Like a lot of you, I’ve been burned before.
You put up with all of their B.S. until you finally say to yourself, “I don’t have to take this!” and you leave. For a while. Then they come back, swearing that they’re not like they were, they’ve seen the error of their ways and and have been working on themselves, getting better. So, like the inherently good person you are, you take them back… and get burned. Again.
I am, of course, talking about Dungeons and Dragons; specifically, D&D’s many revisions over the years. My first edition was AD&D (circa 1981), although I didn’t join my first serious gaming group until 1987 and by then, 2nd Edition held sway. Then we had 3rd Edition followed by Edition 3.5, because there’s nothing game designers like to do more than to tinker with things that weren’t really all that big of a deal to begin with. Still, it was D&D and it was fun.
Then 4.0 arrived. Like a lot of people, I had high hopes for it, running it consistently for over 3 years, trying to make myself like it until my most recent gaming group stated categorically that they actually preferred 3.0/3.5. That’s when it hit me: I could run any game I wanted! I also know that I should have come to this realization about 25 years ago, but I tend to be attracted to bright shiny objects, the next big thing, and cool game art (seriously, I’ve bought game books just for the art – this was pre-Internet, whereas now I can just download the art from the publisher’s site, usually).
What’s my point? Glad you asked. The other day, Wizards of the Coast released the street date for the new iteration of D&D, with each of the main books (PH, MM, and DMG) costing around $50. But, get this: they are also providing Basic D&D as a PDF, free of charge. This is a bare-bones version of the new game, with limited class and race options, selected monsters, etc. On the one hand, I applaud this: it gets D&D into the hands of as many people as possible, introducing the game to new players who are curious but are frightened by the steep cost of entry, and lets people decide if this version is for them or not. However, I do see the other motivation: give the customer the fishing pole for free, then make a fortune on bait and tackle.
Here’s hoping it’s not just another game of bait and switch.