Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dice Included...

At Wittcon this year, I ran a seminar on game design and publishing entitled Dice Included. The basic premise of the piece was how each and every little thing you do along the way of taking your game from an idea to a published product is as much of an adventure as a business venture. Once you turn that page and say that you're serious about publishing and selling, you've got to watch every single copper piece carefully (thus the title of the seminar).

To include a set of dice (2d6 and 2d10 for WEGS) would be an awesome addition to the Old Skool bag, but doing so would add about $1 more to the cost it took me to put the package together. While that's only .25 a die, it's also 25% of the retail price. Taking just a buck off the margin is a dicey thing to do for a small press endeavor. Sure I could get the dice much cheaper, if I ordered a thousand of each type, but I'm not ready to add two big dice-filled bean bag chairs to my tv room right now...

I read earlier this week on the Grognardia blog that when the D&D box set was sold over in the UK, the fact that the books came with dice caused the product to be taxable; adding dice established it as a game and not a set of books (books are not taxable). Supposedly stores removed the dice to increase sales. I say supposedly because this was only mentioned in a reply to a post and I can't verify it.

While adding dice would strongly establish the Old Skool bag as a game, I think the inclusion of the card deck has similar results (as does the beefy barbarian warrior chucking dice at you).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dice Rule!

This month has flown by (and with very little posting). This due mostly to the summer con preparations and getting everything in place for the booths and promotional side of things (like advertising). This stuff sneaks up on me every year and though I might be smarter about these things, I don't know if I'm better at it.

The other thing that has been consuming most of my time is the writing of the next WEGS 101 installment: Dice Rule! (or How To Run A Wicked Game). Pre-Vegas it was 8 chapters big and 88 pages long (or 8/88 in WEGS lingo). Since then, I've added 4 more chapters and about 44 pages (4/44). So, this is becoming a healthy sized tome. It should be ready for a Gen Con release.

I'm obsessed with finishing the first draft of the book by the end of this month, just as I turn the page on another mortal year.

One week to go!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tips For Freelancers

One of the GTS seminars I attended was run my Mike Stackpole, who is "a science fiction and fantasy author best known for his Star Wars and Battletech books" (according to the opening line of his wikipedia bio). You can find out more about him via his personal site; he's done a lot more in the industry than that, being one of the early champions of D&D during its commercial demonization.

The seminar, titled the same as this blog entry, focused on how to find work as a freelancer in the gaming industry from a writer's standpoint (and a bit for artists, too). I don't have any plans nor the time for freelancing, but from a game company standpoint, it gave me some insight on how to navigate working relationships for future projects. Lots of good points and laughs throughout the seminar; two quotes I wrote down:

"When you enter the game industry, you take a vow of poverty; game companies will help you keep that vow every step of the way."

"Sufficiently advanced stupidity can sometimes be mistaken for malice."

Both are paraphrased, but the first quote illustrated that the game industry is notoriously impoverished (unless you create the next Magic The Gathering) and no one should delve there with prospects of getting rich quick (or at all). The second quote was just advice to not sweat the small stuff (like publishers who edit the heck out of your piece and strip it of all the cool stuff).

So much for my get rich scheme...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beer and Peanut

Ever since I saw the news story on the NJ hit man who hid one of his victims under a hotel room bed (and the body wasn't discovered for a couple of weeks), I take a quick peek under the bed of any hotel room I stay in. Quirky precaution, but it reveals a world of info on just how thorough the rooms are sanitized (or not). So, imagine my horror when checking under my Vegas bed and finding an empty bottle of beer and a solitary peanut. It's not so much that they former tenant left the empty beer bottle, but what were they thinking about by leaving only one peanut?!? That's not even worth cracking the shell for...

At least it wasn't a pair of eyes looking back...