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General Forge Forums => Publishing => Topic started by: daMoose_Neo on December 15, 2005, 02:44:40 PM



Title: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: daMoose_Neo on December 15, 2005, 02:44:40 PM
I'm wrapping up work on my new book for the Imp Game, Traps & Mishaps, sans some additional contnet, and have an important decision to make. This isn't a survey or poll, just an attempt to compare numbers.
Do I put a recap of the basic system in the book or do I reference my earlier book, Mischief & Mayhem, so as to say "You need the first book to play this one" ? Traps & Mishaps has the eventual trappings of a board game/minis game, where Mischief & Mayhem is definetly RP with a lot less numbers or even specific content, though T&M uses the same system and character generation as M&M. Summarizing would make the book layable from the get-go, though dupilicate the original work.
D&D has always done this (with two books required, third being kind of optional though almost neccesary), and I know Ron's got supplements for Sorcerror. Has anyone else written supplemental material for their titles? How have those fared?


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Thor Olavsrud on December 15, 2005, 02:50:09 PM
Based on our experience with Burning Wheel's Monster Burner, and discussions with others, I believe you can expect to sell a supplement/add-on to about 25% of your installed base.

I can't make any statements about the boardgames/minis side of things though.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: guildofblades on December 15, 2005, 03:15:03 PM
The Heroes Forever RPG game has 4 supplement/source books availabe for it currently. I don't have any hard numbers, but I would say that around 50% of purchasers of the core game go on to buy some or all of the supplements.

The sell through number on the supplements is a LOT stronger in direct sales than it used to be when we sold through distribution. We do not dupplicate the the core rules in any of the supplemental books.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: matthijs on December 15, 2005, 11:04:35 PM
It seems like approx 50% of those who bought the Draug core rules are buying the supplement.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on December 16, 2005, 02:57:35 AM
This is wicked interesting. Am I correct to infer here that it's actually better to put the whole rules in every book, making every book the core book?

This really rocks when combined with the branding discussion a couple of threads over.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on December 16, 2005, 04:14:12 AM
That's not really what those numbers indicate. By putting the whole rules in you only increase your sales compared to the supplement-strategy if there's folks who would buy the supplement if it had the rules, but not the main game. The people who have the main book and didn't buy the supplement wouldn't buy the supplement anyway, even if it had the rules. In other words, those 75% of BW customers won't suddenly decide to buy the Monster Burner when it comes packaged with the core rules. After all, they already have the core rules!

That said, yeah, I think you wouldn't cut your sales by repeating the rules, either, unless the rules-repetition results in a clearly padded and expensive book. I imagine most people who're interested wouldn't mind buying the core rules several times, as long as the product-specific content was on the mark. The old WoD operated on this principle, and I only ever heard complaints from the people who already did buy lots of WoD material, which proves that they will do it and bitch about it, not that they wouldn't do it. Even then I imagine that the bitching would have been less if the core rules in every book had been identical, so that they could really have been used for reference concurrently. Every roleplayer knows that extra sets of the rules are not a bad thing, as that allows multiple people to read the rules.

So the actual question is, how large is the audience that isn't interested in the main product, but would be interested in the supplement. In some cases this number is marginal, in others respectable. In all cases the question boils down to normal and sensible product evaluation: does this thing stand alone? Yes? Then add the core rules and make it a separate product. No? Then make it a supplement.

For the original case: if your intention is to target the new product for miniatures gamers, then by all means include the full rules set. Otherwise you're just selling to those who are both minis players AND roleplayers. Unless, of course, adding the rules makes the book somehow clumsy and/or expensive instead of impressively sturdy. I imagine that for most markets additional size won't hurt. To the contrary, if anything.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on December 16, 2005, 04:47:52 AM
This is wicked interesting. Am I correct to infer here that it's actually better to put the whole rules in every book, making every book the core book?

This really rocks when combined with the branding discussion a couple of threads over.


White Wolf's been doing this for years...


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on December 16, 2005, 05:07:37 AM
White Wolf's been doing this for years...

How so? Isn't their deal to have, I dunno, 5 essentially identical core books and like 900 supplements?


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Thor Olavsrud on December 16, 2005, 05:56:49 AM
This is wicked interesting. Am I correct to infer here that it's actually better to put the whole rules in every book, making every book the core book?

What it meant to us is that with 3,500 core books out there, we could pretty much guarantee moving 750 Monster Burners. In fact, we've done better than that, as the Monster Burner continues to sell. Further, it means that it doesn't really make sense for us to reprint the Monster Burner until enough copies of the second printing of BWR have filtered out to justify the expense.

You will move less copies of a supplement than you will a core book. But sales of the supplement are a fair bit more predictable, allowing you to judge your print run with a bit of accuracy.

Conclusion: If you want to do a supplement, go ahead and do one! But be realistic about print runs.

Of course, none of this applies to a PoD model.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Brendan on December 16, 2005, 06:47:32 AM
Nate, have you considered a standard discount-package deal?  Get the core book for pricepoint 1, the supplement for pricepoint 2 (less than pp1), or both for pricepoint 3 (less than 1+2)?


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Josh Roby on December 16, 2005, 10:50:23 AM
White Wolf's been doing this for years...

How so? Isn't their deal to have, I dunno, 5 essentially identical core books and like 900 supplements?

I'd say the White Wolf model prints a dozen "core" books (fatsplats) with 80% of the material and a hundred or so supplements each with 10%-20% of the material each.  The material is often overlapped, but if you want all of it, you need all the books.

This is not a strategy that I would want to emulate.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: daMoose_Neo on December 16, 2005, 06:10:04 PM
Brendan -
Considered it. Not sure which way to go.

And wow, awesome response. Sales figures match what I figured and what I've learned from my ccg sales.
Anyone then have experiance the other way, including the same system across several books?


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: komradebob on December 16, 2005, 08:51:00 PM
White Wolf's been doing this for years...

How so? Isn't their deal to have, I dunno, 5 essentially identical core books and like 900 supplements?

I'd say the White Wolf model prints a dozen "core" books (fatsplats) with 80% of the material and a hundred or so supplements each with 10%-20% of the material each.  The material is often overlapped, but if you want all of it, you need all the books.

This is not a strategy that I would want to emulate.

Actually, considering that WW was giving away the core rules (e-version) for nWoD, I would say they are experimenting with a new hybridized harcopy/electronic model for selling their games. It will be interesting to see what the results will be.

My suspicion is that WW is attempting to get around the supplement treadmill in reverse.

As I understand the problem of the supplement treadmill, it works like this:
Game company makes core game. This is where their bread and butter sales come from, so they want to keep it in everyone's mind. Therefore, they print supplementary material, that adds to the main game ( a side effect of gamer culture since D&D modules). The problem is that not every gamer will buy every supplement nor will gamers necessarily be pointed back towards buying the corebook, creating an on-going growing indebtedness for the company just to keep the game "alive" in the eyes of the gamer community.

So here's what I think l WW is trying to do: They are looking for a sweetspot where every supplement sells out, and the emphasis is shifted from the core product to the newest supplement. It works in several phases:
Phase 1: Hype core product. Print at a level to sell out.
Phase 2: While core is hot, start selling a few supplements, again print run sized to sell out.
Phase 3: Offer core product as a pdf at reduced price once core hardcopies are out of your hands and retailers/distributors are clearly on a downswing for demand.
Phase 4: Offer core products free at irregular intervals, once a cooling has been achieved. Ditto supplements.

The idea here is that earlier releases now sell the new product, rather than the reverse (corebooks are no longer seen as everegreen products in this model). The downgrading of the product to a cheap or free e-version is to pick up the slow but steady sales to late comers to the game or gamers who would not have picked up the product at full price. It accepts and plays into buying behaviors of the collector ( muuust have new and shiny hardcopy!), the completist ( I'll buy used or pdf if I must!), and the thrifty ( okay, for half-price I'll check this out).

How does that help out folks here? I don't know. But it does seem to be a different way of looking at the market...


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: guildofblades on December 16, 2005, 10:03:27 PM
Well...

Because we have our own print shop thingy going and can produce products in any quantity, but have found the best balance of cost effectiveness vs time effectiveness to lay in print runs of 100 to 150, thats how much we print at any given time. When those sell out, we reprinta similar quantity.

And in this manner, we keep everything in print, all of the time.

If a product we to totally die on us somehow, the most inventory we will have on hamd is 100 to 150 units. Which we can easily sell over time regardless. So we really do not have to manupulate availability to focuss on sell through. Instead we can focuss on marketing and let whatever sells, sell.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: daMoose_Neo on December 18, 2005, 09:03:07 AM
After talking things over, I think I know what I'm going to do, though the discussion here is informative. I'd like to see some more input or figures for anyone that has them.

Personally, I'm going to include the rule mechanic overview and reference the character creation from Mischief & Mayhem, and here's why: running the dungeon, the essence of Traps & Mishaps, rely on that mechanic, so its a crucial part for playing with that. Imp creation, on the other hand, is most of Mischief & Mayhem as that is what the game is centered around, and *isn't* neccesary for playing T&M. Does add to the enjoyment, however.
So, by itself, T&M is a book on running a comical dungeon, board game style. With Mischief & Mayhem, it becomes a setting for a role-playing game. Can hit two groups at once then, a board game crew who'd look at it based on those merits, and the M&M RP crew who want to expand their game.


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on December 18, 2005, 03:36:12 PM
Nate, what I'd do, I reckon, is include frequent references in the text, not just an appendix or something. So if someone really cares about it, you make sure they know.

Perhaps, for instance, you'll say "This is how you create an Imp. If you want more detailed Imps, you'll want to use character creation from The Imp Game, pages 22-24."

Then at the end, have a full-page illustration from the Imp Game, give some back matter kind of stuff, and an easy URL the reader can type in to order the first book.

I'm very curious how this works out. Best of fortune!


Title: Re: Required Purchases - do they work or put off?
Post by: daMoose_Neo on December 18, 2005, 07:20:12 PM
Reading the mind you are ^_^
Already writing those portions. T&M includes a couple of new imp types, so I've already got basics for imp creation, examples, and references to the original title, as well as rewards that link back to M&M but aren't neccesary to play (IE Starting a new dungeon with an M&M crew gives freebies on Dungeon Creation).
Linking the two up like that is a cinch ^_^