Welcome to the first ever weekly whine. This is where we talk about something RPG-wise: be it game, movie, rules, campaign settings, or anything else in between that irks us. Mind you, this is our opinion and sometimes whining doesn’t mean a product is bad. It just means that you have an irking feeling about something that doesn’t sit right. So let us begin…
If you have been following anything regarding Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP), you may have seen the rather drastic changes that are coming to the game. Being gamers for many years we have seen countless iterations of games with each one promising simplicity, more tools, and better playability yet these can be hit or miss. What some perceive as quick, others may find borderline tedious. So this bring us to WFRP 3rd edition as it’s been a hot topic.
For one WFRP will come in a box set which to this gamer is awesome as I grew up on the TSR boxed sets. However, my boxed sets didn’t cost me over $70. While I won’t argue that Fantasy Flight Games currently has the most excellent production values in pen & paper gaming, it does come at a price. For instance, I recently got an offer from Amazon for Rogue Trader. It was at a reduced price and now at a lovely $40 which saved me over $20. I was almost speechless. Some books from White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast have pushed towards the $50 mark but really, in the long run, doesn’t it dissuade a bunch of gamers who may want to join the hobby? Fantasy Flight and other companies want to release games for gamers that are the best possible. So let”s take WFRP for an example. A new iteration usually means the old one was stale, needing updates, and needing some freshness added. The game or rules may not have been bad before but just naturally evolving. Having a starting price point of over $70 though will certainly not win you many new role players nor will it bring the current people playing WFRP 2nd edition over to the new edition. You essentially split your user base between editions which means you either support both or you focus on the new edition and hope everyone falls in line or simply buys it for the setting information in the books.
If you haven’t already seen, the new edition will use a variety of coloured dice with various symbols on them. This is meant to improve the game and make it better, faster, stronger. However, now you have to roll a variety of these coloured dice to determine your amount of successes and if you have positive or negative effects. While this may sound interesting, can you image having to sort through you coloured dice, verify the symbols, and then calculate your successes. Now let’s not beat around the bush here as it just might be a matter of comfort, getting to know the system and picking it up as you go along. I will give it that, but still, does this make things go faster? Is it truly innovative? I remember DC Comics’ RPG from West End Games had custom dice. It didn’t really unseat Champions, did it? Also in the digital age, what about people who play online using virtual tabletops like Fantasy Grounds? We will need dice rollers or numerical charts for the various symbols. Maybe stickers so were not lost and can be organized. Does this truly improve gameplay? Now remember: there are 36 of these dice for your group. Oh did I mention that some of the symbols can affect you talent / ability cards? When did we start playing an RPG / Boardgame hybrid?
Does anyone remember that old Milton-Bradley boardgame Hero Quest? Now, apparently, we have cards for our characters which lets us keep track of our talent slots and various other essential information but unlike Hero Quest we have a party sheet. We can combine talents by having people associate a talent card with your party sheet. This talent can be used by anyone when within proximity. What happened to role playing? Do I really need a card for my party and to use my companions talents without even discussion with him? Have we become that lazy as GM’s to actually perform storytelling or have we become in such a rush that we need instant payoffs to progress through the games as quickly as possible. I think what gets me is the party tension scale. Yes there is a scale which indicates party tension. Certainly this can’t be quantified by roleplaying. No! I must know a numerical value designating that my group is uneasy that I think Leorus handled a situation bad which may have cost us an artifact.
Now I would be crazy if I didn’t say I am the least bit interested in this game. However as it stands now I have a feeling it’s some sort of pseudo Board Game / RPG hybrid with no real consideration for the market as a whole. It has the coolness factor down with the packaging and contents. I love me some boxed sets. I love cards and other tactile treats but I just don’t think this will revolutionize Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. In fact I think your looking at an axe ready to cleave the community in half. It’s obvious by reading the comments on FFG’s site that it”s a mixed bag. I, for one, will give it a try as I want to be proven I am wrong. Let me remind you we’re going off of previewed information and not the whole picture but I do find that they’re taking the roleplaying out of RPGs the minute you quantify relationships numerically and forego roleplaying with cards.
Let me know your feelings about WFRP 3rd Edition. Are you excited? Are you iffy on this whole new polish?