Tuesday, October 2, 2018

D&D Is My Lifestyle Brand

D&D T-Shirt model
Need a t-shirt?
There is an infamous asshat curmudgeon who likes to complain that D&D has become a "lifestyle brand". The complaint is that Wizards of the Coast is more interested in selling D&D shirts, hats, bumper stickers, or what not, and not actually promoting the tabletop game -- that D&D "brand consumers" are more important to Wizards of the Coast than D&D players.

Who's got two thumbs and doesn't give a shit?  THIS GUY... and a lot of other people actually.

Here's the thing: More marketing for D&D is AWESOME. Seriously... When I go into Target and I see a D&D t-shirt on the rack I think,  "F*CK YEAH!"  Honestly, I would start shouting "F*CK YEAH!" all over the store if there weren't security concerns.

Source: 2warpstoneptune
Do I care if the person buying the D&D t-shirt has ever played before?  F*CK NO.  This is exactly why I want to see D&D art and logos on t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, jigsaw puzzles, puffy stickers, Trapper Keepers (make it happen, Mead!), GMC cargo vans... Put the logo every-freaking-where.

Because that's how you attract new players!

If you don't get that, you are a moron.

Sure, I understand the counter point. I know Hasbro is looking enviously over at the Marvel Cinematic Universe and salivating over the money fights happening in the executive lounge. But that honestly doesn't matter. Any marketing of D&D as a wider brand also builds the player base, and that is the key to a vibrant table top community.

Because kids, I remember the Dark Times... Let me tell you a story.

Dungeons & Dragons portfolio
Source: eBay
Once upon a time, Gary Gygax had to defend Dungeons & Dragons on 60 Minutes as a game of fantasy and imagination, and not occultism and devil-worship. D&D was even forbidden at some schools. Think about what it felt like when playing D&D was considered weird... when people were ashamed to admit they played the coolest game on Earth.

Even though D&D audience was growing then (although not like today), I also recall the time TSR was mismanaged out of business and D&D had to be saved by a buyout from Wizards of the Coast.

Think also about what it was like living in the mid-to-late 1990s when table top RPGs were rapidly spinning into decline and bankruptcy. It wasn't just TSR. West End Games... Game Designer's Workshop... Big names in table top were disappearing completely, along with their IP.

So, when I'm out wearing my D&D t-shirts, like I did this past weekend at the local Oktoberfest, and at least 4 different people stop me to say "Cool shirt!", I reply

F*ck yeah!

D&D Basic art on a van
Shopping for my future ride...

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