This review will be short. And long. Let me explain...
Whenever I read RPG reviews online I never have time to sort through pages and pages of text - I always skip down to the conclusion. For those readers who are like me and want to cut to the chase I'm putting my final thoughts on WFRP 3e first. For those seeking a more in-depth analysis of my experience as a player in the WFRP 3e demo this weekend, I'll offer further insights in a follow-up post.
RAPID FIRE Q&A
Q: Did I have fun playing WFRP 3e?
Q: Would I play WFRP 3e again?
Q: Is WFRP 3e a RPG, boardgame, RPG-boardgame hybrid, MMO, CCG, LCG or [insert your favorite gaming acronym here]?
A: It is a RPG 100% (albeit one with high-quality play aides).
Q: Would I buy WFRP 3e at a discount ($65) from an online retailer?
Q: Would I buy WFRP 3e at MSRP ($100) from a local retailer?
A: Yes and No.
Wait. What? Alright, that last answer was a bit of a cop-out.
Yes, I would buy this game at full retail price if - and only if - I had a group of friends who wanted to play WFRP and I could guarantee the game would get immediate use.
No, I would not buy this game at full retail if I was simply a collector of boardgames and RPGs who has no one to play said games with (which sadly I am).
Why not? While the contents are produced to FFG's normal standards (and by normal I mean superb), the books and cards are primarily about the rules and not the setting, which is common with core RPG rulebooks. For my tastes, I prefer to "curl up and read" RPG supplements with a lot of background info in them. The World of Darkness splats are one good example. On the flip side, I like to play RPGs with a lot of neat rules in them - like WFRP 3e - so it all depends on whether this thing is going to stay on the shelf or see some action.
So there you have it. One player's take on WFRP 3e after sitting in (and unexpectedly participating in) dvang's demo at Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon.
Huh? You're still here? Alright then, I'll put some of my answers into context by telling you a little about myself, what I like in RPGs and why I was an "accidental roleplayer" at dvang's demo.
First off, I have little fantasy RPG experience. I played D&D in grade school and stopped in high school. I've never played either edition of WFRP. I haven't game mastered any RPG in over a decade, and I haven't been a player in nearly 15 years. Though I like the thought of RPGs, I can't really call myself a roleplayer anymore. It's just been too long.
I used to buy a lot of RPG books (which I never used) but stopped some years ago as I switched over to playing boardgames. Because I'm now a collector and not a player, strong visuals, inspiring artwork, good writing (no typos please!) and high production values are important to me. I'm also not comfortable with my gaming orientation. I keep it hidden pretty deep in the closet (though my wife might say otherwise) and only play boardgames in the privacy of my own home with people I know and trust (i.e. other consenting adults who keep their geekdom on the down-low). I could never imagine myself being interested enough in an RPG to play it at a store. Never. Well, that is until last Saturday.
Why is any of this significant? Because WFRP made me break out of my RPG rut. Honestly, I had given up on RPGs. I stopped buying them and I stopped playing them. When WFRP 3e came out, it caught my eye and after dvang's demo it's taken root in my brain. And I know this feeling - it means I'm gonna have to buy it. I'm placing my order online this week. Nice work FFG.
As for being an accidental roleplayer, I went to dvang's demo knowing that the demo was full. I felt well within my comfort zone that I wouldn't be playing, just observing. Besides, even if a spot opened up at the table I was sure there would be other people waiting to give the demo a try. I was wrong. When I showed up I was the only "extra". Half-way through the first battle one player had to leave early. The other players all looked at me, and dvang gently suggested I could join the game if I wanted to do so. I thought about it for maybe a second and jumped in with both feet. After a few minutes and 1 turn of combat I had picked up the rules and was effortlessly getting my character knocked unconscious by a giant goat. Good times.