The Good the Bad & the Ugly: C&C

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The Good the Bad & the Ugly: C&C

Post by Troll Lord »

Hello folks,

Alright, we have a mixed bag of news to report here; some of it good, some of it bad, some of it promises to get ugly.
The very first thing to note, for the sake of this discussion, is this: This is NOT a hobby company. We do not do this for fun (though it is fun and the game is very important to us) or because I am married to a Doctor. TLG is a self sustaining enterprise that has 3 employees who are in the process of having their insurance converted to health savings account. We have a bottom line we have to meet.

Second thing of note, we do much of our own production, and attempted to combat the rising cost of paper/printing by manufacturing hard back books. This effort did not work and we had to abandon it (see Crusader 21 for full details).

Now that that is out of the way...
The Good News: the out the doors numbers for the Players Handbook are really good. I mean, almost 1st printing good. And they haven't even made it into the channel. They will be announced tomorrow night as available. Many of these customers, retailers that ordered direct, and consumers are names not familiar to our data base so we are encouraged that we are picking up new players. Always a good sign. So this means long term prospects are very good both for the PH and the Crusade.

The Bad News: TLG is not recession proof. We have been watching a slow downturn in sales numbers for the past 2 quarters; actually 3 quarters though 1st Q this year was boosted by the strong response to Upper Works (we only sold through December, but the revenue from retail comes in up to 40 days after that). That created a bubble we knew wouldn't last and wasn't real. We braced for it, but a series of events that I have gone over in Crusader led us to a dangerous Gencon.

Gencon (as you Crusader subscribers will note in the forthcoming issue 21) was one of the worst selling conventions in memory. Though we anticipated some downturn and slashed the Gencon budget it didn't brace us for the low sales. This coupled with the PH not being in print all summer and dropping sales on the entire line because of that, has left TLG in a cash-strapped short term position.

The PH's release last week has gone far to amend that and will continue to do so; we will no doubt see an uptic in sales on all items now that retailers will want to revitalize their lines (we know this is true as they are already doing it). We've also been very aggressive in our releases since Gencon. 7 products in all have been produced and printed and shipped into distribution. That's just about a book a week.

Two of the biggest releases scheduled for this year are the Of Gods & Monsters and the CKG. Both pose a variety of challenges and problems that we have to deal with realistically.

The Ugly: Gods and Guides

Of Gods & Monsters: This book is complete and print ready. Its sitting here waiting for distribution. Its only want is to be actually printed. Of course our cash flow problem is not going to allow this to happen anytime soon. November at the earliest would be my best guess. But allowing this really kick-butt product to languish when we can self produce it is not acceptable. So Gods & Monsters will be printed as a Soft Cover, perfect bound book. The price will be reduced to $24.99. Everyone who pre-ordered the book is entitled to a $10.00 rebate. We will enclose cash or a check in the order when it ships. Making OG&M a perfect bound book allows us to get it into distribution immediately, as early as next week actually. Pre-orders will begin shipping as early as Friday. I do apologize for everyone who was looking forward to a hard cover but the good news is that you will be getting OG&M much sooner than.

IF anyone wants a refund please contact TLG at orders@trolllord.com and we will refund your money immediately.

The Castle Keepers Guide: This is the big boy. Now, I want to be clear so folks understand the present delay on this book. The CKG is a big and expensive project. Its time consuming and is in need of a great deal of attention, seemingly constant attention. This was supposed to be given over to Davis, but as noted, he cannot manage it right now. That leaves it to me. The problem there is that the company needs my constant attention, especially in the light or recent events with Gencon and the like.

I spend the majority of my day running TLG. I can't really explain that. Unless you have run a small business its hard to grasp the time spent running the actual business. Just as a for instance, I had a simple problem with a monthly withholding report this morning. I though 10 minutes and I can get to work on the CKG. Well 2 hours later I was on the phone with a 3rd tax rep from the state. Suddenly its 3:30 and the day hasn't begun yet. I'm not belly aching, its just a reality. I have to work to manage this company. I have to make sure that Peter and Mark are always working for instance. To do that I have make sure work is generated. Its a cycle. A good one mind you, for if I didn't have all that to do TLG would be no more. haha

What that does do however is heavily impacts my ability to work on the CKG and other such projects. The CKG is doubly difficult because its rules and the like, not so easy as writing an adventure as you can imagine. Its impacting the company at this point. What time I could be using to get work done on things like Harvesters or Casey's books and Jim Ward Tainted Lands monster books gets shunted for continued work on the CKG. Its impacting revenue streams to some degree as I struggle to get this thing done.

The next problem with the CKG is the cost per unit. It is huge. Right now we have to charge a minimum of $40.00 for this book. Perhaps $45.00. It is big and as a hard back book its cost is going to be over 10 grand to print a min. run. Keep in mind that paper has gone up about 15% at least from when we originally laid this guy out. Other costs are going up as well. The price will continue to go up as outside costs, such as printing, continue to rise.

The problem becomes the more work for the company I do the less for the CKG gets done. The less work for the company I do . . . . well, that's just not really a good idea. haha

So we are looking at this product and any and all options that MIGHT exist to finish it quicker, to bring the cost down and the price point down. We came up with a few and I want to test the merit of these options here.

Here are some we are considering. I am going to post a poll shortly, but your thoughts and suggestions are MOST welcome.

1) We can carry on as is. Keep the book in format and with content we planned. Keeping in mind that this content is a great deal! Push the envelope and get this book out when we get it out. Probably late this year. I'm not optimistic, but if we decide to go this route I'll start considering options toward getting finished.

2) We can cut the book into two books, moving player relevant material to one book and CK material to the other. This would only mean that the character material book would be out very soon, 45 days, as it is done but for 1/2 a chapter. I don't like this option. No one around here does.

3) We create a serial edition of the CKG. Break the book up into 12 separate books of about 24 pages a piece. We offer you guys the option to "subscribe" to the 12 issues for $30.00 + $15.00 in shipping charges (thats $45.00 for all 12 issues shipped to your door). Every 5 weeks or so we would release another book. The books will have 3-hole punched books for a ring binder. When the book is eventually printed in hard cover, then each "subscriber" gets one shipped to them for free. We like this.

4) We can cut the book down to a more manageable size, removing some material to other venues. In short making a streamlined CKG instead of the big effort we really want to attempt to do. We like this.

We look forward to your in put and please participate in our non-binding poll!
Thanks for playing,

Steve

PS This does not mean in any way that TLG is going out of business. It means that we have to make some hard decisions about products and as always like to know what you all like to see. IF we were going out of business I would post a thread called Ah Crap and link to here.

POLL
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Post by mgtremaine »

I voted for Drive on baby ... When I lookup at the bookshelf above my desk and see the Original DMG I think boy that is a heck of book. I want a CKG that makes me feel the same way. At this point I doubt a delayed CKG is going to make much difference since everyone has been waiting so long. The big hope is that when it comes out it rains money on you. I know I'm buying it.

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Post by serleran »

There is also the possibility of passing along certain sections of the CKG to those people you know could do them in a time fram guaranteed to make it happen, so you can stop focusing all your efforts on writing it, and then compile it. Of course, this does have its own limitations as well... such as what happens when Robert the Serleran Ass does not turn in his part, but it does get it moving.

Otherwise, I vote with keep it moving. C&C needs the CKG as it was intended. The new roleplaying base, even those who don't play C&C, need the CKG as it was intended. Don't let some sill lame excuse like money stop it.
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Post by ChaosImp »

I nearly pooed thinking you guys were going bust!! The truth is Steve that I would rather wait for the final product, but an intelligent business move may be to go for option four and then release updates or further " CKG part 2 books " to contain the information that wasn't put in the first book. Personally I don't really need the CKG but don't worry I'll buy it when it comes out. Good luck guys and please no more scare stories.

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Post by seskis281 »

I'm going to probably be in the minority here, but I am voting for the "cleave into two" option....

I think you should release the 1st book (the player's options part) as "The Adventurer's Backpack" and then eventually release the 2nd one as "The Castle Keeper's Backpack," both in soft-cover editions. Then, when ultimately both are done and TLG is in best position, combine the two at 2nd printing time into the Hardbound "Castle Keeper's Guide"

As much as I would like to say "Drive on through!" I worry about this issue seriously hampering the other products in pipeline to the point that cash-flow continues to dwindle, and I don't want to see you guys languish behind this one product.... I think sales will be enhanced greatly if you can turn to getting more Haunted Highlands, more Monster books, more A mods out along with the 1st "half" of this product.

I also don't think the subscription, chopped up into 12 and sent along is a good idea, because then each section will inevitably need more individual work to make it quality, and natural delays (as with Crusader even as it's going well) will make this hard if the shipments are missed... then it's worse than the delays already.

So I vote for the cleave and 2 books (as softcovers as I suggested) ultimately coming back together as the full Hardbound CKG,

or, baring that, I would vote secondly for the streamlined, smaller edition - heh, if it's good then it's good, and at that I'd rather see a smaller quality tome.

So my 2 cents there.

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Post by DangerDwarf »

I say drive on. I've already waited a few years, whats more of a wait at this point?

C&C works great without a CKG. That means the CKG is gravy. A gravy books needs to be a big fat, pretty hardback that makes me go "DAMN! This KICKS ASS!" Not a 2 parater or a serial released thing. It HAS to be a great big, overindulgent book o' RAH!

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Post by anglefish »

Players like options. Players spend money on books that bring those options to the table, as 3.X illustrated very, very well.

As anecdotal evidence. Few of my players have bought a PHB. Their excuse is "Well, I only really need two pages out of the thing, why get the whole book?"

A "Player's Option" book maybe the thing to get more players to buy more TLG stuff, because when you think of it, most of TLG product is aimed at the GM -- and frankly we're out numbered at least 4 to 1.

And if the Player's Options book does well on it's own, then TLG gets less cash strapped and thus the CK book comes out sooner. '

Barring a split option, I'd rather have a 12-part PDF series with an option to buy a discounted CKG later.

After that, I'd rather wait.

A slimmed down book with other content moved to other products is really a haphazard version of the 12-part serial with less organization and planning, no thank you.

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Post by Coleston the Cavalier »

Even a casual observer to these forums could tell that TLG has had some serious issues in the last four months, but I think we can all understand that it is the continuing slowdown in the economy. Plus, TLG cannot continue to put other material on hold (stuff that would generate operating income) so that the CKG might finally get released down the road.

Of course, everyone in their heart wants the CKG to be whole, huge and on our game tables now - but that isn't realistic at all. Don't let the CKG bring our favorite game company down any more.

So if the character section of the CKG really is almost ready to go -
STEVE - CHOP IT IN TWO!!! Either way, we're going to buy it - two parts, twelve parts - as one whole CKG (just before the Lord Jesus returns or the world ends in 2012) We'll all buy copies of every version anyway - SO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR TLG.

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Post by DangerDwarf »

If you want to get all logical...yeah, the two-fer option is the way to go.

CKG is holding up waaaaaay too many products that I want far worse.

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Post by Treebore »

I actually like Seskis' idea best.
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Post by Coleston the Cavalier »

Treebore wrote:
I actually like Seskis' idea best.

I second that.
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Post by CharlieRock »

Option #4.

The way I figure if you send out the streamlined version it'll be easier to afford and you can add the other bits to the next great TLG book.
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Post by Traveller »

Cleave thy book in twain and present it in the main.
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Post by Dagger »

Seskis and Coleston are dead on. Split it in two and make them perfect bound softcovers.

My second choice would be #4.

I'm definitely against 1 (since it isn't working now) and 3 because it seems unwieldy and a subscription would put TLG under pressure to deliver the installment on a regular basis along with the Crusader. Sounds like too much hassle to me.
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Post by jeffb »

I voted #4, but anything but #3 sounds good to me. as a DM, Multitudes of small books is a PITA. 2 books, not really- though I'm not sure the C&C demographic of players is the same kind of "crunch" purchaser as 3E/4E. This may end up being a bad decision if all the stuff most C&C fans want is in one volume versus the other.

Although I'm not in the know as as well as some about the contents of the CKG, I've been waiting to buy this book as long as most (though I have not run a a C&C game in a couple of years), and it would seem to me that streamlining-putting in the most wanted/choice bits- would be a smart move, and then folding the the more "out there" material into other products of a common theme, or another standalone book.

what about going softcover like OG&M? would that make the "full" CKG a more feasible option? (and in time, perhaps a limited special edition hardcover run could be done?)
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Post by seskis281 »

Heh - guess I'm not as minority in opinion as I thought I was....

I know it's the option Steve listed as "not liked," but I would add that TLG has gotten QUITE good with quality of the soft-backs on their own, and it seems that the real need for Hardback option comes to 2 issues: durability (including "on-the-shelf-life") and the ease with which the most commonly used books can be opened flat on a table for reference - and this points to the absolute need for the primary (heh - not gonna say "core") books of the PHB and M&T, but not so much other supplemental works - I think, in the end, OG&M is better as a soft-back - I love mine as it is from GenCon and it was not really on my need or want list to upgrade to hardback (I LOVE the special edition soft-cover for the PHB, but I will be getting several hardbacks soon as I don't want to wear that copy down).

If TLG releases the CKG in 2 parts, "The Adventurer's Backpack" subtitled Part I of the Castle Keeper's Guide then next year later Part II "The Castle Keeper's Backpack," it would do several things:

1. Get a good portion of a long awaited product out real, real soon... and as was noted by Angelfish above this portion would be very popular.

2. It would also allow players who don't CK to get an options part without the additional cost of CK-options.

3. It would clear the table and get beyond the logjam - as DangerDwarf said, lots of products in waiting behind this right now - I truly believe getting some breathing space would allow for a vigorous end of 2009 and start of 2010 with: A compilation box (Umbrage saga), M&T of Aihrde and M&T II (monster books will sell, and likely sell large - I even vote to make these softbacks as well), more A mods, more HH stuff, the revised Aihrde setting (I say go with box set), and get Victorious and Harvesters out as well. The release of the "Part I" would hold to clear the table of these before finishing "Part II."

4. It is an opportunity to re-set and reiterate the C&C game paradigm that has been all too much discussed on threads and elsewhere, solidifying the supplements as "very useful" to the game but not "essential"

5. As Coleston said, most of the existing C&C base will buy all of these - the soft-back split supplements and ultimately a unified Hardback because, well, it'll just be cool to finally have that honkin' tome on the shelf.... I truly believe this would increase sells on all of these. And new-comers will be able to have the player's option book sooner on the heals of getting a new 4th print PHB.

6. Doing it this way means the softbacks would permit errata compilation so that the ultimate down-the-road hardback would be the cleanest possible volume

7. Now that the 4th printings are finally going out and in the clear on the PHB and M&T, TLG needs a momentum from that.

I don't think anyone minds TLG as a co. making some shifts as it needs to to stay profitable and vibrant. More than the CKG is the need for a regular stream of useful product. As much as I like Jim's Tainted Lands and OG&M, they are more niche C&C products for certain specific tastes within the C&C market. Those will do well within certain segments, but ultimately more mods and resources will be what the bulk of players and CK's are looking for.

So now I'm up to 4 cents on my thoughts.... please forgive if I seem pushy, I just want to argue what I think is the best option knowing it's not the 1st choice of those listed for Steve and the Trolls.

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Post by gideon_thorne »

jeffb wrote:
what about going softcover like OG&M? would that make the "full" CKG a more feasible option? (and in time, perhaps a limited special edition hardcover run could be done?)

That was a suggestion I put forth to Steve. I figured folks wouldn't mind so much with an optional book.
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Post by ssfsx17 »

I originally voted #1 - but after thinking about all the other products that the CKG could interfere with (such as Engineering Castles, etc.), I think I would be more in favor of continuing to drop excerpts from the CKG into the Crusader. That way, you don't need to have finished more than 2 pages every month or so. Then, you could later make a massive CKG or box set containing the entirety of what the CKG was supposed to be, plus more.

John Wright's plan looks pretty good too.
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Post by CharlieRock »

gideon_thorne wrote:
That was a suggestion I put forth to Steve. I figured folks wouldn't mind so much with an optional book.

No, I wouldn't mind skipping over a softcover optional book.

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Post by Benoist »

I will buy a complete, one volume book, no matter how huge, $40 or higher.

I will not purchase a split copy, either in half or in twelve installments.

I voted "Drive On".
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Post by Gundoggy »

Forget the 3 hole punch (son of 2E's monstrous compendium!!) idea. Fragile and too many parts to buy.

I would prefer the one volume hard back CKG, but 2 volumes to get stuff out sooner would be a viable alternative.

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Post by dachda »

seskis281 wrote:
Heh - guess I'm not as minority in opinion as I thought I was....

I know it's the option Steve listed as "not liked," but I would add that TLG has gotten QUITE good with quality of the soft-backs on their own, and it seems that the real need for Hardback option comes to 2 issues: durability (including "on-the-shelf-life") and the ease with which the most commonly used books can be opened flat on a table for reference - and this points to the absolute need for the primary (heh - not gonna say "core") books of the PHB and M&T, but not so much other supplemental works - I think, in the end, OG&M is better as a soft-back - I love mine as it is from GenCon and it was not really on my need or want list to upgrade to hardback (I LOVE the special edition soft-cover for the PHB, but I will be getting several hardbacks soon as I don't want to wear that copy down).

If TLG releases the CKG in 2 parts, "The Adventurer's Backpack" subtitled Part I of the Castle Keeper's Guide then next year later Part II "The Castle Keeper's Backpack," it would do several things:

1. Get a good portion of a long awaited product out real, real soon... and as was noted by Angelfish above this portion would be very popular.

2. It would also allow players who don't CK to get an options part without the additional cost of CK-options.

3. It would clear the table and get beyond the logjam - as DangerDwarf said, lots of products in waiting behind this right now - I truly believe getting some breathing space would allow for a vigorous end of 2009 and start of 2010 with: A compilation box (Umbrage saga), M&T of Aihrde and M&T II (monster books will sell, and likely sell large - I even vote to make these softbacks as well), more A mods, more HH stuff, the revised Aihrde setting (I say go with box set), and get Victorious and Harvesters out as well. The release of the "Part I" would hold to clear the table of these before finishing "Part II."

4. It is an opportunity to re-set and reiterate the C&C game paradigm that has been all too much discussed on threads and elsewhere, solidifying the supplements as "very useful" to the game but not "essential"

5. As Coleston said, most of the existing C&C base will buy all of these - the soft-back split supplements and ultimately a unified Hardback because, well, it'll just be cool to finally have that honkin' tome on the shelf.... I truly believe this would increase sells on all of these. And new-comers will be able to have the player's option book sooner on the heals of getting a new 4th print PHB.

6. Doing it this way means the softbacks would permit errata compilation so that the ultimate down-the-road hardback would be the cleanest possible volume

7. Now that the 4th printings are finally going out and in the clear on the PHB and M&T, TLG needs a momentum from that.

I don't think anyone minds TLG as a co. making some shifts as it needs to to stay profitable and vibrant. More than the CKG is the need for a regular stream of useful product. As much as I like Jim's Tainted Lands and OG&M, they are more niche C&C products for certain specific tastes within the C&C market. Those will do well within certain segments, but ultimately more mods and resources will be what the bulk of players and CK's are looking for.

So now I'm up to 4 cents on my thoughts.... please forgive if I seem pushy, I just want to argue what I think is the best option knowing it's not the 1st choice of those listed for Steve and the Trolls.

Gotta agree with seskis on this. Getting half the book out now (the player's half), getting the other Monster/treasure books out, as well as more HH and Airdhe adventures, out soon after, will generate sales for TLG. I can wait on the CK portion until next spring/summer. Then combine the two parts into the hardback next Fall.
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Post by Frost »

My short answer:

Do whatever serves TLG best and lets you folks put food on the table.
My long answer:

I like John Wright's plan because it seems to be the best of both worlds. It seems like a combination of options 2 and 3. In addition to clearing out the log jam, I can see a players option book serving as an extra income source for TLG and a handy C&C resource. It seems likely that players will need that info if a CK opts to use any of it and it makes a ton of sense to make this stuff available sans all the CK stuff a player won't need. The same goes for a CK-only book. Making these as inexpensive softbounds is likely to increase their appeal as well and I'd imagine they'd still sell even after the complete CKG is released as one tome.

I have one revision to John's suggestion in regards to the subtitles. I think that the main title should remain "Castle Keeper Guide" because it makes it clear these are optional rules to be used at the CK's discretion and neither book is some kind of splatbook. For example:

- Castle Keeper Guide: Book I - The Adventurer's Backpack or (Adventuring Options)

- Castle Keeper Guide: Book II - The Castle Keeper's Vault (or Horde, etc.)

I think the idea of offering some incentive to subscribe to the whole thing as once is neat as well. That is, pre-order both softcovers and get the hardcover for free or at a discount.

In the end, you'll end up with possibly 3 marketable products. Players who might balk at paying $45 for one book might gladly bay $20 or so for just the parts they want.

I haven't voted yet because I want to see if Steve revises the options here.

By the way, my least favorite is option 4. I don't want a trimmed down version of the CKG. It's the same reason I don't like abridged books. I want all that content.
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Post by Frost »

seskis281 wrote:
6. Doing it this way means the softbacks would permit errata compilation so that the ultimate down-the-road hardback would be the cleanest possible volume

This is a nice, added bonus as well. You'll get proofreading feedback for free so that single CKG is spotless.
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Post by Sir Ironside »

Hey I read the whole thread before voting or posting! You can teach a old dog new tricks!

Initially I would've voted to push on and put the book out that was originally planned. That is still my #1 option.

If you had to do another option, the only one that I like would be the cleave thing. But, unlike others a softcover would really put me off. I'm looking at my AD&D stuff right now and I really like the cohesiveness of the books.

But I really don't like the backpack name sorry seskin281.
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Post by Omote »

I have thought about this for about an hour now, and came to the following conclusions:

I voted for DRIVE ON! This book may not be as hot as it was a few years ago, but once the buying public learns of the massive awesomness of this product, I think those dedicated to the Castles & Crusades game will purchase it. $40-$50 hardback books are quite common in the RPG industry in the past decade. I think that while some will be pushed away on the price tag, the majority of those who really like the game will come on board for the Castle Keeper's Guide. A $45 dollar book will probably end up being (next to the Players Handbook) the cornerstone TLG product. I think this will be an impressive cornerstone product for the company, and go a long way to showcase the talent and level of dedication for this great game. I also think that the singular CKG book will show off, quite strikingly, the amazing flexability to Castles & Crusades and that will ultimately lead to more sales. It's kind of like a single pebble that starts a landslide. The word of mouth between CKs and their players, word on the internet fora, and the like will make a single volume CKG viable, and the product it was always meant to be. A 200, 250, or 300 page core, hardbound book in the TLG lineup may go a long way to lend legitimacy to Castles & Crusades and Troll Lord Games from those who have not otherwise looked into the product.

However, as mentioned above, logical business decisions might have to win over. I think a lot of the majesty of the CKG will be lost breaking it into two volumes, but realistically this could be a good move.

I'm not sure how well the softback books have been for TLG, but the word of mouth seems to be good. I can't remember a single persona saying they hated the softbacks. There are those that prefer hardback books (such as myself), but I do not think that softback versus hardback will stop too many people from buying.

Overall, I say drive forward. But Steve, you are the man who knows what is going to work best for TLG. If two books is the way to go, so be it. I think the other options are of no real use to be honest.

All the best,

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Post by dunbruha »

I voted to split it. First into 2 softcovers, then later as hardbacks. I would rather have two smaller books than one huge one.

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Post by narpet »

I say, drop the excess baggage. It sounds like you really (originally) were trying to create a product that goes above and beyond being an actual game master's guide... more of a gm guide that includes a lot of new options for players as well.

I say just trim it down to being all about handling stuff that the GM only needs, and then make the other stuff into a Players Handbook II. I would definitely buy both.

Just my 6.5 cents

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Post by Deogolf »

I'm all for that Harvester's thingy coming out!!
You guys do what is best financially. I would love to see the CKG as a "BIG, BAD, HARDCOVER" book; but, if that means bogging down everything else and putting your ass in a sling, it may not be the best thing in the long run.

Since the CKG was never supposed to be "core" book to begin with, I went with splitting it in two. As Seskis stated before, softcover first, then combine to hardcover when it makes sense.

Just don't punish me any longer, Steve!!!
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Post by Relaxo »

Traveller wrote:
Cleave thy book in twain and present it in the main.

+3 Extra points for rhymed meter.
Option 1 hasn't been the best to date. I vote for a change.

Option 3 is no good: 3 ring binder doesn't wear well and as others have said, it creates another deadline for you to worry over. and after the subscription you'd still have to print hardbacks? that's double the overhead which is no solution at all.

Option 4 I don't like because I want it all.
I feel option 2 is the best:

John W really spells it out and I must say I agree on all points. (especially the 'beta testers' finding errata to ensure quality when it's reunited as a massive hardback)

Making a Player's options book available NOW will energize the market for the PHB and free Steve up to put more goodies to market, which we all need. (well TLG needs and we want) Like others have said, there's lots of CK material, and not too much Player stuff, so making that shift will be helpful. Like Steve said, we need new players to get involved, not just us over and over again. (we should all stay, of course)
I'd say do the Player's book ASAP for 2009 Holiday sales and then, commit to finishing the CK part to hit shelves Nov 2010 for that Holiday season.

Best of both worlds, giving us what we want and generating revenue, and capitalizing on the momentum of the 4th crusade (best of 3 worlds).
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