Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ow! Stop Hitting Me With That Axe!

Everyone seems to love categories and labels. And the RPG hobby is no exception. One of the labels getting some discussion over at the Barking Alien blog is "Story game." Detractors of this type of game claim that they are simply railroaded stories that are passed down from designer to GM to player.

As the designer of one of these "story games" (links over on the right), I must disagree. AiO is not simply about recreating the adventures of Dorothy & Company word for word. It incorporates the broad themes of the stories, friendship and exploration, but anything you do with the rules and setting I've provided is up to you. (One of my Facebook fans even ran an adventure called "Beavis and Butthead Do Oz.")

One of the things that I think is going on is that many players out there are trained to view violence as the primary solution to many gaming situations. Since RPGs grew out of wargames and drew inspiration from adventure fiction, this is actually kind of understandable. Even in games and genres where "I hit it with my axe" is not the preferred solution as it is in D&D, these gamers will not complain as long as it remains a valid solution.

Many story games, however, take differing approaches to combat or put the focus on other areas of gameplay. This often means that "I hit it with my axe" becomes a sub-optimal solution or maybe even a bad solution to the scenario. So players are not really being railroaded by story games, but may be feeling restricted when that favored option is taken away from them.

 AiO is actually a good example of this. Although hitting things with your axe (or other Deadly Weapon) does have an effect on an opponent, it will not kill them. Once a foe is defeated, you still have to figure out what to do with them afterwards.

Because this idea is so pervasive, I worry that my game's potential success is ultimately limited. I have a friend who is a self-admitted hack & slash gamer who will sometimes ask me "Now when are you going to design something that people will actually play?"

What do you think, guys? How important is combat in the games you play? Could you deal with a game in which "I hit it with my axe"  was the wrong course of action more often than not? Are you playing a game like that right now? Are you playing AiO?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Just a little post to wish all of you a merry Christmas. I do have some more numbers I could be putting up, but who wants a boring dose of reality on this of all days?

Even if today isn't Christmas for you, I hope you have a blessed day today.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Q3 2011 Quarterly Report

 Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Sales Channel/Product TypeJulyAugustSeptemberQuarter TotalYTDLast YearGrand Total
One Book Shelf/PDF46616262976
One Book Shelf/Print--112-2
One Book Shelf/Bundle-2245
One Book Shelf/Total48921332983
Your Games Now/PDF-----11
Totals89102757 42165

 Adventures in Oz Characters Pack
Sales Channel/Product TypeJulyAugustSeptemberQuarter SalesYTD Sales

In terms of big news for this quarter, I logged my first sale from CreateSpace. Since CreateSpace is an Amazon company, that meant a free listing on Although I could never manage to get my original files accepted back in 2010, I thought the file surgery that made my participation in the OBS Now In Print! program possible might be what I needed at CreateSpace as well. I guessed right and very quickly got things set up over there.
Also, this quarter marks the transition from PDF to EPUB over at Lulu. Since they were discontinuing their multimedia category (which is where I had stuck my PDF), they offered me a free conversion to EPUB and also went ahead and made it available on the iBookstore and the Nook.

Now that we have the opportunity to look back in time somewhat, it seems that nothing quite lives up to that first rush. Sales at Lulu and OBS dropped by about 50% over the same quarter last year. Once we get 2 years on, we'll see if that 50% reduction holds over time.

Down in the Characters Pack chart, I have added a new line labeled "Bundle." This is for copies that are distributed as part of the Corebook and Characters Pack Bundle. The price of the bundle is the same as the corebook by itself, so customers are basically getting the Characters Pack for free in these cases. Since they were effectively giveaways, it would be tempting to simply write them off. But looking at the bundle sales compared to the individual sales of either product can be illuminating. (The corebook part of the bundle is included in the OBS/PDF total of the main chart.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teach Your Kids To Game Week Strikes Back!

Just like the Empire!

That's right folks! DriveThruRPG is once again having a Teach Your Kids to Game Week. If you've been looking for the right game to introduce your kids (or maybe even someone else's) to the joys of gaming, they've cooked up a nice little list of options.

But wait! Where's AiO? Not to worry. It's got a nice stable home over here on their Family Gaming page! Apparently the list of games for TYKTGW was so long that they had to do some prioritizing.

Mischief managed.
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