For geeks only…

Dungeons & Dragons has come a long way. From cheap, throw-together modules with poorly laid out designs and roughly drawn illustrations, to professional, full colour publications owned by one of the biggest toy companies in the world.

But I can’t help but wonder if the people at Hasbro look over longingly at the WarHammer tables, where gamers spend vast amounts of money on miniatures and settings. With D&D, it was always an inexpensive game — with three core books, you could run a campaign that would last years (and players only needed one book…even cheaper).

Now comes 4th edition. And they’ve tried turning it from game of imagination, into a table-top video game. My problem is simple — if I wanted to play a video game, I’d play a video game. If I wanted to play WarHammer, I’d play WarHammer.

There are a few nice things about the recent upgrade. I like the changes to Armor Class…and really, that’s about it. Here are my initial complaints:

Powers instead of spells (reminds me of hitting the Y button on a controller how you can access all your special powers) and all classes are equal at all levels it appears. I never had a problem with unbalanced classes, where some had their sweet spot at low levels, and others at high levels (again, Wizard comes to mind…able to cast Magic Missile every round, if he so desires).

Not only is every character class the same, every character is the same. No rolling for hit points. Simply take 6 a level, or 8, or whatever. Sure, it prevents abuse, but I was never worried about abuse.

Healing Surges — seriously?

Death — not sure why they changed this rule. Now it’s your bloodied score…that’s a huge minus (at higher levels, we’re talking 50 or 60 in the minus), and you get to make Saving Throws to spend a healing surge and get to 0 again. I don’t know…it wasn’t broken, don’t know why it was fixed.

There’s more wrong for me…but you get the idea.

Too much normalization, and too much like a video game. Gone is the mystique of spells (replaced with cut and dried effects).

But maybe I’m just old