Over at tenletter, they brought up the idea of tutorials in play, which made me think this…
I bought the 4E players handbook – could not get it. It was like reading programming code (which the author hadn’t commented, either). I flipped back to 3.5 and noticed how the first thing the combat chapter does is describe how to do an attack. Ie, something that’s a bit fun. While 4E gets right into initiative, and when to do regen (which no one would have), full turns, half turns…god, they tried to make it more like a video game and yet they made it super book keeping session!
In contrast, I picked up the D&D minatures game starter set. It does have a tutorial – it sets up a fight between one snakeman and one sellsword, basic attacks only. In a few minutes I was hacking (da fun of de hackingz!). It even had a second tutorial – multiple figures attacking (still only basic attacks to keep it simple). Fun – I got to play a green dragon! ROAR!!!
Why they did that with their bloody miniatures line but not with their roleplay line, I dunno.
I’d actually had fun in the first five minutes – to me, that makes it worth perusing the rest of the rules it presents, because the product has shown some worth already. But the 4E players handbook – I’m supposed to digest all that text, for however long it takes, merely on the chance of fun? I’m tired of hoping for fun. And certainly that lots of other people talk avidly about it doesn’t change to from a chance of fun to a certainty. Too many people have different tastes entirely.
Just amazed the miniatures line had tutorials, but 4E didn’t. Keep on the shadowfell isn’t a tutorial – it’s a separate purchase you’d make because either the main book produced some fun for you, or it didn’t and you buy KOTS merely on the hope that it’ll be ‘fun this time, guys!’.
I don’t think that’s a false dichotomy, is it? Either the main book was fun already (then fair enough to buy an expansion), or it wasn’t fun and your just buying expansions in the hope of ‘fun this time’.