What Game or Publisher Would You Have Be Market leader


I'm actually fine with D&D being the market leader. What I find worrisome is that D&D so utterly dominates the industry that they're practically one and the same. When WotC rolls over in their sleep everyone feels it but some companies are crushed beneath their bulk and the slumbering beast barely notices.

In the spirit of the thread I'll try to nominate another company. There are some companies who have managed to stay in business for many decades including Steve Jackson Games, Palladium, and Chaosium. I'm going to knock Palladium out of the running because they've had a dickens of a time putting product out plus there was the "Crisis of Treachery" a few years back. Steve Jackson Games wisely decided to focus their business interest on Munchkin and other games other than RPGs, so they're not a good choice. And Chaosium, well, they've got Call of Cthulhu but I don't know what they'd do if they dominated the market.

If I had to pick someone right now, I'll go with Free League. I've been impressed with every single game they've released.

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Druid of the Invisible Hand
I do not want a market leader. I don't want to replace a feral 900 pound gorilla with a supposedly friendly 800 gorilla.

What I want is four or five hungry 400 pound gorillas, in a bathroom stall, with one switchblade knife between them.

Given my druthers, the entire D&D brand would be owned by a contractually private holding company which itself would be owned by an independent WotC, Paizo, Kobold, Rogue Genius, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, EN Publishing, et al-- basically every company founded by ex-WotC staffers plus some of the big OSR peepaleeps-- with new owner-partners admitted by supermajority invitation only. Membership entitles stakeholders to publish their own official D&D material with internal rules for differentiating their products, and control- and profit-sharing over closed license D&D-branded merchandise, with open license material governed by each stakeholder's use of open licenses.

Rest of the industry is fine as it is, and would be much better off under this arrangement.

Far as actual games? My holy trinity is D&D, Barbarians of Lemuria, and Cortex Prime but I don't want my favorite games to be on top of the heap; I just want the top of the heap to be a constant churn. I don't want D&D to be the #1 game anymore-- I want it to be eight of the top ten, year after year, but the order is always different depending on whom you ask and when.
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WOTC/Hasbro leaves Tabletop RPG scene, discontinuing D&D game and the market they control. Including Official books, and third-party products that use another license besides the CC/SRD.
All other companies and games stay the same as they are now and can succeed or fail without D&D dominating the market.

Thomas Shey

I'm also of the opinion that sliding some other company--and game--into the front slot would do them no favors in terms of how they acted or the game design.

aramis erak

Just as a hypothetical exercise, if you could wave your magic wand and determine what the market leader in the TTRPG industry should be -- company, game, or both -- what would it be?

FYI "WotC" and/or "D&D" is a perfectly viable answer if you like the status quo.
If I could go backdate the change...
I think, really, that the change should not happen until '77. No AD&D. Straight to Moldvay. And giving Arneson his due.
Traveller catches fire faster and more strongly, and keeps pace.
Likewise, split the love more equally with RuneQuest, Tunnels & Trolls and Starships & Spacemen,
In 1981, The Fantasy Trip steals a full share, and Howard Thompson lets SJ keep it for a reasonable price plus a profit share.
All of the following get bigger than historic, and keep D&D still first, but only a plurality, not a majority. Make the following all more mainstream in the 1980s: Palladium FRPG, Mechanoids, ElfQuest, MERP, Tunnels and Trolls, and later STRPG and MechWarrior.

In other words, I want a world without a dominant game, but a field of top tier games that grows all fanbases.

If I only get to make a singular change, it's either to make Alternity's engine come out a bit earlier - as D&D 3rd edition, or to have The Fantasy Trip come out and do better, and Howard makes Steve Jackson a full partner, and the CEO, of Metagaming. No SJG, but Metagaming gets SJ's powerful designs and SJ gets the benefit of the existing commercial relationships...

When I was running Alternity, it really felt better suited for D&D than for a Traveller knockoff setting (Starfall).


Like a couple of others have said, I'd rather not have a single market leader or game - I'd much rather see several large companies supporting multiple game systems at the top of the heap.

I don't particularly mind WotC's dominance of things, but I do wish D&D wasn't quite so overwhelming. And the fact that it's nearest (though still pretty distant) competitor is pretty much "not D&D" isn't ideal either.

Just like others who have commented before, I would very much prefer a healthy competition between multiple semi-large publishers to the current situation.
However, if I really have to pick an alternate timeline, in which exactly one other publisher dominates the market, I'll choose (old) FASA with Shadowrun, Earthdawn and BattleTech. Maybe in that alternate dream world, they can even trim down their rules to a healthy level :)

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