Starting with the U.S. 3-2 win over Slovenia being nullified by extremely poor officiating. English fans might feel it fair after the "cheap goal" that allowed the U.S. to tie their national team, but that's on England's goal keeper (an "own" error) not a gift from the referee. Of course, Seattle sports fans like myself are no strangers to "robbery" - the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, the "theft" of the Sonics by Oklahoma City - but it's pretty irritating to see it take place on the international stage...especially when the sport is just starting to get legs under it in our historically disinterested country. After all, why am I bothering to get up so damn early anyway?
Between matches, I was down at Gary's Games shooting the breeze with Tim regarding game design, local companies, and the price of shrink wrap. And checking out the new inventory, of course.
[by the way...Big Note: don't forget that tomorrow, Saturday, is Free RPG Day around the country...be sure to rob your local game shop of the complimentary swag that's available!]
While at the shop, a youngish man (okay, probably my age, give-or-take a couple years) game into the store with his 3-4 year old son to buy some model planes. While there he asked Tim about the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons, specifically regarding the new Basic edition that he heard about on the news, and wondering if it was something a dude in his 30s-40s could get back into after a multi-decade hiatus. He also mentioned he'd heard it was a little more "linear" in nature with set-piece encounters and a scripted story. The guy stated...really!...that he couldn't imagine how that could be "fun" when someone was used to having more leeway in creating their own settings and open-ended adventuring.
Well, at that point I couldn't sit quietly on the sidelines and keep my damn mouth shut...I told the guy about Labyrinth Lord.
Now is this robbery? I admit that, even at the time, I was feeling a little bad about giving the guy information on a game that can be downloaded for free, certainly purchased for cheaper than the core books of 4th edition, potentially depriving my favorite local game shop of a ton of cold hard ca$h. Was I thieving money from the till?
After consideration, I don't think so. For me, B/X D&D (the precursor to the Labyrinth Lord retro-clone) was a "gateway drug," allowing me to get into the RPG hobby and leading me to hundreds of dollars in game purposes over the years. For a returning "old dude" player, wanting to introduce gaming to his young children, I would think a game with an easier learning curve would be a good thing.
Likewise, I think that selling this same individual a stack of huge ass "core books" of arcane rules and phraseology is a surefire way of getting him to throw up his hands and say, WTF? Probably alienating him and/or his kids for good.
Which would suck, of course.
On the other side, getting the guy to purchase (or download) a copy of LL will mean, introducing newbies (and oldbies) back into role-playing...not to mention, adventure purchases, dice purchases, used book/game purchases (recycle and re-use, baby), etc.
At least that's the way I see it. As a guy with a family, a full-time job, and a house that needs upkeep, in addition to a couple random hobbies (like trying to self-publish my own RPGs), I know I don't have the time or patience for WotC/Hasbro's latest greatest. Even if I didn't already object to their stuff on general principle.
So I guess, the only folks I am intentionally robbing by speaking my opinion is the WotC folks. I'm pretty sure Gary's makes most of their money on things other than RPGs (like cards, dice, Bridge products, model kits, etc.). However, I'd certainly encourage ANYone (even a crappy World Cup ref) to give role-playing a try. I just wouldn't encourage them to give it a try with Wizards/Hasbro.
All right...back to Algeria and England. Come on, tie!