What could save the roleplaying game industry? (Part 2)

In my apparently continuing series on what could bring new people into purchasing RPG’s, I present the following:

Bring back the boxed set.

“That’s just nostalgia!” I hear some readers cry, but hear me out.  I, and most RPG enthusiasts in their mid-thirties or thereabout, got their start on the boxed set of Dungeons& Dragons.  And I didn’t buy mine at an FLGS, I bought it at Sears.  That’s right, younger readers, Sears carried D&D.  Now the RPG industry doesn’t need Sears carrying RPG’s, it needs Wal-Mart to carry RPG’s, which means packaging RPG’s as a game, not a book.  Wal-Mart’s game section: big.  Wal-Mart’s book section: pathetic.  Draw your own conclusions, but packaging would make a difference.  In addition, a boxed set contains everything the novice player would need: rules, adventure, and dice.  As it stands now, the new kid needs to first a) go to an FLGS they’ve never been to before; b) buy the right rulebook(s), c) somehow psychically tell how many and of what kind of dice  you need to buy, and d) pick out an appropriate starter adventure module.  Package them together in a box with artwork that doesn’t look like porn, and then market it as a game to the box stores, priced somewhere around $30.  Include a mini-catalog of other products, perhaps even a coupon for subscribing to your magazine.

I realize that marketing the game to major retailers doesn’t help the FLGS, but in the long run, it will.  New players become veteran players, get more sophisticated tastes, and will want to connect with other players, which is where the FLGS should be coming into its own.  I could write more on what would save FLGS’s, but that’s another day.

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