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The Fantasy Trip outsells GURPS in 2019?


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chuckdee

Explorer
Yes, they do well giving their audience what they want.

You'll get no disagreement about that from me.

So if you're a business, and you have an audience that supports your business at the level that you need to sustain your cash flow, do you (a) give your audience what they want or (b) take a risk and change what you're giving, hoping for that audience that may exist for this new thing that you're going to build and keep your base that you already have.

In this climate, in this niche hobby, I know what I'd pick...
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
So if you're a business, and you have an audience that supports your business at the level that you need to sustain your cash flow, do you (a) give your audience what they want or (b) take a risk and change what you're giving, hoping for that audience that may exist for this new thing that you're going to build and keep your base that you already have.

In this climate, in this niche hobby, I know what I'd pick...

And that is a totally fair assessment.

It is very easy to tell other people what to do when it is not your money on the line.
 

Either way it is moot. GURPS has an established reputation of being a complex ruleset.

SW and similar OSR games do not.

GURPS needs to have a game that shakes that reputation if they want to be more than they currently are.

TFT has possibilities, but a retail of near 100usd is not likely to get people to try out the system on a whim.

But SJG may be just fine with what they currently are, without having to change a thing. So from their point of view I recognize that they might not see the ROI in making a riskier moves.




But IMHO even GURPS lite, is not so lite.

It still has lots of fiddly things like variable skill and attribute costs, some combat calculations etc.

It could do with a ground up streamlining.

But that is just my opinion.

SJG knows their core audience, caters to it, and does relatively well in the scheme of things. They may see no need but to just keep doing what they are doing.
.

Personally, I find GURPS to be far less complicated than many editions/versions of D&D. I find the rules to be far more intuitive in comparison to how I imagine a situation plays out -even when accounting for fantastic elements.

As far as the TFT price, to which product are you alluding? There is a special $200 set which comes with a ridiculous amount of extras. Note that the $200 set also includes other boxed sets, which include their own extras. This means you're getting dice, battlemats, several adventures, cardboard standies (for monsters,) and a variety of other products.
If you only want Melee, it's free (for the pdf) or I think around $20 for the hard copy (which includes dice and such). I can see the $119 set on the TFT site, which includes the full game, dice, counters, two adventures, a map, and some other stuff.

In comparison, the 3 core D&D books are each around $40. $40*3 = $120, and that still doesn't include dice or the other things needed to play the game. The gift set (which comes with a DM screen) is $170, and only does not include extras (beyond the DM screen). Though, to be fair, it's possible to find sets on Amazon for about $100.
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
...
If you only want Melee, it's free (for the pdf) or I think around $20 for the hard copy (which includes dice and such). I can see the $119 set on the TFT site, which includes the full game, dice, counters, two adventures, a map, and some other stuff.

In comparison, the 3 core D&D books are each around $40. $40*3 = $120, and that still doesn't include dice or the other things needed to play the game. The gift set (which comes with a DM screen) is $170, and only does not include extras (beyond the DM screen). Though, to be fair, it's possible to find sets on Amazon for about $100.

A bit apples to oranges, D&D is the market leader.

The market leader can get away with things like having a short six year edition run to the release of 5e, have no backward compatibility to 4e, and still sell like crazy.

Potential up and comers have to walk a very fine line.

For SJG - any additional risk is probably not worth the trouble.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I played GURPS for a long time, with a 2 year run as GM. Don't have interest now to run it, but would play. Jealous of @darjr's GURPS Traveller leatherbound edition. I also have tons/most of the GTrav books, but never got it to the table sadly.

GURPS like all of its fellow 'toolkit' rpg's, seems to be phasing out of general use in the hobby.

Why waste time wading through some "tool Kit" rpg when you can play a complete game with much less upfront work?

Both of these resonate with me, although there are other toolkit rulesets out there still doing well. Besides SW, also FATE.

My personal opinion is based on my history as a FLGS owner. 4th Ed GURPS sold poorly, or at least compared to expectations. Most GURPS players I know, including my group, stayed with 3e. Folks just had too much invested in terms of dozens of sourcebooks that wouldn't get replicated for 4th. So why move to a new edition? But the company had published the new edition, and it wasn't really backwards compatible (although also wasn't that much of a departure). So they were stuck having to support this new edition, but a large proportion of their base stayed with 3e. That immediately meant any new 4e books were going to have low sales compared to a 3e book released at the same time in the edition-lifecycle (ie, Vehicles will be one of your first supplement releases - but the 4e Vehicles I'm sure sold way less than the 3d Vehicles book).

The other thing that reduced the popularity of GURPS was that they chose not to open it up for 3pp. I explicitly asked Steve about this at their booth at GTS (GAMA Trade Show) in ~2001. With the success of D&D 3rd (I asked) did SJG ever consider opening up GURPS to an open game license? I think that sort of platform play didn't map to SJG's short or long term vision - and I don't think they were able to conceive of a way that having an open license would help them and not cannibalize their own book sales. I personally think that was short-sighted, and if they had gone open-source, and allowed 3rd party publishers to publish GURPS 4e (or even 3e) work, GURPS would still be a powerhouse today, perhaps even matching D20 in relevance. But instead they ceded the "generic" platform to D20 - and are now a shadow of their 90's influence.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course. But GURPS used to be in the 2nd tier of relevance in the 90's RPG industry along with Shadowrun, Rifts, a few others. You had D&D and White Wolf as 1st tier, and then SJG was a major RPG player in the next level down with Fasa, Palladium, and a couple others that I can't remember. Today, SJG's RPG division feels much less relevant - TFT 2019/20 sales notwithstanding. I would hazard more people play Dungeon World than TFT, and definitely more people are playing Savage Worlds than GURPS.
 

GURPS like all of its fellow 'toolkit' rpg's, seems to be phasing out of general use in the hobby.
IMHO, systems like GURPS and HERO have lost out ever since 3e and the OGL/SRD.
Funny, but FFG is making enough off theirs to keep the line going.
Hero isn't exactly doing great, but it's not doing nothing and is still profitable.
EABA has a niche audience that loves it.
Nocturnal is continuing to publish WEG's 3 flavors of d6 system electronically.
Chaosium (which overlaps Nocturnal leadership-wise) still sells BRP at a profit.
Savage Worlds is paying the bills.
Apocalypse World has supported dozens of adapted cores.
Palladium is still selling adapted cores and rifts sourcebooks.
Fate sells widely in adapted cores, plus has a generic core.
Cortex Plus had several adapted cores, and a monolithic core; Cortex Prime is a universal core, but will have adapted cores for licensed properties...

TFT is the direction SJGames should have gone in when the D&D OGL came out. (Naturally, very easy to say with 20 years of hindsight of the direction of the hobby...)
It's also a direction they could not go, because of prior contracts between SJ and Howard Thompson... GURPS was literally built to be as close to TFT as would not get Howard suing SJ. (See Roleplayer, Issue 1)

It's only become available since the copyright recovery was added in 2014. Howard didn't put it back in print between notice and the recovery date, and so SJ was able to reclaim his own works - that's a few of the solos, plus Wizard, Melee, ItL and ITL. The best solos IMO are not his, tho'
 
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A bit apples to oranges, D&D is the market leader.

The market leader can get away with things like having a short six year edition run to the release of 5e, have no backward compatibility to 4e, and still sell like crazy.

Potential up and comers have to walk a very fine line.

For SJG - any additional risk is probably not worth the trouble.

To some extent, I agree. At the same time, a market leader can also take steps which push the target audience away. D&D 4E and Star Wars are (arguably) examples.

I was mostly responding the the dollar amounts listed. The cost to try TFT seems reasonable to me. Assuming a typical 5 person (1 DM and 4 players) group, the $120 (rounding up) set is $24 each. Springing for the $200 set is $40 each.

I would agree that GURPS has a reputation of complexity. Anecdotally, I haven't found that reputation to be accurate in actual play.

Edit: Further thoughts...

I don't -yet*- own TFT, so I am not as familiar with the various options for buying into the game. All of the options I mentioned above are versions which come with a plethora of extras.

TFT also has a $35 version, complete with Melee, Wizard, everything those two sets contain, and In The Labyrinth. That means an entry fee of $7/person for a group to try the game. Assuming shipping, there's likely more cost involved. Even so, many restaurants charge more than that for a one-time meal. A meal at McDonald's (which is questionably categorized as "food") is around the same price.

*My usual group has been playing a lot of FFG Star Wars. We've discussed picking up the Genesys system.
 
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Sir Brennen

Adventurer
Savage worlds is very 3pp friendly, it has cultivated several complete games, and several that use it's relatively thin core book.

Thin "core book" being the key.
Yes, that was the distinction I made originally
Transhuman Space, Banestorm: IP that never took off - that is the risk one takes.
Transhuman Space is one of the best supported original settings GURPS has had, with multiple supplements and adventures, including some for the latest edition. And on the licensed side, Traveler had a huge amount of material, support and popularity.
Either way it is moot. GURPS has an established reputation of being a complex ruleset.

SW and similar OSR games do not.

GURPS needs to have a game that shakes that reputation if they want to be more than they currently are.
I take it you mean SJG needs to have a such a game, since GURPS is a game system. But on that note, I think a big part of SJG's strategy is diversification. Besides GURPS, they also have Munchkin, which has been a huge success for them. They have a large portfolio of games of all types, not just TTRPG.
TFT has possibilities, but a retail of near 100usd is not likely to get people to try out the system on a whim.
But an $18.00 PDF isn't a big investment, nor a $35.00 PDF bundle of the core rules, plus micro-games, adventures and other add-ons. Or even the core rules in hardback for $35.00 (or $30.00).
 
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Jaeger

That someone better.
Hindsight is 20/20 of course. But GURPS used to be in the 2nd tier of relevance in the 90's RPG industry along with Shadowrun, Rifts, a few others. You had D&D and White Wolf as 1st tier, and then SJG was a major RPG player in the next level down with Fasa, Palladium, and a couple others that I can't remember. Today, SJG's RPG division feels much less relevant - TFT 2019/20 sales notwithstanding. I would hazard more people play Dungeon World than TFT, and definitely more people are playing Savage Worlds than GURPS.

Somewhere along the line SJG started going backwards in audience and prominence from where it was in the hobby since the 90's.

The reasons for that are probably rather complex and intertwined.


Funny, but FFG is making enough off theirs to keep the line going.
Hero isn't exactly doing great, but it's not doing nothing and is still profitable.

It's all relative though. See Eyes of Nine's post above.


TFT also has a $35 version, complete with Melee, Wizard, everything those two sets contain, and In The Labyrinth. That means an entry fee of $7/person for a group to try the game.

Ohh, good on them.
 

lordabdul

Explorer
SJG knows their core audience, caters to it, and does relatively well in the scheme of things. They may see no need but to just keep doing what they are doing.
Exactly. The goal is not to "win" some kind of market share race, unless you follow the worst tendencies of capitalist thinking. I'm totally happy if SJGames continues to work on GURPS in a sustainable way without necessarily chasing "growth". As long as they're making enough money to pay writers a reasonable wage, it's fine. Of course, it's always nice when new people come and play a game you like...

In other news, I hope all of you GURPS players have backed the new Pyramid Kickstarter!
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Backed on day 1 and thrilled to see us blow past so many stretch goals. At $6 for three 48-page magazines, each featuring a dozen articles, it’s a pretty great deal!
I don't even play GURPS anymore, but $6 for 144 pages of RPG goodness - I couldn't say no. And heck, they may get to 156 pages (52 pps each). Probably not, but 3 days left and only need another USD4500 or so.

They are really smart to also add the $X worth of credit in their store, usually for a discount.
 

MGibster

Legend
Hindsight is 20/20 of course. But GURPS used to be in the 2nd tier of relevance in the 90's RPG industry along with Shadowrun, Rifts, a few others. You had D&D and White Wolf as 1st tier, and then SJG was a major RPG player in the next level down with Fasa, Palladium, and a couple others that I can't remember. Today, SJG's RPG division feels much less relevant - TFT 2019/20 sales notwithstanding. I would hazard more people play Dungeon World than TFT, and definitely more people are playing Savage Worlds than GURPS.
I think gaming tastes have changed a bit since the 1990s and the trend was moving away from games like GURPS. I'm not sure if an open license or anything else would have actually revitalized the game line. SJG probably did the wisest thing by putting their efforts into more profitable endeavors like Munchkin.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I think gaming tastes have changed a bit since the 1990s and the trend was moving away from games like GURPS. I'm not sure if an open license or anything else would have actually revitalized the game line. SJG probably did the wisest thing by putting their efforts into more profitable endeavors like Munchkin.
Certainly. I think in fact if they had opened up their license, they could have sat back and continued to be relevant and just reaped the rewards of their core books continuing to sell with almost on work on their part at all.
 




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