Thursday, July 25, 2013


Blacksteel over at Tower of Zenopus posted an in-depth review of a game I'm interested in, 13th Age.  13th Age is a self-proclaimed "love letter to D&D."  I've played the game, but haven't read the rules.  In my opinion, Blacksteel's most insightful reflection on the game came in the last paragraph:

The main thing I worry about with a game like this is that although it's getting a ton of attention now where will it be in a year or two? Castles and Crusades was a big deal when it came out as a lighter, more old school flavor of 3E and how active is out for it now beyond occasional adventures? How many groups are playing it? I loved Arcana Unearthed and later Arcana Evolved and they had a good run for maybe 4 years and now there's not much support at all. Book of Iron Might was the same way. With everything from Numenera next month to the ramping up of "next" over the next year to the ongoing Pathfinder juggernaut, I'm not sure how well or how long it's going to be supported. Maybe in the age of the kickstarter this is no longer the problem it once was but I'm leery of buying into a game that's a new flavor of D&D without actually being D&D. Sure it worked for Pathfinder but I'm not sure we're going to see the same thing here. There's a cost there, partly financial and partly not, and I may wait awhile to see if it's worth going all-in. One bright side: at least there's no licensing issue like there was with MWP and Marvel.
 Exactly.  Pathfinder had the benefit of Paizo's publishing infrastructure in place for publishing material for Dungeons & Dragons.  They also capitalized brilliantly on the negative backlash of WotC's dropping the game system into which so many people had invested so heavily.  Now, as they repeat the process years later with dropping Fourth Edition for D&D Next (good God, I continue to hate that name), there doesn't seem to be another game system out there positioned to take advantage of the disenfranchised 4E players.  Maybe there aren't that many of them.  Or maybe the lack of ability to just claim wholesale the 4E rules the way Paizo just took 3.5 and ran with it is keeping someone from creating "4DVentures" or something.

Instead, you get the odd fantasy heartbreaker like 13th Age or Blade Raiders or whatever which cranks out a couple of books.  My question is, does this matter?  I'm running the aforementioned Marvel game off of two books, and really only needed the one.  I've got two Mutants & Masterminds rulebooks, and don't feel particularly hobbled.  What is the impact of ongoing support on the fan base?

Thoughts welcome.

1 comment:

  1. This is still probably my biggest concern about the thing. By the end of next year we will have D&D Vth edition pumping out a torrent of material, Pathfinder rolling right along, some OSR stuff still being churned out - where will this one fit in?

    Like you mentioned, I've run games out of a single book before and sometimes less is more. I have to admit that I do hesitate now though when I see reasons to think a game is going to be cut off before it even gets going. There's the money spent on acquiring it, the time spent prepping it , and the energy expend in convincing a group to play it instead of some other game. To do all that and then have it go under ain't a whole lot of fun.

    I'm still thinking about it.