February 1, 2010

The Cons of the New "D&D Encounters" from Wizards of the Coast

a.k.a. "Re: Blogosphere Shitstorm Brewing".

Last week I posted some off the cuff thoughts about the D&D Encounters organized play program that WotC is planning on launching next month. Much to my pleasant surprise - some other bloggers reacted to my post (Oddysey, Trollsmyth, and Keosdad).

What really surprised me though was that I received a direct email from someone (not listed above) with the subject line: "Re: Blogosphere Shitstorm Brewing". It was a short email - intended, I think, on "clearing up" my misunderstanding of youth - or something like that. For some reason, this email particularly bothered me - not because it carried the tone of "hey dude - let me tell you how it is because I know how it is and you obviously don't" - but because the person who sent it was so easily PO'd by point #5 from my initial post.

As if... somehow... I have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager full of nerd rage

I replied, of course, trying to find out what exactly I wrote that was so "stereotyping" or offense, etc... but I didn't know what more else there is to say. But then it hit me! What I need to do is write about the CONS of the D&D Experience organized play program. Perhaps then, everything can be cleared up...

The Cons of D&D Encounters
  1. Table Top Role Playing Games Will Become More Popular. Why is this a con? Well, there's only so many table top gamers out their in the world - and with a program like D&D Encounters, D&D will be played everywhere from hobby shops to book stores, baseball parks to birthday parties, clown conventions to shopping mall food courts. WotC is creating an EVENT. An experience (whatever it is). How could the indy RPG market compete with that?! They can't! They just don't have the market force. All they can do is keep cranking out more adventures, more supplements, and more hippy story telling games to play with their kids. That's it. It's the classic RPG cycle where, once a player owns the rules, they don't need anything else to play. It seems, however, that the 800 lb gorilla might break the cycle and actually manage to put dice back in the hands of millions of confused gamers after all. But that's a bad thing... No, really, ... it is... I mean, those gamers should be playing WoW or EVE anyway. They are simply not qualified to play RPGs. They probably don't even know what "neo-classical games" are. (Oh wait... niether do I...) Maybe instead we should just make a couple of RPGs out of the video games and see what happens. Oh... that already happened.
  2. Grognards will be PO'd. Why would grognards even care? Because the new D&D Encounters is going to perhaps compete with Warhammer. Reduce their beloved dying game to a miniatures game once and for all. "How could they DO this?!? Kick the D&D Brand when it down why don't you WotC!!" And kick they have. to the curb in fact.
  3. Trendy OSR Gamers will be PO'd. It's true. All those trendy counter culture gamers who love the old days of save vs. death and 10 foot poles will now loose all those potential converts. I mean, how can the drooling masses of gamer consumers resist the glossy red boxes of the new D&D RED BOX (for 4th Edition)? The awesome DIY S&W White Box has no chance!
  4. Hippy Gamers will Rejoice. Yeah.. that's a big con. We can't have the Nobilis freaks out there rejoicing that D&D is finally dead. I mean... how can these two games both be called role playing games? What will we tell the children!?
  5. Teenagers Don't Need Sex Education Classes. We are kidding ourselves if we think that teens give two rats asses about role playing games or D&D Encounters. They will, in all likelihood, think it's some kind of wierd game to teach sex education in gaming stores. Think about it: role playing + encounters. Plus, William Shatner will probably kick their asses for caring about D&D anyway. And then they will change their minds. And cry. A lot.
  6. The Bitching and Complaining Will Be Endless. Yep, that's what will happen. As soon as D&D Encounters get rolled out... I can see the headlines now: "Player's and DM's Colluding on Renown Points", "FLGS Fined For Corrupting Youth", "Pokemon Players Brawl With D&D Players At Local Hobby Shop", or "Borders Signs Exclusive Organized Play Deal with Hasbro. Grognards Stage Sit In to Protest."
Exciting times we live in... exciting times...

** I should footnote this post and point out that it is purely hyperbole and for the sake of humor. Except the part about neo-classical games; I still don't know what hell that is supposed to be other than some sort of bourgeois intellectualism about RPGs **


  1. "I told you so, D&D 4e really is just a tactical skirmish game."

  2. Jonathan, I demand you cease having an opinion unless it is approved by a consortium of Gygax scholars!

  3. @Wyatt - I added a footnote after the post for some clarity...

  4. Awesome post, Jonathan! And thanks for mentioning my post! ;)


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