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Free rules?

 Post subject: Free rules?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:33 am 
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Unctuous Toady
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If you were going to have your own game company and sell your own line of miniatures, would you give away the rules for free? I-Kore did this with Void and I think other companies have as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:30 am 
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Astro-Path
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Well depends on my resources. Most likely give the rules away for free on the net, but also having cool ass books would be nice too.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:52 pm 
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Lance Corporal
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Free rule and some of the fluff on-line is good but can't replace the feeling of having a book in your hands with great fluff, artwork and pictures to complement the rest.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:37 am 
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Unctuous Toady
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When I-Kore first released their free rules online I was totally blown away. I thought, "Now this is how you promote a game!" After all, the production quality of that rulebook (which was also given away in stores) was amazing. Full color, great artwork, tons of photos, etc.

I think the big mental leap that I-Kore made was that they were really a miniature company first. You have the game as a way to sell miniatures. It was a brilliant idea.

But you may notice that they aren't giving away the rules to their new game Urban War. Has their mindset changed? Have they realised that maybe this a flawed idea?

My big fear with not selling the rulebook is two fold.

1) Veteran Gamers
Seasoned miniature gamers are often the ones that try new miniature games and help shape consumer sentiment. Whenever a new game came out, if I didn't buy it right away myself, I knew that I could check online or in the local gaming seen. Some of the players (often the old salty ones) would have bought it just to read it. Even if they liked the game however, they often used their existing miniatures. So if you give away the rules, then you might lose some of the only sales you were ever going to get.

2) Value Added
I think that it will look better in the store if you have a game book or boxed set along with the miniatures in blister packs. It tells potential customers that, "Hey, there is a whole game to this. It doesn't stop with just these miniatures." Ultimately having a beautifully illustrated full color game book really helps to sell the product. Also I think that retailers will be more willing to stock a product that they thick will sell.

So thinking about all that, is it really worthwhile to give your rules away?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:25 am 
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I think that having free rules is really good, however when it comes to having them printed out for gaming use, I have found that it's always better to simply buy the book rather than shell out a tidy sum of cash on ink and paper.

Try printing the Necromunda rules and you'll see what I mean. Better yet try printing the Void rules...

...plus the books have a better quality to them.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:41 pm 
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I like when a company releases the rules online. I can red up on the game and try it out. If it's a win, I can go out and buy the book. PDF books are great, but you can't take them anywhere, and they are hard to use in game. Great for reference, poor for play.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:51 pm 
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Master of Arms
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If i were doing this, i'd have three sets: a nice proper book, a printer unfriendly PDF (the book in PDF form) and a printer friendly one.

By making your rules available on the net for free you've made getting into the game less expensive, thereby broadening your market, more people to spend money on your figures/ ships/ planes or whatever. I reckon its a good business move. And having an actual physical copy in the shops would help increase awareness of the game. Just don't expect to sell that many.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:05 am 
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Getting the rules on-line is how I got into Necromunda. Friends wanted me to try the game and linked me to the rules. I read though them and figured since I didn't have to buy anything I would try it. So I dug out some Mageknight figures to use as a gang of Eschers and gave it a try.
Needless to say I now have a four gangs and have printed out just about every pdf file I can find.

So my answer is YES I would give the rules away for free. Worked on me. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:54 pm 
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I'm of the mind that giving the rules (or at least a summary/preview) away on the net when your game first comes out, is a great way to drum up interest and draw attention to the miniatures so people buy them.

Once people get over the miniatures though, they start looking hard at the game (if they haven't already) and that's when it's good to bring out a solid, purchaseable set of glossy, colour rules with model photos. Perhaps bring it out with the 'final version' of the rules, where the preview was a 'playtest edition' (gamers love to feel included in the process). Now obviously, we don't want another GW that brings out new 'final, final +1, final +2' rules every second day, but for a first edition, I'd be impressed.

Where do you go from there...do you go the army books method that is so lamented? Do you put new rules up in pieces on the website and then collect them into an 'official' edition each 4 years say?

There are lots of pitfalls which are mainly due to the "I want a lot but don't want to have to pay for it" mentality of gamers. Still, if you can get your rules out looking nice, for cheap/free, maybe they won't mind paying the correct price for minis.

But most gamers don't seem to have this kind of circumspect view...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:38 am 
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Just had a thought, how about some middle ground? A core rulebook with all the general rules sold in stores, and then army specifics online. The actual rules are what take up the most space, actual army lists can be condensed.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:48 am 
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I agree. I think the a good middle ground is to have the Core Rules in a paperback and then have the suppliments online.

But that is my $.02

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:10 pm 
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Master Gunner
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Well I do not mind paying for books, If I am not going to be buying new ones every 4 years. But then again I still have my collections of antique rpg games. Not to mention my 3rd ed Warhammer 40K. I really prefer printed books. As free pdf rules seems... I do not know not worth it. I mean if the game is free for the rules. I tend to feel that the game might not be worth my time. Well that is my opinion anyway.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:08 am 
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i think that books should be available to buy ( like its been said before you cant beat having a book in your hands) but rules should also be available online too like in the specialist games website. a lot of people i know have printed these rules off and made their own little books, it still cost cos u have to pay for paper, ink etc but is slightly cheaper yet with all the artwork.

Rules should be available for free as for the majority of people having the rules implies ur gonna buy the miniatures.

Besides all rules r available online where ppl have 'illegally' uplaoded them or have torrents and things like tht


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:28 am 
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Perhaps you could do both in the sense that the online rules are purely text and not pretty in any form.

The actual books have the artwork, fluff and all the bells and whistles.

This way, you can play the game if you want, but to get all the cool extras you have to pay for it.

That doesn't seem unreasonable.

McCragge

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:52 pm 
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I think the rules should be free. I printed my copy of Necromunda at work (even stole a yellow punch-out folder for the pages!), and I think it's very comparable to having an actual (grayscale) rulebook.

For the phreaks, I suggest making a 'uber-platinum-deluxe-collector's edition' rulebook, printed on the finest of papers, with impressive hardback covers and tons of extra artwork. This could be sold to those who really want more collectibles for their shelves. Let everyone else play with the uglier, self-printed copies.

Don't get me wrong here though, I am not being cheap about my gaming even if I prefer getting the rules / etc. for free. I have already spent a few hundred euros on GW plastic IG stuff, COD buildings and Pegasus platformer sets, and only just because I like to have a good looking gaming table experience with necromunda :) And who knows, perhaps I would have spent less money on the minis & terrain if I had to buy a rulebook too (it wouldn't stop there, no doubt I'd have to buy the bigger campaing extensions as well if they wouldn't be available online for free?)

I think giving away rules for free is a good way of selling miniatures!


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