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Ian O'Rourke
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D&D Essential(s) Objects of Desire
Keywords: Role-Playing Games.

Over my years with gaming I have lusted after numerous RPG products. I can't specifically remember them all, but there has been many. There was a time, like most gamers of my generation, during which I was collecting role-playing games rather than playing them. Well, that's a bit unfair, as I have played quite a few games, but it was certainly true I had an epic amount of games and supplements racked up on shelves I'd never get around to running.

One game I never desired to own extensively was Dungeons and Dragons. I've played quite a bit of D&D, but I've never bought copious amounts of product. I had the three core books during the gaming groups opening 3E game, but that was mostly it. This is certainly true of 4E, which is an excellent game, probably the best game of all the versions, and is great to play, but there is something about the mindset demanded to run it that means it's not for me. Oddly, I never purchased a single book while playing 4E for two years.

Still, the digest D&D Essentials books sure are tempting.

First, I really like the digest format and any game that appears in that format already has a head start. Who would have ever imagined that D&D would be released in a Burning Wheel style digest format? All compact, dense, smelling and feeling gorgeous and full of useful content and a good game delivered for 30 GBP in a stylish way? I had a flick through them and they had that essential 'buy me' feel. The layout was nice, the font was appealing, they are a bit short on art but that is often a compromise in a digest format.

Second, I suppose there is a bit of a re-booted comic feel about them. You fancy getting into a specific comic, but it's gone on for years, has loads of back history and you feel like you're jumping into something way too large. D&D 4E can feel a bit like that. It's not true, of course, and it's more human nature that engenders that feeling as you can still just purchase the original three core books and get on with it, but the feeling is there nevertheless. The Essentials books make it feel like you're buying something new and fresh and that you are in at the beginning. Strangely, it also feels like you're getting into a simpler package, which isn't true at all. The Essentials game has exactly the same rules as all the books released so far. I even like the original Essentials books limit the classes to the core of Fighter, Cleric, Wizard and Rogue, it has a sort of classic feel to it (not sure what it's classic of, but it's there nevertheless).

They made me want to put 30 GBP down on the encounter, knowing I had a great set of books that would allow me to get into the D&D adventure experience. I was tempted. I was even thinking up some ideas in the store. Reality eventually did kick in, as I couldn't see me putting the effort in with all the associated D&D extras like miniatures and floor plans and the like.

It occurs to me the biggest seller might be the rules compendium. I'm not sure what rules the compendium includes as it gets quite confusing now with multiple Dungeon Masters and Player Guides and I certainly don't know what has been in each of them. Since the rules in the Compendium feature all the errata over the years, if they are pretty comprehensive across the DMG/PHB range, it would be a brilliant book to own for references purposes even if you have an extensive library. It's possible the Compendium will fly off the shelves.

Permalink | Comments(0) | Posted by: Ian O'Rourke on 09/10/2010 Bookmark and Share
 
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