World D&D Day 2009 at The Core
PITs 1, 2, & 3 woke early this morning. They were eager and anxious to play D&D today. So we went off to work and flew through the day. We left for our local game store, The Core in Cedar Falls, Iowa and arrived at at approximately 3:30.
When we got there, they had three tables going fifteen players total. I took the time to talk to Mike Blanchard, the owner. According to Mike, when he got to the store at his normal time there were already people waiting outside. All three tables were busy all day long from opening at 10:00 until an hour after closing at 5:00. Mike reports that most of the folks who came to D&D day were new customers. He also reported a 25% increase in sales traffic. The Core is thinking seriously about making a monthly event for their customers. As far as Mike is concerned this day was a success.
Just about the time I finished talking with Mike the owner one of the tables opened up. PITs 1-3, a family friend and I took positions around our DM for the afternoon, Mike (not the owner). For my newer readers you must know that I have never played D&D beyond 2e. Also I have only recently been playing D&D after a more that 20 year hiatus, so my perceptions of what is or is not D&D is based on 20 year old memories and my recent return to playing 2e.
Mike, our DM, explained the new rules for 4e and handed out the characters. Pit #1 took the Drow, Pit #2 took the Tiefling Invoker, Pit #3 took the Dragon Born Paladin, Tony, our family friend, took the War-forged Barbarian, leaving me with the Gnome Bard.
My first impression of my character, aside from the fact that she was female and I don’t cross-gender RP very well was that Bards rock. My character hardly moved during the first encounter and she took out one the Troglodytes by singing the Song of Discord at the Dire Bear. The poor Troglodyte never had a chance as the bear dropped our Barbarian and went for the Troglodyte.
My second impression is that this game resembles more the games my kids play on their game cube or PS2 than it does any form of D&D that I remember. Now I’m not saying that in a disparaging manner at all. We had a blast. The kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. In fact, we had so much fun I plopped down the cash for the PHB, MM, two boxes of miniatures and the Starter Set. I haven’t delved into any of the rulebooks yet so I cannot comment on easy or hard it is to create characters. I cannot comment on how easy or hard it is to DM this game but Mike handled the whole thing without consulting any guides at all.
The ONLY complaint I had and heard from all tables is that the module was not constructed to be played in one sitting, or as one gamer put it, “Wizards certainly weren’t kidding when they said D&D DAY“. I didn’t catch the name of this person just that I overheard it coming from another table, but I have to agree with him, after nearly three hours we just finished the first encounter. We had gone an hour past closing time. We hadn’t realized the passage of time at all but as I stated previously we had fun.
On the ride home I asked my kids and Tony what they thought of the game. Tony thought it was pretty cool and couldn’t understand why folks have complained it wasn’t D&D. My boys were quite pleased with the fact that we are now the proud owners of the first two core rulebooks and some miniatures to go with it. PIT #1 is torn, she’s pleased we bought the game but upset that she’ll be leaving for Basic in just over three months. I wasn’t the only person who bought books from the Core today based on the demo. At least locally D&D Day was a success.
My only complaint with the day, we didn’t have enough time to finish the whole game. Since we were the last players of the day, our DM graciously allowed us to keep the entire module so we could finish it on our own. Mike let on as we were packing up that the module went on for a total of four encounters (something that as of this writing I haven’t confirmed yet). 2.5 hours per encounter x4 encounters = 10 hours. 10 hours means that I had to base my decision to but based on what I saw in my character. Had it not been for the fact that my kids were all “Wow, this is so-o-o cool.” I might not have bought anything. WotC could’ve made a smaller adventure similar to Savage World’s famous “One Sheets” and had more than one of those for folks who had more time to spend playing. That might have been better for showcasing the “new” races and classes, giving folks the time to play more than one character and see just how cool it was.
Effort by WotC to publicize D&D Day: B- (had I not been a member of the Bloggers Network I don’t think I would’ve heard about it.)
Effort by WotC to showcase 4e: A- (only because the adventure needed a lot more time than most anyone locally had to actually spend at The Core)
Efforts by our FLGS, The Core: A+ (Our DM was very knowledgeable kudos Mike. The tables were set in such a manner that the noise level was not a problem)
Will we go again? Yes. Will we attend the proposed monthly ‘event’ game at The Core? Yes. Do I wish that I could’ve been there in person at some of the other events? Yes.