Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on Warhammer FRPG 3rd

Zach at RPGBlog 2 gives us a link to a promotional video of the newest edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying. As these things go I find it pretty informative which FFG should be commended for.

However from viewing the video I feel the latest edition is fraught with problems. The killer is the price of $100 err $99.95. While quality components can justify a higher price; I can't see any combination of components justify that much of a price increase over a regular RPG. What they show in the video doesn't add $60 worth of value to a RPG (assuming the core book would have been $40 without all the extras).

The system itself seems needlessly gamey. The problem with trying to reward roleplaying with rule benefits is the average players starts gaming the system rather roleplaying more. The is the same problem with D&D 4th edition. Roleplaying should rewarded within the game world with interesting adventures or tangible in-game benefits like a title, a loyal henchman, or better treasure.

I know given my like for GURPS this criticism seems odd. The difference is that choices in GURPS map into what you would do in reality making it easy to say to referee situation not explicitly covered in the rules. The further you divorce your rules from what the character are doing the harder becomes to referee when you run into situation not explicitly covered.

Like D&D 4th my criticism has nothing to do whether it is a fun game.

Because of the pricing issue my prediction is that WFRPG will go down as the Heaven's Gate of RPGs. If you want to go the D&D 4th edition route don't make a $100 RPG.

12 comments:

Stuart said...

Think about how much Arkham Horror and it's expansions cost, or 4e with all the books, or even Dark Heresy. It's expensive to be sure but there is a market for games in that price range. Money aside it looks like it's doing some of the things my group said they wished WotC would have done with 4e. It's a very board gamey type of RPG (like Arkham Horror) but if you like that then this looks very intriguing.

Rev. Lazaro said...

Here's my coppers for what it's worth:

1)You're getting 4 rule books which appear to be decent "sourcebook" size. You're also getting the dice and accessories with it. Considering 4E at New costs more just to have the books and dice alone, it doesn't seem that bad. The problem is you have to invest in it at once.

2)The other consideration is FFG and GW audiences. Warhammer in any caliber is known to be an expensive hobby; and to be honest, with the exception of used copies of 1st edition, getting into WHFRP was a bit of an investment to make it playable. FFG is also pretty much known for making quality products for an audience that is used to paying for it.

Now, whether it plays worth a damn is to be determined ;)

Mark said...

What I find interesting about this is that Fantasy Flight is coming at the RPG from a board game angle. That shouldn't be a surprise, because that has always been their strength, and they are known for really top-notch production values. Also, they've been testing out RPG-like mechanics within a boardgame for a while now (e.g., Descent, Arkham Horror, Android), and in some of their games they've even managed to provide a gamey experience, while avoiding a min-maxing experience. I don't know, I'm VERY excited about this, and I'm not even a War Hammer fan. Whether or not this game is a "true" RPG is beside the point. If it's fun, if it has high production values, if the mechanics work well they could have a hit on their hands. I also think that the price is pretty clever. It's enough so that players will have to choose one system (e.g., DnD) over another, but 99 bucks is not far removed from what many DnDers spend every few months on their hobby (between books, online subscriptions, minis, etc).

labsenpai said...

A friend of mine who owns a bookcase full of earlier WHFRP balked at cost and conversion issues. I think the giant dice pool per action is too much like DESCENT. Why not make DESCENT the RPG and save the license fee? Also, at the end of the video they imply that they are the only ones to challenge the "AAA-grade" of WotC books (cough).

Korgoth said...

I think the whole thing is nuts, myself. You have to use proprietary *dice*!? You're supposed to buy an expansion to add extra players?

Those are the kinds of things I would have included in an elaborate joke about the world's lamest RPG.

This is going to flop. I won't be real broken up about it when it does, either.

Rev. Lazaro said...

Didn't FUDGE use proprietary dice?

Rob Conley said...

Yes but Fudge has alternate methods that produced similar odds. In addition Fudge Dice are easy to produce from d6s. Each die has two face at -1, two at 0, and last two at +1. Not quite as complex as FFG is doing.

The Lord of Excess said...

I agree with what people are generally posting here and other places regarding 3E WHRP. Really though I'd like to echo what Korgoth said regarding proprietary dice. FFG is taking the RPG concept ... which has generally been: Players/GMs buy the books ... use generic dice ... and own their entertainment with that indefinitely. Now with the new FFG system ... players and GMs have to buy the books/game from FFG and must have the FFG dice as well to make it work. That might seem minor but what that does in one fell swoop is REQUIRE that people invest in the FFG product ... if not the rules then at least the dice. I see no initial release being announced of "player packs" where people can buy dice and just the player rules. So that means if I want to own my own dice ... even if I'm not going to GM ... I need to drop 100 bucks. I personally buy most of the core books for whatever system I'm playing ... with this type of system I'm thinking you'll see alot more GMs owning everything and the players not buying in. I honestly hope that this style of RPG doesn't catch on. I am a huge GW fanboy and I like alot of the FFG products ... but I don't like the concept of "collectible" RPGs :(

Rev. Lazaro said...

On their website they do have dice packs for sale, for what it's worth....besides, I'm still seeing the same shapes we've always played with (d6's, d8's, d10's)...just now there's certain colors meaning certain things. I bet there's a numerical conversion possible....

Dyson Logos said...

"If you want to go the D&D 4th edition route don't make a $100 RPG."

Because that's $10 more than D&D4e costs?

A $10 difference between D&D and WFRP doesn't seem that big of a deal.

Stuart said...

My gaming group all agreed - we would have preferred if they'd put everything you need to play 4e in a box (dice, minis, maps, books, cards) rather than leave you to hunt it all down on your own. It looks like WFRPG is going to do that, so for us it's more appealing.

Mark said...

Another point: it's $99 for a group of players. To compare it with DnD you'd need to factor in how much a group of DnD'ers spend. In my group of four, everyone began with a Player's Handbook, and the DM had the DM Guide and Monster Manual. That's about $150 right there. So, the correct comparison is $99 vs. $150. If nothing else the prices are comparable.