Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of the year then?

We're pretty much at the end of this 2017 business so maybe this is a good time to look back and reflect a little bit.

How did things sell?
The following products sold over 100 copies:

Blast system bundle
Dungeon scum
FiveCore 3rd edition
Scifi generator for almost any system
Five Parsecs From Home
Squad Hammer
Unity field agent (when the beta is included)

The following sold over 200 copies:

Scum of the earth (almost 300 in fact)
Starport Scum and several of the supplements for it.

Most other things sat around 50-70 copies.
Five Parsecs Gang Warfare for example is at 70 copies already, despite being on the market for only a very short time.

What were the big successes?

Starport Scum continues to be a huge deal, which I am rather pleased with. 

The revamp of Five Parsecs has also done extremely well.

What didn't go so well?

Much as I hate to say it, Unity Field Agent just hasn't caught on much. 
It burns me a bit because it's a fantastic game I think, but I think the "man to man" scifi market is already pretty saturated and I think people may have had a hard time distinguishing between the roles of that and Starport Scum.

I also think that "army list driven" games is a much harder sell in the indie market, but I may be 100% wrong there.
The problem arises that Unity material is time-consuming to write and test and I can't justify that if a given supplement only moves 20 copies.

We have some things planned for the new year though, so don't write it off just yet.

What is on the schedule for the new year?

I am always hesitant to say specifics, because things change and things don't work out.

The plan is:

Continue expanding Five Parsecs with new ways to play. 

An updated Starport Scum to bring some of the supplemental stuff into the main book.

FiveCore battalion commander (title may vary).

Squad Hammer based titles for early WW2. I am not sure whether there's actually an audience for this, but we'll test the waters.

As always, any and all of these are subject to change.

Are you going to revise any old games?

Yes. Laserstorm and No Stars in Sight are both on the writing list for revisions. 
Laserstorm mostly needs tweaking with the points and build systems, while NSIS needs to be cleaned up a bit and brought in line with No End in Sight.

Do you have any pipe dreams?

The wish list: 

No Tigers in Sight. 
Five Miles from the Castle.
An un-titled WW2 RPG/Wargame crossover that I have been pondering for a while.

Would it be cool to have historical versions of Five Parsecs

Will there be more RPG product?

There will be expansions and pooooooooooossibly a scifi version of Blade&Lockpick.

Other than that and the odd small thing for fun, probably not.
I am rapidly losing interest in the OSR field and selling original systems is a bit of a dead end unless you're a big name (which in RPG sales, I am certainly not).

There may be some expanded role play options for Starport Scum though, stay tuned.

What personal wargaming project are you working on?

Right now? 3mm tank skirmishing using Firefly or Panzer War. A bit retro!

What other projects would you like to do this year?

I'd love to branch into talking about war gaming and the hobby in more general terms.
We'll see how that goes. You can find many wonderful blogs that talk about 

Are you still reviewing Black Library novels?

Yup, but I have to take a break from that stuff once in a while. The blog will return in January most likely.

What is the status of the Blast Pistol systems?

The goal is to create a generic, universal system based off those mechanics. However, I've had interest expressed in purchasing the system and engine, so things have been on hiatus. Hence why it is not mentioned above.

There is a small chance of a Powder&Bayonet stand alone re-release. We'll see.

Any hope of a new FAD?

Yes, but not from me. The rights were sold to a UK outfit that have been tinkering away at an updated version.

What is the status of An Orc Too Far?

Basically the people who liked the beta version REALLY liked it, but it didn't seem to catch on that widely. So I am uncertain whether it'll be financially viable. 
Maybe trying to compete with "Hordes of the Things" was a bit too ambitious.

I'd really like to finish it and release it "for real" this year, but it may have to be a vanity project alongside a more confident selling product.

How long does it take to write a game?

The actual writing process? As in sitting at the computer and banging on the keyboard until Suppression Fire rules come out? 

About a week, give and take. Maybe two weeks for the big 100-140 page books.
A lot of the steps, I've mostly automated in my work flow.

If you factor design, planning and testing? Hard to say. 
If it's an adaptation of an existing game engine, you can usually test it pretty well in a few months because you already have done most of the leg-work the first time around. 
For a brand new system, it could go on for a very long time.

For what its worth, I rate one playtest by people who have to rely 100% on what I wrote without me being there to explain it as worth three-four playtests where I am present.

Why do you put music notes in your games?

Mostly it's for fun. Music is inspirational to me and each game has a distinct "feel".
I try to pick albums to listen to that reinforce the game's mood.

That being said, sometimes it's just coincidence. Don't put too much into it. 

Do you have an evil agenda that you are secretly adding to all your games?


How do I find play testers for my game?

Ask on a forum or social media site. 100 people will say they are interested. 
Of those, 8 will actually provide feedback.
Of those, 2 will be bonkers.

Take the remaining 6 and lock them up in your basement. Now you have a core play test group.

What software do you use?

Games prior to Unity Field Agent were done on a Linux system using Libre Office and GIMP.
From Unity onwards, everything is done on a Mac using the included software (Pages, Photos, Keynote)

What are your favourite armies in historical war games?

Napoleonics I have no favourite, I'll roll with anybody. Soft spot for Austrians and Prussians though.

American civil war. Live in Michigan, married a Vermonter ;)

WW1. Commonwealth or Germans, though I'll try anybody. 
For Eastern front, possibly Russians though I'd love to do an Austro-Hungarian army eventually.

WW2. It changes but Soviet or Brit/Commonwealth is highest on the list.

Your question here:
I hope that sheds a little light into the NWG operations and if you have more questions, please feel free to bring them up in the comments :)

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