Tuesday, June 17, 2008

D&D 4 at 10 Days

I found the sales pattern interesting for D&D 4. The early folks picked up gift sets in the first three or four days of release. About half of those pre-ordered and saved some money with us. The first 10 days also saw lots of Player's Handbook sales, as potential players and unsure game masters wanted to check it out before committing further. We're selling a steady 3-4 PHB's a day right now. After the first week, we're now slowly seeing those early PHB buyers return for the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide.

Sales are sluggish of these supplement books. We'll likely see a much slower sell through of these than in previous editions. I call them supplements because the PHB is really D&D 4 self contained, a great bargain, a weight saver, but I think it will relegate the other two core books from core to supplements. You don't need a DMG to play the game; it has no significant rules content for a game session. You only need a monster manual if you want to build your own adventures or use third party adventures (not available yet). I think WOTC broke their own marketing model here, but it benefits the players, so all is good.

Reviews so far have been very positive. Early PDF downloads created a lot of excitement. Buzz from web forums and podcasts have been strong. The 2d6 feet podcast had a long D&D 4 analysis which I recommend listening to. It's one of the only podcasts I attempt to listen to regularly, although I'm usually a few months behind. World D&D Day at both our store and Endgame was packed, as people came to try out the new 4th edition. Packed means 5-6 tables of games going throughout the day. All gaming buzz is local, and I know there are rust-belt stores that have seen a lot of player resistance, mostly for economic reasons. One interesting dissenter in all this is Chris Pramas of Green Ronin games. His blog has been fairly negative about 4E from day one, but he has lots of good analysis of why. I don't usually agree, but that's mostly why I read it.


  1. For those who thing the DMG does not contain anything worth while, I have one thing to say...
    Skill Challanges (pg 72). It changes the way Skills interact with an adventure, with combat encounters, and non-combat encounters all together.

  2. You are correct that it's something useful in the book, but once you understand them, they're like sample traps or sample magic item hordes, you don't need to have the book at the table to use them.

    As for needing these extra books, they're necessary if you plan to run anything other than a Wizards of the Coast branded D&D adventure.

  3. And I can agree that it's a good thing to limit the needed books at the table. I can only hope that the supllaments continue in the same way. Imagine a world in which only the PHB is needed at a D&D table...

  4. I still really like crunch and I would be disappointed if I didn't need additional books. I want more options and customization, always and forever.

  5. Thanks for the comments about my podcast, Gary (and thanks for listening).

    I was a little weirded out tho', when I saw the date of your post was Tuesday, and our new episode with much D&D 4th coverage went up Friday (today).

    As for the books, while the PHB is remarkably self-contained D&D, I still think a DM's going to need both the DMG and MM in the long run - or at least, a reading of them.