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The OGL, d20, and Making a Difference

How Important Are New and/or Younger Gamers to the Hobby's Long-term Health?

  • Very Important

    Votes: 7 100.0%
  • Somewhat Important

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Not Important

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No Opinion/Don't Know/Never Thought About It

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


First Post
I'm wondering how many people have given much thought or attention to Fast Forward Games' line of d20 products. Their Green Races and Dungeon World campaign worlds are far more than a recycling of concepts from twenty-plus years ago. And adventures like Orcfest are well written, enjoyable and, most importantly, designed to bring new players into gaming.

Conceived and run by Jim Ward--yes, that Jim Ward, the legendary one of TSR fame--Fast Forward doesn’t simply do d20 right; it does gaming right. They have neither given up on younger players nor flooded the market with products intended to grow their share of an ever-shrinking audience. Quantity is never equal to quality, of course, but Jim Ward and Company have taken that principle to heart in a tangible way, one designed to make a difference. (Find out more at http://www.fastforwardgames.com/default.htm.)

The gaming community needs to look beyond the benefits of WotC's Opening Gaming License and d20 system--numerous as they may be. We need to struggle with the next set of challenges, all of which revolve around what happens after several hundred companies have drowned the market in d20 products and squeezed--financially and otherwise--the small, if not shrinking, pool of diehard gamers who purchase a majority of role-playing material.

I wouldn't argue that keeping younger players is as easy as it once was. While this rising difficulty doesn't mean we ought not to try, it really does take more than gaming companies/products, it takes everyday people--players, GMs, retailers--who are willing to reach out in positive ways. Media analysts and academics would say that 21c youth are bombarded (and their attentions fragmented) by so many media from so many directions that re-energizing the younger gaming audience is impossible. For my part, I think that attitude is condescending at best and only illustrates why so many people are suspicious of academics;)

The best way to communicate the social and existential joys of gaming will likely remain debatable, but I think the first trick is to make our hobby/industry more accessible and less pretentious. Younger players will only come (and, more importantly, stay) if they find in gaming what we have found, and I'm not sure any single approach is enough to ensure they do come or stay. The d20 glut doesn't help, but I do believe Fast Forward (and a handful of other companies) are on the right track.


P.S. Those interested in Orcfest, and what it means for bringing more players (back) into the fold, should also consult GamePlay News’ detailed review (http://www.gameplaynews.com/reviews.php?article_id=428).

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very important for me.

ive run a game for a group of 6 18-year old guys. it was demanding in certain ways (they didn't have any social tact.. i'd forgotten about that part of my youth :) ) and they were very emotionally attatched to their characters.

i imagine that a few of them will game as the spread out into colege and maybe one will be a long-term gamer.

i view it the same way i view gardening. It takes more than one seed to make sure you get your basil.

joe b.