I’m puzzled – how about you?

Wizards of the Coast recently announced its new “Lair Assault” program:

D&D Lair Assault is a new Wizards Play Network in-store program that pits tactically-minded players against a super challenge where the difference between victory and defeat is dependent upon your game knowledge, ability to adapt, and a little bit of luck. You’ll pit your wits against some of the most difficult encounters you’ve ever played. Each challenge is a mega-encounter that plays in just a few hours, but many will need to make more than one run at it in pursuit of victory. D&D Lair Assault challenges are available for a few months, and stores can schedule their sessions at any time during that period.”

I’m not objecting to what they are proposing.  In fact, it sounds like a savvy way to make sure that game stores are tied into game play, through the publisher of the game.  I am also not objecting to publishers and game stores making an honest gold piece by the sweat of their brows, either.

What just seems so odd to me is how far we’ve come from the idea that the game was about referees designing their own worlds, encounters, and challenges – that the game fostered imagination, rather than some sort of min-maxed, completely defined and operationally presented “product.”  There’s a deeper philosophical divide revealed here, and it bears more examination and discussion.

4 thoughts on “I’m puzzled – how about you?

  1. Yet another example of how divorced the contemporary, industry-driven gaming culture is from the gaming culture into which I was initiated back in 1979. If people enjoy this sort of thing, more power to them, but it's definitely not something that makes me want to participate in it.

  2. I think the issue that I'm bothered by the most is the apparent assumption that each "challenge" is "winnable" in a quantifiable, yes there is a "best answer" sort of way. Not how I want to game.

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