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I don't have the energy to look up citations right now. But I feel like the history of tabletop games is largely the history of diverse, fannish groups adopting games that catch on because they are "good enough" for the time. And then watching as the next 30-40 years see the people who made these games get a lot of unearned power and capital, until they are dictating the shape of their hobbies to everyone else.

Wizards of the Coast with trading card games, for instance. Doing things like getting the licenses to a bunch of properties in the first few years of the TCG boom, only to sit on those licenses so that they aren't usurped by a competitor. Also using other legal shenanigans to extort money from competitors who made it onto the market.

Greed also seems to have motivated the founders (or eventual owners) of TSR and Games Workshop to do similar things to destroy or preclude other entrants into the market. Games Workshop especially.

As it stands in 2015, the defining act of a "gamer," now, is to buy games. This can even be phrased in moral terms, where people "support" their favourite game companies and FLGSes. For instance, Paizo benefited tons from being the "moral" choice, in contrast to Wizards of the Coast's mishandling of D&D.

I wonder if there are ways to change things so that the defining act of a tabletop games hobbyist is to play games, using one of a number of off-the-shelf systems or customizing one to their needs. I think that if there are, systems like Fate Core and Dungeon World which are free, simple, and adaptable, are going to be part of that.

(As a miniatures hobbyist, I also look forward to seeing what happens when people get sick of Games Workshop. Already, their competitors and even their unpaid tournament organizers are building replacements for Warhammer Fantasy.)

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