1. The new higher file size and higher bit rate is excessive. I certainly wouldn’t go higher than 64kbps – usually 32 or 48 is fine. 160 is crazy.

  2. Another great show. You can also hear Allan which is a plus.

    You guys seem to be struggling to find value in sci-fi and alternative wargame products. I got the scoop on an early front runner that a lot of games have tried to emulate, some quite literally, one designed with this product in hand, and so that’s said, email sent.

    I love the show and I am on the case to try and download episodes to my Nano.


  3. Guys, YMG’s Battlegrounds sold 600 copies at GenCon Indy alone. That’s an amazing weekend of sales from a independent game company.

    It is a really nice looking product and it appeals to people who want a nice looking game on the cheap. It’s MUCH cheaper to get a big army made out of cards than one made out of metal or plastic. And it’s fantastically easier to carry around 500 units if they are on cards than if they are miniatures.

    I think this is innovative. I think it’s tapping into an untapped market — people who like wargames but who don’t want to spend a fortune on them.

    Comments that wargamers all feel the need to have miniatures ignores the history of companies like Steve Jackson Games and SSI which sold numerous inexpensive wargames using cardboard chits.

    This type of wargame splits the difference — it is nice and colorful, it is simpler to deal with than moving tiny chits around, but it’s not as expensive as an unpainted miniatures game.

    Heroclix and the other Clix games showed that there are a certain number of wargamers out there who:

    a) want simpler ways to track unit damage and capabilities and yet have some variety in their games; and

    b) actually prefer to not have to pick up an extra hobby (painting miniatures) just to play wargames;

    c) realize that there are less expensive, viable mediums to produce war game units in than metal

    Regarding PDF card games, I don’t think they sell well, because, if they are color, they burn ink out of your inkjet (which is expensive), and if you don’t have a rotary cutter and heavy cardstock handy, they come out substandard.

    Would I rather spend $7.00 – $10.00 on a Cheapass Game, pre-printed, pre-cut, and with packaging? Or would I rather spend $5.00 – $10.00 on a PDF card game? Generally I would rather spend the money on a “canned” game instead of a PDF game. I think lots of people agree.

    That said, I am intrigued by Infinite Armies (though I have yet to play it), and I have bought another PDF card game from RPGNOW recently, “A Cold Day in Hell” which is really fun for a low price tag.

    I think producers of PDF card games really ought to keep the price at $5.00 or below (maybe even free) and make their money by advertising hard copy versions of the games at premium pricing. If they were free, people could take a gander at the game with minimal risk and then pay to order a hard copy. I think this may be actually a fairly attractive option for some gamers.

    I would actually buy more Cheapass Games if I could see the rules in advance to see if I liked what I was getting. Maybe this is the future of PDF card game products.

    Regarding Infinite Armies, were POD technology further along, Greg Porter’s most money would come if he had access to inexpensive, high quality, print-on-demand technology and card cutting dies. I think people would happily build custom cards and then order professionally printed copies of their decks. Unfortunately, Greg is a little ahead of the curve here, because cheap POD technology is not quite there yet, particularly for full color. While you can make cards at no profit for a price competitive with retail games, making cards for profit unless you own thousands of dollars of equipment, just is not “in the cards” yet, if you’ll pardon the pun.

  4. Matthew, we’re not at 160, we’re at VBR with an average bit rate of 56. It may be that one or two little chunks went up as high as 160 in the VBR process and that’s what your player is displaying for some reason. I’m trying to get the file size down, but I’m also trying to get the show out promptly and to not spend money on an encorder when I already have six of them lying around. The show’s always been between 10 and 20 megs to download and that doesn’t seem excessive to me. I will keep working with it, though.

  5. About So Cal.

    I would consider it but my BC Identification might not cut the border mustard. Besides that possible trouble I doubt also that I could make it financially profitable, considering air travel costs. My business plan does not include showing at conventions while my products are still largely PDF.

    Getting the print action primed up in the next year will allow for business travel. I do look forward to conventioning in the future.

  6. >> Matthew, we’re not at 160, we’re at VBR with an average bit rate of 56.

    My apologies. The file size seemed very large for the length, and Windows XP told me 160, so I believed it. 😉

    Apologies again.

    >> I’m trying to get the file size down, but I’m also trying to get the show out promptly and to not spend money on an encorder when I already have six of them lying around.

    Agreed. Promptness is paramount.

  7. Wasn’t the point about the “non-generic”ness of Sci-Fi about the mini’s themselves? That you can use any compnies orc as an orc, where as a Space Marine is more specific in terms of imagery?

  8. One thing that would be interesting (re: Gen Con So Cal) would be a retailer’s point of view on how useful or important it is for:

    a) gamers
    b) retailers
    c) publishers
    d) distributors

    To attend this con as opposed to Gen Con Indy or Origins.

    BTW — I said “SSI” in a previous post where I meant “SPI”.

  9. 1. Could you list all websites mentioned in your podcast in the show notes please? What was the one about the multimedia company doing an RPG? Starts with a Z… I listen to your podcast in the car on my commute, but since I’m driving, I can’t write things down. I do sometimes (like today) think to follow up on some interesting links I heard about, and if I can’t remember what they were, I check the podcast website. Anyway, it would be appreciated.

    2. About SF vs. Fantasy: I’m introducing my kids to RPGs (8 & 5 yrs). I started with Star Wars, because they are fans, and am now doing a future RPG of my own make (d20). I’m about to give it up for D&D. SF is almost totally required to be story-driven. With Fantasy, you can just do the Monster Mash, if you want. That’s what D&D is founded on. But you can also do story-driven fantasy campaigns. SF, while the mechanics exist to just fight bad guys, is about the setting and the story. So you lose the dungeon-delving audience with SF. This is probably completely unrelated to the actual reason for the retail difference, but that is my observation.

    3. The main problem with your audio (in my opinoin) is that two of you are suffering from signal degredation. If you are all in the same room, get new microphones. If you are on an internet conference call, then I suppose it is unavoidable (though it sounds like you all live close together and could get together to record it).

    4. I do enjoy listening to your show. You guys provide some interensting views on games I have not yet–but would like to–try. I particularly like the “What we’re playing” section. It shows what games are enjoyable enough to be played, rather than just fun and well made.

  10. Ben, the lack of links things is all my bad. I am pretty sure I agreed to do it, them promptly “filed that away” elsewhere in my brain.

    The company is:

    I will endeavor to be more ontop of that in the future as well.

    And thank you, and everyone else for your comments!

  11. w00t!

    I got this episode downloaded to my IPod Nano. Works great.

    I will take future episodes with me to the cafe. Life is good.

  12. This is completely unrelated to the current podcast but a topic that I’d really like to hear you guys talk about is the lack of new players for roleplaying games. The collectable card and clicky miniatures games don’t seem to have a problem getting in younger players but the audience for roleplaying games keeps on getting older. Have RPGs got to the point where they are too complex or have too much baggage of past rules to appeal to a younger audience or do they lack a “tactile” appeal that seems to satisfy because you can see a card or hold a miniature rather than imagine things in your head?

    What can RPGs do to gather younger players… and I’m not talking about individual efforts – I’m talking about the industry itself.

    Just something that I’d like to hear your views on.

  13. Hmmm… another idea because I obviously have too much time on my hands at work:

    So we now have National Games Week and “D&D Day”… is anybody actually doing anything to reach out to new players with these things or is it simply geared towards “preaching to the choir,” i.e. targeting your efforts at a hobby market that is already vested in its supporters?

  14. james, I was totally planning on tsalking to Allan and Mike about NGD as a topic. Now I have more reason to. Thanks!

  15. I’ve been thinking a lot about your on-going discussion over Pioneer Press’ “playing to the core” strategy. I would argue that, in fact, PP is already turning their back on the ‘core’ audience in a big way. Unlike Games Workshop, PP does not require painted models in official tournaments. That little, but oh-so-big, rules tweak has already signaled that PP is far more interested in the “game” of Warmachine than in the “hobby” of mini-wargaming.

    Is this a good thing? That’s for you to decide. It’s been a huge factor in why people have NOT been picking up Warmachine in my group, but I know other people who have chosen Warmachine over 40k for that reason alone.

  16. Dan,

    I am going to go with “to each his own” on that particular topic. I have _many_ customers (especially parents), who really feel quite opposite to the whole “your minis must be painted to play” mentality the GW and their stores foster. In my 1,500sq. ft. game room we have no such restrictions, rather we hold paint lounges, and encourage people to paint their minis, rater than forcing them. I hate the fact that in a GW store, at managers discretion, that $40 Dreadnought that you just bought last week (but didn’t have time to paint) may not be eligible for game play.

    No Thanks.

    I am going to take it a step further and say that PP is very much into the modeling and painting side of the hobby. PP compensates and really relies heavily upon the BrushThralls (http://www.brushthralls.com) to focus squarely on Warmachine modeling. I know this, cause my business partner is one. His models are also in the magazines, and catalogs. He is fairly tight in with the PP organization, and has related to me just how much of an aspect modeling is to the overall strategy of the business. Finally, let’s not forget: GW has had since 1989 to formulate the bizarre, ever changing strategy that they lay down upon their customers. PP is only in it’s 4th(?) year with WM. It’s not always an Apples to Apples comparison.

    And let’s not forget that GW doesn’t even consider itself part of the same hobby space that Warmachine exists in 😉

  17. Thanks for the reply, Chris.

    The clarification from your partner is comforting to me. I don’t want to seem like I’m comming off to harshly on PP, as I think they put out a great product.

    I do, however, take issue with their painting policy–but in tournament play ONLY. I understand they’re the new kid on the block, and they need to get butts in the seats (so to speak) more than they need well-painted armies on the table.

    At the same time, a huge part of this hobby (one that I happen to love a great deal, thus the reason I can get so passionate about it) is the personal investment that one makes in their army. Why was it so easy for so many people to drop the Clix games? Yes, WizKids made a number of blunders along the way, but I would also argue that the lack of a personal commitment beyond buying the models made it very easy to drop Clix when the next cool thing came along.

    My fear is that when WarMachine stops being the current “cool thing”, it’s going to be very easy for all those silver armies to hit eBay and suddenly the game has lost the base that it once relied upon.

    I’m all for allowing unpainted armies in friendly games, and I think that paint lounges are brilliant. But I feel that by allowing unpainted armies in tournament play, PP is taking away the incentive to put that personal commitment into your army and in the long-run it will be bad for the game and bad for the hobby as a whole.

    Anyway, from reading the PP boards, I understand that I’m in the vast minority on this issue. Is it keeping me from playing the game? No, but it will probably keep me out of organized tournament play for the near future. That’s the great thing about this hobby, is you can play the game that suits you best.

    Anyway, thanks again for the discussion.

  18. W.r.t. the pricing of the WotC gargantuan miniatures, i posted this on enworld:

    WotC have themselves painted into a corner with prices.

    Obviously, the large minis that come in a random box would sell for about $3 or even less as maquettes, if they weren’t sold as collectibes with a rarity scheme. So as it is they seem “worth” about, oh $9-10. Maybe 6.

    When they came out with huges, they added $10 to the box price. But many uncommon huges actually sell for much less. So an uncommon huge has a “retail” value of about $13.

    But mcfarlane, etc can sell much bigger action figures that look great for about $11-15.

    So when you take the huge mini out of the random package and try to sell it all by itself nonrandomly, WotC would have to feel like they’d price it for MORE than its ‘worth’ in a random package.

    Hence, a colossal At-At sells for way more than its worth as an action figure, because if they sold it for THAT value, it would make the random minis look way overpriced by comparison. (I can get a box of 7 little minis for $13, or I can get a at-at for (say) $18? why are the minis so frikin expensive???)

    So wotc has to charge more for the single gargantuans and colossals than comparable action figure products would sell for to keep the price of the boxed random minis look like the’re in line. But in this case, wotc knows it looks pretty ridiculous, so what do they do?

    They add in ‘maps and a scenario’ to make it look like there is some added value. But if you think about the action figure price-point comparison, adding a map an a scenario still doens’t cut it.

    I’ll get one anyway, of course.

  19. pduggie:

    Thats a good point. Seriously, the WotC minis of the dragons I’m sure will LOOK nice but I can buy one of the McFarlane Dragons and it will look 100% better on the table and it’ll only set me back $20.

    Why do these things cost so much? It can’t be economics of scale because I guarantee you that WotC will be making more of these than McFarlane Toys (or most action figure makers) make on an average run… or I could be mistaken.

    Shades of GWs “you want HOW much for these eight plastic figures?!”

  20. One of my newly minted minions said Infinite Armies was invoked here, so I’ll comment. The game is actually a sort of guerilla attack on the high-budget mini and card games. If you play M:tG or any of the collectable mini games, you’re well aware of the cost of a “competitive” deck. Infinite Armies (or anything else using this sort of interactive pdf) is literally an order of magnitude cheaper in the long run. Yes, you have to burn through your own ink or toner to make a deck (7 pages worth for a full deck), but the game includes low-ink card backgrounds to minimize even that expense. Plus, any card you make is “tourney legal”, so you can experiment to your heart’s content rather than scrambling to find that $20 card/mini for some killer design you saw online.

    You spends yer $10 for the game, you get a few zillion unique card possibilities and the BTRC “free upgrade” policy when any rules updates are needed. The only downside is that you can’t taunt your friends with a deck of rare foils…;)

    Greg Porter
    BTRC guy

  21. well it seems the Gargantuan mini is only $19.99, which is not horrible at the typical discount, including all the stuff you get with it.

    Kudos to WOTC.

    It better look as good as a Mcfarlane dragon though.

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