A confession: I pre-ordered D&D 4th Edition from Amazon.com. Not because of their prices, no. Not because I don’t try and support my local stores at every possible opportunity. Again: no…a thousand times, no!

I pre-ordered it from Amazon simply because I thought I might forget when the books would be released, and miss the launch date.

I’m a dolt You couldn’t swing a dead gnome (now a MONSTER) without hearing the massive industry buzz on the books, these last couple of weeks building up to yesterday’s launch.

Anyway, I vow to go down to Pegasus Games and spend the money I would have spent on D&D books on something else – something I wouldn’t just have picked up anyway – to help support the local Brick and Mortar. Maybe something really nifty for the lovely and talented Judith. Which will be easy to do, since I only spent $57.80 at Amazon for the three books, plus nifty slipcase. And yes, I do feel a little dirty, because of going the Amazon route, thank you very much.

ANYhoo, the books arrived yesterday afternoon: I got them on Launch Day, which was cool.

However, as we had a Madison Mallards game to get to soon after UPS arrived, I took them with me, to peruse on the way. Between innings, perhaps.

Yes, I’m a sad, sad individual. I was actually reading the hot-off-the-truck Players’ Handbook on the way to a Mallards game (Judith, obviously, was driving). There’s my life in a nutshell. If I could have also have been listening to Bob Mould (new album VERY interesting, btw), painting me some 15mm Panzer IVs, and cooking up a little carbonara at the same time – possibly while chatting about tiki bars with Wil Wheaton, comics with Alex Robinson or food science with Alton Brown – well, it would have been John’s Perfect Geek Moment (and yes, I am grateful Judith still wants to be married to me, even with the fearful knowledge of this).

After the game, I read some more before bed. And by “some,” I mean “half the book.”

So far? I’m impressed. Very impressed. Great job, WoTC.

D&D4 seems to play to what I like in roleplaying mostly: streamlined, relatively elegant, mostly logical and not overly-fiddly. I honestly can’t wait to give it a try. (Though still – boobies on Dragonporn? I mean, “Dragonborn”?)

However, here’s a serious and worrying thought: if I wasn’t such a spam-head, I’d have just waited and picked up the books at Pegasus Games like I really oughta should’ve done – and normally DO do – anyway. (He said “do-do.” Heh heh, Heh heh). But over 45% off at Amazon? That’s insane. There are lots of gamers out there who just can’t afford $105 for three books, given the state of the economy. No matter how much people want to support their local stores – and my belief is that it is vitally important to do so, if a local store is even halfway decent and dedicated – that’s the kind of deep, deep discount that’ll be make or break for some people. Given the threat of recession, unemployment, inflation, etc., etc., I sure can’t blame gamers who need most of their cash simply to put bread on the table.

But if it’s “make or break,” it’ll be the local stores that are in danger of being broken.

What’s to be done?

Bonus Questions

Who all’s got 4th edition already?

What are YOUR thoughts?

And what should I buy at Pegasus Games, that I might not normally buy, to atone for Amazon?

- John

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