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Series on Wizard Of the Coast

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the tracing-the-downfall dept.

Games 222

Chanteuse writes "Salon is doing a several-part series on the corporate atmosphere of Wizards of the Coast, leading to it's eventual sellout to Hasbro. It's sad, in a nostalgic sort of way. Part One is up on Salon." Part Two has come out as well - it's a piece that could come from any number of company, but the background of Wizards Of The Coast makes it more interesting. I played Magic religiously up until Fallen Empires, and then drifted in and out - but my favorite era was still Arabian Nights before the umpteen bazillion different cards. But I suppose all things change.

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RPG's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#339172)

This is not meant to be a troll, but I'm sure people are going to take it that way. Please just read and decide for yourself. Mod'ing this post down only means you are squelching and refusing to consider an unpopular viewpoint which is a valid point for discussion and argument.

First of all, let me say that I am not a "religious nut." I regularly play violent video games, watch R-rated movies, and I am a big sci-fi fan. I don't agree with everything portrayed in those elements of our culture or try to emulate what I see, but I take them for what they're worth. I do, however, draw a sharp line when it comes to occult related elements and I believe that many RPG's, especially of the "D&D" variety, are heavily involved this.

Just so we're straight on definitions, "the occult" refers to any activity in which there is interaction with demonic spirits. The participant may directly observes this or may be oblivious to its presense. Some such activities include witchcraft, seances, fortune telling, ouija boards, levitation, games that include "spellcasting," etc. If you've never been exposed to such things or think they're not real, trust me, they are--and not in a cool, geeky, counterculture way. Such activities are insidiously evil and destructive to participants. They are traps set by satan to lure people in--out of interest in trying something "different." Once people are hooked or believe they've found something of truth or satisfaction, satan uses these activities to destroy peoples' lives and lead them astray. William Shakespeare had it right when he wrote Macbeth.

Fellow Slashdotters, please do not fall for this trap. I would not be writing this if I had not seen the destructive effects of the occult on people's lives with my own eyes.. or if I had not known people who were tormented by evil spirits or had their minds filled with twisted lies after getting involved with this stuff. These are not just games. Please consider what I have said, research the issue more if you like, and do not become involved. If you are one of the many people who feel like they are addicted or held hostage by these activities, please seek Christian counseling and prayer immediately. It is not to late to be set free from this crap.

No... (1)

DG (989) | more than 13 years ago | (#339177)

The purpose of the *game* was to defeat an opponent via intelligent deck design, careful application of strategy, and more than a little luck.

The *game* was fun.

The purpose of the *collecting* was to make money for the Wizards of the Coast. It had little to do with the actual gameplay.

Collecting killed the game. The fact that the collecting aspect was designed in from the get go doesn't change that one iota.

Once the cards went from "gamepieces" to "priceless works of art at overvalued prices" the fun factor was dead.

Idiot.

Collecting killed the game (3)

DG (989) | more than 13 years ago | (#339178)

I actually started playing this when it first came out - my roomate at the time would have his friends over all the time, and I picked it up from them.

The game was a lot of fun, and the math implicit behind building decks was a cool intellectual exercise.

I even entered a couple of tournements, and did reasonably well.

But soon after, it seemed that the "collectible" part of the game took over from the "fun" part of the game, and when that happened, I sold my cards to my brother in law (for like $50) and left the game.

Imagine my shock when 6 months later I saw an internet price list showing the Black Lotus card at $500.00 each! I had had 2 of them....

Bleah. Capitalism sure knows how to suck the fun out of games.

Ahh, memories of blowing cash.. (5)

defile (1059) | more than 13 years ago | (#339180)

Wizards of the Coast constantly set high prices on Magic cards. With kids who were addicted and had nothing better to do, they were glad to pay $4/pack for 12 cards.

They had the damned nerve to keep upping the prices while they became more and more popular. Yeah, supply and demand and all that, but we were such damn suckers for it.

Not to mention every new edition had cards more powerful than the last, which meant that if you wanted to keep playing, you had to keep paying. I sure am glad I realized what a waste of money it all was when I started seriously considering paying $180 for a Black Lotus.

Re:Changing corporate culture (1)

deanc (2214) | more than 13 years ago | (#339187)

The issue, though, is that you _can't_ be commiitted to a certain product... Products change. MtG will be gone, some day, and maybe D&D will be long gone, as well. You can build a sustainable company whose only purpose for existing is a single "product."

VIsionary companies that survive build themselves around a corporate culture such that no matter what the product the company is selling, the employees will buy into the overall culture and vision. After all, products come and go.

-Dean

Re:Hasbro's Business Model (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 13 years ago | (#339188)

Except for that little bit at the end there ;-)

sPh

Re:Hasbro's Business Model (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 13 years ago | (#339189)

"Finally, I think that equating simplified with dumbed-down is absolutely backwards. Yes, younger children can play the new D but it's also a cleaner, better game (I'd still rather play messy shadowrun, but nonetheless.)"

This is a matter of opinion, so there is no absolute answer. I would just like to note that in making my original original post, I did take into account the difference between simplified and dumbed down. Chess and checkers are two of the "simplest" games ever devised, yet also two of the most challenging and long-lasting.

When I said dumbed down, I did actually mean dumbed down. Sorry if you disagree.

sPh

Hasbro's Business Model (5)

sphealey (2855) | more than 13 years ago | (#339190)

As far as I can tell, Hasbro's business model is as follows:

* Identify reasonably profitable gaming company
* Purchase said company
* Identify 20/80 products - that is, the 20% of that company's products that are the most profitable.
* Terminate all products not in the top 20%
* Kill original version of the 20% products, then release a dumbed down version with (a) any complex rule removed (b) simplified, glaring graphics that appeal to (unsophisticated) 2 year olds. In other words, fast-food-ize the games.
* Sit back and rake in the bucks.

When they acquired Avalon Hill it was a sad day.

sPh

sounds like the stock market (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 13 years ago | (#339191)

Dude, it's just paper. There's no reason for anyone to pay even 1 cent for a mass-produced piece of paper that says that the owner is entitled to a portion of a company that is not profitable and never will be.

But people paid nosebleed prices for these pieces of paper because *other* people would pay nosebleed prices for these pieces of paper.

Can you say, 'lemming'?

tragedy of the commons.. (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 13 years ago | (#339192)

If you had a million dollars in the bank, you could remove $10,000 from that account every year forever. (assuming continued bank solvency and an interest income of at least 1%.)

If you pulled out $100,000 each year you could report much better results to stockholders... for 10 years plus some change.

The capitalist approach to resources is consumption -- the second company would do far better and the owners would make a great deal more money. If everyone does this for too long, we all starve.

This truth is simple and inescapable but people deny it and consume, consume, consume anyway.

A good real life example is the Icelandic cod. At one time they were available in such huge numbers that it seemed we would never run out. The cod have been wiped out -- because there was no overall control on consumption, it was in each individual's interest to extract as much fish as possible every year to feed his family and consume, consume, consume. We could have pulled cod out of the ocean forever but instead there may never again be a cod population.

If we are this stupid on an individual basis it is hard to expect corporations to be any smarter.

Where's Richard Garfield in all this? (1)

neo (4625) | more than 13 years ago | (#339197)

I've met both Richard Garfield and Peter Adkison and I found the former much more interesting than the latter. Garfield created the game of Magic on a mandate that WOTC needed a portable game that could be played in 20 minutes. What WOTC got was a midas-like game that turned everything around it into gold, forcing the entire company to change form as well. I liked WOTC better when they were poor and happy.

Curiously the writer ignores what became of Garfield and his wife... but I guess there's still time for another story.

You're just wrong. (1)

neo (4625) | more than 13 years ago | (#339198)

You are wrong on two points:

First, the booster packs never cost $4 a pack. If they were priced this way then your local retailer was ripping you off and you bought into it. The prices were consistently less than $2.50.

Second, it's clear that the early cards were the most powerful. This is due to the fact that Garfield never invisioned the game being as popular was it became. When people started buying huge amounts of cards, the play balance went out the window. Later editions were designed to deal with this issue.

My Magic story, staring Peter Adkison (1)

neo (4625) | more than 13 years ago | (#339199)

Before that first GenCon where they showed Magic I had what was later called a plague rat deck. Basically the card was broken because you could keep stacking this card and they made all the others more powerful. None my friends would trade rats to me, because my deck was pretty much killing all theirs.

At the convention, I got to play various people from WOTC. I beat a couple of people at the booth and they suggested I play Peter Adkison, who waiting for players in a demo area.

After playing him a couple of games he suggest that we trade. He mentions that he's looking for Moxes for his wife who wants to build a landless deck.

I have a couple and I decide that what I want are plague rats, since no one will trade them to me. He seems perplexed at first (Rats were common cards, and moxes were rare.) I ended up trading the Moxes for a few plague rats.

Shortly after that, they restrict the decks to four cards of any one type, which destroyed the deck I had and made the extra 12 plague rats useless. Later the Moxes are worth nearly $150 each.

I wanted to make a shirt that said "I traded Magic cards with Peter Adkison and all I got were these lousy plague rats."

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (2)

luge (4808) | more than 13 years ago | (#339203)

Dude. It's just paper. There's no reason that a mass-produced little sheet of green paper that costs $0.01 to print should ever be worth $1 just because it has a picture of George Washington on it. That's insanity.

Just a little reality check on supply and demand...

WotC's buyout of TSR. (5)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 13 years ago | (#339204)

I wouldn't have described purchasing TSR as "cherry picking." TSR was clearly on its way out and without Wizards of the Coast [wizards.com] (WotC) would have gone under. WotC had previously failed to turn a profit on role-playing games, and TSR's sad state was more evidence that role-playing games were a bad idea. It took alot of faith to buy TSR.

I was working for Evermore Entertainment [evermore88.com] in 1997. Evermore was developing for TSR the concisely named Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Core Rules CD-ROM 2.0 [evermore88.com] . I met a number of TSR and WotC employees over the course of my employment. I got to hear, first and second hand, about the problems inside the company. I visited TSR's headquarters in Lake Geneva during the WotC purchase. I even met, as part of a larger group, with Peter Adkison.

I can vouch that Peter was still a huge gaming geek in 1997. It was clear that he wanted TSR because he loved it too much to let it die. Whenever Evermore met with him, he reinforced that he wanted our software to support as many quirk home-brew rules as possible, after all, it needed to work with his game. I got to hear about his plans for the Game Centers, a gamer's home away from home. It would have computers built into the tables to store and refernce notes; projector screens to show maps and monster pictures. While he hoped to make a profit, it was clear that he just wanted to share great things with all of the gamers of the world. (I also discovered that he is the most aggressive driver I have ever riden with, and that he likes lots of ketchup on his burgers.) He would be completely welcome at my gaming table, and I suspect most gamers would be happy to game with him.

Just before the purchase, TSR looked doomed. The previous owners had run the company into the ground. I later learned that the previous owners had detested gamers and the entire hobby. They had simply bought in for the money. They viewed gamers as cattle to be milked and treated as poorly as possible. Garbage like Spellfire [tu-berlin.de] (A tarted up version of the card game War [pagat.com] with badly recycled art) was released with the belief if you make it, gamers will buy it. Games were kept bland and safe. Older gamers felt abandoned by the company and stopped purchasing products. No real effort to draw new blood was made, so new gamers ended up playing hipper, newer, edgier games like Vampire: the Masquerade [white-wolf.com] . There was no new blood. Sales were dropping every quarter. Debts were piling up, thier printer refused further work until existing debt was paid. After the buyout, employees openly cursed the previous owners.

TSR's continued existance was an embarrassment. I would never had guessed that it could be saved, that its bad name could be salvaged. It was brave of WotC to purchase it under these conditions. Beyond the initial buyout of the company, WotC had to pay off TSR's creditors. Significant time, effort, and money were spent revitalizing the TSR product lines. The rescue of Dungeons & Dragons [wizards.com] was amazing. D&D went from a has been contender that gamers looked down their noses at to relatively new and hip. Suddenly friends who haven't played D&D in years were back and enjoying the heck out of it. It was alot of effort to recover the D&D name, and I believe Peter Adkison's love of the game was responsible.

MTG (2)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 13 years ago | (#339208)

I dove into MTG early on, I still have,and occasioinally play with, original cards, black border and all. They're tattered and torn, and give the collector weenies fits whenever they see them. Full sets of Moxes, and everything...

I stopped playing a bit after the artifact expansion sets came out, cause the rules were in flux, and it seemed like every game I played turned ito a rule bickering nightmare.

Re:Ahh, memories of blowing cash.. (3)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 13 years ago | (#339209)

I always loved it when someone would play against me, with my original cards. They'd scream "Do you know what that card is worth?" "Yup", Id answer, "17 cents, exactly what I paid for it"

Adopt A Card Game! (1)

TBadiuk (14048) | more than 13 years ago | (#339212)

For all those mourning magic, there is a better solution! Adopt a game that's not being produced anymore. For example, me and about 6-8 other people now play Middle Earth: The Wizards regularly. You can pick up cards on Ebay dirt cheap, and it's the closest thing to real gaming for any card game out there.

Best of all, since it's no longer produced you don't have to worry about the "card race" that exists in games like MTG. With about 2000 cards across all sets, it will be a long time before you get bored.

Note: METW is made by I.C.E (RIP), so except a level of complexity unheard of in card games.

Ted

Re:White Wennie (2)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 13 years ago | (#339213)

Yeah, back in the day before everyone started playing with tournament legal decks. My roommate would play Green with his 4 Forces of Nature, 8 Berserks, and 12 Giant Growths and I would fend him off with my 6 Sengir Vampires, 12 Terrors, and 10 Unholy Strengths.

Of course, we played for ante, too. I lost a Black Lotus once on ante. I got it back a few weeks later on another ante, not that I ever found the card all that useful.

What I want to know is... (1)

Nightpaw (18207) | more than 13 years ago | (#339215)

was BethMo hot? I remember her dispensing wisdom on the CompuServe forums back in the day, and with the company's rampant sexual freedom... WOWZA!

Bizarre shit. (5)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 13 years ago | (#339216)

I was into the magic scene pretty heavily for a while, knew some people very close to people @ WOTC and know some people who work/worked there, and I never heard anything about the sex romps or all the goths who worked there.

That's some pretty fucked up stuff, and it's very shocking to hear..

Magic died with the Pro Tour anyway. All of the rules lawyers and professional cheaters came out of the woodwork and took the fun out of the game.. the first couple tournaments were ok, had a good time, but after that, I feel the game rapidly degenerated. Everyone geared up for the next "money" tournament. There were no more fun/free play days at the local comic shops, as no one went. Everyone was too busy practicing with their playtest group for the next big tournament, the next big cash prize.

And if you weren't on the inside of these cliques, you were pretty fucked. Newbies aka "scrubs" were looked down on with an incredible amount of scorn, and viewed as easy targets to cheat against, get your easy 2-0 win, and move to the next round. I was on the inside of a clique, and we pretty much played by the rules, but I admit I cheated a couple times. Not so much as drawing extra cards, but allowing my opponent to do something illegal/wrong to my advantage (forgetting to draw a card, things along those lines), and not tell them. Technically by the rules, that IS cheating.

I got out of the game a couple years ago, as did most of my friends. One of them still plays, still going across the country for tournaments every month, practicing most weekends. He's going to Detroit for a tournament this weekend. And yes, he has a successful career and until very recently, a significant other.

And no, he has never won the big money, and likely never will.

Right about now.... (1)

Catmeat (20653) | more than 13 years ago | (#339217)

I bet about 5000 horny slashdot geeks are fantasising about getting a time machine and heading back to Seattle in 1994 to pick up a Wizards of the Coast job application form.

Re:Changing corporate culture (4)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#339220)

I know from personal experience that that's what DIDN'T happen at Origin. (You know, Ultima, Wing Commander, those games)

As the screws tightened on the working environment, the politically naive were axed, regardless of their talent and dedication, and the politically savvy were kept on, because they didn't make waves. This is not the way to run a creative venture. Over time, the creative geniuses who WON'T wear suits and punch a clock from 9-5 either leave or are fired. Then the games suck, and people stop buying them, and you don't have a company anymore.

Origin was not profitable when they got bought by EA in the late 80's/early 90's (I don't remember exactly when it was). Origin began showing profits with UO, and EA then scrubbed the entire company, destroying any vestiges of the Origin corporate identity (which at that time was horribly atrophied). It was almost inevitable, but that doesn't make it any less sad.

By definition, suits can not make video games. Any suit that tells you he can, is lying.

Original WoTC (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 13 years ago | (#339221)

I played MTG a lot in school, but does anybody remembered the rest of their products that got dumped? I miss Primal Order. Of course, I also loved Spelljammer...(anybody got a SJA1?)

It makes sense now (1)

H3lldr0p (40304) | more than 13 years ago | (#339225)

My friends who played and myself were constantly scratching our collective heads wondering just why they kept doing things that seemed designed to drive people away from the game. Adding the new cards constantly, changing rules left and right with seemingly no rational (other than the constant, "It makes it easier for new people"), and don't get me started upon the Tourney scene once they stepped in and started sponsoring it. That was about the time I got out myself.


This article was a real eye-opener. It really showed what was going on in the company at this time. Everything that seemed so odd about the nearly monthly changes in the rules and cards reflected what was going on with the company itself. As what I had experienced as a new game, that was unattached to anything before it, began to die, so was the company in the form of the orginal people leaving, new manement styles changed by the week, etc. No, it makes sense now. Sad really.

Re:White Wennie (1)

Flounder (42112) | more than 13 years ago | (#339226)

I stopped playing years ago (right before Ice Age came out), but I had a killer tourney deck that was legal at the time.

Sensory Deprivation Deck
Blue/Colorless (Artifacts)
Counterspells, Vesuvian Dopplegangers, and other anti-magic cards
Four of each Urza's Lands. Relic Barriers, Winter Orbs, Black Vises

Deck took a few turns to get moving, so it was incredibly suseptible to fast weenie decks. But, when it got moving, it was killer. Counterspells would prevent opponent from casting anything. Controls and Doppleganger pretty much negated any creatures he played. Winter Orbs would block usage of land. Before the end of opponent's turn, use relic barrier to tap Winter Orb. Allows me to untap all land. Opponent can't cast anything, Black Vises would bleed opponent life.

I won a few major tourney's with this deck. Then, I got tired of MtG and sold my entire collection. Got back every dime I put into it.

And immediately after I got out, tourney rules were changed, that would have made my deck illegal. Still, it was fun as hell to see the looks on players faces.

Re:White Wennie (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 13 years ago | (#339228)

> I lost a Black Lotus once on ante

/me faints.

White Wennie (3)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 13 years ago | (#339229)


*Sigh*

Nothing like a picking up the first 7 cards and having two Savanah Lion and two Swords To Plowshares and three plains.

/me daydreams about past youth.

Re:Collecting killed the game (1)

gonzocanuck (44989) | more than 13 years ago | (#339230)

I agree. I collect model horses. I went to a show last year and bought a limited edition model for a kid in BC. We ended up making a trade for horses, so that was good. Then I learned that she sold the $40Cdn horse for $150US. I did buy a couple extra, but it pains me when you do something nice and generous for someone then they turn around and sell to a grovelling bunch of collectors for lots of money. I know, I'm naive, I guess I just have too much faith that people are still nice in the world :\

----

It's a question of scale (2)

Illserve (56215) | more than 13 years ago | (#339234)

Big corporations generally cannot maintain unprofitable and "frivolous" expenditures, no matter how much idealism lies behind the scene.
The bottom line always wins out in the end.

Idealistic eccesses are reserved for the small scale business, like mom & pop stores that tolerate inefficient practices merely because they want to. The reason, I suppose, is that these places are still under the direct control of the person with the idealism.

A coporate entity, on the other hand, gives up its idealism as it places its control in the hands of many people, especially investors, who generally have absolutely no motive other than profit. Maybe that's the next stage in the evolution of our business models, but frankly I doubt it.

Let's remember that we as common stock investors share blame for forcing this mentality on corporations.

Yet Another Magic Story (2)

Illserve (56215) | more than 13 years ago | (#339235)

My friends first saw MTG at a local con when it first came out. We scoffed at these guys carrying around thousands of cards and called their game a silly thing.

We persisted in our aloof dismissal of Magic as a poser game until I was isolated from the pack for a summer. At that time, another friend had me play a few games with him, and that was it. I took the game back to my friends at school 2 months later and infected them. It spread like smallpox and stayed with us for years.

We're over it now, but every now and then I find someone who plays it and sits down for a game. Lots of fond memories about Magic, and I'm glad I succumbed to it.

Black Power! (2)

The Queen (56621) | more than 13 years ago | (#339237)

I never heard of the Black Lotus...? My favorite card was always the Breeding Pit. I played a mixture of black and blue, the "Mind Fsck" deck. *sigh* I miss my college homeys...


"Smear'd with gumms of glutenous heat, I touch..." - Comus, John Milton

Re:Collecting killed the game (2)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 13 years ago | (#339238)

Idiot. The point of the game WAS collecting.

The game was designed specifically to milk buyers out of money. Why else would there be rarity, and card retirement? The fact that the collecting aspect became big is just an indication that the game itself was doing great.

Re:Collecting killed the game (2)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 13 years ago | (#339239)

And my point is, from the onset, one has to be blind not to realize that the company created the game to make money. Even the Salon article tries to play blind to this fact, by completely ignoring the cash cow aspect of the game. But I saw Magic when it first came out, and I spotted it as a marketing ploy that foreshadowed Pokémon by a few years. And from the onset, it was about collecting. So collecting never took the fun out of the equation: it was the purpose of the game.

Re:Try this one on for size (1)

Horizon_99 (58767) | more than 13 years ago | (#339240)

So what's going on with Neverwinter Nights and BG2: Throne of bhaal?

Re:Ahh, memories of blowing cash.. (2)

Nerftoe (74385) | more than 13 years ago | (#339247)

I sure am glad I realized what a waste of money it all was when I started seriously considering paying $180 for a Black Lotus.

Maybe you should have purchased that Black Lotus. [ebay.com]

Websites (2)

Tridus (79566) | more than 13 years ago | (#339249)

I still haven't forgiven WotC for forcing the itis.com/deckmaster/ site to shut down a few years ago. That site was awesome as a resouce for the game.

Stupid copyright lawyers.

Re:It's a question of scale (2)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 13 years ago | (#339250)

Idealistic eccesses are reserved for the small scale business, like mom & pop stores that tolerate inefficient practices merely because they want to.

I believe a certain Mr. Jobs would respectfully disagree with you there.

Try this one on for size (3)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 13 years ago | (#339251)

You know, Wizards of the Coast bought TSR a couple of years ago. So how does this sound?

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons... From Hasbro!

EEEEEEEEEEEEKKK!

Re:Screw WoC (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 13 years ago | (#339253)

Character levels are just a way to measure the increase in ability that experience gives you. Someone who's been a soldier for 20 years is going to be better at combat than someone who's just started. How else can you reflect that without using character levels?
--
Lord Nimon

Re:RPG's (2)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 13 years ago | (#339256)

Modding this post down would not be "squelching a valid but unpopular viewpoint" because this viewpoint is not valid.

I personally don't know any Christian who views D&D as "evil" in any way. You make it sound as if just thinking about spellcasting will cause you to be tempted by Satan, and that's just plain absurd. I play D&D regularly, and I have never known or even heard of anyone being drawn to Satan because of it.

I hate to break it to you, but D&D really is just a game. If you can point to any evidence otherwise, please do so. But until then, all you're doing is giving Christianity a bad name.
--
Lord Nimon

Nostalgia?!?!? Designer Quote. (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 13 years ago | (#339258)

Wow, what a concept! Nostalgia for a company that's still around, sort of. Even if you considered WOTC to have up n' died when Hasbro bought them out, the corpse would still be warm and you should be in Denial.

I can't help thinking of WOTC as a brash newcomer. I mean, they weren't even around when I more or less burned out on gaming.

Me, I'm nostalgic for companies like Metagaming Concepts and Eon, which barely made it into the 80s.

True Story

About 94, maybe 93, I'm wandering around C.E.S. The two head WOTC guys are at the Microprose (?) booth, looking like they're setting up for a demo of the card game.

"You guys!" I say, shaking my head and wagging my finger, "Are pushers!"

They exchange glances, then say, in unison:

"We're not pushers. We're just giving people something to do while they're waiting to die."

Honest!

Stefan

Re:It's a question of scale (2)

aron_wallaker (93905) | more than 13 years ago | (#339260)

Of course, large corporations have no inefficiencies...NONE! Or maybe large companies can't afford to spend on "frivolous" things because 5-10% of their employees work in HR and contribute nothing to the bottom line.

Work in a small software company and you can know everyone there & what they're working on. Move to a large company and meet people from HR, and facilities, and planning and 16 other departments that not only don't write software, but don't know anything about computers....so now you need twice as many IT people to provide 'deskside service' to keep all their Windoze machines working after they got nailed by the 'Anna Kournikova' virus. Then one day you look around you and shout 'does anyone else here actually write software ?'

Anyone who thinks large companies are more efficient than small companies never worked at one. Big companies just waste their money differently, so there's none left over for free coffee, snacks or pool tables.

Re:Changing corporate culture (2)

aron_wallaker (93905) | more than 13 years ago | (#339261)

Oh my god, I have never productivity lower than what I've seen working in large companies. Have some dot-com's suffered from professional slackers who hide behind the lifestyle so nobody can tell they're not working ? Sure. But they probably never suffered from being so disorganized that they can't efficiently use their staff. I know plenty of people in large companies who talk about work getting heavy when you have to actually work eight hours per day, cutting out the paid lunch and the water cooler time is a bitch.

Big companies are full of suits on autopilot, doing just enough to get that middle-of-the-road job evaluation, picking up their cheque every two weeks and counting down their 13.5 years to retirement. If I had to bet on which company was producing more $/employee, I would take Wizards over Hasbro any day.

Okay, I'll bite. (4)

xTown (94562) | more than 13 years ago | (#339262)

Religious arguments against RPGs usually take the form of "thought equals deed", i.e. if you conceive of it, it is tantamount to having done it. Often, people point to the Bible verse that says, and here I paraphrase, that if you lust after a woman in your heart you have committed adultery.

The problem with this kind of argument, and the argument presented in the post above, is twofold. First, it is based on what I believe to be a flawed reading of the Bible. Second, it ignores the extremely important doctrine of free will.

A lot of the Bible is misinterpreted. Because it is a received text, and the time during which it was written is long, long gone, people who take a literalist approach to the Bible are saddled with a lot of things that simply do not hold. Christians who point to teachings from Leviticus and Deutoronomy are attempting to follow rules that Christ himself mocked. They read the Bible, but do not understand it--Christ mocked the Pharisees for excessively strict adherence to Temple law. See The Humor of Christ [amazon.com] by Elton Trueblood. It is entirely possible, even probable, that Christ was making fun of Pharisees in the verse on adultery that I paraphrase above.

But I think the real argument against the AC's post, troll though it may be, is that it completely ignores the doctrine of free will, specifically as it relates to RPGs.

If you accept that man has free will, which most branches of Christianity do, then you accept that God gave man free will so that mankind would freely choose to be in relationship with God, because God loved mankind enough that he would not force us into a relationship with him. People give lip service to this idea, but rarely follow it to its logical conclusion, which is this: in order to make a choice, you must be cognizant of the fact that there IS a choice, and you must know what you are choosing between. You must be able to imagine the consequences of making a wrong choice: "If I punch this jerk in the face, he'll hit me back and we'll probably end up getting arrested." Clearly, the Lord gave us our imaginations to USE, not to shut away. Just as clearly, thought CANNOT equal deed--if it did, then you would suffer spiritual consequences every time you made a decision of any kind, no matter what your ultimate choice.

I strongly believe that using your imagination is not and cannot be wrong, even from a spiritual point of view. It is patently obvious that you do not cast magic spells when you play an RPG that has magic, just as you do not actually shoot the border guards in a spy RPG, or pilot a spaceship in a sci-fi RPG. Satan does not lurk between the covers of RPGs. Satan hides behind those who twist the word of God into a message of hatred and intolerance. Remember this: John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life," and John 3:17 doesn't say "unless you're gay or not white or a woman." That's the word of man, my friends. That's what you have to watch out for.

wizards.... grr.... (2)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 13 years ago | (#339270)

I love some of their games... Magic is cool and I can't stop buying anything put out on Krynn no matter how hard I try to hate Wizards. But they managed to purchase the most critical company in modern gaming history, TSR. Without them so many other people would never have been inspired to start other games, so many great fantasy novels wouldn't be out, many classic computer games literally could not have existed. The role playing hobby would be at least a decade behind where it is now if it existed at all. Wizards bought it and rather than letting some dignity remain and use the TSR name as a subline(like White Wolf and ArtHaus or Black Dog)they relabeled it all and in a short time knowledge of TSR's existence at all will mark you as an old schooler in the gaming community... I don't like what they did. Kinda serves them right to get swallowed up themselves.

With that said, I would be much more upset if White Wolf got purchased away. It was sad that TSR went, but I doubt any company that would purchase White Wolf would have the balls to publish some of the stuff they have, even on the Black Dog label. If it happens though, as it is rumoured Hasbro wants white wolf(being easily the second most popular gaming company) I hope they simply provide the budget to produce more cool books(at higher quality of proofreading), take some of the increased profits from those books, and let white wolf do its thing. Kinda like the Slashdot/Andover thing. Provide money to run, take the profits, and let you guys handle other details.

Allstate's Nightmare (2)

Fencepost (107992) | more than 13 years ago | (#339271)

I had one of those favorites too, but it was horrible for two-player games. Fortunately most of the time when I played it was with at least four people.

Red-Green-White, with four earthquakes, four hurricanes, some wild growth, some healing, some Gaea's Touch, a desert twister and tranquilities, etc. Heavy on the mana and able to get it out fast. For people who'd never seen it before it was devastating because it just looked like I had a bad shuffle with nothing but mana and a couple of COPs that I played instead of discarding them. Then the earthquakes came.

"I'll tap these ten lands and discard two Gaea's Touch for four more. One white into the COP:Red, one(two?) red to start the earthquake, twelve damage to all players and non-flying creatures."
As long as nobody could kill me by the next turn I was in great shape from then on, because by that point I usually had two or three more mass damage or healing cards in my hand. With one or two Gaea's Touches out I was also able to drop two or three lands in a turn, so I was all set by five or six turns in - not too long in a multiplayer game.

-- fencepost

Re:Try this one on for size (3)

webrunner (108849) | more than 13 years ago | (#339272)

Black Isle studios (actually interplay in general) lost the rights to make D&D games for the pc (Bauldurs Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc.) because of.. guess who.. Hasbro.
----

Re:White Wennie (1)

Molt (116343) | more than 13 years ago | (#339274)

Pah,

Place Mox Emerald, Tap for red mana.. Place forest, tap for green mana. Use the green Mana to cast Channel, converting nineteen of your lives into mana. Place Mox Ruby, tap for red Mana.. use the two red, and nineteen colourless to cast a twenty point fireball at your opponent to kill them before they get a turn.

Now that, my friend, is true weeniedom!

PS: IANAL, and nor have I played M:tG for a looong time, not sure if the Mox Ruby is actually required!


odd (1)

hyperizer (123449) | more than 13 years ago | (#339276)

The article's trying to be a portrait of Peter, but it doesn't paint a very clear picture of him...

Re:Changing corporate culture (3)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 13 years ago | (#339278)

So you're saying that if I believed in Hotmail's product, I should have stayed on even after they were bought by Microsoft - even though Microsoft itself doesn't believe in the product, only the revenue?

And you're saying that I should do this even if the new corporate culture thinks what I wear to work is more important than the work I do? Even if the new culture features top-down management that totally devalues my experience and ability? That I'm twice as evil if the new culture doesn't fit my lifestyle preferences?

Or are you just trolling?

MtG was no hell (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#339279)

I prefered Jyhad. With no expansions.

oops! (1)

michajoe (124916) | more than 13 years ago | (#339280)

salon.com .... slashdotted!! :-)

Re:Ahh, memories of blowing cash.. (1)

e-Motion (126926) | more than 13 years ago | (#339282)

While I'm not going to argue you're first point (cards were expensive, for what they were), the second point is definitely from left field. I remember that the "tournament legal" decks had to ban/restrict some of the old cards just because they ended up ruining the game outright due to their power. Certain card combos could end up with a game being over before it even really started.

The number of "trouble cards" slowly decreased with each edition as Wotc got pretty smart about balance. Sure, they had their mistakes, but overall, they've made good, balanced cards. I've looked at the new cards these days, and they tend to have "penalties on the side" or strange side effects, or effects that generally aren't all that useful but could be interesting with other cards. In essence, it became more about building a good deck that getting the best cards. Today's Magic is a far cry from the old days of "I got a good draw, so you don't get your first turn...I will draw 3 more cards, then a new hand...now I have plenty of land, and a very powerful creature. You now have three turns to live, if you're lucky. I could have killed you already, but I decided to make it interesting."

Magic: The Addiction (1)

Wintermancer (134128) | more than 13 years ago | (#339285)

I remember getting hooked rather early in the MtG beginnings. At one point I realized that it had all the earmarks of something else.

1600's. Holland. Tulips.

Yup, that frenzied and frenetic, glassed-eyed look of the masses trying to accumulate coloured peices of paper. Sort of like the dot gone IPO frenzy.

The amount of money being spent on *cough* collectible cards was truly staggering. These things are going to hold value in 50 years times? Can I bank on retiring on a box full of Alpha Black Lotuses? Not likely.

So I bailed, sold 'em off at insanely inflated prices and put the money where it would actually have some worth.

Like the game but don't like the amount of money it costs? Type out the text, mana cost, etc. and tape it to a card. Use them instead. All the fun at a fraction of the cost.

You want pretty pictures? alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.* has tons of them to keep you amused while playing the game ;-)

Re:Changing corporate culture (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 13 years ago | (#339286)

The folks who drop out in the buyout process are the ones who aren't committed to the product but to a certain lifestyle.

Bullshit. Does anyone actually find a buck off soda and a Nerf game once in a while critical to where they're employed? You've got to be kidding me... in all the dot-com hype pieces I've ever seen, no one's ever been quoted as saying "I work here for the free food".

All that stuff is just peripheral, and merely complimentary with an institution which empowers it's employees, lets them be creative, and makes them responsible for solving problems (and dressing themselves, and arranging their schedule) on their own.

On the other hand, I don't really want to buy a game from a place whose employees aren't allowed to play games, you know?

Re:Hasbro's Business Model (1)

jbrians (135805) | more than 13 years ago | (#339287)

Yeah... Hasbro sucks a giant rotten cock. We can thank them for the pathetic shell of a former gaming company that Sierra is too.
-Brian

Re:RPG's (1)

Cannelbrae (157237) | more than 13 years ago | (#339297)

You name isn't.. jack is it? Jack.. Chick..? Pardon the suggestion, but thats how you come across when you make your point like that. I really wanted to read what you said as sarcasm or parody, but I just can't quite see it in what you write. I was raised in a christian home. My siblings are very christian, though i am not. They played Magic as much as I did. If your point is that people get addicted to things, yes, I agree. People can definitely be 'addicted' to almost anything. Or so the current social trends say. Certain levels of intrest in a single topic can pretty much always be considered unhealthy, but this is not a religious issue. This is an issue of balancing ones life. Religion can be just as addicting as anything else from what I have seen. While it isn't socially isolating in the same way that vices are, it can be just as harmful...

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#339299)

If anyone cares, I'm still playing battletech with 3025 stuff. Much better that way.

Me too... anything afterward is waaay to powerful. You should see the Assault Clan Mech's.
Just gimmie a platoon of Atlases, baby!

--

Magic makes me think back to the good old days... (1)

Devolver42 (177242) | more than 13 years ago | (#339302)

Magic became popular during my high school days. I went to a very small high school in the Midwest, and the Magic bug struck there just before the release of The Dark. Overnight, everyone had a deck, it seemed. Study halls were cluttered with tables full of people playing Magic. Many a Saturday afternoon was spent in the basement of someone's house, tapping Prodigal Sorcerers, summoning Serra Angels, and casting Drain Lifes. It stayed pretty strong until the release of Homelands. The expansion set was really awful and didn't add anything interesting to the game, and after that no new expansions were released for a while. That time frame is about when the "bad things" in this article happened at Wizards of the Coast. After that, it was never the same. I went to college and played some Magic there, but most people I found playing Magic were obsessive about playing in tournaments and using strict rules. Once in a while now, I'll pick up a pack or two and play with my significant other, mostly for the memories. She played Magic back in those halcyon days as well. Reading this article made me think about those days long past... and made me see them from a different angle. It makes me dread the thought of joining such a soul-less corporate world. It also makes me want to cast a huge Fireball on the Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro of today.

Re:MOD THE PARENT DOWN (1)

Yunzil (181064) | more than 13 years ago | (#339303)

3. You should have paid $180 for that Lotus. A mint unlimited Loti sells for about $230 on Ebay.

Some people are on crack then. I remember when Magic came out (and helped ruined GenCon). The Black Lotus was this mythical thing kind of like the lost continent of Atlantis or something. A few years later, every card dealer at the Con had at least 5 for sale and no one was buying.

I watched a couple games of Magic and couldn't see what all the fuss was about. To each his own I guess.

Yes. (1)

WuTangClanner (181082) | more than 13 years ago | (#339304)

Do you want to enjoy where you work or enjoy what you do?

Its a hideous question that people have to ask themselves every day..


:(

Re:Hasbro's Business Model (1)

Dr. Preatorious (183202) | more than 13 years ago | (#339306)

That's not quite fair. Not that I like Hasbro. Gaming companies terminate products continuously. The thing that Hasbro _doesn't_ do is come out with new products, not really. Avalon Hill discontinued, well, not 80%, but a lot of the products they made each year after only a single run. They did another discontinuation cycle when Hasbro bought them and then stopped releasing anything really new. Had Hasbro bought Avalon Hill yet when they reissued Titan? When they discontinued V:tes, I was personally disappointed, but they would probably have done that anyway. Finally, I think that equating simplified with dumbed-down is absolutely backwards. Yes, younger children can play the new D but it's also a cleaner, better game (I'd still rather play messy shadowrun, but nonetheless.) The subsequent editions of Magic are also better; I _like_ the previous rules because of nostalgia, I remember how much fun Magic was before I got entirely tired of it, but the rules don't need to be complicated if the play isn't. Incidentally, I need to plug Shadowfist, which the best TCG ever, no contest.

Hear that? (2)

autocracy (192714) | more than 13 years ago | (#339311)

It's the sobs of millions of kids crying out in sorrow at the disappearance of their Pokemon cards!

I can't be karma whoring - I've already hit 50!

Even easier - play magic with all commons. (2)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 13 years ago | (#339317)

You can find the commons for .10 apiece in most major cities. It's still a very fun game this way, and more balanced since the really powerful cards are generally rare. Bryguy

Terror this troll! (2)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 13 years ago | (#339318)

Terror
1B
Destroy target nonblack creature. That creature can not be regenerated this turn.

Ah, that's better. Wonder if I have enough swamps left for my lord of the pit...

:)

Re:Screw WoC (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 13 years ago | (#339319)

As far as I'm concerned, AD&D was ideal for WotC much like MtG. Every month a new book would come out with more powerful stuff, and contridicting the already published rules. It's just the books weren't collectable.

Personally I think I'll stick with my Champions and Mekton habit.

BTW Hasbro's newest release of D&D looks pretty good, and they threw out most or the stuff I really hated about T$R. But I think the idea of 'character' levels still sucks.

A magical story (1)

bombadill (213382) | more than 13 years ago | (#339323)

I was attending the University of Washington during the Magic heyday. One summer, the University played host to a magic camp. Kids of all sorts filled the empty dorms to capacity. At any rate, the event was so big that they could not always find enough space to put all the kids. So at one point, one of the organizers said that a schedualed tournament hour would be set aside for "outside time". Play Magic outside, play soccer, do nothing. Whatever.

Well, this one parent found out and went ballistic. She screamed at the organisor ( I overheard this conversation ) for letting her kid play outside. Saying something like, "If I wanted him to play soccer, I would have sent him to soccer camp."

To this day I am not certain as to what I should think about this....

Re:White Wennie (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 13 years ago | (#339325)

It's a fair bit easier with the Black Lotus. Sacrifice the lotus for 3 green and play/tap a mountain for a red. Use 2 of the green for channel, then channel 19 life plus the one remaining green for 20. The red from the mountain is for the fireball. Badda-bing badda-boom

Re:Ah the good old days (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 13 years ago | (#339326)

I saw some dudes in a store in Toronto a year or so ago with a pretty cool rule for keeping the "old Magic" alive - they didn't allow any cards later than The Dark. Pretty biased against late-joiners, but it beats trying to get your head around 5000 different cards for each colour!

In a related story... (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 13 years ago | (#339328)

Saudi Arabia has banned Pokemon games/cards...

http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/03/26/saudi. po kemon/index.html

Hmmm... Maybe WOTC made a good choice to sell finally...;)

Re:Collecting killed the game (1)

juju2112 (215107) | more than 13 years ago | (#339330)

I believe he was trying to say that the point of the game, for him, was FUN, and not collecting. Now, come on.. opposing viewpoints don't always mean the person's a blithering idiot.

Personally, I played for fun. The collecting aspect was simply a necessity that i dealt with in order to get to the fun of the actual game. But i'm sure there are plenty of folks who enjoyed the collector's aspect of it all.

-- juju

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339332)

You're not telling me anything I haven't already seen. The trick is this:

- Once you realize you are sitting on gold:
1. Create artificial shortages (rare powerul cards)
2. Hype the great art you have on your cards
3. Sell like there's no tomorrow
4. Create new and better cards, advanced rules, etc.
5. Once it starts to cave, sell out

Sad to see when people think this sort of ride will last forever and don't see the end before they're deep in debt. Hasbro will do something with it, something which has more mass-market appeal. Probably try to get someone to do a crappy cartoon series tied into it (like TSR did with D&D) Next thing you know, it'll be on glasses at McD's

--

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339333)

Ever notice there's always an endless supply of optimists? "This couldn't happen to something me and all my friends like!" Ah, yes. Been stung by it myself. Won't happen again, honest. ;-)

--

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339334)

My favorite is combination lance or company. Small, fast harrassing mechs mixed with a few heavy artillery. Maybe a jumper or two, but only as a last resort. I prefer mixing AC/10 and LRM 10's. Wicked combination, just wicked.

--

Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics Did (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339335)

They killed the golden goose by saturating the market with new cards and dilluting the value and power of existing cards.

4-5 years ago I saw cards for sale, $30 on up, at a Comic/Game shop. Not unlike when I bought First print of Dark Knight, for $45. Now it's all so much waste paper, because re-issues, new issues, flooding the market wiped it all out. (By the way, Beanie Babies have done the same thing recently.) I've got boxes of this stuff I can't even get rid of, so I pull it out and look at it now and then (actually did just that this weekend. Santa Clara show this coming weekend, maybe I can dump some of it there, just to get floorspace back.)

If anyone cares, I'm still playing battletech with 3025 stuff. Much better that way.

--

Re:I have first run cards... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339336)

Sadly, they're probably worth crap. Magic's popularity has declined and that means there's lots of cards available to anyone who wants them. Probably best to just put in a trunk and sit on for 30 years. When a fit of nostalgia kicks in you might retire on them, tho? :)

--

Re:Try this one on for size (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339337)

Hasbro Merchandising Ops?

Dungeon Babies

Furbies, the gathering

G.I. Joe Transformer

Pokemonopoly

Barney, the blathering

Tonka Wars

--

Re:gaming quality (3)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#339338)

It's a cyclical thing. You see it in everything. It's hot, eveyone wants, it's provided until everyone is choking on it and sick of it, it loses appeal, it fades, a new thing comes along.

Remember?

Pogs

Baseball cards

Comics

Any classic RPG

Pokemon

Beanie Babies

Cabbage Patch Kids

Garbage Pail Kids

The Hunt Brother's Silver fiasco

Currently it's Harry Potter, but I think that star is already sagging. History repeating itself over and over, like no-one pays any attention. Don't buy high, get it because you like it, ignore the hype.

--

Re:Ahh, memories of blowing cash.. (1)

dynamo_mikey (218256) | more than 13 years ago | (#339339)

Well, that's actually pretty inaccurate. The current prices (less than $4 for 12 cards) have been standard for more than 3 years. Additionally, if you buy online by the box, you can get a substantial discount. Plus the popularity of sealed deck environments makes it much cheaper to play magic as a hobby.

And I think anyone who has played magic since its inception would agree that the cards in the first set (alpha and beta) and the cards in the second set (arabian knights) are still clearly the most powerful cards - (black lotus, timewalk, ancestral recall, lightning bolt, moxes, sink hole, et al and Jazam Djinn, Ernham Djinn, and Kurd Ape from arabians). Cards released now with similar powers have far greater costs.

dynamo

Re:wizards.... grr.... (1)

Alatar (227876) | more than 13 years ago | (#339341)

Please...don't ever, in the slightest, feel sorry or nostalgic for T$R. This big, mean, nasty company had a record every bit as scary as Microsoft's. They would sue you in a heartbeat, knowingly release crappy games, and screw their contractors in payment. T$R didn't advance gaming by a decade, it held it back...trust me on this one.

Ah the good old days (1)

litui (231192) | more than 13 years ago | (#339345)

I remember them well. Simple decks, fun social games. I could easily fit 2 or 3 games into a lunch hour at school. I carried a deck around with me. The cards had straightforward, useful effects. Then came the limitations...oh, now this effect only lasts during the same turn. Oh ok. Hmm...how 'bout that Snow-Covered Landwalk, or how 'bout shadow, phasing, tokens, cumulative upkeep, et cetera. Now you bloody well have to carry around a book of errata in order to play. Not to mention each card practically has an epic written on it. And then there's the beginner, intermediate, and advanced thing. What the hell is that all about? I played magic when I was 13. I was able to grasp the basic concepts easily enough. Oh yeah I know. It's so the mindless players of Pokemon would be able to make the transition without actually having to learn anything. <sigh> I want my magic back. <looks at his deck and sulks>.

magic memories (2)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | more than 13 years ago | (#339347)

Magic was the best game I ever played.. I started just as Revised was coming in..I'll never forget the excitement of looking through those packs of cards, wondering what new and exciting cards I hadn't seen yet, playing with friends and getting half the rules wrong, but having a great time anyway. I'd go to the game shop and pay big bucks for cards from old expansions and put them in my 200-cards decks. I remember when a more knowledgeable friend took my deck and trimmed it to 60 cards.. suddenly I was winning every game! Who knew Serendib Efreet was actually a good card, even with the damage every turn!

But like all good things, it came to an end. Somewhere between Garfield getting a patent on the game mechanics or WotC selling to Hasbro, it just became overproduced and too slick. I still buy a few cards from the new sets now and then, but the mechanics have gotten complicated, new cards have weird abilities, and it seems like the game doesn't have much more to go. I hope they give the game a graceful exit when the time comes.

This is so saddening to me... (1)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 13 years ago | (#339348)

And to all the original M:tG players out there. I remember what Magic was like back in '93 and '94 when it really ruled. There was this amazing sense of mystery and fantasy, you could really get INTO the game and be swept away by it. Nowadays, to forgive the cliched ranting, it's all become the slave of crass commercialism. Garfield was a hacker in the game inventing sense, a hacker of the first degree; Adkison was just an all around visionary and great guy.

The game they created will stand forever as a landmark of my life and many others my age. Despite the religious right's attempt to brand it as demonic or satan-worship, all it was was a chance for kids to make a fantastic world their playground for a few hours, in a fun and competetive game.

I don't really care what Hasbro does with it. They can hardly run it into the ground any worse than it already has been. So long WotC, twas good while it lasted.

-Kasreyn

Re:Hasbro's Business Model (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#339349)

That's not too bad if you're a stockholder [yahoo.com] .

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#339350)

Dude, it's just paper. There's no reason that a mass-produced little cardboard card that costs $0.15 to print should ever be for sale for $30. That's insanity. Instead of buying these cards as an investment, how about buying the company that MAKES the cards? Now THAT [yahoo.com] is a real investment.

Re:sounds like the stock market (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#339351)

That's different. You're not buying a piece of paper, but an actual share in a company, along with the possiblity of that share growing to many times it's original value. You buy ownership in a company. When you pay $30 for a Magic card, you're paying $30 for a pretty picture on a piece of paper. That's it.

Re:Changing corporate culture (1)

KagakuNinja (236659) | more than 13 years ago | (#339353)

Right on.

Moderators: perdida's post deserves a rating of "Funny", not "Insightful"

Re:Black Power! (1)

Your Login Here (238436) | more than 13 years ago | (#339355)

I never heard of the Black Lotus...?
It's the rarest and most valuable card, they stopped making them after unlimited edition (the first white border series, on their current numbering scheme it would be 2nd edition).

0 mana to play, sacrafice to give you 3 mana of any colour. If you got it in your first hand you could play a big creature on the second or third turn, before your oponent could cast anything to defend against it.

Wow, it's been a while since I thought about that.

Off-topic Grammar Note (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 13 years ago | (#339360)

Salon is doing a several-part series on the corporate atmosphere of Wizards of the Coast, leading to it's eventual sellout to Hasbro. It's...

It is cool to use "its" for possession, and "it's" as a contraction for "it is".

Magic is Good..... (1)

V50 (248015) | more than 13 years ago | (#339362)

If you play for fun that is.....

The problem is with cards that KILL certain decks, and just plain Un-Fun cards.

I usally build decks that after a while become unbeatable, when that happens I literally toss the deck against my bedroom wall. Now THAT is fun. Seeing a deck that wins 90% of the dime be redused to cards on the floor is a great feeling, especially when you start to rebuild a deck that dominates. Or when a card that is so un-fun, like one I had that causes swamps to be sacrificed when used, gets ripped to sheds, never to be used again.

I can't see how people can have fun playing a deck that always wins, it really is fun to lose sometimes. It's also MUCH more fun to play with 5 people for fun than it is to play against anouther person in the final of a tournament for lots of $$$$.

Remember Magic and other games are meant to be FUN not to do anything else.

Changing corporate culture (3)

perdida (251676) | more than 13 years ago | (#339363)

It's good for productivity that more of the innovative, flexible firms are being bought up by more traditional, "staid" firms, and that the culture inside of the smaller firms is changing.

If someone decides to stay on at the place even when they have to wear a suit and come in 9 to 5 instead of having a food and soda filled, T-shirt and Nerf office, that means that they are really committed to the place and the product that the place is selling.

The folks who drop out in the buyout process are the ones who aren't committed to the product but to a certain lifestyle. Over time, they would lose interest and motivation even if the smaller, "creative" firm weren't getting bought out. The ones who stick it out eventually combine the creativity of the smaller firm with the knowledge, power and reach of the larger one. I guess that's what PR rats mean when they talk about "synergy" in the merger process.

One outcome of this is that when the big fish eats the little fish it shouldn't lay people off- let the process happen by attrition. The ones who don't want to stay are the ones who couldn't cut the mustard anyway..

I played, stopped, played again, and then quit (1)

Mr. Bubbles712 (254513) | more than 13 years ago | (#339364)

Ok, let me set a stage for everyone:
the year, 1993. The place, Borders. The question, What to buy, a copy of 2600, or a pack of Alpha for 3.00?
I bought 2600. So sue me. I eventually found MtG. I thought it was cool. But I wanted the issue more. That's how it is. but enough preaching.
I have gone to schools where MTG is outlawed. I have been kicked out due to the fact I used a pestalence(sp), and vampire deck. I have made many a religous person cringe when they hear me talk. And that was part of the fun. Magic the Gathering was my game, and every geeks game that wanted to piss off the status quo.
I stopped playing the first time I saw a commercial for MTG on MTV. It was a fake game putting "the hammer" against some other guy. With Carson Daley giving the play by play, and screwing up the names. It was a message that I had lost my only means of being 'leet.
I went back in the day I saw Unglued. And it was worth it. I gave my money for a pure fun game. That was the last set I ever bought, and that's the reason I got out and am staying out. It's over folks. Sorry, but admit it. So don't buy boosters for an exorbanant amount of money. Play with what you got, and be happy with that.

MaRk

Re:Changing corporate culture (3)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 13 years ago | (#339369)

One outcome of this is that when the big fish eats the little fish it shouldn't lay people off- let the process happen by attrition. The ones who don't want to stay are the ones who couldn't cut the mustard anyway..

You forgot about all the people who stay because they are essentially worthless as employees and they know that they'll never get another job making as much money as they do now if they jump ship. In my experience (going through my 3rd buyout/takeover now) the most knowledgeable and hardest working employees leave because the new regime comes in with an "it's our company and we know what's best for it" attitude that ends up shitting all over the current employees. Those most capable of finding work elsewhere (aka, those most valuable to the company) end up doing so, leaving the new company with a dreid-up husk of the company that once was. The people who end up sticking around are usually those who can least afford to jump ship (the least valuable employees, those with golden handcuff clauses, etc).

It's a rare day when a big company takes over a smaller company and keeps it's product and vision intact.

Re:It's a question of scale (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 13 years ago | (#339375)

Despite what we are given to understand, business is not a science. Much of what is being done today in the interest of shareholders will someday wind up in a textbook under the 'how not to run a company' heading. Having purchased a company, many large corporations focus on pulling as much value out of a brand as possible, even at the expense of the brand's (short or long term) future survival. Often this is seen as the 'correct' thing to do, in that it maximizes shareholder return.

Unfortunately, following a vanilla formula not only reduces the potential growth of a company, but it often threatens the value of the company to boot, by both turning off future customers and driving away the creative people who made the business profitable. Even in the short-to-mid-term, this winds up costing shareholders money, or at least reducing profits that could be made simply by applying a more delicate managerial style.

Re:Changing corporate culture (2)

dachshund (300733) | more than 13 years ago | (#339376)

I can't quite tell if you're being cynical or serious. I guess that's my problem.

I think the fact that a lot of slackers got sucked into and vomited out of the dot-com revolution shouldn't lead you down the garden path. Lots of very creative and intelligent people at real companies (ie, creative/original/interesting) simply can't survive the corporatization process. They build the company, making it what it is. Then they leave, and the company simply becomes another piece of intellectual property, a feather in the cap of Disney, or whoever, which is equipped to bring the company into phase 2 of its lifespan (wherein it is quietly milked for ongoing profits.) Little groundbreaking work gets done, and the company lasts as long as its brand will sell action figures.

There are companies that have been run for years by the original founders, and built into empires by the same people who would otherwise have been driven away by the merger.

Re:Changing corporate culture (1)

notahippie (311053) | more than 13 years ago | (#339381)

If that were true then we'd be hailing large corporations as innovators - afterall, they're the result of the winnowing process of a bunch of buyouts and mergers. The fact is, people can stay working for a lot of reasons... money, 401K, location, boredom, etc. The corporate culture is what's important in innovation, because it defines the degree that an individual's skills can be used. The most creative person in the world won't create a hit if he has to go through a dozen concept meetings. Autonomy is related to smaller size, and also to flexibility and innovation. Give me a geek who likes wearing a T shirt any day over a corporate crew in suits.

Re:Game Card Companies Did the Same Thing Comics D (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#339382)

Man, that sounds so much like Furbies (except there are no advanced rules for Furbies; waitasec, I think I smell a marketing oppertunity.)
-----------------

It used to be fun.... (1)

Calamere (318591) | more than 13 years ago | (#339384)


The game was really fun until you figured out that after you obtain a certain skill level, all that mattered was what cards you drew and if you drew them fast enough...... and then it became no fun.

The funnest was building a deck useing commons only and playing with your friends. That showed true skill, strategy, and inventiveness. In fact, it's the only reason I still keep my cards.

Hasbro/WOTC History (1)

Some Wanker (398209) | more than 13 years ago | (#339389)

Tom Dusenberry, who was president of Hasbro Interactive and worked in Hasbro's aquisitions group before that, had been trying to buy WOTC for years before the deal was finally done. Around 95 Hasbro passed up a chance to buy WOTC for $5 million. Dusenberry wanted them to do it and they passed. Then WOTC became big, Tom got to say "I told you so" and got promoted. WOTC decided to sell itself beacuse all the investors had stock options they could not sell. They, quite understandably, wanted to turn their paper money into real money. Most of them, like Peter Adkinson, were ready to get out anyway. The layoffs at WOTC were part of a Hasbro wide layoff. When Alan Hassenfled tells your business unit to lose X number of people, you lose X number of people. The reason they were in such trouble was the giant failure of the Star Wars: Phantom Menace line. They paid a BILLION dollars for rights, and it tanked. Hasbro sold off Hasbro Interactive because the toy industry execs just did not get the computer game industry. They did okay when they were small and did just a few well choosen products, but got the idea than any Hasbro brand would make a good computer game. They also got seduced by wacky ideas like their line of E-mail games, which were fun but had no market. I do not know for sure if this influenced Hasbro's decision to sell the computer rights to WOTC's games, but the WOTC guy in charge of their computer division royally pissed off some Hasbro Interactive decision makers. They also showed less grasp of the computer game industry than the Hasbro Interactive Execs, which was scary. While I only knew a few WOTC employees, they were very nice people.
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