Friday, June 26, 2009

More Unsubstantiated Musings

There was a comment, possibly in the Comments section, possibly at Grognardia (which I'm not going to link to, because if you're reading this blog and not reading Grognardia, you, my friend, are Screwed Up, and no amount of commas in this sentence will fix you), which noted a "decrease in neighborhood activity and an increase in parent-organized activities" (paraphrased, and poorly).

Or in other words, spontaneous play down, organized activies up. Parents who don't play D&D, by and large, don't encourage their kids to play D&D. They play soccer. Or take ballet, or, if they want to be "different", stepdancing and lacrosse. The gangs of neighborhood kids roaming the suburban streets of Middle America is, in my understanding*, greatly reduced from twenty or thirty years ago.

I think getting retro-clones into gaming stores is a good step, but it's not going to ignite the populace or shoot sales into the stratosphere. What would be more interesting, more useful, and more appropriate today, based on what I see in the bookstores, would be a nice, ultra-cheap (MSRP $9.99, I'm thinking), manga-sized copy of Swords & Wizardry sitting with the manga books in Borders and Barnes & Noble.

And speaking of ultra-cheap, the cost of RPG books concerns me. I'd like to see more exploration of variant packaging methods. Is 8 1/2 x 11 really the most cost-effective? What if RPGs were printed as comic books, with a 64-page "core" and a monthly 32-page adventure/supplement? Could we get it into comic spinners? The precedent is there for cross-over - Knights of the Dinner Table & Nodwick for two.
What about newspaper/newsprint? Not as durable, but maybe the goal should be to get the game into the most hands for the least cost.

*In my rural country childhood, my brother and I were the entirety of the neighborhood gang, unless my cousins were up at their weekend house, but they were girls and not quite as apt to roam and wander.

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