So yesterday I figured I would try playing D&D 5th Edition at my FLGS (Games and Gizmos in Redmond).
Since it and Pathfinder is pretty much 90% of what is being played in the area, and since Pathfinder is becoming a bit too bloated with power creep and supplement books, I figured that perhaps it was time to look at a new system.
I didn't actually buy in to 4E thankfully. I appreciate what they were trying to do, bring new players into the game, but it was too much a board game for my tastes. I have heard a lot of good things about 5E, easy of entry and faster combats, but what made me truly want to look into the game was the abbreviated stat blocks I saw in the Monster Manual.
However, the books are $50 each and that's a $150 buy in to the system. I want to experience it in play before I decide to buy. Especially since there are bound to be more Monster Manuals and Fiend Folios on the way.
So I joined into a D&D encounters group. We played for two hours that covered my character introduction, the long walk down a cave corridor, and finally an encounter with 4 flying zombies and a mysterious dark mage in the background. The combat lasts only a few minutes and didn't give me much of a feel for the rules play. Plus we were only 3rd level. I will say that there was no rules-lawyering or looking up things in the book. I'll keep playing with an open mind, but I'm also keeping an eye on supplement saturation. So far it looks like they are focusing on campaign splat books which is awesome.
Of course, one problem with waiting before buying into a game like this is that if I do decide to pull the trigger, odds are the buy in cost will have gone up with a lot more supplements being available. That's what kept me form Star Wars Saga and to an extent Pathfinder (although I do own the Core book).
It's seems to be a real Catch 22 in our hobby. To keep the publisher going, they need to produce more content to buy. But the expense of that content and the buy in for the game saps our funds and may keep players from exploring other systems. The publisher wins, but I'm not sure the gain from the arrangement. It explains why Savage Worlds and Fate are enjoying a boom, with their low priced core books. Unfortunately I don't see many of them on store shelves.