Monday, November 7, 2011

An Odd Quote Pointing Out Why RPGs are a Niche Hobby!

Over at, user Shawn said:

"Of course D&D's game play should be fun enough on it's own. It's a game. If the rules are dependent on story and things the players bring to the game as opposed to what the game itself brings to the table to be fun and enjoyable enough to play, then the game has failed miserably."

To me, that's the entire point of RPGs as opposed to card/board/video games. If the players (including the Referee) bring nothing to the table, there is no game, and there's really nothing for the rules to even do.

The always-active nature of the hobby is the tough sell, I think, and why other entertainment forms are more popular.

"It's like reading, but harder!"


  1. I guess that guy doesn't like pot luck dinners either.

  2. RPGS and books are active. TV, video games, card games and movies are all passive. It doesn't take any work and doesn't ask for anything. Which is sometimes good, yet without enjoying an active thing like RPGs or books then you lose your brain to goo. IMHO.

  3. Some card (and board) games are more active than others. Poker, bridge, chess and Go require strategic thinking and (in card games) a knowledge of probability. On the other hand, I see the point that those games require no creativity or imagination, which has become scarce in the general population.

    Vonnegut noted, in an essay I can't locate, that TV, movies, and video games have become prosthetic imaginations. No need to imagine what Milady De Winter looked like, when you can see Faye Dunaway, Rebecca De Mornay, or (gods help us) Milla Jovovich on the screen. No need to picture yourself exploring a forgotten tomb when you can just point and click. If some subset of humanity had lost their imaginations to tragic accidents or virulent plagues maybe false imaginations would be a blessing. Alas, far too many people hook up mechanical arms when their real arms are tied behind their backs, atrophying away.

    Now get off my lawn.

  4. Not only do you have to bring "something" to the table, but you have to put it out there to be judged by the other players. So you have to be creative under great social pressure.

  5. "Not only do you have to bring 'something' to the table, but you have to put it out there to be judged by the other players."

    That's a very important point. And it makes me wonder if one of the reasons why potential new players are often reluctant even just to try RPGing is because so many RPG enthusiasts seem like such hyper-judgmental dickheads that they've made the hobby look, from the outside, uninviting.

  6. Maybe this is one reason why, almost as soon as D&D came out, people were trying to come up with "D&D, but a board/card/computer game" (perhaps combined with the fact that RPG players tend to be a little bit proud of how hard their game is).