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Subject: Potential Supporters - Please Read rss

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JASON MAXWELL
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To produce this game, it is going to cost a lot. The book is the biggest cost, so I would like some input. Another big cost is shipping international and the book alone makes the shipping very expensive.

We will need to ask for at least 25k on Kickstarter (still a lot less than we need to print). This may make reaching our goal very difficult.

Here is one idea: Instead of publishing the book of encounters, publish a portion of encounters on cards. Probably 250 Cards of encounter stories. If the game sells well we will put out more of the stories on cards as expansions. Or publish the book as an expansion book. So you can use the cards to play for a quicker game ... or use the book for more variety.

The mechanics of the game work fantastic. It is fun to play. This would not alter much - other than the fact that initially the game would have a limited number of stories. This should lower our cost a good bit and make it cheaper to ship overseas.

As it stands, even if we get 25k ... we will still have to pay at least 10-15k out of pocket to cover the rest of printing costs and the costs of hiring artists, and incidental costs we don't know about yet. I am still looking for other options before we go live.

But when we go up on kickstarter . . . we will be clear what you getting with the game. At this point we are still scheduled to publishing the game with the book. . .

In case anyone is wondering, this is a tough business.

If we could get reader responses we could gauge interest in this project as well, which would help . . .

Thanks!

Edward
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Wade Nelson
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Re: Inquiry for Gamers
How about putting the encounters on cards to bring the cost down, but offer a higher supporter level for people that really want the book?

As long as the game play doesn't suffer for it, I have no problem with encounter cards.
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Tim
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wadenels wrote:
How about putting the encounters on cards to bring the cost down, but offer a higher supporter level for people that really want the book?

As long as the game play doesn't suffer for it, I have no problem with encounter cards.


Or how about doing the book print on demand from lulu or something later? The game sounds pretty sweet to me. I'm not sure how often I'd get my friends to play it, so I'm reluctant to pull the trigger. I'm still on the fence, but I'm rooting for you!
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Tim
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enditen wrote:
That's an interesting idea. I will explore this. I could just print the book in limited quantities locally (in the USA). That might work.

Well let me ask you. On Kickstarter, do you think we could get enough supporters to pay $55-60 bottom level (comes with book) and still get 25k? I know there are games that get way over that amount but a lot of games fail if they ask for that much. We do have some things on our side. Richard Launius (Akham Horror Designer) has gone on record allowing us to quote him about how enthusiastic he is about the game. He has played the prototype several times. That will help get supporters. But like I said this is a tough business. Thanks much for your input. It helps to hear from the gamers.

I am still waiting on final numbers on printing costs. There is still hope that it will be cheaper than projected.

Edward


$55 entry is pretty steep for a relatively unknown quantity. The Launius quote helps, but not enough. Speaking as your target audience (those who are interested but can't bring themselves to click the button yet), a $60 tag would be more apt to push me away. This is nothing against you, just been burned too many times with the whole unreleased hotness thing. Getting more wary of leading the charge. Still, exceptions can be made...
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JASON MAXWELL
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$55 entry is pretty steep for a relatively unknown quantity.


Yes you may be right. That is my fear. I might would hesitate. I don't know how to go lower than $55 on a game that would retail $75-80. Although Alien Frontiers did ask for $50 and people went for it despite that ending up being the retail price.

And by "quantity" did you mean "company"?

So with a base set that comes with cards and no book - the book being extra. I might be able to offer the game for $40-45. I will have to double-check that. But the book is the most interesting thing about the game - from a distance anyway. The game would play great with cards.

I am going to explore this more before going live on kickstarter. Thanks so much for your input. If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them. And your support on the game would be appreciated. I think anyone who loves storytelling games would love this game. That is the only reason I spent the past year putting it together.

Edward
 
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Tim
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enditen wrote:

$55 entry is pretty steep for a relatively unknown quantity.


Yes you may be right. That is my fear. I might would hesitate. I don't know how to go lower than $55 on a game that would retail $75-80. Although Alien Frontiers did ask for $50 and people went for it despite that ending up being the retail price.

And by "quantity" did you mean "company"?

So with a base set that comes with cards and no book - the book being extra. I might be able to offer the game for $40-45. I will have to double-check that. But the book is the most interesting thing about the game - from a distance anyway. The game would play great with cards.

I am going to explore this more before going live on kickstarter. Thanks so much for your input. If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them. And your support on the game would be appreciated. I think anyone who loves storytelling games would love this game. That is the only reason I spent the past year putting it together.

Edward


I just meant unknown quantity as in the idiom, "an unknown quantity": http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/an+unknown+quantity

Quote:
if someone or something is an unknown quantity, you do not know much about them or what effect they will have in the future


You know, Kickstarter isn't a one time deal. Shoot for the moon. You can put it at whatever you want, and try again if it doesn't go through.
 
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JASON MAXWELL
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You know, Kickstarter isn't a one time deal. Shoot for the moon. You can put it at whatever you want, and try again if it doesn't go through.

You're right. I've thought of that too. But I don't want to be insulting to my audience and try to ask for too much when I am unknown, although this is an ambitious game. What I like about including cards as a base game for encounters (like Arkham Horror) is that now there will be two ways to play. You can play with cards (which will be a quicker game) or you can have a deeper experience with longer more varied encounters by reading from the book. It also provides for much cheaper shipping options for overseas. And to lower the cost for entry.

And as you say, if people really want to the book in the base game, I can retry again later with kickstarter.

Edward
 
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Tim
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enditen wrote:
You know, Kickstarter isn't a one time deal. Shoot for the moon. You can put it at whatever you want, and try again if it doesn't go through.

You're right. I've thought of that too. But I don't want to be insulting to my audience and try to ask for too much when I am unknown, although this is an ambitious game. What I like about including cards as a base game for encounters (like Arkham Horror) is that now there will be two ways to play. You can play with cards (which will be a quicker game) or you can have a deeper experience with longer more varied encounters by reading from the book. It also provides for much cheaper shipping options for overseas. And to lower the cost for entry.

And as you say, if people really want to the book in the base game, I can retry again later with kickstarter.

Edward


If you think the book is an integral part to the story you want to tell, then don't dumb it down just to get it to market either. You'll never be happy with it, and it might not succeed, because it's not the same game you and Launius love. *shrug*
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JASON MAXWELL
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Don't worry Tim. The book will always be available and an important part, even if we decide initially it is an extra. Too much work has been put into it. Actually the card idea was Launius's idea. For me, the game works even better with two ways to play and adds all that much more variety, depending upon who is playing. And it will be a very natural and easy adjustment either way. No change of rules.

Still, I am mostly talking aloud at this point. No decisions have been made. Exploring options. When I go live on kickstarter I will be clear about what is included with the game.
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Richard Starr
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Have you thought about the book being a PDF download instead of print? Cards could ship with the game and have a download link for the book. I like the idea of the cards being used for expansions.
And card based works well for randomness. Would the cards have to be large to fit the text?

I saw the game when you were setting up to play at AGF and it looked cool. I am a frequent Kickstarter and the difference between the $40 and $70 is not that big of a deal for me, but I might not be the best example.
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JASON MAXWELL
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Have you thought about the book being a PDF download instead of print?

Hi Richard, thanks for your input. I actually have spoken to several people about their opinions regarding a PDF. For me, board games are a tactile and social experience - much different that video games. And the thought of downloading and printing up a 300 page book would be feel like work. However, players could use the PDF with smart phones and Ipads and such I realize. Then again there is the problem of an untested market. How many people would be interested? Man, I wish I knew. But it is a good idea.

Obviously the book is not a preventative to printing the game but to print in 1000-2000 quantities it is most expensive. I think for Tales of the Arabian Nights Zev is printing a large quantity at a time to sell at the price he does. The game has done quite well according to him. SMERSH will have two expensive components - the book and large custom dice.

The game will play great with cards or the Book. I want the book to be central to the game but I've heard some input that the Book is actually a turnoff to many "more serious" gamers, despite it being something very interesting to others (and myself). So the idea of making cards for people who don't like to read from a book is appealing to me as well (it makes the game a little faster; players don't have to spend time reacting to and looking up the exact paragraph in a 300 page book). However, I think a PDF, if one is made available, would have to follow publication of the book. And to be honest, so much time has been spent writing the book I would like it to be available in print, if that makes sense. It lends to the tactile feeling board games gives players.

Of course my opinion is just that. I don't know for sure what might happen if I made it a PDF (on and SD card) and included it with the game. It might be okay that way.

I am looking into the costs again with doing cards in a base set and the book as an added feature. I am getting some feedback that they think it makes the game even better and more interesting if I have a base set with cards and then a book separately. The book's encounters will be longer than the one's on the cards. For those who don't like the book they can just stick with the base set. And yeah it does open up the idea of card expansions - and each set could be themed. That sounds like a lot fun to me. But .... Don't want to get ahead of myself... Hopefully, I will have more answers for a decision soon. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Edward
 
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JASON MAXWELL
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Would the cards have to be large to fit the text?

No the cards would be standard size. If you look at Arkham Horror cards FFG fit a lot of text on each single card. The encounters would be shorter, probably, but not by much.

Edward
 
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Anne Freitas
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tofarley wrote:
wadenels wrote:
How about putting the encounters on cards to bring the cost down, but offer a higher supporter level for people that really want the book?

As long as the game play doesn't suffer for it, I have no problem with encounter cards.


Or how about doing the book print on demand from lulu or something later? The game sounds pretty sweet to me. I'm not sure how often I'd get my friends to play it, so I'm reluctant to pull the trigger. I'm still on the fence, but I'm rooting for you!


This game looks like a lot of fun, so I might pull the trigger even if you don't.
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Alex Vandenberg
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I'll buy if I can get the book on PDF. There's usually one or two iPads floating around when I play board games with friends. It would be very easy to find the page and section quickly on the iPad. Then I can feel a little better in that a minimal number of trees were cut down for the game.
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JASON MAXWELL
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Yes we are planning on putting the book on PDF. I have no definite plans about what we will do with the PDF but if you'd rather have the PDF I will work it out and get it sent to you.
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Martin Ralya
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enditen wrote:
To produce this game, it is going to cost a lot.


What will MSRP be? It'd be nice to know how the $50/$70 KS buy-in stacks up against the sticker price.
 
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JASON MAXWELL
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I just wrote a lengthy reply to this question to someone. So I have a possible answer for you. And hopefully a shorter answer. Game price is in flux since we changed components and took out the book from the base game. I did that to provide a cheaper option and .... I have been really surprised that few people are interested so far in the cheaper option on kickstarter.

At any rate, the game is now bigger ... by creating 2 ways to play the game. I have no definite quotes from the broker I am using in China since game components changed and China workers are on vacation.

So my best guess is $60-65 for base game. The book is $20-25 (if I get them printed in China) Probably the higher end on both those numbers but I will price it low as I can.
 
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David Reed
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I pledged to get the book (as I think having the book is a great idea), but I would also love to be able to have the book as a pdf to put on my iPad. I might be willing to up my pledge to have it in that form, too...
 
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JASON MAXWELL
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Hi David, from comments already made by a few others, I think I am going to have to make the book available as a PDF. I will be investigating that option in a few weeks. The book would need to be easily searchable, which I think should be easy in a PDF. I don't think I would charge for the a PDF (for those who buy the book, especially Kickstarters), but I will have to investigate further and see if there is a monetary cost involved. If it is just my time involved then there will be no cost. -Jason
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Tim
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enditen wrote:
Hi David, from comments already made by a few others, I think I am going to have to make the book available as a PDF. I will be investigating that option in a few weeks. The book would need to be easily searchable, which I think should be easy in a PDF. I don't think I would charge for the a PDF (for those who buy the book, especially Kickstarters), but I will have to investigate further and see if there is a monetary cost involved. If it is just my time involved then there will be no cost. -Jason


You could use something like drivethrurpg to sell the book in PDF at a reasonable price (Reasonable price seems to be $10 or less for PDF materials) of course you'll just have to make sure it's *very* clear that it's not a complete game and requires the base game.

Several people in my game group have iPads, so a PDF book would be PERFECT for us.
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JASON MAXWELL
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Great tip. I will definitely look into it.

Jason
 
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Fedor Ilitchev
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I, for one, don't get it. If the book and the cards are functionally equivalent but the cards are cheaper then, by all means go the card route... but if they really are functionally equivalent, why focus on a book approach in the first place?

A book can do one thing that a bunch of cards can't: it can define interactions between things that wouldn't fit on a single card, choose your own adventure style... in a story-telling game, I see this as a potentially great plus. However, its also possible to have a story-telling game without this advantage (AH).

Anyway, I would do one or the other but not both in a half-way manner - that way, the game look more designed and less arbitrary... better for marketing in my amateur opinion.
 
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JASON MAXWELL
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The two approaches are not equivalent. The differences are outlined on Kickstarter. And neither approach is done "halfway" in any sense of the word. Everyone I consulted found the dual approach very exciting. It was an easy and natural addition. That is the main reason I went with it - based upon feedback - in fact the idea came from supporters; it also allowed for a cheaper option (game sold without book) which is what I wanted most of all. For those who don't want to play a "choose your own path" game and like more of an AH style of play they can play with the cards only. In fact I believe everyone on occasion will play with just the cards; some people do not like reading from a book during a board game and sometimes you might want a slightly quicker game. The book makes the game more like Tales of the Arabian Nights in the selection process. I think having both approaches is superior in every way with the only downside of - the complete package of game and book will be slightly more expensive with the addition of 100+ cards.

This game has been playtested extensively. The mechanics work. The mechanics do not change from cards to book or book to cards. As for your point of why should we have a book at all? Well because printing all the encounters from the book onto cards would have resulted in around 1000 cards. That would have been very expensive and unwieldy.

So far the cards I've written are all new encounters (or I have taken from the book and deleted those encounters). They are written in the same way as the book, except slightly shorter and there is no "reaction matrix" players select from.

Thanks for your concerns
Jason
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Howard G
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I'd like to put in a vote in favor of cards. When I play Tales of the Arabian Nights, there's so much stuff on the table that we end up having to suspend the Book of Tales in the air or perch it on our laps, and even so, we end up bumping the board, player maps, and tokens when passing it around. Having stacks of cards instead of the book would definitely mitigate this problem.

Moreover, I bet a book would show wear and tear due to flipping pages much more quickly than cards will through their use.

Besides, there's something much more "gamey" about drawing and playing cards than turning pages in a book.

But it seems to me the decision would depend on whether the information needs to be in a fixed order, like the numbered paragraphs in TotAN -- which lends itself more to a book -- or in random order -- in which case cards would be more suitable, as they can be shuffled.

Just my two cents. Either way, I'm looking forward to this game.
 
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Kelly N.
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I think the decision to offer the option of "cards only" or "cards + book" was brilliant. I have pledged for "cards + book", but I can see many occasions when the "cards only" option will occupy my table on a given night.

For those considering Kickstarter support, the above choice is yours. There is something really nice about that. thumbsup
 
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