Monday, July 3, 2023

The Culture: Recovering Our Inheritance From The Trash

The RPG Hobby got into the mess it is because of Boomers. Their problem is the failure to pass on what they received from their elders.

What is going on now is that all of the nearly-lost foundational knowledge that the Boomers failed to pass on is being dragged out of the Memory Hole and put back into practice. The consequences for the hobby are not trivial; this is already having an impact, and as the shockwave spreads more people are going to see just how gimped the games we've had (and the products we've bought) are.

This is going to make people mad. There's going to be a lot more freakout reactions than there's been so far as the Preference Cascade continues. The businesses that remain once it has passed will not be as they are now, and neither will the games. There will be fewer of both, with the former changing in ways that many now consider impossible while the latter will freak out those who have not seen a real fantastic adventure wargame in their lives.

The Future Is The Past Reconsidered

The big error was to turn a hobby into a business.

It should have remained a self-financing hobby pursuit at the most. Today that is far easier to do than it has ever been, such that you can not only publish digitally for free into global distribution, but you can also offload printing and shipping as well. Therefore I recommand, for those that have to publish, to follow Chris Gonnerman's model: free in digital, at-cost via Print On Demand.

The new direction is to do what the Boomers did not: pass on the knowledge of what to do and how to do it to succeeding generations.

A hobby culture that thrives is one that deals in active teaching of acumen to those that prove themselves both capable and willing of mastering it. Now that videogames exist, we need not cater to those seeking idle distractions or passive passtimes. Gatekeeping is good, and those that aren't willing to conform to what is necessary to succeed should be shown the door and given directions to alternatives that fit their preferences.

This means less focus upon selling stuff and more on teaching and doing stuff.

But I Like Money!

It's a bad idea to butcher a rhino and glue its horn on to a horse's head, which is what we've got as "the industry" so far. You'd be far better off buying a laundromat than publishing RPGs and shilling product.

The money in this hobby--such as it is--is in putting players together, keeping them connected, and faciliating the full range of campaign play as laid out by the #BROSR- not in selling products. Solve that problem, and do it better than anyone else, and you'll get calls from YouTube business channels wanting your story- a direct real-life parallel for how winning at RPGs directly translates to winning at real life because it's the exact same process: pursue objective, solve problem, apply solution, get reward.

Until then, focus on mastering the hobby and not on pushing yet more product no one needs that doesn't solve problems that exist (or create new ones).

A Better Tomorrow

There were a lot of misses over the last nearly 50 years, but more than a few were near-misses.

The thing to do now, while we go about replacing Consumerism for Hobbyist Acumen, is to revisit the misses and identify the errors behind them (like I did yesterday). Then, either to attempt to remedy those errors or to collaborate with others in doing so, until all of the missing inheritance that the Boomers threw into the trash is recovered and restored to its proper state- and to train those that come after us in the ways of the hobby so that it stays after we are gone.

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