Veteran Gamers and the Edition Snobbery


So, I was reading a post in a comments section earlier talking about 2e. The guy in question (who was named “EvilGM”) was waxing poetic about how no other edition was as good. I mean, really? Nothing in 1e, OD&D, 3.x or Pathfinder is as good? 5e must really suck for him. It got me into thinking about people who refuse to accept that other editions have merit, and not just in D&D. I have met Shadowrun snobs too. They irk me to the point where I want to pound their heads into desk until they gain some sense.

There are five reasons for why I think you should always be open to new editions or new games. They are:

  • The new editions often take old rules and make them work more efficiently.  I know for a fact that 5e takes the best of 1e/2e and 3.x/4 and makes it work. It takes the narrative approach of the older editions (in the form of smaller skill list, and easier mathematics) and couples it will the progressive approach to combat and skill rolls as the 3.x/4e games. SR5 took the initiative system that so many found broken in 4 and fixed it. There are good things in all new games or editions, you just have to give them a chance.
  • Old games often have bugs that have since been worked out. I know this is going to lead to the inevitable comment of “they’re not bugs, they’re features” but hear me out. THAC0, in all of its glory, was a mess. The new progressive to-hit rules in 3.x and beyond made more sense and streamlined combat. The problems with 3.x and 4e came when they added all the subsystems to the game. Grappling in 3.x, anyone? The best games I have found have been updated or new editions of old ones. I personally look forward to the new edition of T2FV.
  • New games can be as strong, if not stronger, than the games you loved when you were younger. This is really tied to new games, and not new editions. Some of the coolest games I have played in the last two years have been new systems. Numenera, Song of Ice and Fire, The One Ring, and Edge of the Empire come to mind. If the d6 snobs don’t like Edge for legitimate reasons, great. Most of the ones I have met though, have never even tried it or read it. Give it a chance to change your mind and you never know what might happen!
  • Being a stick in the mud can suck the fun out of a group that likes new things! This is a good one. If you refuse to try new things people will quickly tire of you. I know that you can often find groups that share your love of OSR, but you shouldn’t be forced to find a group that fits you (that is if you have a long standing group!). I game with some of the same people I have been gaming with for 10 years for the reason that they will do new games. The ones who refused to play anything but 3.x and Warhammer 40k, I dropped like a rock!
  • No one likes someone who thinks their opinion trumps everyone else’s. Okay, I know this is tricky water for me. I am expressing my opinion on this matter, and am seemingly forcing it one you. The trick is that I don’t care what games you like. You like 2e over 5e, all the better for you. If you love 4e over any other ed, then have fun!

I really don’t like snobs in the gaming community. You can love a game without being a jackass about it, and I would like to think that I am that way (feel free to correct me if I am not!). If you feel compelled to tell everyone about the glory of your game of choice every time they don’t ask, then this might mean you. Keep in mind that I still respect you as a gamer, but I would probably never be able to play with you. You would grate on me and drive me away. How do you feel about “gaming snobs”? Are they all fine with you or do you find that they are irritating as many others do? As always guys, don’t be a dick!


2 thoughts on “Veteran Gamers and the Edition Snobbery

  1. I know one thing that makes me entrench into an older version of a system is that there are companies out there who’ve taken on the “Microsoft Model” of making money in the gaming business, and that’s to publish a new edition of a game after a certain (often rather short when you consider it) period of time whether the game needs it or not.

    One of the things that the industry has come to find out the hard way is that – generally speaking – supplements don’t sell as well as core books do. And an ethos has taken hold of the gaming world over the last 15 years that a game line with a lot of supplements isn’t as “approachable” as an edition just starting out. I don’t know why that idea persists since most people I know simply do not buy every single game supplement out there for their chosen game and seem to play it very well despite that, but the impression is there.

    So, the big game names push a constant turnover – again, whether the system needs an overhaul or not – and frankly, in today’s economy we ain’t none of us made of money and core books ain’t gettin’ any cheaper.

    Now people hear that and sneer “Well, it’s not like the Edition Ninjas are gonna come to your house and burn your old edition books” or some other snide comment designed to make us feel foolish, but those kinds of remarks are disingenuous on a number of levels, not the least of which being the fact that attracting new gamers to your table is often a process of marketing – and it’s hard to market a game to a player when the books are shabby and wore out because you can’t find replacements for them anymore. As modern consumers we’ve been trained to see “new” as “automatically better” and as such if you’re trying to attract someone to 2nd Ed and your books are as old as that version is, you’re gonna look the poor cousin beside the dude with the shiny 5th Ed’s under his arm.

    Now, having said all that I’ll be the first to admit there’s often an attitude around older gamers that quite frankly stinks. They get this idea that new players have to “pay their dues” in terms of time invested and money invested (the attitude of older games has some other problems but I don’t want this comment to go on for all THAT much longer), and there’s no excuse for being a jackass, but I think the industry comes along and picks our pockets just a liiiiiiitle too often for my tastes.

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