Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Pay to Play Gumball Style Machines Kick Out In-Game Magic!?!

Red is fireball spell, pink is a healing potion, white is a light spell...

From an article at ICv2:

"A number of stores have also adopted a pay-to-roleplay program with participants paying for a seat in a RPG game offering an upscale experience. One store runs two sessions on a Saturday with six spots in each game, charging players $15 each for a seat at the table. Other stores with successful pay-to-play programs further monetize the sessions by stocking gumball style machines with plastic capsules containing in-game bonuses such as a +1 to hit, a potion of healing, or a certificate giving the player a rare pet. Sometimes these machines clear $50 to $200 per day with huge profit margins."
(Emphasis mine)

WTF is the world of tabletop gaming coming to?

What DM/GM is going to allow in-game bonuses from an in-store gumball machine?

Where the fuck are the stores with these machines?


  1. Sometimes you are so old Erik. I think your medicine is making you crabby.

  2. So lootboxes have come to tabletop, I guess the devolution of the game into it's video game players' hearts is now complete.

  3. "WTF is the world of tabletop gaming coming to?"

    Regarding pay-to-play, it is the logical end result of not being able to compete for sales with Amazon, eBay, and other online sources. IF they can't make their money selling games, they will make it selling the experience of gaming.

    I actually called this years ago in Comics & Games Retailer (must be something like 13, 14 years ago).

    Note that this is not table fees to run your own game; they are paying to play in a specific game that is run by either an employee or someone hired by the store to run the game. Table fees will be coming soon, I am sure, though likely as part of a Loyalty Program or something like that. IIRC, my suggestion was to buy a slew of tokens and give one out for every full $20 of a purchase; they can be used like money when buying further product, or used to pay table fees, for snacks, etc.

    But the pay-to-play experience is even more profitable. Interestingly, this very kind of thing was a factor in the creation of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. TSR was putting together a nationwide tournament scene (very profitable at conventions at the time), and needed a set of rules that were far more organized and codified than D&D, which, as we all know, had been divided into as many rules systems as there were groups... but I digress...

    "What DM/GM is going to allow in-game bonuses from an in-store gumball machine?"

    This is for the players in the pay-to-play games. They are like micro-purchases in a video game, game enhancers, and so no doubt built into the play style of the pay-to-play games. As Unknown said above, its to match the style of play the players are used to. This is merely evolution, we have yet to see if it is a mode that is fittest for the new environment.

    "Where the fuck are the stores with these machines?"

    No idea, not in my area. Probably all this is happening in larger cities with larger stores and larger markets that can support this kind of gaming experience. But, if successful, it will likely come to a store near you, too...

  4. Hahahahaha I guess a fool and his money really are soon parted.

  5. A different twist on the D&D 4th edition fortune cards? I hated those.

  6. As someone who used to buy a lot of rubber spiders and similar goofy junk from vending machines as a kid in the '80s, I would be 100% cool with the gumball machine thing... if it was for charity. To raise money for a good cause it would be dorky retro fun. But for raw profit it's just desperate and sad.

  7. Sigh.. so it's MtG pay to win mode ported over to table top RPGs. On one hand it's disgusting yet for younger players it might make them want even more. Personally if it's just minor cosmetic stuff or minor consumable stuff it wouldn't bother me that much.


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