2011-09-09 : Trad vs Indie: FIGHT! pt3

(Pt1 here. Pt2 here.)

This one's quick but full of hubris and ambition. Be prepared.

Apparently, to the PAX scene, "trad vs indie" means "D&D vs indie."

I don't know about you all, my fellow indie designer-publishers, but this is exactly where I want to be in the public eye. This is sweet.

1. On 2011-09-09, Jonathan said:

We've definitely been assisted by many of the medium-sized game companies producing zero RPGs to speak of lately. White Wolf and SJGames come to mind. Who are we competing with for "medium" status/importance, now? Fantasy Flight with their Warhammer license? The One Ring? Yeah, we're in a good spot.


2. On 2011-09-09, David Berg said:

I just think the fact that "trad vs indie RPGs" was deemed a big badass end-of-con panel topic is sweet!


3. On 2011-09-09, misuba said:

Interesting to think that there really is a significant demographic for whom all the indie games that weren't D&D vanished from view because they really just weren't that different from D&D. Once they started being different, they started getting noticed.

(To be clear, this describes the alleged perceptions of a subset of D&D players; it does not describe my estimation of the facts.)


4. On 2011-09-09, Gerald C said:

I don't know what the actual profitability numbers are like, but as a customer, I don't see any difference between the success of WotC and White Wolf. When I walk in to a games shop, both of those companies have entire sections dedicated to them and them alone. There's a single shelf for Rifts, more recently one shelf for Pathfinder, then every other game has one copy and maybe one copy of each of it's supplements. This is true of every RPG retailer I can remember ever having been to.

I'm not trying to be nitpicky. As far as "trad vs. indie" goes, I see it as "preconceived D&D mentality vs. indie". But as far as your direct competition, or the next level of notoriety to attain, I think being one of those books that every retailer always keeps a copy in stock of is a good place to be.

As a sort-of-connected-to-this-topic aside, I've long held the opinion that no publication will ever attain the widespread status of D&D as long as WotC continues to publish new versions, simply for the fact that they are too established, that they were "the first". Other games may eventually overshadow it in popularity*, but no game will ever be as famous. Is that a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not. But, I do know several people who specifically don't play D&D because "It's all people know." and they're not interested in what people already know. They, and I, are interested in playing to find out.

*Yeah, right.


5. On 2011-09-10, JDCorley said:

When the big debate over what "indie" RPG meant was going on in the late 90s-early 00s, I advocated 100 percent for a definition of indie that was "all RPGs that are not D&D". I pushed hard, and got rolled over by the "creator-owned" people. Good for them, they won, that's what "indie" RPG means now.

But then...dammit, must I always be right?! IS THIS MY CURSE?!?!


6. On 2011-09-12, Amphiprison said:

Yes, this is precisely where you want to be in the public eye.  It is also where I want you to be.  Wrestling with tradition necessarily involves wrestling with D&D, in much the same way that 'wrestling with traditional religion' in America necessarily involves with Christianity.  Sure there's other options, but when a majority of the people involved have never seriously considered an alternative, you have to shoot, ritually dismember and consume the elephant in the room before people will even notice anything else on the menu.


7. On 2011-09-12, SDLahr said:

I am certain D&D is going to die. Certain.

The core of what D&D has become is too easily replaced by virtual gaming - MMO or Peer-to-Peer - as it improves it flexibility. Tabletop D&D is expensive, clunky, and difficult to set up.

OTOH, that isn't to say that the bulk of tabletop RPG might not remain D&D-like or D&D-themed games - I kind of think the "new old school" games have that potential. At their best they're light and fast and fun - more importantly, they're more personal, like (other) indie games. That seems important.


8. On 2011-09-16, anon. said:

True current D&D is clunky, expensive and difficult to setup. But the current D&D is mostly a brand; it retains few, if any, characteristics of the "original." It might as well be a different game with the same name. "True" D&D survives in the work of small (indie?) publishers like Goblinoid Games.


9. On 2011-09-16, misuba said:

Don't be silly, nothing's going to die. As long as there's Internet, nothing in the culture ever dies. Welcome to the postmodern era, where you no longer have to fear that the son will kill the father! Or, you know, sometimes the father ends up a shambling, rotting zombie, but only if he was already on his way to being one.


10. On 2011-10-01, Leftahead said:

The dozens of people who play it several times a month in my shop and profess to really enjoy it indicate it's probably premature to predict its imminent demise.

For the people who actually like it, the tactile experience of the maps and mins are a feature, not a bug, and though it can get relatively expensive as a DM, if you just want to play it's actually a pretty great entertainment deal.



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