Tuesday, June 10, 2008

4e and the Red Box

I'm one of those who was introduced to rpgs with the Red Box and realized the heights gaming could reach with the Blue Box (still my favorite rpg product ever).  As much as I've grown away from D&D since those days, I still look upon them fondly.  In that sense, I think I enjoyed 4emore than Pat (even though I'll probably never play it again) as it reminded me a whole lot of the old days, except with more options.

When I was a kid, I didn't play with a battle map (maybe just some scrawled out shapes of dim  dungeon walls on white paper).  My friend, Rusty, and I would just swing our sword at the monsters we GMed for each other over and over again in endless dungeons and in encounters that we didn't prepare in advance.  We then took the monsters' gold and XP, and miraculously advanced straight through from 1st level to immortality in no more than 10 sessions. 

Pat's description of 4e is dead on - it is battle map heaven and even seems disjointedly elegant (like Manu Ginobli of the San Antonio Spurs?) with its balanced tactical options.  But in the end, it is about rolling to hit over and over again without much attention to the other stuff that I've become so fond of since rediscovering rpgs (and comics).  Even when it was clear that we were leaving without finishing the 4e adventure at Games Plus, the DM awarded us experience points for our pre-gen characters.  If that's not old school, I don't know what it.

I can't find it in me to care about rpgs like 4e that emphasize bean counting.  But at the same time, playing 4e really did remind me of those days in the mythological past with the Red Box.

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