Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Am Sorely Tempted... get a SubWay sandwich. But I think I can hold off.

Currently sitting in the Panama City airport (that's Tocumen International, I guess), waiting for my connecting flight to Dallas as I once again wing my way back to Seattle. That's right, folks: I'm on the road again. Just a short jaunt back to catch the NFC Championship game and then I return to Paraguay on Tuesday.

An extravagant splurge of resources? I suppose...but I did buy my tickets as soon as the 'Hawks got home field through the play-offs (I had no doubt they'd clean up in the division round). And my actual game tickets aren't expensive, seeing as how my family's been season ticket holders since 1978 (if you couldn't figure that out from my rampant homerism).

So, yeah...I stayed down in Paraguay through the playoffs last year, but the last time I caught a conference championship game was 2005 and I wasn't going to skip this one.

Of course, the nuts and bolts of flying (and packing and making sure the house was in order before I left) means I haven't had a chance to revisit my "Hey, Mike Mearls" post of the other day. Though, believe me I have been reading/keeping up with everyone's comments.


I'm not sure how the post amounts to any kind of personal attack on Mike Mearls (did I call him names or something?) or any kind of indictment/judgment of 5E at all. So please everyone: step back from that particular discussion. the moment I have about six minutes till I start boarding and despite the lack of sleep and yet another ticket snafu at the airport and blah-blah-blah...despite all that, I'm not feeling particularly irritable at the moment. So let me see if I can be a little less snarky and a lot less inflammatory.

You ever read that story The Emperor's New Clothes by old HCA? Well, sometimes I feel like there's a lot of "oo'ing" and "ah'ing" and not enough people pointing to the overall nakedness of what's on display. That's me perturbs me to no end, and I feel obliged (for whatever reason) to point out the ass that's mooning everyone.

In this particular case, there was a big rigamarole about WotC and their Basic Rules. A lot of praise for a lot of promises. And...yes, really...a big over-sell and under-deliver, even considering the what was being offered was a free product. I've never been one to buy into crowdfunding like KickStarter, but I know that some of my readers have and I imagine there have been folks who have experienced similar disappointments and can thus empathize.

Or maybe not. My own reaction went from curiosity to annoyance to skepticism to (somewhat) patience to huh, WTF. As in WTF happened to a project that just dropped off the face of the earth.

Now since my posting I have bothered to check Mearls's twitter feed and such and know that he and his wife just had their first baby in early December (congrats to them!) and have had two kids in the last four years I know how a newborn in the home can derail all sorts of plans and brainpower...both at home and work. So maybe I should cut Mike some slack for the dropped ball here.

But then who at WotC is picking up the slack? Or, as it kind of appears, has the idea of Basic being a "complete game" - the core game of the most recent version, according to (self-proclaimed insider) RPGPundit - been scrapped? Is this free thing that WotC was lauded for in their press releases just a clever ruse to drive customer interest and sales? Or is it temporarily on-hold?

People who tell me that I need to buy the 5E books are kind of missing the fucking point. The whole concept advertised by WotC was that the hardcover books were supplements to the core...the equivalent of Advanced game aids of an earlier edition. Those weren't supposed to be core...but yet you can't play Basic without them? If you think this was The Plan then you haven't been reading the press releases.

Okay, I've got to go board now. More on this later. Maybe.


  1. Had a comment but it disappeared. So excuse the double post.


    I am not sure anyone at WotC made the claim you say they did about 5e Basic. I recall MM saying specifically that the relationship here was NOT the same as Holmes' Basic to Gygax's Advanced. BUT I will look that up.

    I see what your are saying about the Emperor's New Clothes, but honestly I don't think that applies here.

    I have played the game a lot over the last few months. I like it. It is fun. It is right up there with playing AD&D1.

    Not to be overly empirical about this but I trust my in vivo experiences with the game more that your observations from afar.

    This isn't Confirmation Bias either. We spent some time going back and forth between 1st Ed and 5e. We just liked 5e better for our group now.

    1. @ Tim:

      I'm not talking about 5E. I'm solely talking about the claims made in articles written by Mearls on the WotC wed site specifically about Basic D&D in which he says:

      "Basic D&D is a PDF that covers the core of the game. It's the equivalent of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia...

      "...the three core rulebooks are analogous to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Want more character options? Pick up the [PHB]. Looking for more critters for your campaign? The Monster Manual has you covered...still, Basic D&D is the true heart of the game and could easily provide a lifetime of gaming."

      I am writing about press releases here. Mearls L&L articles. I'm not talking about random quotes from an internet forum. And as "lead designer" for D&D Next, you'd think Mearls would know EXACTLY what he's talking about.

      This has nothing to do with 5E. 5E was supposed to be "additional options" and whatnot for a core game that was going to be released for free via PDF...such was the claim by WotC through the voice of Mike Mearls. A purchase of 5E books wasn't supposed to be necessary for play.

    2. I see what you are saying.

      I played 5e with the Basic material and the Starter set over the summer and it worked for me. Could I have done it with just the Basic? Maybe, but I am not sure. I filled in a lot blanks with things I know from other games.

      I guess at the end of the day mt expectations of a free product are much less than what I look for in something I buy.

      Updates to the Basic game could be delayed. Companies can't pay the bills on free content.

  2. I used to like Subway when the tuna sub had more then a few tiny dollops of tuna on it. But when they really started pushing the "fresh" thing in the ads their portions were not only prepackaged but smaller.
    Selling a "fresh" sandwich that is only freshly assembled is like promoting your game with a complete basic game that isn't a complete game.

  3. See now I feel cheated because I saw something about a sub in the beginning of the post and then no mention of what you ended up eating.

  4. Lynch managed to pull your Teams collective heads out of their collective a..butts all by himself. Green Bay Superbowl, next year.

  5. You picked a heck of a game to fly back for. Go Hawks!