Saturday, September 11, 2010

Red Box Game Day (or How I Learned to Love the Bomb)

Apparently today is Worldwide D&D Game Day. Specifically D&D Red Box Game Day. I was invited to go to two such events today and passed on them both. I didn't know about this game day until Thursday. Today was be an S&W game I rarely get to attend so when I heard it was going to be D&D day I was disappointed. Kinda like when you've been waiting to watch your favorite TV show and instead its political season and all that's on are empty promises. I guess this post is going to be a bit pessimistic, but I was looking forward to the game.

Nine times out of ten I don't care what system it is. I just like to play. But I just couldn't bring myself to agree to go to the game days today. I've played 4th edition about half a dozen times, have the core books and even bought the 2nd DM's Guide (which is not bad at all), but it's just not a system I enjoy. At all. WoTC is doing what they did to Magic the Gathering, they have a core set of powers (spells), but then keep releasing more and more expansion books (decks) until there are so many that it's difficult to keep up. And difficult to find two players that have the same amount of books. The referee would always have to dictate which rulebooks are allowed in play.

I think with the Red Box they are trying to simplify the game so it's not so overwhelming to new comers. Simplify in rule and cost. I mean think of it, a new person coming into gaming and they stand in front of game shelf and see 2 DM Guides, 2 Players Handbooks, and I think 3 Monster Manuals. Those are just the core books. And each one of them comes in at just under $40. Not to mention all the other books. One thing WotC does is put out product. I guess the Red Box is the solution to this glut of books and overwhelming expense that it would get someone started with D&D.

I'm glad I bought the original core books. I do use them as reference sources now and then, but I would never DM a game of 4th edition and as I started in this blog, I will even pass on a day of gaming if that's what is being played.

So today I am making it my own personal game day. I will use the time to finish a few adventures I am working on using Swords & Wizardry and OSRIC. I need to do something with Labyrinth Lord because I am late to that party but really like the system. So even though I am not gaming today I'll be trying to spark interest in gaming in my own way. Make an adventure. Infuse it with the excitement I have for the game and the excitement I have for a good story.

All you 4th editioners enjoy your game day. Maybe next year I'll crash your party with an Old School gaming day of Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord...


  1. WotC isn't going to get me to call their latest product the Red Box. Mentzer's 1983 Basic Rules Set 1 is "Red Box D&D" to me.

    My 2¢. In my judgment 4E doesn't replace D&D and 978-0-7869-5629-6 sure doesn't replace Mentzer Basic.

  2. I remember thinking that Mentzer Basic wasn't D&D as I knew it when it came out. If I'd only known what was to come ...

  3. Yeah, I'm no Mentzer fan either (Moldvay/Cook for me), but it did come in a red box ;)

  4. Sorry about that Tim, I was trying for a twofer (4e and S&W) but that week they finally told us when the date of my son's horse show.

    I was looking forward to refereeing S&W myself.

  5. you're going to crash it? Hell, I'd love to see the OSR put out some starter boxed sets and provide support heavy enough to get into all the game stores and have an OSR day. Bring it.

  6. Yeah, it would be interesting to crash their party with a few old school choices. Problem with this area is there are very few who play rpgs anymore. There is a lot of support for the card games, 4th edition and WoD, but only recently has one of the game stores carried old school books and that's because Rob Conley GMs there frequently. We should all give it go one weekend. An OSR crusade where we take back the gaming stores even if its just for a little while. I think it would be fun.