Friday, May 11, 2012

Are We Done with Retro Clones?

Mind you this is not a rant.

But are we done with Retro Clones?
Not playing them, but making them.

I enjoy the hell out Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy.  Spellcraft & Swordplay is still a fave and there are others I want to try out more like ACKS, LL-Advanced and who knows what else.

But there is such a thing as market saturation and soon (if we are not already there or past it) we will have more games than our small market will allow.

So do we really need anyone making more clones?
Do we really need Version X of someone's house rules?

I suppose the only important answer is "yes, as long as there are people willing to pay for them."


JimLotFP said...

Actually I think the only important answer is "yes, as long as there are people willing to make them."

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Is there a diminishing return in terms of quality? We can only slice the same pie so many ways?

JimLotFP said...

In quality? Who knows. We've got DCC and ACKS and soon AS&SH as the newest contenders and I don't think anyone can say those are lesser entries into the field.

As far as slicing the pie so many ways, probably, but who's going to stop their project on someone else's say-so? Especially when there's no barrier for entry and no real ramifications for most if their project utterly fails to find an audience.

akfu23 said...

"yes, as long as there are people willing to pay for them."

Not sure this would hold true since many of them are free ;-)

While I think that saturation is certainly possible, gamers seem to love variation & making their own rules up. Otherwise we'd all still be playing the same game...

Personally I think it will slow down but they'll never stop & it won't be anything like the Great D20 Burnout of a decade ago.

Anthony Simeone said...

I think that it's cool to have glimpses into the house rules of others, but you have to know your own limitations as a RPG consumer. Are too many clones going to send you into a spiral of Gammer ADD? Are you a person who likes to collect games for collecting's sake? You have to have a good reason for your collecting so many clones, right? But buying all those clones just to see someone's house rules? That's an expensive way to see how someone else does encumbrance, my friend! ;-)

Anthony Simeone said...

And as akfu23 said above, most clones have free versions, so you can see those house rules without buying the full game. If you just want clones in order to borrow ideas from other gamers, that's the way to go. Or, scan the blogosphere for house rules posted on blogs.

Unknown said...

As a long time gamer, who has tried a variety of other systems, where does a person start? Do we sift through 10 different OSR systems to find the one we like the best? Who really wants to commit that much time to finding a system that is really nothing but a slight tweek between them all.

Do we go with the one with the most support? The most recent one? Where do we start?

Personally, I happened to see LL in my brick & mortar store and picked it up to check it out. I have since ordered ACKS (which I am hoping I will be able to immerse my interests in) and will probably check out DCC for a possible one-shot of silliness. Otherwise, the rest are nothing but the "same thing" in different packages to me.

But that first step is a hard one simply because there are so many of them.

Timothy S. Brannan said...


I had much the same thought. In truth the market will only support X amount of RCs, I just have no idea what X is.

If people are making them for their own enjoyment, and maybe the enjoyment of a handful of others, fine. Great even.

Are we going to run into a situation where we fractionalize our own market OR (and this is an interesting one) is the OSR by it's very nature immune to this since everyone is naturally assuming to be doing their own thing?

It makes me wish I had taken more business course in in my undergrad to be honest.

Randall said...

While the market probably can only support X number of "commercial" games (defined as those one has to pay for), the hobby can support an nearly infinite number of free games -- even if some of these games are only used in the group in which they were created.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Market collapses are a natural part of the economic cycle. Embrace the rollercoaster.