What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Immortal Figures: Gods of Olympus

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why Stick With C&C?

People who come to C&C do so for a variety of reasons. Often these are tied in to a sense of nostalgia and a great amount of compatibility with older AD&D and D&D material and, to a good degree, even the newer d20 material being derived from the SRD and OGL itself. While C&C might have been the first to essentially re-create or at least emulate an older ruleset or style of a game we were already familiar with, it wasn't the last.

Newer attempts were made to better capture the 'various flavors' and incorporate the little differences that made a particular edition of a game stand out. Other attempts were to simply improve upon an already existing model. As more options become available, people invariably come into the game only to find something similar but more suited to their tastes or fond memories.

Castles & Crusades is something of a gateway though. Just this weekend, I was visiting a neighboring city and happened to pop into the local game shop. Now, this store is something of an institution and has been there for at least 20 years. When TSR still reigned supreme, they carried their material as well of those of all the 'big names' and a few of the smaller outfits. In short, they have witnessed and have been part of the golden age of roleplaying games.  The selection of material has certainly changed since I first visited the store about 17 years ago and a lot of this has to do with the current interests. There are certainly more card games since the advent of Magic: The Gathering and the past few years have also seen a drastic increase in board games. However, D&D is still a big seller and various brands by other companies do see shelf space. C&C is one of those products.

When I first got into C&C, a lot of the material I bought was from that store. Other friends also got their C&C material from that store and, as the demand was clear, more and more C&C releases found their way to their store shelves. Of course, the books still don't have prime shelf space but at least it's carried and restocked more frequently than it used to be.  Part of that isn't just sales alone because a game store that tries to offer a selection will usually carry it. TLG has also produced other material besides C&C which might have been ordered at one point of another such as the earlier line of d20 products they used to do for D&D. In short, after ten years, TLG has gotten at least enough 'street cred' to be part of many a store's lineup.

The same cannot be said of the multitudes of other (what many people will call) 'OSR' games that are out there. With small publishers relying the internet as the principal means of sale and, more often then not, decide to operate on a POD model it might be harder for them to break into conventional retail distribution.  Even then, it can take years of sustained releases before certain stores and their regular customers begin to take notice. It would be foolish to assume that all gamers get their information from the net first and there will always be those that chose to buy from a retail store as opposed to an online purchase.

I struck up a conversation with the owner of the store and one of the many things I inquired about was if they had or were bringing in any products from Brave Halfling Publishing. The person hadn't heard of them but automatically assumed it was another internet-based, POD operation. In response, that they had started putting material through retail distribution (and the distribution company that was representing then). That drifted to the owner asking what sort of stuff did BHP release and, when I mentioned that a couple of C&C modules had been put out, the perception already began to change.

In short, it was just a matter of time before they started stocking BHP material on the shelves.  The reason for that was C&C.

From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Arcana Creations (with BHP) to support a game like C&C. By that rationale, it makes a whole lot more sense to do material for Pathfinder and 4th Edition D&D. But if I want to do material for the sort of game that I grew up playing (AD&D in this case), C&C is the closest 'success' for me to actually do this with.

I really like C&C but it isn't perfect. I have seen a lot of products that TLG have done which have disappointed me for one reason or another and others which have been absolutely fantastic! Despite flaws that some may perceive from it, the game is generally commercially available. The only other game of the sort that can make that claim right now is Labyrinth Lord (and naturally I'm referring to games that are like classic D&D and AD&D here). Others are just not 'there' yet and many will never be. However, as I've stated in the past, there is a lot more things in common with these games and others in the OSR movement than there are differences.

In the end, I stick with C&C as a publisher because there is genuine recognition of the brand which exists in the retail market. The fact that it also enables me to create material which can readily be used with a lot of other game systems makes me really happy as well. I'm pleased to see and hear that the products that Arcana Creations produces are already being used in this manner.

I think this is just an extension of houseruling and tweaking a game and this is the sort of thing that I've always done. As to C&C itself, it just happens to be close enough to the game I've always played anyway. This is why I've adopted as my game of choice in the first place.

M