Next on my hit list of “what were they thinking” RPGs; White Wolf1’s Wraith: the Oblivion, in which players played dead people in the afterlife. Not inherently a bad idea, although the first edition was plagued with proof-reading and play-testing issues (1st ed WW games tended to be beta versions). But that isn’t why I want to discuss Wraith. Take a close look at the cover.
Do you see a title?
For reasons that I am sure seemed compelling at 3 AM, White Wolf decided to lean into the whole spectre angle of their game. The title (which you can see if you look very closely) is in glow-in-the-dark ink. If the ink has had time to get charged up, it’s somewhat visible in the dark. A cool effect and just too bad most game stores strongly discourage customers from coming in in the middle of the night when all the lights are out. When the lights are on, the title is essentially invisible.
It happened that the cover matched the colour of the slat wall in my store. Customers who came in looking for Wraith could only find it if I helped them, and I cannot image there were many impulse buys.
1: You might expect a follow-up piece on the White Wolf Magazine/Inphobia transition. I am trying to do only one of these per company and anyway, I can understand why a general interest gaming magazine might want to find a better defined niche, even if the one WW found was “failed experiment.” There have been a lot of good, general interest gaming magazines and very few of them are still around.