Saturday, 23 February 2013

The reprint of 'White Box' D&D rules...

Lately my brain has been involved with things other than RPGs (namely, creating illustrations for a book on the Paquisha War) but the recent news from WotC put the ol' grey matter back into gear.

Now, whilst I think it's great that WotC have started re-releasing the classic D&D stuff, it seems that with the White Box they've been nabbed by a trap that they keep wandering into. That is, they seem unable to not mess with things that aren't broken. More specifically, their decision to redo the cover art for the booklets seems to be another example of their weird need to mess about with things that don't need it. What was going through their minds? Why try to recreate the way D&D once looked but then think that bits of it need tweaking?  

The new artwork is okay in a sort of predictable way, but asking for 150 bucks for something that seems closely akin to a bad cover version of one your favourite songs is a bit iffy, in my opinion. I've never been a fan of WotC's overall approach to D&D, and this sort of stuff doesn't do them any favours in my mind. 

There's nothing wrong with the original artwork. Older versions of D&D have some measure of allure precisely because the artwork has it's own style. The styles and clich√©s that are more commonly associated with D&D and other fantasy RPGs were not yet entrenched. Even a website like Something Awful, which has done it's fair share of pointing out that bad stuff, still manages to note in a recent article that the old artwork has a certain odd charm. WotC seem to insist on ignoring this - or, even worse, think that supplanting the old artwork is somehow necessary. 

Calling something 'Premium' does not make it better, nor does it make it seem less like a way of making a quick buck by despoiling an icon of RPG history. If you're going to do a reprint, do a faithful one.


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