Sunday, November 11, 2012

Free For All

One thing I have observed about many of the more successful indie games is that they make large sections of their games available for free.  I can see the appeal.  Having people actually play your game is the objective of most game designers.  And the surest way of achieving this is by making your work freely available and easily accessible.  Even the big companies have picked up on this with companies like Chaosium and Fantasy Flight Games making Quick-Start versions of their rules available for free.

Of course, just making a game available in itself, seems no guarantee of success.  Unless you are promoting a game which draws on a strong cannon of published material with an existing audience, it’s going to be an uphill slog convincing folks to spend even a few minutes of their time looking at your work, let alone spending time to read it through and run it for their gaming group.
Like many people, I tend to put more stock in the opinions of those I trust, and the gaming ‘buzz’ I encounter as a barometer of a game that I should check out.  But, in doing so, I am limiting myself to a subset of games , and may well remain ignorant of a whole host of fantastic games.  For example, a recent visit to the comprehensive Age of Ravens blog revealed just how many horror games are published every year, many I’d never heard of.  The great and terrible truth about the current global online marketplace is that there is a mind-bogglingly huge array of games out there, with all the benefits and drawbacks that entails, and that number is only going to increase. 

This is a roundabout way of announcing that I’ve published a quick-start set of rules for EPOCH, along with Fever Pitch, a simple little scenario from the core text, and made this available for free via RPGDriveThru and affiliates.  Early next month I plan to publish a new scenario Road Trip using a similar arrangement.

How do you find new games?  Have you used quick-start rules, and if so, has this been a good experience?


  1. All I can say so far is that I've got it downloaded, as I do love horror RPGs, and have followed the Age of Raven list myself. Not too sure when I'll get the chance to give it a proper outing as I've just started running a large campaign, but if I have any feedback, I'll let you know.

  2. Thanks Paul. I wasn't trying to fish for comments on EPOCH (although obviously those are welcome) but was rather interested in whether people find extended product previews or quick-start rules a useful way to go (updated my post to clarify this).

    1. I actually really like quick start rules. I also think they serve as a great tool for games designers. I'm poking some friends of mine at the moment to get something like this done for their game so people can take a look at it.

  3. I have used quick-start rules extensively to have a quick trial of games before deciding to invest. The big winner for that was Savage Worlds, whose test-drive rules were solid and I have now invested hundreds and hundreds in savage worlds products. Mini6 is also a great intro to D6, but by the time it was rolled out I had already invested in the core D6 books.

  4. looks like a nice intro set! I definitely grab and use these things, so it's a great idea.

    Now to get the word out!!