Saturday, March 12, 2016

Why Do RPG's Fail?

This is actually a response I wrote to a question by Kyle Mecklem over on Google+. As you can probably tell, I got a bit carried away.  First the question....

Why do RPGs fail?  Over the years I've seen kickstarter after kickstarter of new RPGs, Indie RPGs and RPGs made by game companies. Why do some RPGs seemingly disappear into the ether and others gather a loyal following?

Because it's not ether they're disappearing into. It's not disappearing into thin air. It more like being carried off by a raging river of things that are all desperate for the attention of our wallets. 

Someone could drop a million (okay, a few thousand) on promoting a game and drum up some interest only to have it all whisked away by the coming of another Avengers movie. The games that survive are the ones that consistently do more than just run a kickstarter to keep themselves at the forefront of their player's minds. Hmm, so what could it be? 

Historical Precedence
D&D will always be popular because it was there first. Wikipedia supports it. Nostalgia is a huge factor.

Vested Interest. 
The game gets you to buy so many books and spend so much time learning its mad scramble of mechanics that you don't want to leave it once you understand it. Something both Pathfinder and Scientology have in common.

Bizarre & Intriguing. 
The game is so outlandish you just half to give it a try, just so that you can say that you did. It lends you bragging rights. Unless the game happens to be FATAL. No one should play that game (and yet isn't it weird that we all seem to know about it).

Media Onslaught. 
People, famous people, are on youtube playing games like Fantasy Age and Dungeon World. You can't seem to escape the news of this so they must still be relevant. The herd follows the herd....

Kicked In The Butt.
The Kickstarter was the whole raison d'être of the game (which yes is something I had to look up and copy/paste thank you). The game doesn't matter squat just so long as it looks good enough to generate the capital. Modiprius's Conan RPG is up to $372,879 with 8 days left to go. A year from now I'll be amazed if anyone remembers it once existed. 

Your Friends Are Weird. 
You get together and you get along and you all like different things, but the only thing you can bring yourselves to agree on is either Changeling the Dreaming or Parcheesi. Oh well, where's my Pooka?

Oh yeah! 
And the game might actually be a whole lot of fun to play. 
Do they still make those?


  1. RPGs are like computers. The IBM PC is a real computer. D&D is a real RPG. Yeah, that kind of thing.

  2. I was just bitching this afternoon about how much I hate Windows and yet - still using it....

    1. I use Windows 10. And I don't even notice that I'm using it. I'm in an application all of the time, getting things done. Now, if only Windows 10 cured writer's block.