Friday, February 09, 2007

How to make Roleplay more popular

Today we have mostly…

…been discussing how we could make Roleplaying games more popular to 'the youth of today' (not that we feel old or anything)

Here is our action plan:

Older brothers
Almost everyone blames their older brother for getting them into role play in the first place. Whether it’s because he sneered and said ‘you can’t play, you wouldn’t understand’(meaning, of course, you’d do your damnedest to play, just to stick it to him) or whether it’s because his Dungeon party was one man down and they needed a meat shield (“Why do I have to stand at the front all the time? When do I get a sword like you guys?”) Cloning older brothers, and issuing one to every home is a sure fire winner.

Mandatory choose your own adventure books

Even before we were roleplaying, these babies were there, corrupting us to the way of the die and the hit points, the fudging of rolls, and the Fate Point like act of keeping your thumb on the page you’ve just left, just in case turning to 97 leads to certain doom. From the Warlock of Firetop Mountain to Return to Brookmere, Fighting Fantasy to Endless Quest- reading these books should just be the law. Put ‘em on the National Curriculum and we’ll have less ASBO’s and more Dice Rolls.

Bring back Knightmare

For our Trans-Atlantic readers, Knightmare was a game show where a group of kids got together, nominated one of their number to wear the ‘Helmet of Justice’ (a bucket with horns on it) and then pushed him into a computer generated/dodgy blue screen dungeon.

The advisors (who were nice and safe in Dungeon Master Tregar’s castle) would then look into a magic pool (TV Screen) and shout instructions to the hapless adventurer. The kid, blinded by the Helmet of Justice, would wander around encountering gypsies, goblins, elves, puzzles, giant spiders, bombs and various other types of death.

Inevitably, the kid would mishear his advisors shouting “one step to the left…no, left!…LEFT!” and would take a step to the right…and end up falling into spinning saw blades of death. Then, huge gloomy bells would toll, a massive skull would appear on the screen and the team would be out of the show.

Despite sounding a bit ropey, it was, in fact, ace (or ‘top smart’ as we said at the time) and was the perfect introduction to role play. Done today, with CGI and special effects, it would wipe the floor with other Kids TV.

So, those are our theories (well, the printable ones anyway) What would you do to promote Roleplay?


Blogger Albrecht said...

Spellcasting... C O N F L A G R A T I O N O F D O O M

Quick use the horn to scare off the goblins...!

Okay enough of my Nightmare memories.

To get more young people involved in role-play? Maybe make a free pack the school role-play clubs can send for. Have in it all the basic stuff to run a game, an adventure with handy maps and some pre made character sheets, plus the dice. Like the old D&D box you used to be able to get.

Or how about get the GW stores to actually sell your books. That would open the game up to new players.

1:54 am  
Blogger Andy said...

Wow , blast from the past Nightmare was kool and i agree a goo introduction to rpg playing. I second the thought to try and push your roleplaying material in Gw shops , sort of like you do with the novels , stick em in a corner and see what happends , speaking to my local shop the only issue you could have in the rpg book section is the price , espicialy when local hobbie stores can stock and sell the rpg books cheaper than they would be in GW ?

5:26 pm  
Blogger Freudian Slip said...

I think that computer games are going to be the death of true role play. Don't get me wrong, they're fun, but they are no substitute!

2:07 am  
Anonymous dave said...

All you can do is provide opportunities for kids to get into it. The Fighting Fantasy books in the 80's were great for that. Bendy D&D figures weren't - a lesson Games Workshop seems reluctant to learn.

Knightmare was as much of an embarrassment as the tabloid "D&D is the occult." and was more like TV jumping on the bandwagon. At least the Crystal Maze had some comedy and class.

The more there are casual simple, narrative driven kids games like Fighting Fantasy or family orientated with a fantasy theme - like Talisman, the higher the probability of getting the idea of roleplaying into hands of a kind who is going to turn into a real enthusiast. The problem today is that there is no brand recognition, no Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson presents to lead from one to the other...

And all this at a time when J K Rowling is the highest earning author in the world!

7:56 pm  

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