Show me the money!!! Please...

Started by Amar Woods, August 16, 2010, 06:03:32 PM

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Amar Woods

 Hey hope all you guys out there are enjoying life, I know I am. I've been working on 2 paper and pencil rpgs for a while now and it is a real labor of love, painful at times but also very satisfying. I was just wanting to pose a question to the community just to get a read on your opinion of the paper and pencil gaming industry. That question being first, do you think there is still great success to be had in the paper and pencil gaming industry post monolithic D&D, if so which conventions(ideas) do you think could break a game away from the norm( not speaking specific game mechanics but feel or style more so)? What would you as gamers like to see represented? And if you do not think so, should one branch out into miniatures( a la Warhammer40k), cards (like Magic: The Gathering), ...etc, to tap into fresh potential.

I think I'm addicted to content maybe its just the creative process I'm attracted to. Just to show you how weird I am, I read everything White Wolf, Privateer Press, D&D, Shadowrun and hundreds of novels set in these worlds. The funny thing is I don't play much of anything anymore, still when the next Hordes book drops or another Drizzt novel appears or a new expansion of Magic hits the Wizards of the coast website, I'll be right there to pick it up so I can get my fix.

I love that all you guys have the passion for this stuff and hopefully I can one day count myself as an author also. I'm looking forward to both your critical threshing and communal editorship of my games and ideas. One day I hope to have Wizards of the Coast quaking in their boots, while eating a very large piece of their pie.

Paul Czege

Hey Amar,

You want to create a game that captures a big chunk of the D&D market from WotC? I don't think you can do it based on "feel and style". I think Pathfinder is impacting the market share of D&D 4e, but what's doing it isn't the feel and style. It's the continued engagement with mechanical paradigms that D&D 4e has moved beyond. If you're going to capture market from D&D, I think you need to find and deliver on mechanical paradigms desired by the market that aren't being met by D&D. Gamers fantasize about settings, but they come to the table week after week to play for the mechanical paradigms.

"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton

Amar Woods

First let me thank you for your response and taking the time to share you knowledge with me, because you didn't have too.It's an interesting observation you make and of course I'm new to this so what you are saying is that content and style is not really significant to a game's success? Or basically it takes a backseat to proven mechanics as far as re-playability and consistency? I think I agree if I understood your answer correctly you need good mechanics and a good reward system to make a dent in the industry from what I hear the veterans say. But I'm interested to know or at least have you guys opinion on where originality in content(feel and style) has in the pantheon of things that need to be in place to make your game pop. It must benefit you to some extent to bring something new to the industry. 


Hi Amar,

When anyone plays a game, the mechanics reliably produce a certain experience in play.   Fictional content matters, but in the long run, that reliable experience is what people are going to remember and either latch onto, or decide in favor of other games.

If your goal is to get folks who like D&D buying your game, you'll need to figure out what it is in terms of gameplay people are getting from D&D- what choices do they enjoy making?  What challenges are interesting to them?  And what you're going to do that will hit on those buttons, while at the same time, doing it easier, avoiding problems they run into and things they don't like about D&D.

Historically, though, designers who are doing that kind of design for themselves usually do better.  That is- if you enjoy D&D but you have frustrations and you want to do something that hits your buttons better and fixes things you're not into, having that personal commitment as a designer is going to serve you well.

But if you're designing a game based on the supposed needs of other folks, and you don't share those needs yourself, you're probably not going to do a great job of it.

For the near-10 years the Forge has been watching folks go about designing and publishing games, the idea of designing a game letting the market plan lead the way, rather than a gameplay experience first, doesn't seem to bear out as a good choice.


Amar Woods

Thank you Mr. Chinn and point taken. Of course I wouldn't be trying to come out with a game that wasn't any fun( one would hope) and banking on content to carry its success.I just enjoy new and unique content so I would imagine others would to.But let me realign the discussion a bit. Our sole focus so far has been style(content) vs. mechanics(the system) and the information offered has been great, the Forge is a space I place great value in. Where I was really trying to go with my question is does the community think there is a lot of latitude post D&D that would afford room for great success for a pure paper and dice game. If yes, under what conditions or what road do you think one would have to take to make it happen.If not, do you think miniatures or cards would provide more potential for success. Whatever your thoughts they will be helpful and I will be grateful.