Pay to Play, the Gamer’s Edition

I have to admit, I’m actually kinda ticked about this new edition of the Star Wars RPG – and a bit disappointed in Fantasy Flight. We’re supposed to be excited to pay $30 for a Beta version of the game, just so we can then turn around and pay for the full version when it’s finished? No. I am not paying you for the privilege of playtesting your rules for you. Not even for Star Wars.

At least with Only War, they knocked the cost of the Beta off of your order if you also ordered the full rulebook at the same time – basically you paid $20 for the Beta rules, then got a $20 discount on the full version when it came out (though that was DTRPG and not FFG). That’s kosher, as far as it goes.

But this, this just feels exploitative. Especially when I’ve been part of Paizo’s open Pathfinder playtesting community for years and never had to drop a dime on it. I know some people would say that FFG needs to recover the cost of making the books, but in response I’d say, why print them in the first place? Put out the Beta as a pdf, charge a couple bucks for it (and maybe take that off the top of a full edition order as above), and the rules will still get just as tested, I guarantee. This just feels like an attempt to get hardcore Star Wars collectors to grab a “limited edition” before the game is even ready, and I dislike it intensely.

People who know me know that I hate the “OMG gaming companies just want to make monie$” gamer argument, because I know better. Gaming’s a business like any other; they have to make money if they want to keep making games, and don’t need to apologize for it. But that said, there’s still a legit way to do it, and a sketchy way to do it, and this feels sketchy to me. Fantasy Flight has built a reputation on putting on some extremely high quality tabletop rpgs, in addition to their already fantastic board games and other diversions – maybe that’s why I feel such a letdown to see this sort of business practice. 

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