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RPGaDay2020 Prompt 07 - Couple

#rpg, #RPGaDay2020, #Tabletop

https://write.as/chuckdee/rpgaday2020-prompt-07-couple

Prompt: Couple

I know that many people game with their significant others, but I've only played World of Warcraft with one girlfriend- never #RPGs. I currently play #BoardGames with the family, but never have played just with my wife. When I did play WoW with my girlfriend, it was nice and also I could see myself falling into a malaise where our life was completely consumed with it when we weren't at work. I've seen some other friends experience the same as the hobby bled the sides of their lives together into one indistinguishable whole. I suppose that, and the fact that most of my significant others have been pretty dissimilar in interests has made me not want it.
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-08-06

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora #CheckIn in order to get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

What is your Ralya Index?

On G+, Martin Ralya once made a post about the Ralya index (Coined by Jonas on RPG Geek), referring to a gaming h-index, i.e. X games have been played at least X times (in bibliometric citation, the h-index is x papers by writer y were cited at least x times).

For #RPGs, my index is 14 as I can recall, i.e. 14 games played 14 times or more (Rolemaster, Amber, All D&D editions, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, Exalted, Aberrant, Fate, GURPS, Silent Legions, Stars without Number, Lords of Olympus, Cyberpunk 2020, Champions, Marvel Super Heroes)

For #BoardGames, the number comes in at 12 if I exclude standard store games, including Shogun, Risk, Axis and Allies, Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, Roads and Boats, In the Shadow of the Emperor, Ur, Samurai, Wallenstein, Indonesia, Talisman.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann)
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-07-24

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

What do you do when a player gets knocked out of a game?

#BoardGames

In general, I don't like games where someone can be knocked out of it before the game is done. However, there are those that we play a lot where it happens. It can become a distraction- especially when there are multiple people out- which is one of the reasons I don't like those types of games. We usually try to wrap things up if they go on for too long.

#RPGs

If a character meets an untimely demise, a lot depends on the game, but I'll generally do one of three things.

a) games like Fate where you can use aspects without being there, I generally expand it so that the player is still involved.
b) games where it takes a while to create a character, the new character gets a portion of the experience, so the player can start to generate a new character.
c) I might also turn over an NPC to them to play in the game, if the NPCs permit that.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann)
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-07-20

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

What's the most you've spent on a Tabletop Gaming item?

I can't find my copy of the Supernatural RPG- I just purchased it on ebay for a reasonable price, so figured at worst I could replace it. The only one I see is $186(!). I started delving into the prices, and saw a game that I have (Dune- Last Unicorn Games) listed for $1200(!).

#BoardGames

I have only paid higher than retail for a few games that I lost during moves and they were out of print. But Shogun was $60 which isn't that much higher, and they came out with another version of Twilight Imperium so I was able to find it for $75 even after that second version was OOP. The same thing happened for Talisman after I lost my copy in the move. A few of the more obscure expansions still elude me, but the most I've paid for anything was about $10 over retail.

#RPGs

I've actually never paid higher than retail for any of my games- and in many cases a lot lower. It's one of the eason

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann)
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-07-10

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

How do you store your digital collection?

Last time I asked about storing collections purely out of self interest in my move and trying to brainstorm how it was going to look in the new house. Someone answered about their digital collection, and it got me wondering what others do.

#BoardGames

I have a pretty extensive PnP collection, though I've actually never printed and played any of them. As such, I have never really given much thought to it, and they're spread all over the place. I've lately tried to consolidate them into the same location as my RPG collection, but it's been slow going.

#RPGs

In contrast to my board games, I'm methodical to the point of being OCD because I depend on it so much. I rarely use my dead tree books anymore, which is the reason that most of my books are in pristine condition.

I store them in two different root folders- one for books that I access all the time, and another for books that I just have and rarely read. In each, I have the folder structure set around system (in most cases), drilling down to the specific game and type of expansion. In some cases, I have to separate out more than that, i.e. Eberron, which I actively play, but D&D itself is archived.

My root folders are synchronized to all of my devices in the case of my primary games. For both primary and archived, they're on OneDrive, and on a massive NAS that I have set up on my network.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann)
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-07-07

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Sorry it's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks, so I haven't been able to keep up with the questions.

How do you store your games?

#BoardGames

I actually don't have a good way to store my boardgames. They're in boxes and bags in the storage room, and I keep a few out on the shelf. But I don't have a dedicated place to showcase them.

#RPGs

I have several shelves in my office that have all of my books and boxes on them. In the house that I'm purchasing, there are several built-ins for bookshelves which is something I've always wanted. I never realized that would make me switch up how I store my books though.

Because I'm reconsidering how I store things, I figured this a perfect question, and for selfish reasons I'll be very interested in the responses!

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann)
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-06-23

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Do you have different rules for people new to the game?

It can be hard to get people interested in the hobby- I try to make my games friendly for newbies.

#BoardGames

In the first few games, I try to give suggestions to the other players, and allow them to take back moves that I know are bad- letting them know why its bad. I try not to take it to the level of playing the game for the person, but I try to make it at least competitive.

#RPGs

I aid in building characters, and allow a few games until the character is solidified. When actually playing, I tend not to hold hands as much during the role-playing part, but in the combat part, it's pretty similar to board games.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann)
 
How do you deal with a stubborn player that is not willing to try new things?

A gamer who will only play the same game week after week or who always makes the same character for every RPG they play.

Check out the Ask The Bellhop Segment from our last live show where Sean and I talk about dealing with a tabletop picky eater.

youtu.be/BgA89IkafVE

#Tabletop #RPGs #boardgames
 
What do you do with a tabletop gaming picky eater?

A player who only wants to play the same game over and over or a player who always makes the same character in every RPG?

Check out my latest Ask The Bellhop article for my suggestions on what to do when this comes up in your group.

https://tabletopbellhop.com/gaming-advice/stubborn-players/

#Tabletop #Boardgames #RPGs
How do you deal with a tabletop gamer who isn’t willing to try new things? – Ask The Bellhop
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-06-17

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Last time, we asked "In your opinion, what sets the truly great games apart from all the rest?"

In contrast to this, "What sets the truly memorable sessions apart from the rest? Do you have any examples of a session that sticks out in your mind?"


Memorable sessions usually consist of unplanned moments when something truly extraordinary happens.

#BoardGames

I have a few, but my most memorable one was in Shogun (Samurai Swords), where one player was decimated in the beginning, having only one army left, though it had a good composition. Normally, that wouldn't matter, as attrition hurts any army that cannot be replenished. But everyone else was rolling terribly that night, and he ended up somehow almost winning.

#RPGs

In one Rolemaster campaign based in Middle Earth, we had a series of bad choices that kept making the situation worse and worse.

It started with a 66 crit on our paladin that destroyed his helm, but did no other damage. Right after that, we found some loot- and in there was a helm. It turned out that it was a helm of opposite alignment.

The paladin's opposing deity which he now worshipped counseled him that a turning pont was coming and that he should hide his changes. I'll have to give it to the player- he played it well, and in retrospect, he threw out a lot of signs that he was no longer LG, but LE. But we ignored them.

The fellowship was ambushed because of information that he gave, and the split that happened because of Boromir happened because of this betrayal instead. We were tasked with taking up for the original fellowship and finding and shepherding Frodo and the hobbits. One of the nazgul attacked the party, and that's when the Paladin revealed himself, killing the hobbits, and throwing Frodo to the Nazgul, who took off with him.

The rest of us tried to recover from that, and get to Sauron before the ring did. We thought that we were fast enough, but we weren't, and ended up fighting Sauron at the height of his power. As we teleported in, he met us immediately with an amped up shock bolt of all things that incinerated one PC. Another attacked, and actually did damage- he cast 'Be Not' on that PC. The rest of us fled.

The only thing good about that encounter was that the PC that had 'Be Not' was one of those players that talks endlessly about his character's exploits. Whenever he started with "I remember when Renegade..." we'd interrupt him with "Who?"

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 
Check out the YouTube version of our latest live show!

Ep 94 - Black Games Matter

We highlight some of the best games from Black designers, including a review of Mermaid Adventures.

Then my first thoughts on 878 Vikings and plays of Black Box, Clans of Caledonia, Fox in the Forest and Codenames Duet.

Also, my thoughts on my first online game convention, Renegade Con.

https://youtu.be/_O8EEoI5kdE

#Tabletop #Podcast #RPGs #BoardGames
 
15 quick items from things that I already knew of or have bought before the bundle:

#ComputerGames
Long Gone Days
Airships: Conquer the Skies
Sky Rogue
Overland
Heavy Bullets
Nuclear Throne

#RPGs

Blades in the Dark
Lancer
Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game
Subway Runners
Mausritter
The Wretched
Troika!

Tools

Hex Kit
Tape

Also for easier viewing:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cbOqO6rq0YYWPKmci8Pgv4YGWcl4NQUX9EAj221Ze30/htmlview?pru=AAABcr3q7Fo*RVE2ZRqIZZBTGz047lhxug#
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-06-09

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

In your opinion, what sets the truly great games apart from all the rest?

The best games to me are the ones that I can play and get people to play. If I can't get it to the table, it never really becomes a game. In those, there are different criteria for board games vs RPGs.

#BoardGames

Ones that make you interact with the other players in interesting ways, postiively or negatively. Games where you don't have any interaction with others might as well be solo, in my opinion. And when those interactions become interesting, you get some truly extraordinary experiences.

#RPGs

Those games that are able to stoke my imagination, and have everything pushing you towards buy in and losing yourself in the game world in a perfect combination of rules and campaign lore. Sometimes, the latter can be provided by the GM, elevating a so-so game into something great.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 

Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

Buy the bundle, get good games, support the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund


#Tabletop #RPGs #ComputerGames
 
New Podcast Ep - Tabletop Gaming Enhanced

Set the mood and create immersion on your game night using all five senses.

Also a full review of King Me! from Ravensburger

Finally another look at Unlabelled, Eminent Domain Exotica from Tasty Minstrel Games, and some Asmodee Digital games in our week in review.

https://tabletopbellhop.com/uncategorized/ep091

#Podcast #Tabletop #Boardgames #RPGs
Tabletop Gaming Enhanced – Tabletop Bellhop Gaming Podcast Ep 91
 

DMs Guild, Storytellers Vault to Give 100% Revenue to Creators May 4-17

#Tabletop #RPGs

This post goes into all the pertinent details, but the gist of it is that as part of their "Play It Forward" initiative, Dungeon Masters Guild and Storytellers Vault will be waiving their usual fees from sales on those sites, so 100% of money spent will go to the content creators (less printing fees for POD titles).

Additionally, the site will be having a 20% off sale for the duration.
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-04-22

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Do you watch/listen to other people play games? Let's play, twitch, or any other formats?

Sometimes I like reviews, but I get the better feeling for a game watching someone else play. With #RPGs I prefer to listen to podcasts to get the feel of the game, though I have watched a couple of solo sessions of Me, Myself, and Die- mostly because his characterizations are entertaining. But #Boardgames, I have to watch to get the feel of them.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 

Where do your game dollars go?

Interesting bit on where your game dollars go when you buy from certain outlets.

#Tabletop #RPGs

Where does your money go when you buy a game?



Over the years I’ve been asked a bunch of times questions like “What’s the best way to make sure you get the most money when I buy your stuff?” And, y’know, I’m me, so I tend to answer it at length.

There always seems to be one detail or another about my (usually very similar) responses that surprises the querent, which is a good reminder to me that despite my own increased understanding of how things work in tabletop games publishing, for many customers and fans it remains a smooth opaque surface with few windows in it.

So today I want to dig into the territory I typically cover when answering this type of question.

To me, it feels pretty relevant during the global quarantine. A lot of creators, publishers, and supporting businesses are struggling during the economic impacts of this, and that has prompted some folks to think a bit more about where their money goes.

So wash your hands and take a seat.

Direct Sales


I could end my answer to the question right here (but I won’t), because this is very often the way to make sure your intended recipient gets the most money from the transaction.

So, buying directly from the publisher or creator themselves (from their own website, in person, etc) very often is the way to go when you’re most concerned about making sure they get the majority of each dollar you spend on their stuff.

Generally the only thing cutting into the transaction itself is the payment processor fee (credit card, paypal, etc). These usually manifest as a small flat fee plus a small percentage (3–5%) cut of the overall total per transaction. The flat fee is the main snag here. It tends to mean that making series of small-dollar purchases of single items leaves the recipient with less money than if you’d put all of those items into your cart and buy them all at once, but once you get past a few dollars as the pricetag on each item, the flat fee isn’t that big of a percentage of the overall total.

After the transaction’s done, there are fulfillment costs. These are the costs of actually delivering the goods purchased to you.

If you buy digital stuff, the fulfillment costs are incredibly low; however much it costs to run the website for your specific interaction with it and push the modest amount of bandwidth needed so you can download the items. (Please make local, backed-up-to-the-cloud copies when you can; each time you re-download increases that bandwidth variable just a little.)

If you buy physical stuff, there are a few more variables, most of which have a pricetag. Key considerations are * How much of the actual shipping costs are you picking up, and how much is the seller subsidizing that shipping cost so you don’t have to (free shipping isn’t free, it’s just free to you)? * Are they doing the shipping themselves (spending more time on fulfillment) or are they paying a third party to ship to you (spending more money on fulfillment)? * What’s the cost to the seller of maintaining the inventory so you can buy it? (Storage fees here, plus some tax considerations around held inventory; plus, they have to spend to manufacture the physical units in the first place.)

Even with those slices into the costs, it’s often true that physical products remain king. They usually have a higher pricetag, so direct-sales revenue of physical items tends to be pretty great, which is one reason why Evil Hat sells its physical books with the electronic versions included for free; it produces a greater incentive for folks to buy the physical item.

Recipients: Creators and Publishers


As I talk about the receipients of your expenditures, I should ask you: who do you think the recipient is?

If the creator of the thing you want is not the same as the publisher you want, and your agenda is solely about making sure the creator gets the most possible money… you shouldn’t really stop at buying the thing they made, even if it’s direct. That creator was either paid a fee for the creative work up front (or upon publication, which is not as good), before it got turned by a publisher into an actual product, or will get a royalty percentage which is near always less than (likely far less than) half of what you paid for the thing.

If the publisher is doing work you want to see continue, great, buying direct from them when possible is a good strategy. Hopefully they’ll continue to hire the designers you like for future projects, thanks to your money. Publishing isn’t a low-cost endeavor by any means. One way or another, Evil Hat spends the majority of every dollar it gets on being able to continue to function, launch new projects, pay more creative folk.

If the creator is a big concern for you (and I’d argue they should be), look for ways that get them money more directly (their patreon, their publicized paypal donation link, etc). Creative work is a tough way to go. It’s a buyer’s market, and within gaming the margins and total sales dollars are low enough that that means it’s hard to muster the economic capacity to increase what the designers end up with. At Evil Hat we still try to make those increases when we can, while acknowledging that the costs of taking a design into product form (artwork, manufacture, fulfillment, maintenance, et al) tend to significantly exceed the costs of making that design in the first place.

Plus a lot of design work is not salaried, it’s freelanced project-by-project, which means that unless the designer keeps a constantly full plate with paychecks resulting at regular intervals from those projects in aggregate… the income’s just not regular or reliable. Income from other sources – whether that’s a day job (reducing the time to design) or some flavor of crowdfunding/donation support – is key for keeping the creatives in gaming afloat. So if you’re able to be one of those other sources, it can have a big impact for them.

I’ll continue to talk about recipients and publishers below, meaning both creator-publishers and other publishers in aggregate. Just remember to filter that word through this understanding. Not all recipients are the same, and if you’re interested in understanding where your money goes, it’s worth taking the time to figure out who the actual receiving party is.

Kickstarter


Kickstarter lives pretty close to direct sales. Kickstarter itself just adds another 5% cut on top of the payment processing fee, so aside from 8–10% of your payment going to the payment processor and KS, the rest will get routed to whoever’s running the project.

That said a lot of folks who run a Kickstarter don’t have a lot of experience on the manufacture and fulfillment side of things. Experience and (sometimes for a fee) experience surrogates are more available these days than ever, but I still see project runners getting goosed by unexpected cost factors in these two categories.

The more complicated your manufacture is, or the less established your relationship is with your manufacturer, the more there’s a chance that there’s a cost factor in there you didn’t expect, especially if there are multiple refinement rounds. The cost of getting the product delivered to your fulfillment center(s) can vary quite a bit. And in total, shipping to your backers is way expensive and many backers have been trained not to expect to have to pay much for it.

If a projectrunner has a good grip on all of that stuff, then backing for a physical goodie works plenty well; like I said above, physical games are still king. And with the higher pricepoints, your backing is a more significant step towards the project’s funding goal. But given all the potential gotchas, I will often back at a digital-only level, because the manufacture and fulfillment process and costs are much less fraught, especially for a first-timer. And as someone interested in the health of the project-runner, I’m very interested in producing the highest value for the lowest cost to them.

Pledge Managers


Pledge managers have really caught on, largely because Kickstarter continues to lag behind what pledge managers can do to provide robust tools for handling what goes on after a project funds and the campaign phase concludes.

I’ve personally only used Backerkit, but many other options abound. They have a few packages you can buy into (which have changed over the years), which essentially amount to: the bigger of a cut they get of any post-campaign money spent, the less of a percentage of your campaign’s take they’ll ask for as an up-front flat fee. Regardless, the cut they take is only a few percentage points of the campaign’s funding level, plus maybe a few percentage points of whatever you spend after the campaign in the pledge manager itself.

Patreon


Patreon warrants a specific note due to its subscription-style crowdfunding model, as opposed to Kickstarter’s fixed-length campaign model. That said, their fees aren’t that far off the norm, taking around 5% for the site plus whatever the payment processor costs were (sometimes baked into a somewhat larger cut, sometimes externalized in addition to the cut). What Patreon really brings to the mix is the potential for ongoing, semi-predictable (whether upon post/release, or on a monthly ongoing basis) income for the recipient. Ongoing income is really a different beast than “burst/event-based” income like Kickstarter, in terms of its effects for the recipient, but the net dollar amounts are usually quite small.

Itch.io


Itch has emerged recently, particularly in “indie” and creator-centric digital RPG sales, as a potentially interesting marketplace (I still find it difficult to use the site itself for discovery of games, preferring to visit itch when I’m directed to a specific publisher or creator’s branded sub-site, e.g., https://evilhat.itch.io/).

If I’m spending money on a PDF and want to be sure the most money makes it to the intended recipient as possible, itch is a great way to go, because itch lets each publisher set what percentage they get of sales (I believe there’s a minimum amount itch needs to get, but a publisher can always let them have more if there’s a solid reason for that).

In practice this means most publishers are getting a good 90% of sales money from itch, which is in nearly the same space as a direct sale via a Kickstarter or similar.

Beyond that I find that the site is fairly features-light, but as a fast and easy way for a creator to spin up a storefront for their digital wares, getting revenue nearly the same as spinning up their own with no added costs, itch is hard to beat…

DriveThruRPG


… but DriveThruRPG remains the big beast on the block in RPG PDF sales. And by big beast, I mean that they easily represent a good 80–90% of the market for gaming PDFs, if not more. The volume of sales you can do on DriveThru has trounced pretty much any other PDF sales venue (some of which have come and gone) that I’ve seen over the past 15 years.

DriveThru cements its position two big ways.

One is simply due to inertia and momentum: because they’re biggest, they’re good at staying biggest, because being the biggest means that most popular publishers and many others besides sell their stuff there. It’s about as close as you can get to a one-stop shop for gaming PDFs.

The other is the toolsets they offer. As a publisher you can also offer print-on-demand (POD) versions of your books (more about that below), and even POD cards and cardstock items like battlemaps (great for prototyping even if you don’t sell the items publicly). They’ve got some decent sales reporting and promotional tools too.

Both factors come together for their customers, because a) they have the large majority of all RPG publishers on the site, and b) all your past purchases go into a virtual bookshelf, allowing you to recover from, say, a drive failure without losing all your digital gamebooks for good, as well as allowing folks to just download books when they need them without much thought put towards local storage. (I still prefer local + cloud backup to the DriveThru bookshelf, but from listening to my own customers over the years there are plenty of folks who don’t.)

All of which adds up to DriveThru having quite a lock on the PDF segment of the market. Which is why they charge a lot more than, for example, Itch.

If a publisher agrees to be exclusive with DriveThru, listing PDF products nowhere else (I think there may be an exception for the publisher’s own website, if applicable), DriveThru gets a 30% cut. If it’s not exclusive, DriveThru gets a 35% cut. This can be blunted, slightly, if the publisher is good about providing a referral code in any links around the internet to their stuff on DriveThru; there’s a 5% kickback on “referred” purchases. But regardless, it’s a big cut.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t feel bad about this. If DriveThru’s tools are useful to you, it follows that it’s okay (even good) to pay them for developing and maintaining those tools as well as a site that’s available to you and able to push the bandwidth needed for all those downloads. The bigger a company is, the more robust the service offered, the higher the costs of just existing. It’s okay to pay both them and the publisher for the game you just bought — just don’t tell yourself that the publisher is getting more than 65–75% of what you’re spending.

Print on Demand at DriveThru (and elsewhere)


A quick note about print-on-demand stuff. When you’re buying POD, by and large you’re paying the folks manufacturing the physical product. The only way a publisher makes money on POD is through the mark-up on top of the (high, in a per-unit sense) manufacturing cost. So while POD can look like a direct sale, it’s really not.

On DriveThru, it’s only the mark-up that gets divvied up via the percentage agreement. So if I, a non-exclusive publisher, sold you a $20 POD item there that behind-the-scenes cost $10 to print a single unit, then the remaining $10 would be $6.50 to me and $3.50 to DriveThru. The POD printer would get $10 (plus what you paid for shipping) to go towards their actual costs of manufacture and getting the item shipped to you.

Distribution, the Funnel into Retail


Distribution is the term for the middle-men in game sales, situated between publishers and retailers. Their job is to provide a single source for the games of many publishers, so a retailer can place a single order to get most of the stuff they need from their store, rather than buying publisher-by-publisher, and saving on shipping fees.

Publishers sell their stuff to distributors for typically 40% of the cover price of a book. Distributors sell to retailers what they get from publishers at a price that’s between 50% and 60% of the cover price.

So, the distributors are making between 10–20% of the cover price, the retailer is making 40–50% of the cover price (less discounts offered to secure your purchase), and the publisher is making 40% of the cover price regardless of how discounted your purchase is. In fact, it’s largely the case that the publisher already made that 40% some time before you make your decision to buy their item from a retailer, the way things work.

It can be tempting to look at that and think, hell, why ever do anything other than buy direct? But a publisher is “buying” a lot of reach and, potentially, support with that 60% they’re not getting. For Evil Hat, a large majority of our income is from distribution sales, even if we’re only getting 40% of the cover price on each sale. And if we lost this sales channel (which, during COVID shutdowns, we nearly have), other sales sources (especially digital, which can continue to operate with little trouble) simply don’t make up for what we’d lose. Our stuff would be in front of fewer customers, and would sell less, which would lead to us making less stuff. Bit of a snowball there.

More to come on this piece of the puzzle in the next several sections.

Consolidators


I don’t have any personal experience with consolidators, but here’s the gist.

As a publisher selling to retailers, I take purchase orders from each distributor that wants to sell our stuff, make sure the folks handling our warehoused inventory for us (Alliance, as it happens) ship them what they ordered, and invoice them so we can get paid within a couple months (and chase them down when they don’t pay on time).

I don’t mind this work. Some publishers do.

For those publishers, a consolidator condenses the whole distro-retail pipeline to a single party (and cynically, to a single potential point of failure).

In essence, consolidators act as middle-men to the middle-men. Where distributors sell to individual retailers (so a publisher doesn’t have to make each of those connections and hope there’s enough interest to make a shipment worth it with each of them), consolidators sell to individual distributors, handle storing product and shipping it out to distributors as orders come in.

As I understand it, for this service consolidators generally charge about 10% of cover, so a publisher’s cut drops from 40% to 30% when using a consolidator. Those prices may have shifted around since I last learned of them, so if you’re a publisher reading this and you want this, do your research.

For my math, losing a quarter of my distribution revenue in order to not have to deal directly with each distributor is not good math. But each publisher’s capacity varies in flavor and magnitude, so that’s far from universal.

IPR (Indie Press Revolution)


IPR is a wonderful and weird hybrid. For its publisher clients, IPR is a distributor, a direct sales site, and a route for convention presence. They operate on a consignment basis, which is to say that publishers own the inventory that’s stored with them, and IPR pays when it sells one of those copies.

As a distributor and convention presence, IPR offers slightly better terms, paying publishers 44% of cover when they sell a game in either of those contexts. IPR retains 11%; their retailer clients buy the game at 55% of cover price.

As a direct-to-customer sales website, IPR pays publishers 80% of the list price for PDF sales, and 70% of cover price for physical sales. These percentages being as high as they are have made them a viable option for small publishers who don’t have the time or resources to commit to running and maintaining a website store of their own.

Outside of the numbers themselves, IPR is useful to small-scale indie publishers with physical products, because IPR is oriented on exactly those sorts of publishers, whereas a number of large distributors won’t have any interest in doing so. As a result, IPR is sometimes the only opportunity an indie has for getting their games onto gamestore shelves. Evil Hat started with IPR, and they’ve done right by us for over a decade.

(At the time of this writing, IPR also remains open and operational during the global quarantine. They’re located in the middle of a desert in Nevada; really isolated, and as a shipping company, designated essential by the state.)

So IPR getting a smallish chunk of your money (11–30% depending on the who, what, and where) as part of a purchase through them, whatever the context? Yeah, worth it. You’re supporting a business that’s truly valuable to a bunch of publishers at the smaller end of things.

Friendly Local Game Stores (Brick & Mortar Retailers)


As noted above, game stores are typically buying items from distributors at between 50% and 60% of the cover price. These sorts of seemingly big discounts are necessary for retailers to do business.

The margin retailers can make as profit on a sale goes towards to be able to pay rents and salaries, and to take the occasional risk on new games, re-buy games that do sell, and offer modest-sized discounts to their customers.

That margin also shores up those gambles that don’t pay off. By the time a game is on a shelf at a book-store, the publisher who produced that game has already been paid for it. But if a retailer buys a copy of a game and it doesn’t sell, they have to rely on the sale of other items to absorb that sunk cost. If they buy a copy of a game and it does sell, that’s also where they get the money to buy it again.

As a publisher, initial orders are great, but repeat orders are superb. And remember, for Evil Hat, distribution (which relies on retailers to buy publishers’ stuff) is the majority of our company’s income.

So, yeah. Buying a game from a retailer is mainly about supporting that retailer; they’re getting about half of the money you’ve spent for themselves, while the other half goes towards covering the expense they’ve already paid to have what you’re buying in stock. A healthy, supported retailer in turn extends the reach of publishers to customers who might not otherwise know about them, and that’s what drives future and ongoing sales, keeping many a game company afloat.

So especially in times of economic crisis, support your local game store! Your money goes towards preventing the collapse of the ecosystem that allows our hobby to thrive.

Amazon (and other online-only retailers, to an extent)


Amazon and other online-only deep discounters leverage their lower-than-a-physical-store’s running costs by selling games (and other things) at discounts that put the sale price much closer to what they paid for it, themselves. This can and often does undermine brick and mortar retailers, who can’t afford to give up that much margin if they want to survive. They can also afford to do things which would, in terms of subsidized expense, kill smaller businesses (and they often end up doing exactly that), and they can also afford to treat their workers poorly.

But hey, free shipping, am I right?

Evil Hat’s stuff on Amazon gets there via a single Amazon-focused distributor called Flat River. Flat River buys our stuff at the distribution rate, like all our other distributor clients do. They just sell to a different kind of retailer.

And, really, I can’t ignore the revenue benefits of getting our stuff onto Amazon: fairly consistently, Flat River is our largest single source of revenue each year, beating out the largest national games distributor, Alliance by at least a little. Add up all the distributors selling to brick & mortar retailers, and the brick & mortars are in aggregate still doing better for us overall.

When we added Amazon as a customer of ours through Flat River, our revenue from the other distributors didn’t drop that much at all. That’s a strong indicator that Amazon is also reaching customers that won’t buy from a local game store, or can’t because there simply isn’t one near at all, or at least one that carries what they’re actually interested in. Which… makes them even less ignorable.

So while their discounts and free shipping inject a certain amount of poison into the overall picture of gaming retail, Amazon is also getting games where they can’t otherwise go, and serving customers who might not be able to buy games otherwise, for whatever reason.

Still, in terms of putting the most good into the world with your dollars, they should be the last option you consider. Money that’s needed to maintain the health of the hobby’s industry (see all of the above) ends up staying in your pocket instead.

And, hey, if that’s the way you need to go, I get it. Being able to pay more than you strictly have to for games is a privilege that many simply don’t have.

4000 Words And You Still Haven’t Given Me a Quick Reference, Fred


Well, that’s true. Thing is, I really, really like to make sure that when I’m sharing facts that I’m also covering the context in which those facts operate. So, I made you read or at least scroll through all of that valuable context crap first. Sorry not sorry.

Still, here’s your quick reference.

I’m buyingFromSo the publisher gets
PDF or Physical The Publisher 95-97%
PDF or Physical Kickstarter 90-92%
PDF or Physical A Pledge Manager 90-92%
PDF or Physical Patreon 90-92%
PDF Publisher’s itch.io 90%
PDF DriveThruRPG 65-70%
Print on Demand DriveThruRPG 65-70% of what remains after deducting the cost of manufacture.
PDF IPR Website 80%
Physical IPR Website 70%
Physical IPR at a game convention 44%, plus making sure the publisher’s stuff continues to show up at conventions
Physical Local game store or online retailer 40% (or 44% if supplied by IPR) or 30% if sold into distribution through a consolidator; supported stores help in other ways long term.
Physical Amazon 40% in the least best way, but hey, free shipping!

Image/Photo

http://www.deadlyfredly.com/2020/04/where-does-your-money-go-when-you-buy-a-game/
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-04-17

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Do you read-through/learn the rules before you play? Or as you play?

For #RPGs I prefer to have done at least a read through of the rules. I'll learn a one-shot on the fly, but I like to have read through at least the more prevalent rules and have made a test character or two. The only time I've seen that I might do otherwise is through PbF, PbEM, and other asynchronous methods. If I'm not GMing, then I have more time to work through the rules as I play.

For #boardgames it seems that the opposite is true. I think nothing of cracking open a game with a group and learning, or learning online as I play through there.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 
#ThrowbackThursdays

Tech at the game table, does it help or hinder?

Check out this classic Ask The bellhop article from Sept 2018:

https://tabletopbellhop.com/gaming-advice/technology/

#RPGs #Boardgames
Tech at the table, does it help or hinder? – Ask The Bellhop
 
Dig some video with your audio?

Check out the YouTube version of our podcast

Lonely Fun - Gaming related things to do between game sessions. Also, a review of EXIT: The game The House of Riddles and a look at The Fox in the Forest in our week in review.

https://youtu.be/lOyihC9NErc

#RPGS #boardgames #Podcast #tabletop
 
I just sent out patron rewards for episode 86

Over an hour of bonus audio. Ppe-production show notes and a behind the scenes post about lonely fun.

Hotel Guest patrons also get access to our private discord server!

What are you waiting for?
https://www.patreon.com/tabletopbellhop

#Tabletop #Podcast #Boardgames #RPGs
 
Need something to listen to?

Check out our master list of Tabletop Gaming Podcasts with over 700 'casts to choose from,

Board games, miniature games, RPGs, actual plays and more!

https://tabletopbellhop.com/giant-list-of-gaming-podcasts/

#Tabletop #boardgames #RPGs #Podcast
Master List of Tabletop Gaming Podcasts
 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-04-13

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

What percentage of the time do you play the same games vs trying something new?

Most of the times for #BoardGames and #RPGs we just play the same things. I'd love to try new games, but in general, when we try a new boardgame, we never get through with it, and never pick it up again. As far as RPGs, I only play online, and though those were new when we started, the campaigns are all several years old.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 
Lonely Fun - Gaming related activities to do between game sessions that can improve your game night.

Check out the Ask the Bellhop segment from our last live show here:

https://youtu.be/lDC2vcOlD5s

#RPGs #Boardgames #Tabletop
 
Tabletop Gaming's Lonely Fun - Gaming Related Things To Do Between Game Sessions.

In this article I talk about gaming related things you can do when you can't game. Many of these can impact and improve your future game sessions.

Check it out:
https://tabletopbellhop.com/gaming-advice/lonely-fun/

#Tabletop #boardgames #RPGs
Tabletop Gaming’s Lonely Fun – Gaming related things to do between game sessions.
 
Robotech Unboxing

Check out my latest #unboxing video where I take a look at what you get with Robotech RPG Tactics from Palladium and Ninja Division.

https://youtu.be/ZJl7auVkJRY

#Robotech, #Tabletop #Boardgames #RPGs
 
Woot!

We just hit 400 subs on YouTube!

Thanks everyone who took the time to subscribe. This really does help us get our videos seen by more people!

https://www.youtube.com/tabletopbellhop

#Tabletop #RPGs
 
Working on this week's newsletter.

We've got more blog posts than usual but less YouTube videos.

Our newsletter is the best place to find out about all of the content we release each week.

Sub here:
https://newsletter.tabletopbellhop.com/

#boardgames #RPGs
 
Massive Coupon Sale At Amazon.

There's a huge stealth coupon sale going on. There's no landing page or any way to see all the eligible games on Amazon, so we made our own landing page.

https://tabletopbellhop.com/tabletop-gaming-deals/amazon-coupon-sale/

Some highlights include Jaws, Horrified, Minecraft, Eldritch Horror, Above and Below, 7 wonders, Planet, Legends of Andor and more!

#Sale #Boardgame #RPGs
Amazon Coupon Sale! Tons of Board Games and RPGs with BIG Coupons
 
Worried about the physical contact of tabletop gaming?

Check out my latest article where I suggest some great board games that have little to no physical interaction and offer some hacks for games that do to reduce contact:

https://tabletopbellhop.com/gaming-advice/low-contact-games/

Note: in the case of the current crisis this is not meant to encourage people to go out or have people over to game, this is about spending time with the people you are already in contact with regularly.

#RPGs #Tabletop
Great Board Games with Little To No Physical Interaction
 
Dig some video with your audio?

Check out the YouTube version of our latest podcast - On the House where we are talking all about house rules.

We've also got reviews of Carpe Diem from @RavensburgerNA and Gold West from @TastyMinstrel

https://youtu.be/GDJxhx-VUrc

#Podcast #RPGs #Boardgames
 
House Rules in Board Games and RPGs, what are they and should you use them?

Check out my latest article over on the blog where I dive into house rules:

https://tabletopbellhop.com/gaming-advice/house-rules/

#Tabletop #RPGs #BoardGames
House Rules in Board Games and RPGs, What are they and should you use them?
 
What are your thoughts on House Rules, and should you use them?

Check out the Ask the Bellhop segment from our last live show where @DarkElfLX and I talk all about House Rules.

https://youtu.be/nfpJhcHUMXI

#Tabletop #RPGs #Boardgames
 
Would anyone else be interested in an !RPG forum here on friendica?

#rpg #ttrpg #storygame #rpgs #ttrpg #storygames
Italy 
Dig some video with your audio?

Check out the YouTube version of our last podcast: Feb. AMA



Topics include: replacement part policies, ccgs, print and play games, after Gloomhaven, board game consumption, GM notes, & more!

Also a review of Horizons Extermination and our week in review.

#Tabletop #RPGs #Boardgames
 
You need to attend BreakoutCon! Here's why:

https://tabletopbellhop.com/game-reviews/breakoutcon/

Check out my 2019 Breakout Con wrap up that I wrote up after getting back from the con last year, and find out why you should be attending this year!

Breakoutcon is less than 3 weeks away!

#RPGs #Boardgames #Tabletop
Breakout Con 2019 Wrap Up – Why You Need to Attend Breakout!
 
Tabletop Bellhop Gaming Podcast New Episode

February AMA - Answering your gaming question live! Also, we have a review of the Extermination pack for Horizons and some Gloomhaven, Medium, Gorus Maximus, and more Horizons for the Bellhop’s Tabletop.

In this month’s AMA we discuss: the bell you see in all my pictures, game night beverages, legacy games, Asmodee’s new component policy, one and done games, board game consumption, print and play games, what’s next after Gloomhaven, collectable card games, Vampire and modern White Wolf games, LARPs, GM note organization, modern pass the stick roleplaying and more.

https://tabletopbellhop.com/podcast/ep080/

#Tabletop #RPGs #Boardgames
February AMA – Tabletop Bellhop Gaming Podcast Ep 80
 
Moe Tousignant 5 months ago
Of course the last couple of things I posted I used #Boardgames and #RPGs, will start using #Tabletop :D
 
The video version of our last AMA is live on YouTube.

Topics include: The Bell, game night beverages, legacy games, replacement components, one and done games, board game consumption, print and play games, what's next after Gloomhaven, CCGs and more!

https://youtu.be/GfhtA0pHNkc

#RPGs #BoardGames
 
Putting the F in FLGS,

What makes for a good game store?

Check out this classic Ask The Bellhop article for my answer.

https://tabletopbellhop.com/gaming-advice/f-in-flgs/

#BoardGames #RPGs
Putting the F in FLGS. What makes for a good game store? – Ask the Bellhop
 

1879: The Selkie

1879: Our first shapeshifter, the selkie, appears in the forthcoming 1879 Players Companion. Here's a preview. https://bit.ly/2LXY4qv #ttrpg #rpgs #fasa1879 #mechanics #folklore #furry #steampunk
 

VenLeitche Status 2019-12-09

The weekly development tracking spreadsheet for Dynamic Balances: Venleitche has been posted to https://bit.ly/2PtuaeU, with Changelog, Wordcount/Pagecount tracking, and To-Do. Patrons have received this week's development compile of the game manual, up 10 pages from last week. It's only a dollar to become a patron and see what I'm doing in a pangender Neopagan game world with a light-crunch mechanic drive by player agency and consequences of player actions. #ttrpg #rpgs #amwriting #writing #Venleitche
 

1879: Heavy Metal

1879: Heavy Metal: The Ottoman Empire has steam mecha. What more do we need to say? And now, the stats. https://bit.ly/2YsfrVD #ttrpg #rpgs #steampunk #mecha #ottoman #fasa1879
 

1879: What Do Trolls Eat?

1879 Blog: In which we discuss military rations for Big People, and compare troll rations to Earthdawn's dwarven mine rations. Spoiler: nobody likes either of them. #fasa1879 #steampunk #ttrpg #rpgs #mechanics https://bit.ly/2OZJ4cE
 
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