigue," since I have only really played two editions of the game. I played BECM through middle school and high school, and didn't play anything else until the 3rd Edition was released. I still play both, and I find that they complement each other very nicely.

See, sometimes I feel like playing a detailed, rules-heavy game with lots of stats and rules...and sometimes I just want to skip all of that and get right to the storytelling. (shrug)

My interest in a possible 5th Edition of the game is purely a leisurely one. It's my hobby, not my livelihood. If/when WotC decides to make a 5th Edition of the game, I'll probably check it out...but I doubt it will replace my other editions. I've got everything I need right now.
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I've played BECM, AD&D, 2E AD&D and 3X.
Right now I'm playing Pathfinder pretty much exclusively. I think as far as the D&D treadmill goes, I'm off never to return. I have my edition that I'm going to stick with. There are TONS of support for 3x/Pathfinder so I'm never going to run out of resources for the game. WOTC lost me with 4E (in that they made a game that I'm not interested in playing or running but is not a bad game) but more importantly the years long Edition Wars have really made me dislike fandom to the point where I'd just as soon as NOT PLAY than have to deal with jerk players of ANY edition.

I've come to the realization that my Edition Fatigue has more to do with the people than it does the actual games themselves.

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