Showing posts with label Monte Cook Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monte Cook Games. Show all posts

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The High End Of Gaming: Looking At Invisible Sun And The Gods War


It is interesting to watch the relative progresses of the two luxury table top games on Kickstarter right now. We have Glorantha: The Gods War from Petersen Games, and Invisible Sun from Monte Cook Games. I haven't back either, nor do I plan to, and the occasional analysis like this is part of why I don't back many Kickstarters.

This information is from Kicktraq, and current at the time of this post.

The Gods War
Backers: 1103
Average Daily Pledges: $113,012
Average Pledge Per Backer: $307
Funding: $339,037 of $100,000
Dates: Aug 16th -> Sep 15th (30 days)
Project By: Sandy Petersen

Invisible Sun
Backers: 903
Average Daily Pledges: $62,361
Average Pledge Per Backer: $276
Funding: $249,445 of $210,653
Dates: Aug 15th -> Sep 16th (33 days)
Project By: Monte Cook Games

It makes sense that Gods War would be more likely to fund first (it did), because its funding goal was about half that of Invisible Sun. It looked like Invisible Sun would fun on its first day, but it didn't until the second. Gods War funded on its first day.

Both of these games have pretty impressive names behind them. Sandy Petersen pretty much created horror gaming with Call of Cthulhu, not to mention work on seminal computer games like Doom. The Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter raised just over $1.4 million.

Monte Cook was one of the architects of the D20 System, and has worked on properties as diverse as World of Darkness and Call of Cthulhu. With the mega adventure Ptolus, he created what was probably the first successful boutique RPG supplement. The first Monte Cook Games game, Numenera, raised a little over half a million on Kickstarter.

These are both big producers, backed by designers with impressive pedigrees. According to Kicktraq, both are on a path to big numbers, just over $3 million for Gods War and just over $2 million for Invisible Sun. Of course, Kicktraq's projections are often wrong at this early of a point in a campaign.

I think that the important question from all of this is...Does this mean that we're going to see a spike in high end/boutique gaming items? Since both of these projects have funded, and are on track to make a good bit of money I think that is an easy guess that there will be more people will try to Kickstart high end gaming products. Will they succeed is an entirely different question. Sandy Petersen and Monte Cook are fairly unique individuals in tabletop gaming. There probably aren't a lot of creators with the cache to do what they do. I can see a lot of creators trying to create these types of products, I don't see many of them succeeding at it.

A lot of the conversations about Invisible Sun have revolved around the high price, but I think that can be a fallacious conversation. I get that people want games to cost less than $197 to buy into them. We have to get over the idea that all games are supposed to be cheap all the time. The fact that Invisible Sun or Gods War is successful in funding doesn't mean that all of a sudden everyone else is going to be charging more for their games. There is a good chance that there are a lot of publishers aren't paying themselves for the work that they do, or that creators are undercharging their fees because this is a "dream job." It is still a job, and if it is a job it should be what people are living off of.

I think that people forget that their beloved TSR games were made by people who worked every day in an office, and made a weekly paycheck for it. They weren't working for exposure, or to "live the dream."

I think that a big part of why Gods War is doing better than Invisible Sun, at least for now, is because the fans of board games understand better that if you want quality game designs and quality products, you have to pay for them. Meanwhile, role-playing fans still think that books with black & white art was good enough when they started, and is still good enough now. This isn't coming down on games with black and white art. I have games on my shelves with black and white art. I make games with black and white art, because they are what I can afford. I don't think that these games should be the standard for all the other games, however. I am perfectly fine with people like Cook or Petersen making games that I am not going to play. I don't expect my tastes to be catered to by publishers. The great thing about RPGs is the fact that, if games aren't being made that I am interested in play I can make those games myself.

So here we are as a fandom and as a business, standing on the edge of a cliff, with our toes dangling into empty space as we can feel the ground crumbling beneath us. We can decide that it is okay to embrace high end gaming items that we might not necessarily want, because that means that we will get better choices and more diversity overall in what is available. Or we can jump, cursing and screaming that it was somebody else's fault, and they are ruining the hobby, or the industry, or...something. I think it is time for growth.

There are always going to be a wide variety of tabletop games out there. From people who put books together on Lulu or the OneBookSheld sites, to companies like Palladium, to companies like Wizards of the Coast or Pelgrane, all the way up to companies like Petersen Games and Monte Cook Games. The existence of games like Invisible Sun or Night's Black Agents does stop Palladium from making more Rifts books. The existence of the D&D 5E books doesn't stop some guy with a computer, and a gaming group, from crafting a book from his play experiences and putting it up on Lulu with a few pieces of clip art. To think that Invisible Sun is ruining gaming, or making it more expensive, just by its existence is silly. We have a vibrant hobby. We have a vibrant industry. There are more games being produced now than probably ever before. We are getting games of all sorts of genres, playstyles and prices. And that is an awesome thing.

It is interesting to look at the numbers for Invisible Sun and for the Gods War and see where they are going to go. I'm sure, just in the time that it has taken me to write this article, that both of them have jumped in backers and funding levels. Even though neither of the games are for me, I wish them well and hope that both of them make a lot of money for their creators, and that allows them to make a lot of games for people. I hope that people have a lot of fun with those games, out in the world.

We need to stop worrying about what is going to ruin gaming, and spend more time thinking about how we're going to each make it better.



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Angry Robot Books To Publish Numenera And Strange Novels In Conjunction With Monte Cook Games

This is some pretty good news for fans of Monte Cook Games' Numenera and The Strange game lines. MCG has announced a deal with Angry Robot Books to publish and distribute fiction based on their games, including the previously announce Numenera novel The Poison Eater by Shanna Germain and further novels from Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell.

If you aren't familiar with Angry Robot Books, you should check them out. They have published novels from authors with gaming credentials like Matt Forbeck (A-Mortals [no longer in print at Angry Robot Books but worth finding a copy of]), Chuck Wendig (Blackbirds) and Dan Abnett (too many things to list). They are top flight publishers of great genre fiction.

Hopefully this will also end in better representation of games from Monte Cook Games in places like Barnes & Noble, where Angry Robot Books already has a strong shelf presence.