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Old 09-17-2004, 12:59 AM   #11
Lucius Drake
 
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Default Re: In Nomine: Marketing

My (former) Malakite wore cargo pants, a turtleneck longsleeve, an endless array of hawaiin shirts, and combat boots. Oh yeah, and sunglasses - even at night.

An 8th Virtue would be heaps of fun. For new people and old. The old hands sit around telling "war stories" about In Nomine Malakim they've played (in character of course), and the new come on in and get "indoctrinated" into what it means to be a Malakite.

Hmmm... Good idea Jennifer.
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Old 09-17-2004, 03:43 AM   #12
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Maketing hmmm,

Well I got into In Nomine from a convention senario. In Ireland Conventions are the main way to get a new game out there or to poll how well it is recieved. Now I write convention senarios for games I like and would like to see go places, this seems to have worked somewhat as In Nomine senarios are always well attended. The only problem we have is the samll market we represent game stores won't get stuff in unless they think it will sell or someone asks.

So more convention support for a RPG with enough personality to draw attention.
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Old 09-17-2004, 06:10 AM   #13
Dr T. Jackson
 
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From a promotion point of view I've found that running live games really gets the blood pumping and the questions flying. From the three live IN games I've found I'm already fielding questions about the next, even people pleading me to run a "campaign OWBN like IN Live game"....

Which I'm seriously considering. Have there been any rumblings about some coda live rules for the game being produced?

On another note, who *does* hold the licensing rights for In Nomine? Who should Lucius and I be talking with to bring our fevered dreams of a fan movie to life? I'm assuming that Lucasarts has a sort of "open license" for anyone who wants to create fan related material.... given the amount of stuff there is for SW I can't imagine it working any other way.

Oh yeah, there is nothing wrong with trenchcoats and katanas.... Cliche it may be - cool it still is. I used to train with a katana years ago. Having been on the receiving end of their speed and power, I wouldn't choose anything else if I were an Angel.
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Last edited by Dr T. Jackson; 09-17-2004 at 06:14 AM. Reason: My inner goth speaks...
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Old 09-17-2004, 09:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T. Jackson
On another note, who *does* hold the licensing rights for In Nomine?
In Nomine is an adaptation of a French game, In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas. Any English-language rights not explicitly purchased by SJG would still be held by someone in France. (I'm not sure if that would be the author (Croc) or the publisher (Siroz).)
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Originally Posted by Dr T. Jackson
Oh yeah, there is nothing wrong with trenchcoats and katanas.... Cliche it may be - cool it still is. I used to train with a katana years ago. Having been on the receiving end of their speed and power, I wouldn't choose anything else if I were an Angel.
I take it that your character has the Scabbard attunement and never fights opponents with ranged weapons, then? Swords (including katana) have major drawbacks in terms of concealability and ranged capability. And I imagine that some angels (like, say, Seraphim of Flowers) might not have much use for a katana anyway.

See, I have this Malakite whose vessel and Role are that of a 12-year-old. People tend to notice if 12-year-old kids carry around katana or wear trenchcoats. Unarmed combat is a great option when your Role is harmless looking, and spearhand techniques work really well thematically when you have tiny hands and high Strength.

Then there are the angels with low Strength and high Precision, who are much more effective with small weapons and guns. "wouldn't choose anything else if I were an angel" seems awfully sweeping, unless you restrict possible angel concepts very tightly.

(Personally, I've never been able to think of trenchcoats as cool since having a 5' even roommate who insisted on wearing a trenchcoat long enough to drag on the ground behind her. The overall effect was that of a small child dragging a blankie but desperately trying to look goth. YMMV.)
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Old 09-17-2004, 09:19 AM   #15
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I don't have any direct data, but my impression is that most of the classical marketing strategies don't work well for RPGs.

IN's launch had a very major media push (in the RPG press), kits for dealers, etc. And didn't sell all that well. There were a couple of problems (delays and the lack of organization of the core rules) that likely hurt early sales.

People's anecdotes here confirm my general impression of what sells RPGs: personal recommendations and demo/convention games.

Personal recommendations break down into the "store owner/employee" case, and the "my gaming group" case. I don't think there's much SJGames can do to push IN here -- they do a fair bit of marketing to stores, but there aren't really all that many RPG stores in the country any more. And I suspect store employees tend to steer potential IN players more to the WoD stuff, since a) it's more popular, b) the stores keep it in stock because of a), and c) the line has more products, with a steady stream of new splatbooks and revisions. But the audience for the two games is perceived, I think, as the same, though this doesn't seem to be true in reality. Certainly IN's early marketing push seemed to be aimed directly at the WoD audience, though I can't speak to SJGame's actual intent.

Demos and convention games are a great way to market games -- many gamers are willing to try a new game at a convention or at a store demo. It costs little to nothing, and is a great way to find out if a new game is a great idea or a dud. My experience is that this works better than most other things to sell games; people will often go out after a demo or intro-level con game and buy the game.

SJGames supports demos and conventions fairly heavily through its MIB network, but MIBs have a lot of stuff to cover, and they often favor one particular game they are a fan of. I've met a fair number of MIBs who like IN, and it gets some decent exposure that way. But it's not going to generate a mass market.

Most successful game systems sell through word of mouth, primarily, and systems that don't have "mass" appeal (within the RPG-playing populace) don't tend to grow very much, but they often have a hard-core following that keeps the game alive. Call of Cthulhu is probably the canonical example of such a game.

Personally, I don't think IN will ever grow to be a high-profile RPG. If it had existed before WoD came out, it *might* have pulled in that audience (and would probably be very different now). It will probably never grab the "dungeon crawl" crowd that comprises a large segment of the D&D audience, and it's not broad enough to grab a big share of the gamers who like flexible games (e.g. the GURPS crowd).

What I think we're seeing in current SJGames strategy is a desire to support "niche" markets, like the WWII gamers, IN, and the like, in a way that makes it at least marginally cost-effective to do so. Classical hardcopy books need to sell thousands of copies to break even (assuming they're done properly). *Very* few RPGs can garner even that many sales. Hopefully, E23 will change the economics enough so that products that will only sell hundreds, or maybe 1000 copies, will make it worthwhile.

I know SJ isn't driven entirely, or even primarily, by profit. I know of at least a few products he's produced that he *knew* wouldn't make money, but he did them because he thought they were neat enough to make it worth doing anyway. Of course, he can't do a lot of that....

In any case, all this boils down to the fact that I can't see any obvious way SJGames can push IN much more, without some way of getting the fan base more involved in the process. "IN Lite" would make it easier to do demo games, and could be left out as a freebie in stores. How much good it would do, I don't know. But it's one of the few things I can see that might be a productive strategy. I don't think advertising is going to do it, and store owners aren't going to push the game unless they see a lot more people picking it up and/or playing it in the store.

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Old 09-17-2004, 09:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T. Jackson
On another note, who *does* hold the licensing rights for In Nomine? Who should Lucius and I be talking with to bring our fevered dreams of a fan movie to life?
I think the French authors (Croc) own those rights. I've heard various rumors from some of our European IN people that their company is somewhat in disarray. It's possible that the rights are theoretically owned by *someone*, but either no one claims to own them, or several people do....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T. Jackson
I'm assuming that Lucasarts has a sort of "open license" for anyone who wants to create fan related material.... given the amount of stuff there is for SW I can't imagine it working any other way.
This gets into a very murky area of copyright law, fair use rights, and the like. I suspect that all the fan stuff for SW is *technically* illegal, but in a way that Lucasarts can ignore most of the time, and spend most of their effort looking to stomp people who are trying to profit from SW. But if they decided not to like something, they could likely get a cease and desist order to remove any fan material. It's just too big to make sense to go after, unless there's either some kind of serious damage to their brand, or someone making a profit without paying licensing fees.

As far as I understand (and I'm not a lawyer) fair use rights relating to copyrighted characters, backgrounds, etc. pretty much stop at use for parody and satire. Beyond that, you're pretty much hoping the copyright owner won't notice, or will tolerate. (And tolerating the harmless stuff is generally good PR, for the most part.)

You might want to read SJGames' policy on use of their copyrighted material and trademarks. It's probably about as permissive as anyone can go and still legally keep copyright and trademark rights intact. Which actually isn't all that far -- it's fairly easy to lose trademarks and copyrights if use of them isn't carefully contained by licensing agreements. Or so I understand it.

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Old 09-17-2004, 10:51 AM   #17
Archangel Beth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer
The Eighth Virtue does Arisia. I'm not sure if it would attract new players, but we old players would certainly have a blast.
Oh, that idea is highly nifty.

(I wonder if it would be worth complicating it with passing a hat around with a brief character sketch and some vague sort of conversational-LARPy semi-plot.)

Or one could do a Seven Lovely Sins. Or both... O:>
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Old 09-17-2004, 11:47 AM   #18
Andrew Hackard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milliken
it's fairly easy to lose trademarks and copyrights if use of them isn't carefully contained by licensing agreements. Or so I understand it.
Half right -- one cannot lose a copyright in this fashion, but one can (and many HAVE) lose trademarks that way. Escalator, aspirin, and cellophane are three examples of former trademarks that weren't protected strongly enough and passed into common usage.
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Old 09-17-2004, 11:59 AM   #19
Jennifer
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milliken
it's fairly easy to lose trademarks and copyrights if use of them isn't carefully contained by licensing agreements. Or so I understand it.
It's easy to lose trademarks; it's damn near impossible to lose copyright short of voluntarily renouncing it. However, not defending a copyright has more complicated legal drawbacks, as I understand it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archangel Beth
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer
The Eighth Virtue does Arisia. I'm not sure if it would attract new players, but we old players would certainly have a blast.
(I wonder if it would be worth complicating it with passing a hat around with a brief character sketch and some vague sort of conversational-LARPy semi-plot.)

Or one could do a Seven Lovely Sins. Or both... O:>
Well, there's your LARPy semi-plot. The Eighth Virtue and the Seven Lovely Sins hit the same convention...

You could mechanic it using some of the tricks from MIT Assassin games (which are a different genre from "Killer" assassin games.)

Resonances:

At the door, everyone declares a character type and fills out their res-results on small cards with _________ Resonance Result pre-printed on the back. Fill out a separate card for each allowed CD result for each appropriate res in game. You fill in the blank with the appropriate Choir. Make the cards small enough to shove into a badge holder - for a short game, they needn't even be on cardstock.

Use any old mechanic to determine if the resonance succeeds. If successful, you say "Give me a [Choir/Band] Resonance result." The target then fans their appropriate res result cards and you draw one randomly (representing the CD).

I'd suggest simplifying CD and limiting available ensembles (no Mercurians!) to simplify matters.

For resonances that don't have preset results, replace "Give me a [Choir/Band] Resonance result" with the appropriate effect: "I can detect lies. Tell me if your last IC statement was a lie." or "I can inflict emotions on others. You are now consumed by [the emotion of my choice]. Roleplay accordingly."

Combat:

Heck, steal your combat mechanics from any of a dozen LARPs out there.

Going Celestial:

Have a stock of silly party hats by the door. Wearing a silly party hat represents being in celform. Make up a simple test to see if you can perceive any given individual in celform.

Disturbance:

Whenever you cause disturbance you say "Bongggg." The more disturbance you cause, the louder you say it; one note is a mere whisper. Use common sense.


... Then again, you could always freeform it.

Last edited by Jennifer; 09-17-2004 at 01:48 PM. Reason: typo fixing
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Old 09-19-2004, 05:50 AM   #20
Dr T. Jackson
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer
Swords (including katana) have major drawbacks in terms of concealability and ranged capability. And I imagine that some angels (like, say, Seraphim of Flowers) might not have much use for a katana anyway.
Ummmm, yeah. Obviously a servitor of a peaceful Archangel wouldn't be running around with a katana. We kinda take that as a given.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer
Then there are the angels with low Strength and high Precision, who are much more effective with small weapons and guns. "wouldn't choose anything else if I were an angel" seems awfully sweeping, unless you restrict possible angel concepts very tightly..
Qualification. Wouldn't choose anything else if I were an Angel and looking for a melee weapon. Bear in mind, if *I* were an Angel. Means my opinion, not an archetype.

In my LARP rules. I covered Disturbance by making the person yell the name of the thing causing the Disturbance. Like "CORP HEALING!" or "HUMAN DIED". Because I created a flat scale for all Song/Resonance usage there isn't a need to compute a variable like a CD. So the noise is always the "same" for basic level Songs. The more advanced ones like Storms/Possession which create more Disturbance I got the performer to yell it twice.
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Last edited by Dr T. Jackson; 09-19-2004 at 05:53 AM.
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