Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Putting Ads for other games in your game?

Started by Christoffer Lernö, November 25, 2002, 02:03:02 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Christoffer Lernö

I'm sure this was brought up elsewhere but I couldn't find it so I don't know if this was already discussed to death but...

Remember back in the old days when you could find ads for other games in the back of your rpg game books?

Is there some reason why this wouldn't be a good venture to pursue for indie-games as a "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" kind of exchange?

For example: "I put an add for your game in 1000 copies of your game for an add for my game in 1000 copies of your game".

There are many ways to expand on this basic idea and I don't see why it wouldn't work as well with pdfs as with printed games.

Maybe this is old news, but I wanted to share it just in case.
formerly Pale Fire
[Yggdrasil (in progress) | The Evil (v1.2)]
Ranked #1005 in meaningful posts
Indie-Netgaming member

Clinton R. Nixon


Looks like you haven't bought many games recently: both Adept Press and Anvilwerks (and others) do this extensively. Personally, I try to put one or two nice full-page ads in my games, and then mention 8-12 others in the text as games you might want to check out.

The 'kill puppies for satan' ad in Donjon is near-inspired - Vincent kicked ass with it.

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games

Ron Edwards

Hi Christoffer,

It is old news, actually, although there's no reason not to discuss it again. I have pretty strong notions about the issue.

I put free ads into my books. All the Sorcerer books sport Hero Wars ads, for instance, and I just revised it to a Hero Quest ad for my second printing of Sorcerer. I also include substantial lists of creator-owned games in blurb ads as well. None of my ads cost the publishers anything, in money or anything else.

Others have similar notions as me, printing ads sometimes in exchange for trade/service, sometimes just because. Jake popped a Sorcerer ad into his man-sized print run of The Riddle of Steel. Clinton advertises Dread in the back of Donjon.

The basic notion behind these practices is that our games do not compete against one another in any sort of direct, exclusive way, and that we all benefit from acknowledging the hobby as a reality and shared community, and reinforcing that perception among customers.

Now, whether that notion is valid is strictly a personal call, and the self-publisher is King of His Thing, so I can't blame anyone for taking a different view, or debate with them in a substantive way.


Christoffer Lernö

That's really cool. You have to excuse me for not knowing the state of things. It's true that I haven't bought any games in a long time (and the PayPal matter isn't exactly helping any). I've only been downloading free PDF games and they haven't been carrying any ads that I could see.

I guess it's kind of hard to determine how successful such ads are though, otherwise that would have been really interesting to know.

Clinton, you mention full page ads. That gets me thinking, is that really more efficient than smaller ads? Aren't full page ads is easier to confuse with ads for upcoming supplements? And for printed things, I wouldn't put it on a page that is blank on the other side because that looks more like an insert (and an afterthought) than something that's really recommended.

I remember FASA's game was especially bad at this (although they were advertising their supplements). I hated those extra pages of advertisments that seemed more like fillers than anything else. ("Gee we don't have enough material, let's load up with some ads guys!")
formerly Pale Fire
[Yggdrasil (in progress) | The Evil (v1.2)]
Ranked #1005 in meaningful posts
Indie-Netgaming member


I've not yet got my stuff "out" but you can bet I'll put in a list of recommended games for people to try out when I do get to that final stage. (Is it an Ad? Not really akin to the full plage inserts of some games, usually touting more of their own works, but it is a nod to all the fine works of others that I can think of might be interesting to those trying out my works.)


Quote from: Pale FireIs there some reason why this wouldn't be a good venture to pursue for indie-games as a "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" kind of exchange?

Yeah, I traded ads with Clinton Nixon and Scott Lynch -- Dread features ads for Donjon and Deeds Not Words.  In fact, I refuse to cite any games in this post that don't begin with the letter D.  Arbitrarily.

One thing I liked about Sorcerer and Donjon was the citation of URLs and other games.  That definitely fosters a sense of community, I think, and drives home the point that it's not about competition.

As for advertizing other games in Dread, I'm not sure how successful it's been, as far as empirical numbers are concerned, but at a con not too long ago, a number of people flipping through the book saw the ads at the end.  They were surprised to hear that the ads were for games published by other companies.  It arched some eyebrows, let me tell you: "So you advertise for your rivals?"

Explaining that I don't think I really have any rivals (I AM SUPREME!  KNEEL!  GENUFLECT!  BWAHAHA... I mean, we're all in this together) only surprised them further.  A few people seemed to think it a form of commercial suicide, oddly enough.

On a more-or-less related note, where would Forge-people announce that they're open to ad-trading?  Would a post in the Publishing forum be okay?

-- Rafael
Rafael Chandler, Neoplastic Press
The Books of Pandemonium

Ron Edwards

Hi Rafael,

Yeah, Publishing is the perfect place for that.



It's rather funny how folks assume that because competition exists in certain fields that it exists in all fields.  

If it was cookbooks we were talking about, no one would complain that a Thai cookbook might have a list of other cookbooks in the back(Mediterranean, Polish, African, etc.), since the books are on completely different things, although they may cover the same field.  

If I want to buy a sci-fi game, it certainly is no competition to Sorcerer, or Dust Devils, or even D&D, since I already know what I want. Although everyone has a limited amount of funds, its not the same sort of thing like trying to decide between Heavy Gear, Mekton Z, Battletech, and BESM, which are comparitively close compared to the examples given above.