I noticed something unusual at my local Hastings stores.
RPGs are front and center in a feature display this month.
Two things struck me about this display:
1. It wasn’t just D&D, but Pathfinder, CoC, and some White Wolf.
2. It was surrounded by adult displays, not next to the Twilight or HP stuff.
The display also had a variety of other gamer games such as Settlers.
Barnes and Noble now carries the complete Settlers line, most of Munchkin, and even more gamer type games.
I’ve long said this era is our second chance to become not the teen fad of the 80s (I don’t want that back) but the stable, adult hobby hex and chit wargaming was from the early 60s through the mid-80s.
While Avalon Hill games in that era were not the end all/be all of wargaming (SPI was much more the grognard’s choice) they were the public end of the game. Regular toy stores and Hallmark stores carried a variety of their games. Hobby stores generally had them and, depending on emphasis, a sprinkling to a vast selection of alternatives. Most people bought an AH game or two, played them, and that was that. A small handful became serious AH players and expanded into the hobby.
The ongoing presence of D&D in major book sellers could easily supply the AH phase and the occasional CoC or WW game being present (also, Hastings has Dragon Age, but not up front) as well as internet searches could provide that sprinkling that shows the handful who want to move deeper what is there.
In this context I have high hopes for the new Essentials line. With a bit of luck and hiding the crazy aunts and uncles in the attic, WotC is giving us an opening to do the early 80s not the way they happened but the way they could have.