What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook - 7th Print Edition

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Support and C&C Fandom

Josh over at Tartarus Press posed an interesting question.. you can his post HERE. In essence, he asks what happened and is there any way to turn it around.

Big questions and he covers some of the issues quite nicely. Also thanks for the compliment with regards to the material we produced for C&C -- I do pride myself with the fine work I put in to those adventures and I always tried to improve upon the last product I did. But to the question at hand.

I don't think it was one particular incident that led to dwindling fan supported material. I think it was a combination of factors. The biggest problem with the C&C Society was that very few shouldered the burden of keeping it going. Fewer were willing to tackle the responsibilities of providing direction but this was largely a problem of having spare time. At the time, when some members stepped down from leading rolls, I even offered to take on some of the responsibilities. Unfortunately, I was never given the opportunity. The material for the last issue of the Domesday zine was passed on to someone else and TLG was to push on with some of its own initiatives for the Society. One of the things TLG believed in (for the Society) was to use it as a vehicle to spread 'C&C' by members doing demos and in-store sessions of the game. They supplied members willing to do this with materials (known as the Harbinger box set) to facilitate this. It was (and still is) a great idea. Sadly, the society putting together material for the sake of putting out material ceased to be and those member who were most prolific have gone on to do other things.

When all of this came down, TLG and their product line was in a bit of flux and actually has been for the past couple of years. In 2009, they released the fourth printing of the PHB which was a bit expanded and featured a couple of key revisions. 2009 was a decent year with a few big releases -- very important with the loss of the Trigee license at the end of 2008. However, 2010 saw fewer key releases with the most significant book being the "Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde". While there were other cool releases in 2010 such as "Fields of Battle" or "Harvesters", 2011 had even less although the one product of note last year was the long-awaited "Castle Keeper's Guide". Sure, there were a bunch of other adventure modules over the past couple of years as well but nothing to really support the core game. I'm not necessarily thinking this is entirely bad though ... all you have to do is to take a look at the multitudes of books for Pathfinder or 3rd Edition D&D. People just won't keep re-purchasing the core books once they have them so these models require constant supporting material for the game. Adventure modules also only sell so well since that is the one thing that enterprising GM's don't mind developing themselves. In any case, less big titles coming out for C&C means a reduced interest in some cases simply because it isn't in the forefront anymore.

Arcana Creations and Brave Halfling Publishing also noticed a steady drop in sales for our C&C related material. The biggest seller was the first C&C release but each subsequent C&C related release has fewer sales interestingly enough. And this was before Arcana Creations fell off the radar in 2010 and 2011. I had always planned to do more and I still am actually but I also have to weigh general interest as far as numbers are concerned -- especially if I have to concern myself with an art and production budget.

Now all of this isn't just doom and gloom. I really think TLG is trying to turn this around. The stuff is selling and not just through direct sales -- it's just not Pathfinder or D&D. Last year's release of the CKG did give it a good bump and TLG has three big projects lined up to be released in the first two quarters of this year (one of which I recently reviewed). Arcana Creations will be putting out at least two modules this year for the game and pretty much all the material which will be included in the "Ballista Rules Companion" can be used with C&C.

TLG just needs to keep focused in order to remain relevant and hopefully it will be enough to bring committed fans back to the fold and they can do their own thing and just play the game. And, while I remain hopeful, Arcana Creations will diversify in case C&C continues to falter amongst the fans as they more on to explore other gaming options.