Saturday, 17 February 2018

So more Renegade Scout thoughts.

Thoughts about the project that definitely isn't happening.

See previous blog posts for what this project is about. If it existed.


There's a number of ways to do it, with the awareness that this might be a lot more work intensive than other, similar projects.
This is me musing about it, soliciting unsolicited advice and generally being a prat.

1: 
Do the thing I always do.

Create the book myself, finish it, sell it online, voila.

Advantages:
*I have complete control.
*Nobody is out of any money if I suddenly catch the crazy-people-virus and decide to become an eskimo.
*I am used to the process. There's no question of something external fucking it up.
*I can be an okay-sized fish in a small pond. Less people will notice a release on Wargame Vault but it'll have less competition as well.

Downsides:
*If the project takes longer (which it very well might) that becomes an issue because I need to be able to pay my rent in the meantime.
*Any art comes out of my pockets (which aren't that well-endowed).


2:
Kickstarter. 

Kids tell me it's a magical website where you go tell people you have created a smart-phone adapter that lets you connect your smart device to your corgi dog, then strangers give you 8 million dollars.

Advantages:
*Take advantage of hype. Kickstarter is a big place and nerds will throw money at literally anything.
*Potentially raise a whole bunch of money in advance, which would mean working on the game without wondering if I'll bounce a rent-check.
*Budgeting for art (for example) becomes a lot easier to do.
*Potentially a lot more customers in the end. Huzzah!

Downsides:
*I don't want to do a bunch of stupid shenanigans with stretch-goals and promising people extra chotskies to weasel more money out of them.
* It seems the sort of projects that go on Kickstarter tend to be a lot more glossy: Games with lots of plastic miniatures, 500 page glossy rulebooks and all that.
An "old school' PDF game is going to look pretty jank in comparison, which could hurt the project.
*Running a "campaign" is time that could be spent writing "definitely not Dalek" rules instead.

3:
Open beta test. Full version later.

I've done this before (such as Starport Scum) where we had a public beta version for a pretty playable version, then later we did the full version and sold it "for real".

Advantages:
*Get feedback from a wider range of players than my usual suspects (as loyal and skilled as they might be).
*"Double-release". You get to cash in on the hype from both the beta test AND the full release.
*People tend to understand that they are buying a beta version and that it may or may not pan out. As such, I think you may get more realistic feedback.

Downsides:
*If the beta version is too extensive, you end up cannibalizing sales for your final game since people won't see a point in buying the full version.
*If the beta is too short or bare-bones, people will assume the final game will be crap too.
*Some of the feedback you get will be from crazy people.

4:
Crowdfund later

An interesting possibility is to use a bit of both worlds:

Develop the base game using the old school method (1 above) and then kickstart (or whatever) for added benefits later, such as  a nice artwork edition.

Advantages:
*Provides options for both fans who want a cheaper solution and those who want something visually pleasing and "modern".
*The core project doesn't depend on crowdfunding, only add-on bits.
*Having the existing product "in the wild" would help a kickstarter campaign.

Downsides:
*All the downsides of both 1 and 2 combined, to some extent.
*It'd end up essentially charging the cost of the game twice, which only the most hardcore fans would be on board with.

5:
Release in stages

The game might break up into stages rather well (core game, scenario and D100 tables, army rosters)

So you release stage 1 as complete as possible, test it out, get it solid.

When it's good, release the game again with stage 2 included.

Finally, release the game again with stage 3 included.

At each stage, take the time to do all the benefits of public testing.

NOW, the trick is:

Each stage is clearly marked as a "Beta' or "early" version.

Stage 1 and 2 is very cheap, so the total cost of buying the game at all three stages adds up to about what it'd have cost from the beginning as a full game.
F.x. if you were aiming at a 20 dollar game, charge 5 dollars at stage 1 and 10 at stage 2 and 3.

Advantages:
*Take advantage of public playtesting without being quite as barebones as a "beta test".
*The final game can end up cheaper than originally anticipated since it was funded "along the way".
*Players who are only interested in the core engine can buy Stage 1 and then stop there.
*Patient players can get the game a bit cheaper by just waiting for the final version.

Downsides:
*Process might be confusing and unfamiliar.
*Knowing a more complete version will come along later might discourage people.
*Increased potential for confusion as you will have multiple versions circulating.



Thoughts? Suggestions? Mad ramblings? I am all ears.