Sunday, 10 November 2019

Bright days ahead?

Updating games is a perpetual headache as a designer.
Not because it's bad: It helps build loyalty, it lets me continue to improve on a design rather than having it be less than the game it could be and it gives you something to look forward to.

While a good game can be played a thousand times, we all like having something new to tinker with.

The problem is that providing updates for existing games translates to very little in sales.
It's great for improving the loyalty of existing customers which does have a long-term effect in sales of future product, but spending a week working on something for a game people already own does not typically translate to more people buying that game.

Supplements do bolster sales, but there's also a limit to how much you can do that before it becomes sprawling.

So how do we solve that?
As you may know, I've experimented with just asking for donations for updates. That works but it's a bit messy and I don't know if people feel it's easy to figure out.

The solution instead is going to be a Patreon page:

We will initially focus on three game lines:

* Five Parsecs From Home
* Five Leagues From the Borderlands
* Renegade Scout

with the aim of 2-4 additions for each of them every month.
This may be a scenario, new monster or new threat type for Five Leagues, a couple preconfigured units (with points values) or a scenario for Renegade Scout or a rules update or new module for Five Parsecs.

This allows me to continue working on making Five Parsecs everything it can possibly be, while giving Five Leagues and Renegade players new things to play with.
For Five Parsecs especially, there is a wealth of content I'd like to add, like alien PC's, new missions and much more and this may allow me to do so.

If this takes off, there's a lot of additional benefits it could produce:

* I will be able to apply updates to this bonus content.
I see a lot of RPG Patreons out there that release new material and then it just disappears into the void.
With a steady funding source, I'd be able to go back and provide updates to any new material we release.

* If we make it big, I'll be able to do additional focus on things in the back catalogue, like updated versions of Blast Pistol, a Laserstorm revision, porting game engines to new settings and who knows what.

* A goal I also have is something that could potentially be mega-cool, which is to run a "Living Campaign" for the three games in question.

Imagine this:
Every month, there'd be a campaign event that happens.
Let's say that in Renegade Scout, the K'Erin invade Soulless controlled space. So maybe we have a scenario for the month, along with a new unit or two.
Players could email me with any battles they played and tell me how it went and it might even influence future events.

Or in Five Leagues, a plague is ravaging the lands so now its harder to recruit and you may have to deal with plague zombies!

I think that could be incredibly awesome and it'd be something that really doesn't exist out there.
It would also mean that when a new player buys the game, there'd be this huge array of content to play through for them. How awesome would that be?

* * * * * *

Some questions and answers:

* What will the money go to?

Paying my bills. If I can make a hundred a month, then that's 100 less I need to make from releasing new material.
If I somehow get enough that it pays my rent, then I can focus on creating a ton of cool stuff for you guys, right?

* Will that be the only three games?

I want to start out simple and those three are the games that tend to sell the most.
If this becomes a thing, I'd like to add FiveCore and Starport Scum to the mix, but I don't want to try and overpromise, and then have to churn out a bunch of stuff that's sub-par, in order to collect a sandwich's worth of money monthly.

* How will the material be released?

Rules updates, particularly for 5P will typically just be part of the core rules.

Some new material will be made available for sale as well. The way this will work is that Patreons get a comp copy, if your pledge level is the sales price or more.

The living campaign material I am not sure about yet, I'll let you know when we get there.

* What does this mean for new developments?

Hopefully not too much. The goal is to be able to dedicate time on both, without having to scramble for money or rush anything.
Development of new games will not go through this process for now.

In theory, maybe in the future that's something we could look at, but I don't know if there's enough interest for that.

More specifically, this means that Five Klicks and Dreams of Dragons material is NOT covered by the Patreon since these are still formally in development. I'd rather keep that separate for now.

* So how much do I need to give you?

I set it up with tiers from a dollar and up. Give what you feel it is worth to see new content.
Obviously, the more I make, the more I can focus on this stuff.

As far as total amounts, 100 dollars monthly is where I feel the game updates are justified. At 300, Living Campaigns will be for sure, but we'll evaluate what to do if we get really close.
It may be doable with less.

I also need to feel out exactly how easy or difficult Patreon is to work with.

If I end up with a huge chunk of money, we might even be able to do things like putting out material as "pay what you want", creating a newsletter etc. All of that is just daydreaming right now though.
Let's get the basics off the ground first.

* * * * * *

We also have a Twitter account now! It's strictly for public announcements, please don't ask rules questions on there.
I don't expect to be using it for any debates or hot takes of any kind.


  1. Currently negotiating with my wonderful and amazing wife for our contribution amount.

    1. I am confident she is a lady of passingly good grace, wisdom and kindness

  2. First patreon I've ever backed

    1. Are the bundles on wargame vault for 5 leagues and its expansions the 2nd edition? Seems super cheap. It says MSRP for the core rules is way less than the 2E.

    2. Yeah, its the 2nd edition. I am not sure why the price is showing 5 dollars less than its supposed to.
      Go ahead and grab it for that price and I'll fix it tomorrow :)

  3. I'm onboard as well. My entire gaming catalog is the three games that your Patreon will be supporting. It would seem stupid not to support you with it.

    Best of luck, I'm looking forward to see what your mind unleashs a free from the shackles of worrying if things will sell.

  4. Confirmed for $5. If my new job makes me good bonuses, I'll be back for a higher tier.