Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mearls Interview

I have to admit, I do get a kick out of some of the stuff that comes out of WotC - if only for entertainment value.

Mearls is quoted here in a 5E interview as saying the following:

The D&D Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set in the red box has also been a real success for us. It highlights the importance of having a good intro product—something that is definitely on our radar as we plan for the future.

This was always the strangest part of 4E to me. Why did they wait 3/4 of the way through the edition to create a starter set? Seems to me, if I were to design an RPG, the starter set would be the first thing I'd do - as that set would be the gateway drug for future gamers and would drive sales throughout the length of the new edition. Was this WotC just doing everything ass backwards or was there a specific reason for that? Does anyone know? I'm curious why it happened that way. Seems like they learned from the (major) oversight.


  1. The red box wasn't the first one.

  2. Often the starter set is an afterthought to the design of the main game, or something to goose up interest in the middle of an arc. There is a CCG I know that has been out for 15 years and still releases its learning sets mid-arc.

  3. Ok, I understand exactly what you guys are saying, but from a personal preference standpoint that's not how I'd run a business to support growth.

  4. I faintly remember reading on EN World at the time that they wanted to cater to existing gamers for two years or so and then start reaching out to non-gamers. I can't say whether that was a good plan or not, but it made sense to me at the time when I first heard it. Thus, from my point of view, the just stuck to the plan. Their first target group of non-gamers were ex-gamers and gamers with kids, as far as I can tell.

  5. If it was a real success (brought in gamers) why are they making new edition so soon after? That set was being sold around Christmas 2010, so about a year ago.

    If he means "it sold well" and not "it brought gamers into the hobby", then I'm going to suggest it was nostalgia for the cover of the box, not anything to do with the contents.

  6. I think the Red Box was to test the waters for 1) retro product, 2) a basic boxed set.

    We'll see both again in a year or two.

    As was pointed out on another blog, I forget which, only WotC would put a retro cover on a new game an then want to put a new cover on an old game (AD&D hardbacks in April). Should be interesting to see what they do.