My brain is still humming after last Friday's Twitter conversation. I had caught wind of, in my feed, of some discussion of what WotC (Wizards of the Coast) was or was not doing to market Dungeons & Dragons as a gaming experience. In addition, there was a great deal of speculation on how the brand could be better leveraged to increase interest in the game, and as an aside, increase general interest in role-playing games (of all types) as a hobby. After lurking the feed for a bit, this question popped into my head:
"If Dungeons & Dragons were as popular as say, Scrabble or Monopoly (but not be a board game), what would that look like and how would you get there?" I expanded the question by adding, "So the question becomes: How do you make Dungeons & Dragons a "pastime" instead of a niche game? What social machinery has to be activated to make it so?"
Twitter then "blew up" (but in a good way). In fact, my friend Mad Brew (from Mad Brew Labs - an excellent RPG web site, by the way) was motivated to provide his own answers to this question. Check out his blog (I believe Tuesday and Wednesday of this week) to check out how he answers. Hopefully, this post (which preempts his just a bit), won't step on his toes. To prevent that, I want to take the question in a more specific direction.
If Dungeons & Dragons were played like more traditional social games, it would almost have to drop the role of the Dungeon Master
Well, I have to admit, as a Dungeon Master myself, I find the thought both intriguing and a little scary. However, there's a lot more research to be done before I can make a fair assessment of the idea. Games like Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon go a long way to bridge the gap between the Dungeons & Dragons in a board game format, and Dungeons & Dragons the RPG.
I hope to be acquiring a copy of Wrath of Ashardalon soon, in hopes it can give me insight in how a group of folks could play Dungeons & Dragons without a DM. Thanks to DMSamuel over at RPG Musings, for sending me his copy to experiment with. You'll be getting some dinner, my friend, come Gen Con.
In the meantime, I'm working on answering this question. I don't have answers today, but maybe you have some input for the question? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment!
Until next time...
Game excellently with one another.