In the mid 90’s I watched with horror as the hobby I had devoted half my life to at that time, died a slow painful death by attrition.
Twice a month we were meeting at Mike’s, who was our dungeon master in those days. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition wasn’t new, and some could argue that it was already starting to wither, with the re-releases and reprints of the same material since ’89, the game was set for something dramatic to happen, good or bad. But we were die-hards who’d bought every supplement and new edition or revision since the early 80’s.
That’s when I started to notice it.
The creeping infection grew like a brown mold, feeding on the warmth, and leaving nothing but cold in its wake.
A new game was taking the hobby industry by storm in those days, a fantasy genre card game that was inexpensive and fast to learn and even faster to set up. We were, admittedly, fantasy junkies. We would devour anything in our genre, no matter how cheesy or ridiculous. So it came as no surprise that this game would be a hit. Since it only needed 2 players, and everyone had some of the cards, it became the #1 pastime for the early arrivers to each game night. With the first couple of players throwing down a quick round before the rest of the party showed up.
If only that had been the end of it, I wouldn’t be writing this today.
Slowly, the card game players became less inclined to wrap it up once everyone was there, and the later arriving players became more inclined to just join in the card game. And so the dice bags and monster manuals sat, unopened and neglected, with increasing frequency. It wasn’t long from there that the campaign began to dwindle and eventually stall out. I was, to say the least, disappointed. The group continued to get together to play cards, eventually getting involved in tournaments at the local comic book shop. The company behind that card game became a huge success, and the company that made my beloved Dungeons and Dragons began to collapse. The end was near.