Sunday, July 3, 2022

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats......or Does it?

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats......or Does it?
A lifetime ago I worked in an industry that often had way too much competition, which was kind of dumb (if you ask me) because the client base is/was simply too large to be serviced out of existence. Of course many companies spent a metric but-ton of money chasing after the top-end clients with top-end money. My employer felt much the way I did and did what he could to get the industry to work with instead of against each other.

One thing he frequently said with regards to this competition was, "A rising tide lifts all boats."

Now we're all loosely associated with another industry that seemingly has a lot of competition, but I like to think, "Does it really?" Sure, if you're at a game convention wandering the dealer hall and you only have $X to spend, there is going to be competition for said dollars.

Overall though, I think as gamers we tend to prefer one system (or three), but most of us buy a lot of stuff outside of our norm and it isn't uncommon to pick up new stuff to check it out and maybe beg, borrow, or steal it for our home game. Maybe I'm wrong, or this is more a behavior for us OSR types........but I think I'm closer to the truth than not.

Now I do not play the current edition of D&D and generally don't care about it. I mean I have actually purchased it, but IIRC I gave it away to a buddy's kid so they could game at school with their friends. I recall having to get it at the FLGS, which I'm generally happy to support. The thing is, as I also see things, the current edition of D&D is pretty much a gateway RPG drug, which is an inside joke.....

A Hero's Feast

.....so imagine my surprise when I was walking through my local Walmart and I saw this gem:

OK, big freaking deal...I saw a lame-assed cookbook...actually is it lame? I have no *actual* clue as I haven't picked it up and looked at it. Honestly I already have too many cookbooks as it is, so one more...yeah, not something I need to have, and if I don't pick it up, I can't decide it is another cookbook I *have* to have collecting dust next to the others....

.....ok, I might have a problem, but whatever....don't judge me.

Monster Manual
While I didn't pick it up, it did peak my interest and I turn around to find this:

Seriously? Of course this Monster Manual was upside down, but still......what else can I find? I'm pretty sure the MM was in the wrong spot, especially since I doubt it was $10.


It really didn't take me long to find the PHB and DMG, but then I stumbled across what looked like a hardbound adventure campaign book. Really not something I'm interested in, especially at that price point.

The cool thing is that I found these on the shelves pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I'd have killed to be able to get these books at the local store back in my day! Of course I remember getting the Magenta Box at pretty much any Waldenbooks cheaply enough we bought them just to take the dice out, ditching the rest. Sounds great, but the nearest Waldenbooks was a couple counties away so not as cool & convenient as it sounds.

Call of the Netherdeep
I really think that the easy availability of D&D is great for our community at large. The more people that play the current edition of D&D, the more potential player we have for other editions of D&D and even other RPGs in general......

.....and it takes a LOT of books to enter the supply chain to get D&D on the shelves of a random WalMart, so if you haven't picked up the current edition, you'll eventually find some discounted somewhere when WalMart takes them down.....


  1. Is it me or did this blog post start one way and then veer off into a different direction?

    1. Probably. I thought based on the photo is was going to be about being too many conventions.

      I'm fine with 5e in Walmart. Expsure (and cultural acceptance) to hobby is a good thing even if it's with the vanilla version of the game. And yes it rises all ships. If .5% of Walmart shoppers buy it and 1% of those checkout OSR you just got a few 1,000 people in our small hobby.

    2. I'm on vacation visiting the family farm 12 hours away from "home", so I did hammer this out quickly and I do tend to wander if not careful, so probably!

  2. Indeed, the more the merrier. Walmart cannot provide remotely the customer service of an FLGS, so in the long run it just creates more players and more customers for all.


    Historically, finding D&D in a mass market store such as Walmart has been a canary in the coal mine kind of moment... A dead canary in the coal mine kind of moment, that is.

    It happened with AD&D 1E in Kmart in the early 80s, and with BECMI and AD&D 2E in Kay-Bee in the mid 90s. At first they were full price, but quickly the price dropped, and then the hobby crashed. Inflated markets saturate just before a crash.

    Both turned out to be good for long term recruitment, but signalled the overall collapse of the then-extant gaming market and/or TSR at the time.

    So... Heads up, eyes open.

  3. For what it is worth; my son who is a professional chef, has "Heroes' Feast." He finds it amusing and maybe he will try some of them, but so far he has not tried.

  4. I've cooked a few items with my sons from "Heroes' Feast". Most of them are basic everyday recipes shoe-horned into being D&D themes, but there's a few gold nuggets in there.


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