Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By Jove, PnP files are worth spending money on

 About eight years ago, I tried out a PnP game called Outlaw. It was a very simple build, print out a board and add dice and tokens. It was a dice chucker that had a bit of a Pickomino feel.

Honestly, it had only the fact that it was free and required no construction going for it. And that was still enough for me to recommend it to a couple people. 

Outlaws came back to me while I was learning Beards and Booty. It’s another no-construction dice chucker but it is superior to Outlaw on almost every single level. Well, except for the fact that it isn’t free. However, I’ll pay that minimal price for a game that will see play.

It has been at least fifteen years since I started looking at print and play whatsoever and it’s been around eight years since I started getting ‘serious’ about print and play. And every time I feel like I stop and look at the PnP world, it feels like it has grown so much.

Websites like PnP Arcade or provide a market place for buying PnP files. Companies like Postmark Games or Hammerdice have managed to stake out part of the game market with only PnP games. Design contests have become a lot more common and feel more and more like a stepping stone to publication. 

I suspect that Covid has either caused or sped up the process. I am also sure that that is going to not only be the topic of endless debates over the years, it will also probably be the topic of thesis  and other scholarly papers.

If you had asked me eight years ago, if you could be a hobby gamer only through print and play, I would have said no. I definitely would have said no fifteen years ago. And I think I would’ve been right. The infrastructure didn’t exist even eight years ago.

But over the last few years, I think having a PnP game library and life has become more and more viable. Now, I’m not saying it’s the same as having a huge table, a giant game closet and a hefty game budget. It’s not and it’s not as good either. However, you can still get some good gaming in.

None of this is surprising. Heck, the expanding PnP infrastructure wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a market for it. And I dare say it’s become a more expensive hobby, albeit heaps cheaper than buying fully published games.

But pulling out Outlaw and realizing it had once been exciting to find it is still a revelation.

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