Audio Report: blue light nostalgia special

This ep’s all about fondly remembering days gone past, whether they’re the days when we used to play that game we’ve been kind of thinking about playing again, or just the day and a half when we all felt really sorry for Palladium. And um, this ep is also about Hordes and Ticket to Ride Marklin and just a lot of good things. Go!


  1. I’m not sure exactly what kind of depth or length you’re questing for in a “how to roleplay” guide that’s inclusive in a rules set, but you might want to give a quick read to “Roleplaying 101” in the main rules for Savage Worlds by Pinnacle if you haven’t done so already. There are still some things I personally don’t quite grok about the game; it seems almost *too* streamlined for my own unique and strange tastes (I rather preferred the old Deadlands system), but it has always had a fairly rabid following, so maybe i’m just missing something.

  2. I’m not a player of RPGs, but I found your discussion about RPG fans always wanting “the hook-up” to be fairly interesting. I’m a newbie to the boardgaming hobby and I am dragging my family into it with me :-). My husband complains about the prices of almost everything so I thought he would have a problem with me buying games, especially since Eurogames cost a bit more than the stuff we see at Toys R Us. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by his attitude. Granted, we don’t spend a lot ($30/month, which usually nets one boardgame or two card games), but he is looking at this money as an investment. The value that we get out of a boardgame is a lot more than we get from the money spent on movie tickets. Still, I wish our friends would pony up and buy a few games, too!

  3. Dani, I have found board gamers to be a little more cognizant of the deal they’re getting when it comes to dollars per hour of entertainment per person. But yeah, the “per-person” deal can make one wish that others would jump in and share the load!

  4. Thanks for the pointer to Awesome site. IME it’s hard to find painting tips that really help me out, particularly in regards to using color. Good stuff.

    Speaking of minis v. RPGs, I am one of those guys that spends $150 on miniatures and is completely happy about that, but I can’t imagine spending that much on a single RPG line. I think a lot of it is simply tied to utility. A good RPG book is hard to find, and if you do find something you enjoy you’re looking at hours of reading through it, then hours of prep to add it to your game.

    On the other hand, with a bunch of minis you can take them out of the package and start working on them right away. There’s a small barrier between buying and enjoying them. A big part of the fun with minis is the process of assembling and painting them. You can do that as soon as you have the free time.

    With RPGs, you need to wait until you have a game going, or the right character to use the options in a book, or the chance to start a new game, and so on.

    $150 of minis is a $150 of fun whenever you want to start using them. RPGs require a lot more overhead. On top of all that, I can just look at a mini and decide if I want it. An RPG book requires a lot more analysis.

    It’s interesting to me that the most successful RPG projects I’ve worked on have been very broad in focus, with lots and lots of discrete bits that apply to lots and lots of different characters. For d20 stuff, I think that approach really cuts down on the work a gamer needs to do to decide if he will like something.

  5. Glad you liked Brushthralls Mike, my buddy Finn is one of them, and wrote the most interesting articles on “painting black” and “painting white.” It is indeed good stuff.

    Also, appreciate your insights on RPG vs. Minis buying habits. That broached on some stuff I hadn’t even considered. Cheers!

  6. I’m going to warn in advance that I’m going to have an agressive tone, because this particular podcast managed to push just about every single button I have, because of an attitude expressed which is, IMHO, a major part of What Is Wrong With Gaming.

    The reason I bitch about the high cost of games is, frankly, because I am poor. When I got into gaming, a new copy of the D&D 2e PHB (how’s that for acronyms) cost me $20, and the average price of that book was $20-30. Now, RPG core-books can be still about that price if you get them online, but you don’t really have an opportunity to peruse them. If you choose to support your FLGS (or, for that matter, FLBS), prices go up to $40-$50 a book. So, up goes the barrier-to-entry as well.

    Plus, there are personal reasons, which I will bring up here for the sake of full disclosure. I live in a town where the average income of the people who live here is much, much more then we make. We’re living in a manufactured home in the land of mini-mansions. Further, the way that the various social safety-nets work, we make too much to get help, but after medical expenses, and the morgage, and paying to fuel our vehicles (which both of my parents need for their work), and pay for food, we’re barely scraping by.

    Frankly, if I could find a job where I could move out and spare my parents my drain on their income, I would. However, to complicate matters further, my town’s public transit is shitty enough that I can’t find steady employment and continue my schooling and, frankly, I don’t have my Associate’s yet.

    I give all this information (which can fall into the realm of TMI) because I know, if only because of the law of large numbers, that I am not the only one in such a situation.

    And, by the way, the Aspen analogy also really pushed a button. I live in Oregon. We have Mount Mother-Fucking Hood. I have set foot on the damn place twice. Once when my dad, whose hobby is blacksmithing (it’s the only hobby he has, and he can hardly afford that) took the family up to Timberline lodge, partly to view the iron-work, and partly because it’s a part of my family history, as my Grandfather, may-he-rest-in-piece, helped build the place; and the other time for a church retreat. And on neither of those times, did I ski, because I can’t afford to ski. I can’t afford to rent skis, I can’t afford a lift ticket, and I certainly couldn’t afford lessons.

    And, again, I’m not the only gamer who has a situation similar to this, not because they spend too much on games, or anime, or whatever, but because they legitimatly can’t afford it because of Real Life. So, if you honestly think that because the majority of gamers who bitch about book prices are stuck-up punks who need to drink a big cup of shut-the-fuck-up, then I suggest that you get a clue. I’ve even got a bat that will help you with that problem, and don’t worry about the rusty nail.

    And about that $5.00 for a ticket – I don’t know what prices are like where you are, but here, $5.00 can pay for an noon matinee ticket and, at my local theater – $7.00 if I’m going to see a night screening.

    As for those $100 spending parents. They’ll still spend $100 no matter how much the books are priced. And, frankly, if you don’t want the riff-raff poor people in your store, then fuck you, I’ll take my business somewhere else, and laugh when you close.

    Now, how is this “If you don’t have the money and don’t like it, go find another hobby” attitude part of What Is Wrong With Gaming? Because it alienates those people who would love to get into the RPG hobby, but won’t, because they can’t afford it. Because they can’t necessarily find a group of players, or a GM with an opening, and aren’t willing to shell out the cash for a game which they may never get to play or run for 5 years or more. So, they save up their cash a little more, and get a console system, or buy an MMORPG subscription, because hey, at least now they get to play. If the prices were more accessible, and if that, “You don’t like the prices there’s a Wal-mart down the street” attitude disappeared, gaming would improve. A lot of communities with small gaming “scenes” would liven up because people who were buying subscriptions to WoW or Everquest or shelling out $50 for the next version of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest or Suikoden because there was no price difference between a CRPG and a PnPRPG would shell out their cash for World of Darkness, or Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying.

    It would help publishers outside of the Big 3-4, because then people wouldn’t be seeing it as much of a gamble to pick up a new game, without knowing if there’s a group willing to run it.

    And now I’ve gotten that out of my system. It’s rambly and bitchy, but my point is, I think, clear. Though, I could be wrong.

  7. Five years or more?

    Five years or more?

    You only think your comment was about the money issues in gaming; it was really about the time issues. An entertainment product you can’t use for five years is a product you’d have to be retarded to buy, no matter how much it costs or how much you have.

    The problem’s not the price; the problem is the games.

  8. “And, frankly, if you don’t want the riff-raff poor people in your store, then fuck you, I’ll take my business somewhere else, and laugh when you close.”

    I think this threat would bear more weight if it didn’t come at the end of a rant about how you don’t have any money to spend on games.

  9. On a more serious note, RPG products have never been cheaper if you have access to the Internet. PDF stuff is cheap, the core rules for D&D are online for free, and there’s a metric ton of completely freeware systems. has free adventures for almost every character level.

    Beyond D&D, SJ Games provides GURPS Lite as a PDF. For any popular RPG, there’s a ton of free stuff out there.

  10. In retrospect, I probably should have refrained from posting, as my response, as long as it was, was a knee-jerk response. As it is, just abandoning my rant and ignoring any responses would make me no better than any other troll, so, I’ll try to clarify about the riff-raff comment.

    That comment was, basically, brought on my personal background, with the living-below-the-average-income-for-my town bit. I got picked on a lot as a kid because my family didn’t have money for a Sega Genesis, or an Game Gear, or to get sneakers with lights in the heel that flash when you walk, or to go out to the grocery store and buy a bunch of canned food so our class could get more cans than the other classes so we could get the pizza party. So, I’ve gotten a little sensative (and the understatement of the year goes too…) when it comes to comments about money, and particularly when the comments tend to start with “You shouldn’t complain…” or “You should have…”.

    However, my earlier post was pretty knee-jerk and, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have posted it (or at least saved it for my blog).

    Oh, and about the 5-years comment, well, that’s another personal-background thing. I’ve been having a gaming drought, where I haven’t had an opportunity to play with a steady group, for about 6 years. I’ve been working on finding a group, but so far no dice. Now that I’m over 21 it’s a little easier, though there’s still geography problems (though I’m working on those too). I’ve still bought RPGs, in part to ease the process of getting a group (to jump the “Do you have a copy of the rules?” hurdle).

  11. Alexander,

    There are dozens of inexpensive RPGs out there. You don’t need to spend $30 on any rule book. I make more than enough to drop $100 a week on games – but I choose not to. I instead spend about $10 a month and have just as much fun.

    Case in point:

    Best of luck!

  12. Alexander,

    There are dozens of inexpensive RPGs out there. You don’t need to spend $30 on any rule book. I make more than enough to drop $100 a week on games – but I choose not to. I instead spend about $10 a month and have just as much fun.

    Case in point:

    Best of luck!

  13. Alexander, thanks for clarifying. I think the five-years thing actually is money-related, on reflection, insofar as it’s always going to be easier to find large concentrations of gamers in large cities.

    But the real point is: it is fine to want less expensive games. And as Mr. Mearls and Mr. Jeffers point out, there are plenty of options there. Where we run into problems is when gamers insist on games that cost less, at the same level of production values as games that cost more. A 400-page book with color plates, printed in small numbers for a niche market, should rightfully cost at least $60, or someone involved in bringing it to you is taking it in the shorts. And that doesn’t grow the industry either.

    So, start spreading the word to other gamers that RPGs are cheap – and when they are, they look cheap. And that’s the way the world is. Publishers have to stay afloat too.

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