Public Relations for 5E

I think its time for WotC to step out of the shadows and present their game in the light of day. They need to advertise in the mainstream. They need to get commercials, billboards, magazine advertisements.

If they don't they will fall behind the times and lose market share to other companies. In fact the latest game informer magazine has an entire two page article on the rise of table top games. They mention fantasy flight games and others, but I didn't see a single reference to D&D. That is a travesty. WotC needs to step up...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I think they started to with the return of Red Box I saw a lot more publicity. Do you think they will ever have an add in the middle of prime time TV? Or just on Cartoon network, Scifi, and G4? Don't say Big Bang Theory.

You know how the military adverts show a knight fighting a dragon and then he morphs into a soldier in combat? Maybe take that idea and run in reverse. D&D was something I saw a lot of deployed soldiers enjoy in their down time. A lot of them never played before.
Do you think they will ever have an add in the middle of prime time TV? Or just on Cartoon network, Scifi, and G4?

Hasbro has its own cable network now.
Rerunning the 80s D&D cartoon on the Hub might be a good idea.

Do you think they will ever have an add in the middle of prime time TV? Or just on Cartoon network, Scifi, and G4?

Hasbro has its own cable network now.
Rerunning the 80s D&D cartoon on the Hub might be a great idea.




Really even getting a two page article in a non-rpg magazine would be a huge deal. Especially if it explains how D&D is different than bored games and video games...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Really even getting a two page article in a non-rpg magazine would be a huge deal. Especially if it explains how D&D is different than bored games and video games...

Doing so when abandoning a line and about two years out of the new line is probably not a good idea.

However, a little bit of marketing for the reprint books would help.  Getting the rights to Shadow over Mystara and Tower of Doom from Capcom (or working something out) and pushing those games on XBL/PSN/Steam would be awesome too.
I think they started to with the return of Red Box I saw a lot more publicity. Do you think they will ever have an add in the middle of prime time TV? Or just on Cartoon network, Scifi, and G4? Don't say Big Bang Theory. You know how the military adverts show a knight fighting a dragon and then he morphs into a soldier in combat? Maybe take that idea and run in reverse. D&D was something I saw a lot of deployed soldiers enjoy in their down time. A lot of them never played before.



I dunno.  If they hadn't already tried the "lets appeal to nostalgia with a 'red box' approach" in 4E - I'd agree.


But I think if they try that stunt again they'll be ridiculed all across the internet.


They'd be better off going for a white box or a woodgrain box than a red box.


Carl
They'd be better off going for a white box or a woodgrain box than a red box.

I wonder why there's no apparent whitebox reprint plans?

I think they started to with the return of Red Box I saw a lot more publicity. Do you think they will ever have an add in the middle of prime time TV? Or just on Cartoon network, Scifi, and G4? Don't say Big Bang Theory. You know how the military adverts show a knight fighting a dragon and then he morphs into a soldier in combat? Maybe take that idea and run in reverse. D&D was something I saw a lot of deployed soldiers enjoy in their down time. A lot of them never played before.



I dunno.  If they hadn't already tried the "lets appeal to nostalgia with a "red box" in 4E - I'd agree.


But I think if they try that stunt again they'll be ridiculed all across the internet.


They'd be better off going for a white box or a woodgrain box than a red box.


Carl      



Or just modernizing it and getting a box full of modern art work. With lots of cool dragons magic muscles and cleavage. that would sell like crazy...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They'd be better off going for a white box or a woodgrain box than a red box.

I wonder why there's no apparent whitebox reprint plans?




Are you sure there aren't?  At least as a pdf?  I know quite a few people in the OSR who are assuming they will be including it as part of the "republishing materials from all the old editions".

I don't know if they will take the print publishing of old editions back that far or not.  If I learn they are going to, I might consider selling my LBBs now for the cash and rebuying the 'new print'.  Or not - they are kind of a symbol in their own right.
 

Carl 
I've always kind of wondered why you don't see a whole lot of advertisements for tabletop games in general outside of magazines and websites that are basically already largely devoted to tabletop gaming. I mean, my assumption is that people crunch the numbers and determine that it's inefficient (advertising isn't cheap, although it's cheaper in some places and media) to advertise in places outside of media where you know you're getting a very targeted shot at your audience. Tabletop gaming is a niche hobby that people get into mostly through their friends (I think). An advertisement on television would have to translate into a heck of a lot of sales to be worth it, and I don't know if people make their tabletop gaming decisions like that.

There's one thing that I can think of that would make an advertising push maybe make more sense soon than at most points in time; with a new edition, they benefit to some degree from mere awareness of the product, perhaps dramatically more than normal.

On the other hand, Wizards' flagship product, Magic the Gathering crept up the advertising in more mainstream channels a few years ago, but appears (although my sample isn't very exhaustive) to have backed off a bit from there since then. (If anyone's seen Magic television ads recently, let me know.) It's certainly not because the market has shrunk; the game has had nothing but best-year-evers for the past several years, and they've finally started producing an introductory product that's really singing for them. It's possible that broadside advertising simply isn't that effective for products like D&D. Seeing D&D ads in mainstream locations would be sweet; I'm guessing we just don't get that because they've decided that it's not worth it.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Are you sure there aren't?  At least as a pdf?

Men_and_Magic.pdf is all over the damn internet.  Getting a new copy made of a dead tree would be amazingly awesome.

I was talking about the 4e Red box Carl.

@ lokiare, OMG! Bewbs! Picture this, a dragon that is made entirely out of breasts. Somebody get me a swath of velvet, i got some painting to do.
With online interviews on D&D Next in the New York Times and Forbes, i think WoTC has already started. 

As long as they don't resort to suspicious advertisement tactics like it was done in the past it should be fine Laughing

[sblock]






my-retrospace.blogspot.ca/2010/04/dungeo...

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Picture this, a dragon that is made entirely out of breasts.

That happened once.

With online interviews on D&D Next in the New York Times and Forbes, i think WoTC has already started. 

As long as they don't resort to suspicious advertisement tactics like it was done in the past it should be fine Laughing

[sblock]






my-retrospace.blogspot.ca/2010/04/dungeo...



I think that was Gary's daughter in those photos....


 

Carl



Edit:  Yep, it's Elise.  www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/news/...



CFT    
The sad part is, that MM is on my bookshelf right now.

That's sad, right?  I don't know.
What they need is to release/publish/translate them outside of USA/UK/Canada

The world is bigger than your first world bubble...

I think that was Gary's daughter in those photos....Edit:  Yep, it's Elise. 


Haha i didn't know t'was Gary's daughter. Thanks for the dig Carl!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

The sad part is, that MM is on my bookshelf right now.

That's sad, right?  I don't know.





Only one copy?  I've got at least two floating around here somewhere (one - my badly beat up copy I actually used back in the day, and the other - part of my attempt to collect a set of nice condition early printings of every edition).  I think I have a third I set aside to ebay that I never listed - but I'm not sure.

The beat-up one is actually now on the table by my chair in the living room (along with my AD&D MM2 and AD&D FF) for use when going 'off-script' in the playtest.  

Carl  
Only one copy?

Well, I did give away my orange-band set.  Except for OA.  That one's mine.

As far as im aware 5E already has more legitimate coverage than other versions (though thats partly because of the new business model created by the playtest itself) and I say legitimate coverage as I just looked over them retro adverts and even I wanted to beat the kids up in them.

It does seem a shame WotC cant call on a few well known geeks to plug their game, Patton Oswalt is usually ok with it.

p.s.

I personally like to downplay the fact that Vin Diesel plays. 
Maybe Hasbro needs to play up the nerdiness?  Get Neil deGrasse Tyson or Danica McKellar to endorse 5e, and they might be onto something.
I was talking about the 4e Red box Carl. @ lokiare, OMG! Bewbs! Picture this, a dragon that is made entirely out of breasts. Somebody get me a swath of velvet, i got some painting to do.



Yeah... I'm talking about what catches the eyes of teenagers and adults, its an advertising technique that is pretty old, tried and true. I'm not talking Drow stripperific, just a little cleavage and some muscular men to attract the ladies. It catches your eye and then you read the cover and realize its a fun game...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
What they need is to release/publish/translate them outside of USA/UK/Canada

The world is bigger than your first world bubble...



Don't worry in the next couple of years that bubble will be gone...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I think its time for WotC to step out of the shadows and present their game in the light of day. They need to advertise in the mainstream. They need to get commercials, billboards, magazine advertisements.

If they don't they will fall behind the times and lose market share to other companies. In fact the latest game informer magazine has an entire two page article on the rise of table top games. They mention fantasy flight games and others, but I didn't see a single reference to D&D. That is a travesty. WotC needs to step up...


WotC's marketing deparment does seem to be ass. They're not very good at advertising beyond the already initiated and most of their ads seem to run on websites where people have likely already head about the games (both D&D and MtG). It's not so much selling the brand or expanding the playbase and selling the new products to people who have bought in the past, which is an ever shrinking pool. 

Remember back when D&D used to be continually advertised in the back of comic books, with the intro board game sets and campaign worlds recieving ad after ad. Heck the anti-Warcraft ads ran during late 3e and I saw some for the change of the miniature game just prior to 4e. But nothing for 4e. 
Not that comics (and magazines) are a great place anymore with their own shrinking audiences. 

The best thing WotC's done to spread attention to the game was the Penny Arcade/ PvP podcast. But even that was 4 years ago and they've just kept going back to that well. 

With online interviews on D&D Next in the New York Times and Forbes, i think WoTC has already started.


Which isn't really spreading the news. Its the online section of the magazine dedicated to geek stuff already, which isn't likely to be seen or read by anyone who doesn't already know what D&D is. Heck, I bet there are a tonn of gamers out there who don't check the WotC main site who have no idea there's a second playtest package out.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

Cleavage is magnetic. I think more and more men are recognizing it as a blatant attempt at manipulation and even laugh at it. Women are also sensitive to this marketing strategy and see it as confirming everything they already knew about sex starved gaming geeks.

I think that it is great that I can see celebrity games and listen to people play on a podcasts. Even if I can't make it to the table I can feel like part of the group. They are funny and occasionally inspirational. They also draw in other nerd classes that don't traditionally converge around to the table top games. They have an excited cult fan base that respond very positively and loudly that they want more of that. But I think the majority of them appeal only to a very specific crowd.

Most of the recorded games I have found have been full of jokes or references to sex, bodily fluids and random pop-culture references. I think this kind of stuff is what turns the majority of people off. I think most people see a vulgar group of developmentally stunted social outcasts and don't identify. They don't get the steady stream of out of character references and are just baffled. If they want to branch out to a different kind of customer maybe they should change the official face of the game? I kind of hope not, because I love this stuff.

WotC has certainly branched out to take advantage of the recent boom in the popularity of board games. More and more families and friends are enjoying sitting down for an evening of board games. It's fun and typically has a small time investment. Gradually some of these players will be enticed and migrate over to pen and paper games as well. If they liked Lords of Waterdeep, maybe they would like to pick up a Redbox?

There are lots of potential strategies.
With online interviews on D&D Next in the New York Times and Forbes, i think WoTC has already started. 

As long as they don't resort to suspicious advertisement tactics like it was done in the past it should be fine Laughing

[sblock]






my-retrospace.blogspot.ca/2010/04/dungeo...



I think that was Gary's daughter in those photos....


 

Carl



Edit:  Yep, it's Elise.  www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/news/...



CFT    




That's Gygax's DAUGHTER as a model in those ads??? 
This is also why I think D&D needs a new cartoon series, to attract new players the same way comic book cartoons have attracted new comic readers. I actually asked Mearls on his twtter about his ideal person to helm a D&D cartoon, and he said Genndy Tarakofsky, which I think we can all agree would be awesome.

Also, anybody else agee that if they made a Planescape cartoon, the best person to helm it would be John Dilworth (Creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog)?
They need Triple-A Videogames and the videogames must carry gameplay concepts/mechanic from this edition to promote it.  Most people i know first experience to D&D was the computer games, and the main reason for success for 3.X and Pathfinder is because all of those games based on 3.X (Neverwinter Nights, DDO, etc...)
Hehe, what a funny thread.

If only Lionel would do some mainstream advertising, toy trains would stop being a niche hobby and go big time.

If only Singer would do some mainstream advertising about quilting, they could really sell some sewing machines.

If only whomever makes bocce balls would do some mainstream advertising, the big sports would have to watch out for a new contender.

I am wondering what established niche hobbies have been able to acquire mainstream success through advertising.
Hehe, what a funny thread.

If only Lionel would do some mainstream advertising, toy trains would stop being a niche hobby and go big time.

If only Singer would do some mainstream advertising about quilting, they could really sell some sewing machines.

If only whomever makes bocce balls would do some mainstream advertising, the big sports would have to watch out for a new contender.

I am wondering what established niche hobbies have been able to acquire mainstream success through advertising.



+1000.  

There is a lot of money you can get from existing people that goes unspent.  I don't see the hobby growing phenomenally playerwise.  People still ride horses (pnp) but cars (video games) aren't going anywhere.   And I'm not saying that the horse is unsatisfying in any way for some people (like me for example).  D&D though is niche.
Hehe, what a funny thread.

If only Lionel would do some mainstream advertising, toy trains would stop being a niche hobby and go big time.

If only Singer would do some mainstream advertising about quilting, they could really sell some sewing machines.

If only whomever makes bocce balls would do some mainstream advertising, the big sports would have to watch out for a new contender.

I am wondering what established niche hobbies have been able to acquire mainstream success through advertising.


Lionel did TV adverts and I never wanted a train set.

I've quilted to fix a quilt my grandmother made me and now I love it even more. Did you know there are styles that don't even require a sewing machine? Singer would probably find a better market in the Cosplay/Con crowd. "Don't dream it, BE it!" 

Bocce balls. Have you gone to Target lately? Cause they have them there. They built a bocce ball court in the park down the block from me. Bocce has arrived. I don't know how they done it, all I know is they done it. It's certainly not niche in other countries.

Video games.
Hehe, what a funny thread.

If only Lionel would do some mainstream advertising, toy trains would stop being a niche hobby and go big time.

If only Singer would do some mainstream advertising about quilting, they could really sell some sewing machines.

If only whomever makes bocce balls would do some mainstream advertising, the big sports would have to watch out for a new contender.

I am wondering what established niche hobbies have been able to acquire mainstream success through advertising.



+1000.  

There is a lot of money you can get from existing people that goes unspent.  I don't see the hobby growing phenomenally player wise.  People still ride horses (pnp) but cars (video games) aren't going anywhere.   And I'm not saying that the horse is unsatisfying in any way for some people (like me for example).  D&D though is niche.



You have to go back to why it is a niche hobby. Its mainly because of the Satanist scare in the 70's and 80's. Nowadays there are video games and TV shows that are more Satanic. Advertising D&D on some mainstream prime time stations in commercials would really let people know the game exists. Many people today don't know that D&D is a table top game...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

You have to go back to why it is a niche hobby. Its mainly because of the Satanist scare in the 70's and 80's. Nowadays there are video games and TV shows that are more Satanic. Advertising D&D on some mainstream prime time stations in commercials would really let people know the game exists. Many people today don't know that D&D is a table top game...



Actually.  Personally I don't think the Satanist scare did much.  Maybe totally new kids weren't getting it bought for them by their grandmother.  But those same kids were getting the game if they were interested.  

I believe video games are the cause of D&D's decline from mainstream fantasy game to niche.   And hey it's still pretty darn popular.  But in those days, there were either no video games or none worth speaking of.   I mean few kids had computers and those that did (me) were playing games like wizardry or ultimate and those weren't really replacements.  

I think there are people (and in my opinion in general they are a superior bunch creatively and intellectually) that find things in pen in paper gaming that does not exist in video games.   That is why I keep saying we don't want to become a non-electronic version of a video game.  We don't want the rules so tight that it feels like a video game.   And that's not faulting video games.  They are a fun activity too.  They just scratch a different itch.  And that itch is far more prevalent than the pen and paper exclusive one.   In the past, the only way to get a fantasy game was through pen and paper so a lot of people played it who dropped it when video games got good enough.  They never wanted the extra things that pen and paper could do for you.

Actually.  Personally I don't think the Satanist scare did much.  Maybe totally new kids weren't getting it bought for them by their grandmother.  But those same kids were getting the game if they were interested.  

I believe video games are the cause of D&D's decline from mainstream fantasy game to niche.   And hey it's still pretty darn popular.  But in those days, there were either no video games or none worth speaking of.   I mean few kids had computers and those that did (me) were playing games like wizardry or ultimate and those weren't really replacements.  

I think there are people (and in my opinion in general they are a superior bunch creatively and intellectually) that find things in pen in paper gaming that does not exist in video games.   That is why I keep saying we don't want to become a non-electronic version of a video game.  We don't want the rules so tight that it feels like a video game.   And that's not faulting video games.  They are a fun activity too.  They just scratch a different itch.  And that itch is far more prevalent than the pen and paper exclusive one.   In the past, the only way to get a fantasy game was through pen and paper so a lot of people played it who dropped it when video games got good enough.  They never wanted the extra things that pen and paper could do for you.




I think its the other way around.


FIrst - the Satanist scare did make a difference.  Not as directly as some think - but it had an effect.  Speaking for myself - in the late 70s if you got into a conversation with me, there was a good chance I'd steer the conversation around to D&D - and I recruited many new players both while in High School and in College.  It was a harmless pasttime and one that I didn't hesitate to try bring up.  Now - although some of those I work with know I game - I generally don't bring it up with strangers unless I have reason to think they are already gamers.

The effect of the Satanist scare was not a direct one - but it did result in a significant chilling of people's willingness to brooch the subject with their co-workers and those they meet.

And the final nail from the Satanist Scare came in the running away from controversy on the part of Lorraine Williams and TSR.  Rather than fight those who defamed them (leaving that up to Stackpole, et al) they chose to stop advertising and crawl into their little hidey hole and let 'the enemy' define the terms of the public debate.  And thus they lost and D&D was defined in the public mind by those who did not play it.

On a related note:  While hanging out at GenCon (actually while waiting to get sent to a Nascrag table) an older couple (70s?) came by and wondered what was going on.  When I mentioned D&D, her response was "Isn't there something bad about that?" - so I had to give her the quick version of the rebuttal.  So, yes, the bad image still persists today.

The other reason why we are a tiny niche hobby is because we like it that way (or at least because we design as if we like it that way)  . The same thing is killing RPGs as killed wargames.  At one point, the wargame hobby put out simple, easy to learn wargames that anyone could play.  But as the grognards of the hobby mastered these easy game, they demanded greater and greater complexity = and the game companies delivered.  And they stopped making the simple, easy to learn wargames.  After a decade of this - because there were no easy to learn wargames new wargame players became few and far between  In the end, the wargame hobby all but dried up and blew away.

We have been headed down that same path since 3.0.  4E tried to make it a bit simpler, and Essentials was a further step in that direction  - but it is still an overwhelmingly complicated mess to someone who isn't already a gamer.    We need to step back and start looking at these games from the perspective of someone who has never played an RPG - video game or tabletop - and make sure that they can sit down and play within minutes of opening the box.

It shouldn't require a character builder to play D&D.  It shouldn't require a five page character sheet.  If we want this hobby to ever grow beyond the tiny niche we have decided to settle for - we need to stop desingning for the serious hardcore D&D gamer and start designing for the new player who has never played before.

This is part of the reason why I support 5Ns attempts to create a simple, solid core game.   No - this simple core game may not be able to have all the bells and whistles that we experienced gamers want.    But if putting those features in means that the game ends up complicated or makes it take more than five minutes to explain to someone everything they need to know to play their character - those features are ultimately hurting the eventual growth of the hobby.  Our hobby will not grow from complex character builds and heavy tactical play.   If our hobby is going to grow - it will grow from having a fast, easy to master core game (and optional modules to satisfy the rest of us).

As for video games - I actually credit them for  helping in the revival of D&D.  Sure - they also compete directly with D&D.  But they have made a whole generation of people far more receptive to the idea of playing pretend warriors and wizards.   In a way - they make playing pretend just a bit cooler just by existing.

And to return to the question of advertising:  D&D was not a 'small niche product' forty years ago.  TSR was named one of the fastest growing companies in Wisconisn some time in the 70s.    D&D was big business.

And the popularity of video games shows that there is wide acceptance for playing pretend wizards and warriors.  So I maintain it is hard to tell just what could be done with a game that a) is designed to appeal to the casual gamer not the 'system mastery' wonk and b)  attempts to sell this game to people who are not already gamers.

Carl
Wow, I agree with Carl.

At least most of the latter part of his post, of course I can make a 5E character (non-caster and I rarely play casters) right now on a post-it note and play it (I generally needed most of a midsize notebook piece of paper for my Essentials characters).

The point you are missing Carl is that a video game will satisfy most rpg needs if the what differentiates a video game from a pnp game isn't important.   That wasn't true 40 years ago when D&D was more popular.  You had people playing D&D back then that I am 100% certain wouldn't play it today.  Those people are satisfied with what mmos and video games offer and thus have no desire to pay the "extra" cost of D&D.

Also as for complexity.  Again I disagree.  Video games are very complex with tons of options.  Admittedly mostly combat since video games don't typically offer that much out of combat (resource stuff but not much rpging).

No one is saying the rules should be hard.  But lots of choices that make a difference are things a lot of people want.   There is a reason that 3.5e is still the most popular version of D&D.   I agree with you that some people dont' want that but I do not think new people are more or less likely.   

I live in the heart of the bible belt.  I'm not at all afraid to tell anyone I play D&D.  Sure there are some old people who have ideas but they aren't playing the game anyway.  Seventy year olds likely won't be playing D&D until the 40 years olds get there.  

 
The point you are missing Carl is that a video game will satisfy most rpg needs if the what differentiates a video game from a pnp game isn't important.   That wasn't true 40 years ago when D&D was more popular.  You had people playing D&D back then that I am 100% certain wouldn't play it today.  Those people are satisfied with what mmos and video games offer and thus have no desire to pay the "extra" cost of D&D.


The fallacy is to assume that a video game and a tabletop game appeal to people for the same reason.  That is equivalent to saying that people won't go to bars because they can just drink a beer at home.

The appeal of a tabletop game is that it is a social, face-to-face activity (or, sometimes, skype to skype, etc).  But it is primarily social (i.e. - like the bar in my analogy).

What is really killing D&D is not video games.  It is the general trend away from face-to-face interaction towards digitally mediated interaction.  Videogames are a symptom of this, not the cause of the decline.

When I was in high school and college - we didn't get together and play D&D out of a burning desire to kill orcs.  We got together because we were friends and we played D&D because that just happened to be a shared interest.  When we weren't playing D&D, we found other reasons to hang out. So no, video games satisfied none of the 'rpg needs'.  And so I'm not sure who you think would have disappeared from the group because of video games - since the orc-slaying was always secondary to the socializing.

 
But despite this - videogames also help because they make the general idea of roleplaying more socially acceptable.    As more and more people play videogames, D&D players become more socially 'normal' and less likely to be seen as basement dwelling pariahs.   After all (in the mind of a videogamer) "What 'they' do isn't that different from what 'we' do - it is just quaintly low tech.


Also as for complexity.  Again I disagree.  Video games are very complex with tons of options.  Admittedly mostly combat since video games don't typically offer that much out of combat (resource stuff but not much rpging).

No one is saying the rules should be hard.  But lots of choices that make a difference are things a lot of people want.   There is a reason that 3.5e is still the most popular version of D&D.   I agree with you that some people dont' want that but I do not think new people are more or less likely.   



I am not surprised you disagree.  I think the majority of players here would disagree.  But that is exactly where I think the problem lies.  We are not the target market I am referring to - and constantly catering to you and I is exactly what I think has led us to our shrinking market share.

The question is what your (hypothetical) 12 year old nephew/ neice thinks.



I live in the heart of the bible belt.  I'm not at all afraid to tell anyone I play D&D.  Sure there are some old people who have ideas but they aren't playing the game anyway.  Seventy year olds likely won't be playing D&D until the 40 years olds get there.  

 



"Not afraid to tell anyone" != "seek out opportunities to 'spread the word'".  Word of mouth advertising is the number one way to promote a product.   I'm not "afraid to tell anyone" either - heck, at our last mamagement seminar they did silly team building exercise and of course started with the "tell us something about yourself" bit - so I identified myself as a D&D player (the other known D&D player in the room did not do so).  But that is a far cry from bringing it up unsolicited when talking to strangers.   And I attribute this change in myself to awareness of how the uninformed public saw D&D and finding it easier to leave them in ingnorance than to set them straight - and thus not bringing the matter up.  Sure - I am only speaking for myself, but I also knoow that I am not the only one for whom this is true.  And this change means that TSR/ WoTC benefitted less from word of mouth to bring in new players than they might have.

Carl
The point you are missing Carl is that a video game will satisfy most rpg needs if the what differentiates a video game from a pnp game isn't important.   That wasn't true 40 years ago when D&D was more popular.  You had people playing D&D back then that I am 100% certain wouldn't play it today.  Those people are satisfied with what mmos and video games offer and thus have no desire to pay the "extra" cost of D&D.


The fallacy is to assume that a video game and a tabletop game appeal to people for the same reason.  That is equivalent to saying that people won't go to bars because they can just drink a beer at home.


My point was that in the 80's D&D filled the video game need.  Because there were no video games.  There are people who really did just want what video games provide.   Now of course there are overlaps.  Most people who love D&D ALSO love video games.   But the reverse is not true.   And the socialization aspects are being met my mmos.  



The appeal of a tabletop game is that it is a social, face-to-face activity (or, sometimes, skype to skype, etc).  But it is primarily social (i.e. - like the bar in my analogy).

What is really killing D&D is not video games.  It is the general trend away from face-to-face interaction towards digitally mediated interaction.  Videogames are a symptom of this, not the cause of the decline.


They are first contact with the phenomena but sure digital communication is on the rise.



When I was in high school and college - we didn't get together and play D&D out of a burning desire to kill orcs.  We got together because we were friends and we played D&D because that just happened to be a shared interest.  When we weren't playing D&D, we found other reasons to hang out. So no, video games satisfied none of the 'rpg needs'.  And so I'm not sure who you think would have disappeared from the group because of
video games - since the orc-slaying was always secondary to the socializing.


If you read my initial comment.  I said there is a delta between crpgs and rpgs.  The social aspects are something but they are not enough to make us a mainstream hobby.  Thats my point.  


 
But despite this - videogames also help because they make the general idea of roleplaying more socially acceptable.    As more and more people play videogames, D&D players become more socially 'normal' and less likely to be seen as basement dwelling pariahs.   After all (in the mind of a videogamer) "What 'they' do isn't that different from what 'we' do - it is just quaintly low tech.


What I do is vastly differently.  No video game or mmo even comes within a 1000 miles of the verisimilitude and depth of a pnp campaign.  But I agree for a lot of people these concerns are not that strong.  Thus my point about video games filling the need for some people.  I don't doubt some kids learned about D&D via video games.  We are talking about net effect though and thats been detrimental to pnp going mainstream.  In fact I don't think it will ever be mainstream again.  We need to know who likes pnp games and market to them. 


I am not surprised you disagree.  I think the majority of players here would disagree.  But that is exactly where I think the problem lies.  We are not the target market I am referring to - and constantly catering to you and I is exactly what I think has led us to our shrinking market share.

The question is what your (hypothetical) 12 year old nephew/ neice thinks.


Most people here either like 4e or 3e.  Both those games are on the complex side.  So I think you are wrong on that point.   I have had some kids play in my campaign.  They usually start with a simple character and learn the game playing with the adults.  For the most part they are eager to do what we do.  I think good DMs are the number one reason for any growth that occurs.  I am not sure though that there really is that many people not playing any rpg's that are out there that would want to play them.   If there are any it's mostly in the female populace.  

I think on the satanism thing we can just agree to disagree.  I think 2e caving to pressure hurt more than any supposed pressure otherwise.  


Edit:  As an aside.  You know that I support DM empowerment and the abolition of excessive fiddly rules.  So I don't want to come across as being against that sort of simplification.  But my reason for being for it is because it targets the very segment that I believe we should.  That segment that feels video games don't offer the flexibilty and freedom of pnp.  NOT because the complexity is inherently off putting.  I like lots of options in a simple gaming framework.  Thats my choice.


I think that Carl, Emerikol and Lokiare are at least partially correct about the status of the tabletop gaming industry as a niche hobby.
All three forum posters have excellent, informative ideas about how the industry got to be a niche hobby.
Both the Satanic Scare and the rise of the videogaming industry had prominent roles in the status of pnp tabletop gaming. 

The card gaming industry may have hurt pen-and-paper RPG gaming even further. The card gaming industry is also far older than D&D.
Magic the Gathering and the Pokemon RPG cards outsell D&D, even though all three products are/were made by WOTC.


Board games are also having an impact. Board games are more well known, more successful, and they have a longer history.
D&D is a baby compared to Chess or Go.  Both Chess and Go are ancient games with thousands of years of history.
Personally I would love to see WotC set up official stores (ran by them directly) for running games and selling products. I know this wont happen at least where I live, but it would really help draw people in. 

The hell that is Warhammer has lots of stores around with pretty models, tables to play on and the shop makes a fortune from little kids cooing over the models with a 5000% markup. After that if they want to learn to play they realise there are codexes and actual things to read (turns huge droves off, but they already spent a mint). 

Where I live there are no hobby shops with tables other than one games workshop and I know im not alone in this.
We need WotC incentives to play, an initiative to get the hobby shop industry moving in areas that lack variation ( you outright WILL make money, there are geeks in the shadows with wallets, they will appear ).