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Old 04-11-2017, 08:34 AM   #1001
Phil Masters
 
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Originally Posted by Owen Smith View Post
Yes I'm ignoring PDFs, because in sales terms and getting into the top 40 they are ignorable. If something doesn't sell well enough to print it isn't going to make the top 40.
I don't know how the numbers work for the company, but from my point of view as a writer, a successful GURPS PDF can be quite profitable even though it'll sell only a fraction of what a print book might possibly sell. I keep a spreadsheet to track this stuff, and some of my PDFs have made significant multiples of the return per word I used to expect from a GURPS print book, despite selling only a fraction of the number of copies that a print book would manage. Cutting out two layers of middlemen and a load of printing and shipping costs has its benefits.

Mind you, some PDFs aren't that successful, and the long-term consequences for the GURPS market of not having paper in the shops are a whole other other worry. But not hitting the top 40 isn't necessarily a disaster in itself.

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Discworld and Mars Attacks having sales characterized as "disappointing"...
Discworld is, at this point, unavailable on Amazon UK. (It showed up at one stage, but only from a US vendor, with resulting ridiculous shipping costs.) Nor have I seen it in mainstream or SF bookshops which do carry a few RPGs, unlike the first edition (back in the day) and various Discworld board games. I'm told that it'd reach those vendors (if at all) through different channels to the games shops. Hence, it's not inconceivable that it's being a bit of a slow burner, and reports of its torpor are slightly premature. One can hope, anyhow.

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
Munchkin is a powerhouse in the CCG world.
Not yet it isn't.

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Originally Posted by robkelk View Post
As of this posting, they aren't showing up as being available in the only nationwide bookstore chain (online and brick-and-mortar) in Canada.
Frankly, the conclusion I'm drawing from this saga so far is less about the viability of the Discworld RPG and much more about the disastrous hopelessness of RPG distribution.

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Originally Posted by philreed View Post
We make the games available. Individual retailers and distributors decide what to order. This is why preorders before launch are so important to the success of a new game title.
Yes, but (in the sense of pre-orders at the retail end) also maybe no. Remember, thanks partly to SJGames' encouragement, a number of people in the UK pre-ordered Discworld, the shops placed orders with the distributors accordingly, and then the distributors didn't get enough copies in to fulfill those orders. There still aren't copies visible in a lot of shops where there should be. The Discworld Emporium, a UK retailer that sells anything and everything Discworld to hardcore fans, is currently showing the book as "Out of Stock" after getting some copies in and selling them - I bet they'd kill for more.

Against distributor stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. It doesn't matter how much fan enthusiasm you stir up in advance if the intermediate links in the chain are rusted through.

I'm not convinced that all the retailers have picked up on the product, mind - I was at a convention over the weekend, and there were con-going hobbyist roleplayers there who didn't know it existed - but even there, I wonder how much of the problem lies at the distribution level.

Frankly, I suspect that SJGames should bite the bullet and put the thing out on PDF sooner rather than later. Being nice to the retail system doesn't accomplish much if that system is dying on its feet.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:55 AM   #1002
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Originally Posted by rknop View Post
I've had fun playing Munckin in the past, but it's not really something I personally find as something I'd want to invest in or collect or spend a lot of time with, whereas GURPS could be. It's more of an occasional pastime. Indeed, I have been quite surprised by the continuing market power and lasting appeal of Munckin in the market. To me, it's a fun occasional diversion to play on a game night when nobody's ready to run an RPG, along with Chez Geek and Strange Synergy. But, then, I know that what appeals to the masses and what appeals to me frequently don't line up.
Every time SJG announces another version of Munchkin, especially a Guest Artist Edition which is essentially just a repeat of a game that's already out there, I just shake my head in wonder at the juggernaut it has become. I loved Munchkin from when it first came out. I have the first edition. But after trying a couple of the other styles, I pretty much just play my regular Deluxe edition. I haven't bought anything for it in years. I'm very glad for their success but I am obviously NOT the target audience. I'll just sit in the corner with my occasional GURPS PDF reading Pyramid, hoping those stay profitable enough for them to keep making them. :)
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:08 AM   #1003
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Originally Posted by philreed View Post
That's clearly a failure on our part. We _thought_ we had spread word of the two books -- including during the Dungeon Fantasy Kickstarter project -- but something must have gone wrong.

Where do you most often learn of new games and expansions?
I listen to a couple RPG focused podcasts (Old School Blues, Save or Die, Shane Planes) and I post over at theRPGSite.com, and it's very rare for anyone from SJ to ever show up on these venues. I know that you guys have had folks on Shane Planes. I read Tenkar's Tavern and other blogs. I think that, especially with Dungeon Fantasy, you guys should reach out (or ask us to reach out and have away to connect you folks) to some of these OSR type podcasts/blogs because of the cross interest.

If I didn't back the Dungeon Fantasy KickStarter I wouldn't have known about the hardbacks finally being released. I was mostly interested in Discworld but I believe (and I might be wrong) that that book has been talked about for a couple years.

I don't think the issue is that there isn't a market for hardcover GURPS books. I think, respectfully, you guys aren't serving the market well. Do you guys run GURPS events at conventions? Is there away for fans to set up for smaller conventions and you guys to support it? (Tweeting out the events, posting it on the website, etc) You had two physical products that were released but we really didn't have any excitement around it. Even the release date was shady and like other posters have said they are extremely hard to purchase in some places.

I know it's hard from a financial end to look at the results and made a decision either to invest enough resources in to making a real go at it or continue to drag your foot in the water and see if it picks up. There used to be the SJ Games YouTube interviews and I think having those for new physical products would have been a sure thing. Or at least let Douglas Cole do a Firing Squad interview.

I also think the GURPS fan base holds some blame because it's so confined to this forum. The GURPS forum here is very active but we need to be more active over at other places. I ran a demo for Discworld at my FLGS and only 2 people showed up but while we were there we have people just looking into the game while we played. My biggest take away is that my group should look at playing in a local shop once and a while so we are visible. I'm going to schedule and run some games at GameHole Con in Madison WI, Nexus in Milwaukee WI and next year I'm going to run Dungeon Fantasy at GaryCon.

Summing up: When physical products release use the tools you have to let us know. And it cannot just be postings on the website and KS pages. But use things like YouTube, Reddit, FaceBook, RPG.net, theRPGSite, etc. These cost nothing but can help. It also gives us something to share.

Make it easier for your players to get the word out about their activities. Support convention play! Get the word out online when there are games schedule at conventions! Run demos at the major cons!

I am going to run games at local cons and I don't need any actual product support but if I could send an e-mail or something and get you guys to post the link to the event sign up, I'd appreciate it so I can make sure my games fill. Last year at GameHole Con my events filled up because I was the only game in town. I'm hoping somebody else signs up to run some events this year. Especially because Dungeon Fantasy will be hot off the presses!
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:50 AM   #1004
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Originally Posted by Ulairi View Post
I listen to a couple RPG focused podcasts (Old School Blues, Save or Die, Shane Planes) and I post over at theRPGSite.com, and it's very rare for anyone from SJ to ever show up on these venues.
We sent out info to several sites and some of our staff are active in different places around the web. I completely agree, though, that our entire team could do a better job of interacting online.

Personally, I keep an eye on the sites where I have a history and post at those sites when appropriate. Some sites -- therpgsite.com -- are places I have never joined, and jumping in just to shill is something I want to avoid. The sites I have personally been a part of and used for well over a decade come down to: RPG.net, ENWorld, and BGG.

This is where we ask for assistance -- fans, MIBs, other staff -- and hope that those who wish to see our games spread get out there and talk to others.
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:24 AM   #1005
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Originally Posted by philreed View Post
A reprint is unnecessary. We have thousands of copies of both books in our primary warehouse. There are no supply issues when it comes to the two Basic Set hardcovers.
Oh! That's good to know. Here's hoping that Dungeon Fantasy gets some traction at retailers, and that some fraction of new folks who pick it up will then look for the GURPS basic set.
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:25 AM   #1006
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I'm kinda surprised to hear it was a bad year, as from where I was sitting everything looked great. Ogre's back, Ogre Minis and Munchkin Shakespeare shattered my expectations, I've yet to meet someone who didn't like Simon's Cat...

But I suppose behind the scenes can be and is a totally different animal. For GURPS specifically, I'm left wondering if DriveThru print-on-demand wouldn't ameliorate the "a subset of dedicated fans want hardcovers, but not enough to make a print run commercially viable".
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:45 AM   #1007
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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
I'll second that, personally if I see an interesting Kickstarter I tend to hop on, but those hardbacks didn't even hit my radar and I used to buy most things GURPS...
I honestly nearly killed myself in September supporting the Kickstarter in person via demos of DF at four stores, spreading the word online, and blogging nothing but DF on my blog on every single day. I had help with the later, but I still had to edite, curate, and format the content. It was worth it. I know I personally helped ring in about $6,000 worth of orders, 2 store backers, at least 3 backers at the Gen Con game level, and around 10 "I want it all."

I wish I could have done more, but toward the end I started breaking down. I've got a better plan for marketing the stuff locally after it's released so I don't work myself into the ground . . . but I'm just one guy. If we cold get every passionate GURPSer to put in even a 1/4 of the effort in non-GURPS places we could do a lot.

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That's why I backed the Kickstarter for it, hoping for a resurgence there, even if it's not as popular as something like Gloomhaven, even a touch of that has to help.
Ya.


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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
Not yet it isn't.
I've only encountered one other CCG the US Navy unofficially approves of: Magic the Gathering. I was told recently by a QM friend of mine that one of the carriers bought a crap ton of munchkin sets for deployment.

There is no one I've met gaming or otherwise who hasn't heard of Munchkin. In fact, this is how I explain what I do. "You heard of the Munchking card game?" "Yeah! That's great fun." "I freelance for that company's RPG line." "Dude, that's awesome."

So...yeah. That seems like a powerhouse to me.
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:49 AM   #1008
Andrew Hackard
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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
So...yeah. That seems like a powerhouse to me.
I think Phil's point is that Munchkin isn't a CCG in the usual sense. It's a card game with a bunch of expansions, but it's not collectible the way Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh are collectible.
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:55 AM   #1009
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Originally Posted by Andrew Hackard View Post
I think Phil's point is that Munchkin isn't a CCG in the usual sense. It's a card game with a bunch of expansions, but it's not collectible the way Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh are collectible.
Ahh, I see. That's kind of weird though because I've found it to be a bit of the opposite when I see people playing at FLGS - they want all the cards. All the sets. Every promo. All the bookmarks. I started out bribing people with such things to play a few hours of DF and ended up getting new GURPS players because they liked the system.

I see now the point that was trying to come across. Thank you, Andrew.
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Old 04-11-2017, 12:01 PM   #1010
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Finishing the Ogre kickstarter sounds good! Just for the record, the Car Wars kickstarter was a stretch goal on that, so...

And, could the long lost Nightfall campaign benefit from this focus on wrapping up ODE commitments? I quite recognize the leap involved there. But what can I say? I have those pieces and I loved the sound of that campaign.
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