Cubicle 7 No Longer Producing The One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth

Cubicle 7 has announced that it will cease publishing Tolkien-related games, including The One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth, in early 2020. The One Ring 2E is cancelled.

Cubicle 7 has announced that it will cease publishing Tolkien-related games, including The One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth, in early 2020. The One Ring 2E is cancelled.

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‘I am with you at present,’ said Gandalf, ‘but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire.’


We have some very unfortunate and unexpected news to share. Contractual differences arose recently which we have been unable to resolve, and so we have decided to end our licensing agreement with Sophisticated Games. It is with regret that we have made this very tough decision to withdraw.

This means we will cease publishing The One Ring and Adventures in Middle-earth™ in the first half of 2020. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give us enough time to release the much-anticipated The One Ring – The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game second edition. As many of you know, our first edition of The One Ring is eight years old, and we had high hopes of a full product line to support our second edition. Our team have worked incredibly hard on this new edition; with many of the announced titles already written and edited, so being very close to completion makes this decision even harder.

We fully appreciate how invested so many of you are, both in regards to stock and your love of the game. Especially those who have followed our journey from first edition, or have customers who have pre-ordered the second edition or Rohan Region Guide. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.

We will continue selling our existing stock over the next few months. We will be offering some discounts on our website for consumers as part of our Black Friday sale this week. We will not be reprinting any of these titles, so if you wish to stock up, we would suggest you contact your preferred distributor soon.
 

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Cergorach

The Laughing One
Oh, god, no it's not. If it was, they'd all be selling drugs, not RPGs. Businesses have plenty of priorities beyond profit.
I would to argue the opposite, for (most) of us, it is a drug! I know there's a lot of booksniffers out there... ;-)

As a side note: When I read between the lines of the announcement, it sounds as if there was a contract renewal coming up next year and the sub-licensor wanted or changed the new contract in such a way that either raised the prices or constrained what C7 could do with the license. This is not new in the industry, this has happened before, it will happen again. A NDA would make it impossible for C7 to expand beyond the current statement on the subject, so all we have is speculation (and possibly leaks)...

C7 is license shop by the looks of it and they have 5 other game lines to pursue.
 

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innerdude

Legend
Sophisticated Games commissioned The One Ring RPG from Francesco Nepitello back in 2008. The game that he - with Marco Maggi - created, exceeded our best expectations and has gone on to become one of the best - and successful - Role Playing Games of all time. Francesco and Sophisticated Games have had many other collaborations since then.

We were saddened - and indeed surprised- to learn this week from Cubicle 7, our long term distributor and publishing partner, that they had decided against publishing the 2nd edition of TOR. This came in the middle of some discussions on the dynamics of how Francesco, Sophisticated Games and Cubicle 7 should work together in the future. But at no stage had there been any suggestion that TOR2 would not be published.

Fans of the game should be assured that Sophisticated Games, in conjunction with Francesco and Marco, will do their best to rectify the current uncertainties.

Looking at this, my speculation is that the situation is similar to what happened to the Nosgoth video game a few years back.

Game development company Psyonix had been granted a license by Sony Interactive to create a game based on the Legacy of Kain intellectual property. Rather than sticking with the tried-and-true action RPG formula of the prior Kain games, Psyonix instead created Nosgoth, which was an online-only, PvP 3rd-person shooter of vampires versus humans.

Having never played a single minute of any of the Kain games, I didn't have any connection to the IP other than what I saw in Nosgoth. I personally loved the game, but it was roundly criticized by the gaming community at large for straying away from what they wanted from the Legacy of Kain license (a game like the others in the series). It never really caught on and was never profitable.

Just as significant however, was that Psyonix had just released a game of their own creation, a little game you might know as Rocket League. And it became obvious within weeks of Rocket League's release that Psyonix was going to be infinitely more profitable putting their resources into it rather than Nosgoth, which had essentially become a millstone around their neck. They weren't making money on it, but to even keep the game up and running they had to keep the matchmaking servers up and running and continue patching it.

So what did Psyonix do? They fufilled the terms of their development contract to the letter, publicly announced they were letting their LoK license lapse, and weeks later shut Nosgoth down entirely.

Based on the reports of corporate restructuring going on at Cubicle7, it feels like something similar is going on. Releasing TOR v2 would continue to take significant investment in company resources. If there were suddenly any snags at all in talks related to the ongoing use of the ME license, it's not hard to see how Cubicle7 leadership might be inclined to say "Eh, not worth it. Drop it and move on," especially when they seem to be having significant success with the Warhammer Fantasy license.

For whatever reason, Cubicle7 decided that the terms of the ME license no longer created enough value for their company.

Though the wording of the quote from Sophisticated Games does call into question whether both parties were negotiating in good faith. If either side had/has an ulterior motive to not extend the licensing agreement, it would be simple enough for either party to add provisions to the contract negotiation that they know would be untenable to the other side. At that point it's easy for both sides to throw their hands in the air and tell their corporate shareholders, "Eh, we tried, but the other side just didn't want to play ball. Waddya gonna do?" It's an effective face-saving move if you're actively trying to get out of your side of the equation.

None of us will ever know the circumstances of the contract negotiation, so it's all supposition and inference on our part, but the wording of the quote is interesting in this context.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
According to this post on rpg.net, there's still some (small) hope for the line.

This intrigued me, so I wrote to Sophisticated Games myself, saying how regrettable it was that TOR and AiME were being shut down, and that I hoped they'd find a way to keep them going. Notwithstanding the greeting and sign off, here's the response that I received:

Do not worry, the line will continue!

I'm not sure which line they meant, TOR or AiME (possibly the latter, since I mentioned that I enjoyed that one more), but this is still hopeful.
 

Can you be a bit more specific about what you think failed? I just ask because I never got to play ToR 1e, and was wondering if it was worth trying.

It's a much more complex system than it seems at first blush. And while the mechanics read well, and are all very evocative of Middle Earth and the source material, they do not mesh together well. The various sub-systems seem tacked together. And as a rules reference, the books were awful. Something simple like travelling through a forest and then resting involved references 4 or 5 sections of the rules scattered over two books.

By the fourth session we were still spending almost as much time looking things up as we were playing, so we shut down the campaign.

These faults - cobbled together sub-systems explained poorly in a badly organized rules book - are hardly confined to Cubicle 7. But they're often overlooked so long as the production values look impressive enough.
 

Hurin70

Adventurer
It's a much more complex system than it seems at first blush. And while the mechanics read well, and are all very evocative of Middle Earth and the source material, they do not mesh together well. The various sub-systems seem tacked together. And as a rules reference, the books were awful. Something simple like travelling through a forest and then resting involved references 4 or 5 sections of the rules scattered over two books.

By the fourth session we were still spending almost as much time looking things up as we were playing, so we shut down the campaign.

These faults - cobbled together sub-systems explained poorly in a badly organized rules book - are hardly confined to Cubicle 7. But they're often overlooked so long as the production values look impressive enough.

Thank you very much for that clear explanation. That helps me a great deal!
 

darjr

I crit!
The new core book is a much better reference. I dint agree with most of the above post but the original boxed set was not a good reference.
 

aramis erak

Legend
The new core book is a much better reference. I dint agree with most of the above post but the original boxed set was not a good reference.
The only issue I've had with TOR1.0 was, as you, the splitting things between the two books.
I don't feel the systems tacked together; they provide a cohesive system for me, especially once the song and treasure rules were added (Rivendel).

And TOR 1.1 solved the reference issue, as you imply.

Not everyone grasps the interactions, but the travel montage system is an intentional and powerful old-school resource drain... but the resources being hope and health, and to a lesser degree, sanity.

Is it perfect? No- if it were, I wouldn't have added 3 additional combat maneuvers, and added the expansion materials.
Does it do Tolkien well as written? Oh, hell yes!
 



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