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Alien & Fate Join ICv2's Top 5 RPGs

Alien and Fate join ICv2's tabletop RPG sales chart, while Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder maintain 1st and 2nd places as usual, positions 3-5 always change. Cyberpunk, from R. Talsorian, has climbed from 5th place last time, to 3rd place. This chart is for September-December 2020, based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers.

alien.jpg


Position​
GamePublisher
1​
Dungeons & DragonsWizards of the Coast
2​
PathfinderPaizo
3​
CyberpunkR. Talsorian
4​
AlienFree League
5​
FateEvil Hat Productions

As always you can see all the historical charts here.
 
Last edited:

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

MGibster

Legend
Nothing happened. It is that Fate is a game you can play, but it is an engine used for games as well - Fate of Cthulhu, Atomic Robo, The Dresden Files, Tachyon Squadron - and then there's Fate Accelerated and a few titles under it, and Fate Condensed just came out...
Kind of like GURPS or the Hero System rpg. If I told you I was playing GURPS you'd have no idea what the game was all about only that I was usually a particular set of rules. Quite frankly I'm a little surprised to see Fate on the list. Not because it's a bad game, it's a good game in my opinion, but I just don't know many people who play it.

So good to see Free League doing well. What a quality game maker.
It is nice to see them. I've been impressed with ever Alien product I've bought so far even if I haven't had a chance to play it!
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Kind of like GURPS or the Hero System rpg. If I told you I was playing GURPS you'd have no idea what the game was all about only that I was usually a particular set of rules. Quite frankly I'm a little surprised to see Fate on the list. Not because it's a bad game, it's a good game in my opinion, but I just don't know many people who play it.

They did just put out Fate Condensed, I think, so that may have delivered a spike in sales.
 

I doubt Hasbro dares to publish a sci-fi franchise if Disney doesn't forgive a new rival for his Star Wars franchise.
As a reminder, since this insistence keeps coming up, Hasbro licensed a Transformers RPG to Renegade Games. They are also doing GI Joe and My Little Pony. The agreement reads the same as what Renegade did with Power Rangers, which includes board, card, and role style games.

GI Joe and Transformers both have sci-fi in their history. Joe uses a just-around-the-corner future tech and Transformers are clearly a sci-fi franchise.

We don't have to guess about this things. We don't need to speculate about them. They're a reality that are in creation from a 2nd party with a strong history of partnership with Wizards/Hasbro.

Disney wasn't involved at all.
 

You are almost right. Do you remember the doll franchise Monster High by Matell? I have readed about a future live-action adaptation. OK. Matell wanted to publish a spin-off, Ever After High, based of the children by the famous fairy tales, for example Apple White as Snowhite's daughter and Raven Queen as daughter of Snowhite's stepmother. Disney wasn't happy because they thought it would be a potential rival for their own princess franchise, and they broke relations with Matell. Then Hasbro could sell toys based in Disney franchises, for example the figures of "Descendants". Transformers is (mecha) sci-fi, but it is not space-opera, it's not a potential rival for Star Wars.

I would add some link about this, but I didn't find one in English language.
 

agrayday

Explorer
They have the most of the 1e line still in print and for sale.

These are the oversized paperback versions. I have many of them.

In addition, there are still some of the later printings of the 1e hardbacks still on the shelves.
With Savage Worlds edition being based on 1E content... it will be a nice portal for Paizo & Community to move 1E stuff too....
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
This could prove to Wizards of the Coast the SciFi DnD is not worth it if Paizo's Pathfinder 2e already thrashers Paizo's Starfinder that has a two year headstart.
Not really how sales of books (I doubt if RPGs are significantly different, it's common across many products) works. Most of the people who are going to but Starfinder already have it, and no other product sells as much as the core rules. General estimate in publishing is that half your sales happen in the first three months, half the rest over the next three, and the remainder over the life of the product.


More generally, I suspect if the products in places 6-10 were readily available, I suspect we'd see quite a few regulars that get into and out of the Top 5 are consistently in the Top-10. It's just that they get overtaken quite regularly by whatever is new and hot, where D&D and Pathfinder are enough ahead of other products that they aren't going to be overtaken by any other RPG D&D is too big and Pathfinder will have enough new product out as well as a long tail that a new game even in it's first period of highest sales probably isn't going to overtake them. Especially since it'll be a new product competing against games with a lot of existing items too.
 

This could prove to Wizards of the Coast the SciFi DnD is not worth it if Paizo's Pathfinder 2e already thrashers Paizo's Starfinder that has a two year headstart.
Starfinder is in no meaningful way a "sci-fi" RPG. It's pure fantasy with light sci-fi trappings. Spelljammer had more concern for "the science".

Alien, whilst primarily horror, is actually sci-fi. Cyberpunk is actually sci-fi. So it's bizarre to think Starfinder's performance is more important than those.
 

GreyLord

Hero
Starfinder is in no meaningful way a "sci-fi" RPG. It's pure fantasy with light sci-fi trappings. Spelljammer had more concern for "the science".

Alien, whilst primarily horror, is actually sci-fi. Cyberpunk is actually sci-fi. So it's bizarre to think Starfinder's performance is more important than those.
I'd put Starfinder in line with Star Wars RPGs and others in that it is Space Opera vs. something like Traveller which is trying more to be Science Fiction.

It's sort of like the difference between Shadowrun and Cyberpunk. One invests in mystical powers and abilities while the other tries to have something of how they guess a future of mankind may be.
 


I'd put Starfinder in line with Star Wars RPGs and others in that it is Space Opera vs. something like Traveller which is trying more to be Science Fiction.

It's sort of like the difference between Shadowrun and Cyberpunk. One invests in mystical powers and abilities while the other tries to have something of how they guess a future of mankind may be.
Really? I'm not an expert on Starfinder but I glancing at it got the impression it was at least as wacky as Shadowrun and Shadowrun is definitely significantly further-out than Star Wars, metaphysically. To me, Star Wars is science fantasy, and like, shading towards Star Wars but still primarily sci-fi genre-wise you have stuff like Star Trek and Mass Effect (where stuff like psychic powers exists, but has some sort of faux-scientific explanation most of the time), then you have stuff like Traveller and The Expanse which isn't "hard" SF (given all the FTL and so on), but which is pretty much as hard as you're likely to see in most RPGs. YMMV of course.

But anyway, I think it's off-brand science fantasy at best, where Alien and Cyberpunk are right towards the other end (Alien has what, FTL drives and artificial gravity? Cyberpunk has nothing entirely outside the realms of possibility that I can immediately think of), and both are doing great, so we have evidence that sci-fi-oriented games can do well.
 

Sunsword

Adventurer
Nothing happened. It is that Fate is a game you can play, but it is an engine used for games as well - Fate of Cthulhu, Atomic Robo, The Dresden Files, Tachyon Squadron - and then there's Fate Accelerated and a few titles under it, and Fate Condensed just came out...

So, it may be hard to say what, exactly, they are counting under that title.

Okay, I can see that. Was FATE of Cthulhu the last release?
 

Sunsword

Adventurer
Most every game store I've ever been to is mostly made up of older stock that never sold when it was first ordered, including previous editions...

While that is definitely true, I can still order PF1 stuff and have several groups that shop with me that didn't want to change to PF2 because of the investment they made in PF1 but didn't have quite everything.
 



I'd put Starfinder in line with Star Wars RPGs and others in that it is Space Opera vs. something like Traveller which is trying more to be Science Fiction.

It's sort of like the difference between Shadowrun and Cyberpunk. One invests in mystical powers and abilities while the other tries to have something of how they guess a future of mankind may be.
Except that Traveller isn't trying to be SF; it's intended to be Space Opera, or at least, that was and is Marc's intent. Inertial but reactionless drives, habitable worlds everywhere, psionics, easy superluminal travel, gravitics, naturally occuring animatter systems, age-of-sail inspired combat, age of sail inspired trade... (Exception: T:TNE was trying to be hard SF. It failed. It also failed to appeal to the vast majority of CT and MT players, while drawing a much smaller, largely new to Traveller, audience.)

Star Trek is right on that same slope of Space Opera with occasional attempts to make it less SO and more SF.
Both wind up in the slippery slope betwixt and waggling back and forth. Trek has easy superluminal, psionics, loads of earthlike worlds, multiple "look human except for one feature" humanoid species, gravitics, zapguns.

Star Wars is fully into techno-fantasy in space, every bit as unrealistic as Starfinder, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Lensman;/ all three of which are fun but highly unrealistic. All of which are settings with a strong magic elements as major plot points, improbably fast accelerations,

Alien's actually harder than all but traveller of those mentioned. But it's still on the SF edge of Space Opera: Hyperdrive, multiple habitable worlds, gravitics.
 

Aldarc

Legend
You know, science fantasy (or "techno-fantasy in space") and space opera are not mutually exclusive categories. And considering that the heart of Star Wars is melodramatic adventure, chivalric romance, and large stakes interstellar wars, it's pretty clearly Space Opera too, even featuring operatic leitmotifs.
 

You know, science fantasy (or "techno-fantasy in space") and space opera are not mutually exclusive categories. And considering that the heart of Star Wars is melodramatic adventure, chivalric romance, and large stakes interstellar wars, it's pretty clearly Space Opera too, even featuring operatic leitmotifs.
the SWEU, yes. The Movies? no. Campbellian monomyth that happens to have WW II dogfights in space, and knights with laser swords in the prequels. Wizards with laser swords in the OT and animated series (CW, TCW, Rebels).

There's very little relationship at all to the chivalric romances (and Solo is anything BUT chivalrous), but there is a way too large bunch of "space has atmosphere"/Phlogiston/Luminiferous_Ether maneuvering.

Ep IV is literally a cross-breed of The Dam Busters and a slight dash of Errol Flynn, and the start of the Campbellian monomyth. That it's in space is almost irrelevant to the plot, and mostly cosmetic, Make the ships wet navy, and the death star a floating island...
 

Aldarc

Legend
the SWEU, yes. The Movies? no.
The movies? Yes. "Space Opera" has commonly been used to describe Star Wars before there was a notion of the EU, and Star Wars has been attributed to a rebirth of the genre. You have to reconcile everything that you wrote below with the fact that Star Wars IS widely regarded as a space opera, if not the most definitive one of pop culture.

Campbellian monomyth that happens to have WW II dogfights in space, and knights with laser swords in the prequels. Wizards with laser swords in the OT and animated series (CW, TCW, Rebels).

There's very little relationship at all to the chivalric romances (and Solo is anything BUT chivalrous), but there is a way too large bunch of "space has atmosphere"/Phlogiston/Luminiferous_Ether maneuvering.

Ep IV is literally a cross-breed of The Dam Busters and a slight dash of Errol Flynn, and the start of the Campbellian monomyth. That it's in space is almost irrelevant to the plot, and mostly cosmetic, Make the ships wet navy, and the death star a floating island...
Good day, sir.
 

You know, science fantasy (or "techno-fantasy in space") and space opera are not mutually exclusive categories. And considering that the heart of Star Wars is melodramatic adventure, chivalric romance, and large stakes interstellar wars, it's pretty clearly Space Opera too, even featuring operatic leitmotifs.
This is true. Space Opera is more about the general style and can certainly incorporate both science fantasy and sci-fi, though I don't actually think the OT Star Wars is a very good example of it. It is definitely true that it gets called that a lot, but that merely means it's one of a long list of "distressed" terms. Like many of those terms, the majority of the usage is correct - it's just one random thing that's seen as an examplar when it's kind of more towards the edge. I would say the the more recent sequel trilogy, especially TFA and TLJ (TROS is such a mess it barely has a genre) is much more on-beam for solidly "Space Opera". Obviously one can go further too - I mean in Farscape I think there's actual operatic singing at one particularly dramatic point.
 

Aldarc

Legend
though I don't actually think the OT Star Wars is a very good example of it.
Definitely don't agree with that.

From TV Tropes:
The ideal space opera, as described by Brian Aldiss, contains most if not all of the following criteria:

  1. The world must be in peril.
  2. There must be a quest,
  3. And a man or woman to meet the mighty hour.
  4. That man or woman must confront aliens and exotic creatures.
  5. Space must flow past the ports like wine from a pitcher.
  6. Blood must rain down the palace steps,
  7. And ships launch out into the louring dark.
  8. There must be a woman or man fairer than the skies,
  9. And a villain darker than a Black Hole.
  10. And all must come right in the end.
And Wikipedia:
Hartwell and Cramer define space opera as:

... colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes.[4]:10–18
It seems difficult to argue, even if one is simply naysaying for the sake of naysaying, that either of these workable definitions for 'Space Opera' don't readily apply to the OT Star Wars.
 

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