D&D Neither Well-Known nor Beloved?

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

20 thoughts on “D&D Neither Well-Known nor Beloved?

  1. LOL! Parents still fear letting their kids play D&D I take it? Is D&D Hasbro's dirty little secret? Nobody is stigmatized for playing card games afterall.

  2. I think it's just a branding issue. D&D isn't a Hasbro brand, it's a Wizards of the Coast brand. Yes, one owns the other, but I'm pretty sure they're still different business entities, and are marketed separately.

  3. I'd imagine among the general populace, D&D is more well-known than M:tG. It's "worked its way into the cultural zeitgeist" in all sorts of ways.

    The surest way to see that is in depictions on television. To this day there are references to D&D (or D&D under some other name), from E.T. to Spongebob Squarepants to Community.

    I don't recall seeing that sort of cultural penetration of M:tG. Say "Dungeons and Dragons" to most people in the U.S. and they'll at least have some idea of what you're talking about. Not so "Magic the Gathering."

  4. The names are mentioned purely on Volume. RPG's can't sell as much volume as cute (or manly) little dolls, and WOTC can't out compete the Magic Franchise.

    While it is sad that D&D is really nothing more then a footnote in the corporation's financial analysis, that doesn't mean that D&D 4E isn't garnering attention. Given the licensing value, it'll still be significant at least in WOTC's branch for some time to come. D&D isn't going anywhere.


    As far as cultural penetration, Magic has had a huge impact, although it ended up a victim of itself. What is sad is that the cultural impact that it had basically replaced itself with another game,Yu-Gi-Oh. In a way, it's really funny.

  5. Speaking strictly from the experience of my own household (complete with 9-year old daughter), Beyblade is all the rage right now.

    I've got to admit, it's completely mindless (basically, you send two metal tops spinning at each other in a box, and the last one standing wins), but damned if it isn't fun to play. We adults did quite a bit of it on New Years Eve, and I still like to play.

  6. Two things. I've been trying to remember for about a year what game explicitly forbids house-rules, since D&D almost explicitly demands them. Then it came to me: Monopoly. Of course Hasbro loves it.

    And, I was also exposed to Beyblades over the holidays with my niece and nephew. You are absolutely right that it is mindless, but it is mesmerizing! Probably one of the few times me and my brother-in-law shared an interest in anything for more than 30 seconds. The fact that it's just kinetic energy and whirring and banging is cool as hell.

  7. I worked in a toy shop about ten years ago, when Beyblades were all the rage.

    I assume that their popularity hasn't held steady for a decade, so they must then be going through a resurgence, like Transformers did in the mid-90's.

    All of which makes me feel very very old.

  8. kelvingreen: Yes, they've started showing the cartoon again, and according to the Hasbro Q4 report, they're selling the things like gangbusters because of it.

  9. C'mon, let's get some real razors attached to 'em and call it "Vorpalblades"!

    Ok, I'd be lousy marketing games to kids, but think of the fun!

    Now if Hasbro could market a game where polyhedral dice get thrown against each other, we'd have some sort of a chance.

  10. It was an advertising blurb. It is meant to highlight the best sellers and D&D is not among the best-sellers. The fact they tagged on the titles of Well-Known and Beloved is not a reflection of reality but rather a reflection of sales figures.

  11. Maybe it's all the dice? Yahtzee didn't make the list either. 🙂

    At least D&D is in good company. Risk, Rubik's Cube, Tinkertoy, Scrabble, Tonka, Trivial Pursuit, Easy-Bake, Boggle, Battleship and Sit N' Spin didn't make the list either. 🙂

  12. “…through the strategic leveraging…”

    I think that pretty much sums up what’s been wrong with Hasbro since even before they acquired Wizards and D&D. <sarcasm>Strategic leveraging is exactly the words that come to mind when my goal is to delight someone.</sarcasm>

    Parents still fear letting their kids play D&D I take it?

    For what it is worth, no. Not in my experience. Because the parents are all playing World of Warcraft anyway.

    I've been trying to remember for about a year what game explicitly forbids house-rules, since D&D almost explicitly demands them. Then it came to me: Monopoly.

    o_O I’m pretty sure my copy of Monopoly has some common house rules presented as optional variants. I know the Playstation 2 version we have has options to use a number of different house rules.

  13. After all this Hasbro can have the D&D brand. It would take a miracle to scrape all the layers of crap that has accumulated on it from being submerged in the festering corporate miasma of Hasbro's fetid pool of acquired brand names.

    The OSR has at least shown that
    while Hasbro can kill a brand name by turning it into some trivial footnote in the corporate log books, the spirit lives on regardless. All the marketing spins, the abortive attempts to re-make the brand name (i.e. the Red Box Edition), has done nothing but further distance the identity of the D&D brand from it's past.
    It's painful to watch D&D be placed below brands such as 'Littlest Pet Shop'.
    I just wish they could give D&D a respectful burial so that it's spirit can move on with those that respect and care for it.

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