Thursday, 8 July 2010

Black Country Football Rivalry and 4E

I support, my for sins, West Bromwich Albion, the greatest football club in Smethwick if not the entire known world. I was born into it, it's an inherited right and tradition and privilege and being a local club and the club of my Father and Grandfather and the part of the world they sprang forth from I feel a strong affinity for the club, region and it's supporter base. I reconnect with family and native soil when I go to The Hawthorns. I could never support anybody else.

So obviously, I loathe and detest everything Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa stand for. That's a given. This too is an inherited right and privilege and pleasure.

But seeing kids walking around locally in Wolves and Villa shirts is OK with me and makes the world just a little bit a nicer place. I'm pleased that the younger generation are doing the same as me and following the team that was selected for them before birth by ties of blood and regional loyalty even when it is the enemy. This is much better than seeing them wandering around like gloryhunters in United and Chelsea shirts. They are supporting relatively-unfashionable West Midlands teams and sticking with them. Good. The little bastards.

What's this got to do with RPGing?

This. According to Amazon UK, the D&D 4E beginner box set (aka D&D Essentials) will have an RRP of £12.50 and WOTC intend it to be in print throughout the lifetime of 4E. (TBH with a US dollar price of $19.99 I suspect we will see it at £15 actually. But I digress). This means that 30-something gamers like myself can buy three or four copies without feeling the expense and pass it onto nephews, nieces and friend's children. Even if it's not birthdays and Christmas. Even when we think 4E is badly wrong on so many levels.

I don't like 4E, to my eyes it's just not Dungeons and Dragons. But I'd rather kids played it and loved it than played nothing and loved nothing.

If nephews and nieces announced that, in a massive act of betrayal and treachery, that they were going to follow the Wolves, I'd have to say - OK, but stick with them through thick and thin. But that would be through gritted teeth.

So, despite version wars, I really hope this move is a massive success for WOTC and I hope they do it properly and they get stocked in places like Toys R Us, supermarkets and WHSmiths in the pre-Christmas run up, not just the ghettoes of gaming shops. I will even buy one just to show my support for it.

Roll on the hordes of Wolves and Villa shirt wearing kids playing 4E and identifying themselves as roleplayers.


  1. That's a very adult attitude, and one that is sorely missing from far too many aspects of life. *thumbs up*

  2. Can't get on board with you here I'm afraid Coop.

    To me watching kids get into the 4E crippleware set would be like having the fad for American Football take hold all over again. Sure, it gave us "Bloodbowl". But really, why? We already have rugby.

  3. TBH Chris I'd rather they played 4E than nothing at all and at the moment I truly believe that this is the best chance to repeat the trick of Menzter Red Box. And once newbies play this they are on track with the nature of RPGing and open to everything else. That's why I want this to succeed - not for the game, but for the hobby.

    I have the Dragon Age boxed set at home which is great but won't succeed at this because it's not a mass market product and hasn't broken out of the FLGS ghetto - just like the Lone Wolf Multiplayer Gamebook. A cheap introductory set in high street stores is something I've been banging on about for years.

    My only concern is that it only covers levels 1-2 (crippleware as you dub it). With Mentzer it was 1-3 which covered the rise from nomark to potential with plenty of low level PC death so you could get a lot of use out of it. Two low levels at 4E would seem to be over in twenty minutes with the PCs never in any real risk of getting topped.

    My real pipedream would be for Wizard to revise and republish Jackson's Fighting Fantasy alongside the rest of their FF reprints. That would be the perfect scenario.

  4. Or Dungeoneer, without the 'lights. camera, action!', 'you are starring in your own imaginary movie' stuff that, to me at least, detracted from what might have been a workable RPG set in a fantastically grubby, and very British, fantasy world.

    Titan would actually make for a very cool WFRP game world.

  5. But would I buy a 4E set for my younger sister, who I've recently introduced to BECMI D&D? Not if, as I've read, the emphasis is on WoW-computer-game-style level-up, instant 'cool' powers, 'tactical' combat where every effort has been made to ensure there is 'balance' - essentially a game for people who mistake computer adventure games with character stats and a levelling mechanic for a role-playing game.

    Sorry, rant over.

    I might buy her a Rules Cyclopedia clone such as Dark Dungeons:

  6. I was forgetting about Dungeoneer and the whole Advanced FF system.

    You're right about Titan, and the thought had crossed my mind before. Also, Magnamund the Lone Wolf world would fit and I suspect Gary Chalk's art was an influence upon WFRP being more renaissance than high mediaeval.