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Old 01-08-2018, 11:55 PM   #261
Andrew Hackard
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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Andrew, do you consider this discussion of the statistical analysis a "rules discussion?" If so, I apologize for continuing to talk about it here -- it seemed to me it was more a "play balance discussion." But maybe you would actually prefer to see that kind of discussion over there too? I don't want to step on the policy here...
It's crunchy enough that I'd rather see all of that sort of thing together, yes. Let's leave this thread for more logistical questions/commentary about release timing and format and so forth.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:33 PM   #262
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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It's crunchy enough that I'd rather see all of that sort of thing together, yes.
Roger that. Wilco.

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Old 01-09-2018, 11:29 PM   #263
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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Let's leave this thread for more logistical questions/commentary about release timing and format and so forth.
Okay, I'll bite. What IS the format you guys are thinking of? (I know -- "too early!") But are you at least considering doing a pocket version like you did with Ogre? I think a lot of us out here would be very supportive of that!

Oh, and congrats to Steve on getting the Triplanetary Kickstarter underway! I'm in!

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Old 01-10-2018, 08:01 AM   #264
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

I know even though I have them I'm hoping for reprints of Melee, Wizard and Death Test, and then a new edition of TFT:ITL that is the "everything Steve hoped it would be" edition.

And here, take my money!
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:03 PM   #265
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

And Death Test II! Let's not forget that one! ;-)

But yeah, that's what I would totally love too. And here's my wallet...
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:53 PM   #266
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

This is a great company, the original designer is at the wheel, and it's a great property with tons of potential. Anything they do will be terrific.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:26 AM   #267
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

Here's a high-level issue that I think reaches beyond the technical issues people are discussing on other threads:

TFT's one structural gap is an almost complete absence of commercially available 'dungeons' (or similar scale city or outdoor adventure sites) suitable for use by a group running a normal table-top gaming session (a few hours of play, with a GM). One of the things that stimulated the creation of the OSR (D+D-focused) community was the tremendous back catalogue of well liked dungeons of this sort. And, after an initial period focused (I would say pointlessly) on recreating a dozen new versions of classic D+D rules, most of the creative energy in the OSR community flowed toward making well produced, fun dungeons in that classic style. The collective weight of all this is quite large now.

TFT never really developed this kind of catalogue. All but one of its published dungeons are of the 'Solo' style; in this sense the game follows the T+T model rather than D+D. I love my solo dungeons, and they are a distinctive and fun part of the game. But they are not a good basis for forming and maintaining a regular gaming group. The one exception is Tolenkar's Lair. Which is great - I have no complaints about it and have had a blast playing it something like a dozen times. But imagine that D+D - over all its editions and decades of time - had never published a GM-suitable, largish dungeon after Caves of Chaos.

The third party community has put out quite a large number of dungeons over the last decade (I'm thinking of Dark City Games here). I haven't looked at many of them, but my understanding is they too follow the Solo dungeon style, and are thus most suitable for small scale modules and play without a GM'd group.

So: a call to arms for both SJG and the potential third party authors: we need to build up a catalogue of something like a dozen really creative, fun dungeons.

A related factor is the lack of a setting that is developed with maps and detailed descriptions, at the scale comparable to the Greyhawke boxed set or the Prax/Sartar area of Glorantha (so, a nice large scale map, a couple of regional maps, and 100 pages or so of detailed material). Cidri is a setting with great potential, but it is basically a concept presented for the GM's development. This is actually charming, as it keeps the creative energy flowing for the individual GM's and players. But it also presents a higher activation energy to participation than you encounter in OSR-style D+D.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:25 AM   #268
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

This is a really good point, however, I would say that I think with GURPS, Steve Jackson Games have proven they can keep a large number of "splat" books and some quite good adventures on the shelves (at least metaphorically, with PDFs), and thus are likely to be able to translate that into a growing background for TFT in terms of both adventures and background data.

Having said that, the real issue becomes one of time and resources. Where, exactly, are they -- a small game company -- going to fit new TFT source material and adventures into a production schedule already crammed to the rafters with GURPS, Munchkin, Ogre, the up-coming Car Wars, plus all the various "one-shots" (Triplanetary, Awful Green Things, Castellan, etc.)? We've already seen some truly excellent games (Kung Fu 2100, Undead, Necromancer, One Page Bulge, Startrader, etc.) plus phenomenal support materials (Cardboard Heroes -- available in PDF, but unless I go for a better printer so I can do thicker cardboard, not really "available" to me out here in nowheresville) go out of stock permanently.

One possible solution might be to do something like Wizards and Chaosium have done -- license third party "unofficial" production via OneBookShelf -- which, for example, seems to be really working for Chaosium (I haven't paid too much attention to D&D 5.0, honestly, but I assume Chaosium went there because Wizards had success with that model) with their "Mythos" section. Such a system would allow total amateurs to get adventures/dungeons especially into people's hands very quickly (and SJG could always skim the truly outstanding ones off the top and publish them formally, with proper editing, etc.) and help grow both the brand, and the back library.

Of course, one key reason why TFT DOESN'T have that nice backlog is that Metagaming went Tango Uniform only two years after publishing ITL, etc., and right in the middle of the first attempt to release the kind of materials we're talking about here -- the Lands Beyond the Mountains series by Gamelords. Had that not happened, and had circumstances beyond Steve's control not kept it in nearly complete limbo for 35 more years, we might have quite a large back library for TFT by now...
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:41 PM   #269
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

Based on the nature of the game, the likely market size, and the interests of the likely customers, the correct model to emulate might be the more successful companies that specialize in the OSR market. Goodman Games is probably the best example of someone who has found a recipe that appeals to people interested in ca. 1980 roleplaying games and their clones: They present a balanced menu of very nice reproductions of original materials (their Judges Guild line), a house system that appeals to this market, both in its rules and visual appearance (DCC), a set of dungeons in the style of TSR's pastel module era, and then they have some sort of arrangement that permits/encourages smaller third party authors to bring forward dungeons. Anyway, whatever they are doing seems to work. Their Metamorphosis Alpha line might be the best specific example that is closely similar to TFT (a short lived game with a small but dedicated following, and an initial offering based on a Kickstarter with a long list of stretch goals).
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:36 AM   #270
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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Based on the nature of the game, the likely market size, and the interests of the likely customers, the correct model to emulate might be the more successful companies that specialize in the OSR market. Goodman Games is probably the best example of someone who has found a recipe that appeals to people interested in ca. 1980 roleplaying games and their clones: They present a balanced menu of very nice reproductions of original materials (their Judges Guild line), a house system that appeals to this market, both in its rules and visual appearance (DCC), a set of dungeons in the style of TSR's pastel module era, and then they have some sort of arrangement that permits/encourages smaller third party authors to bring forward dungeons. Anyway, whatever they are doing seems to work. Their Metamorphosis Alpha line might be the best specific example that is closely similar to TFT (a short lived game with a small but dedicated following, and an initial offering based on a Kickstarter with a long list of stretch goals).
Well, Call of Cthulhu hit the markets at about the same time as TFT did, which more or less makes it OSR by definition, so there's that... But I also refer back to my earlier post about when (or perhaps better, HOW), precisely, SJGs is going to fit all that work into their already packed production schedule. DCC is, for all practical purposes, Goodman's "flagship property." For SJG, I think it's really, far and away, Munchkin, with GURPS as a somewhat distant second. That doesn't leave a lot of room for TFT in the production schedule -- especially with more Ogre material due out soon, and Car Wars waiting in the wings. Which is why I suggested they might find it valuable to let the fans do some of the heavy lifting for a while, with SJGs acting more as a traffic cop until they CAN clear more space in their production schedule for new TFT material. Just sayin'... ;-)

Plus, I have no idea what kind of market share TFT would have these days. Back in the day, it was the second biggest selling RPG system out there, with D&D being the only thing that was outselling it (probably due more to much wider availability through toy stores and the like, not just hobby shops). Given TFT's beautiful simplicity, compared to some of the things you see on the market these days, I don't consider it entirely impossible that it could take off in a big way. Of course, I might be completely wrong about that too -- what appealed to people in 1980 might not work the same in 2018. But TFT does have at least some kind of track record, and it will be interesting to see how it does comparatively (though, frankly, I don't know if we as gamers will ever get that kind of information...).

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