You know, I'm just taking this as a sign of the times, folks. The old school gamers, like myself, are simply no longer the target market demographic. The new generation of 'WYSIWYG' gamers brought up on video games and other products with focused visual stimuli are. Is this good or bad? Niether. It's just business.
It's kind of like the transition from radio to TV. One medium takes the back seat to another. The old radio programmes like The Shadow and Fibber McGee and Molly where the family entertainment of the day. They required imagination and a good mind's eye to enjoy but once TV came along, and the quality of it improved, radio drama and comedy was on it's way out ( everywhere except the UK which still has a great and thriving radio tradition).
And how about plain old reading? Just try to get my younger brothers (I'm 37, they're 25 and 16) to sit down and read a book. It ain't gonna happen unless it's a comic book or extremely short and they have to do it for school. They'll surf the net, but they aren't so much reading as skimming. Nope, it's TV or Video Games or nothing. We're talking ADD overdrive here, and not because of some medical condition, but because of the 'see it, feel it, move on' culture we live in.
Another example are the Owens kids. I kind of started a Big Brother/Little Brother thing with the youngest when I worked at Games Workshop and now I'm like an uncle to the whole lot of them. They and their friends tried to pick up D&D4E lately and were bored to tears. They told me about it over a game of (surprise) Warrior Knights. From what I could gather, thae problem was that their DM is a kid the same age as themselves and he ran the game like a tabletop MMO or boardgame, not really an RPG. I don't think he really grasped the 'point' of an RPG and a boardgame or MMO without the visual bits was extremely boring to his players.
Enter FFG and their new 'approach' to RPGs. I think that they are, from a purely business perspective, doing exactly what needs to be done. This hybrid of RPG & Eye Candy, this RPBG (Role Playing Boardgame) is exactly the right product for this modern culture. Do I like it? No. Will I buy it? Probably not. But then I lament the loss of Old Time Radio and just wish people would slow the heck down and read a friggin' book or otherwise use their imaginations instead of overloading their senses on technological addition, loud music, violent video games like GTA and movies and TV that are mostly filled with nothing but gratuitous sex and violence (I truly believe modern culture is actually retarding our deveolpment as a society). So, I am not their target demographic. I am an anachronism as far removed from the business model of the modern gaming industry as my Grandfather was from computers. So I wil lbuy their board games, and enjoy those.
So what is there to do? I will share the less fiddly ones with my brothers (who would call Warrior Knights a Bored Game' although they love Munchkin, Guillotine and Citadels) and play the more fiddly ones with the Owens kids and my friends. I will keep my WFRP 1st and 2nd Edition books and play RPGs with my aging gamer buddies until it is no longer fun or we all die as relics of a gaming age of 'those thrilling days of yesteryear,' but in the end, I hope FFG makes it big with this new product, if for no other reason than it allows them to make more great boardgames and provides at least some reason for kids to get off the bloody computer/XBox for a few minutes to socialize with their friends over a tabletop game. I hope that last activity, at least, continues on far into the future...