Hi all. I thought you might like a round-up of what’s been going on and what’s being planned. Please do leave feedback in the comments.
Looking back on the year, family stuff and a couple of health speedbumps certainly didn’t help in getting stuff done. (For the curious: shoulder injury, and bronchitis followed by weeks of rubbish voice.) I did manage to get out and about though, building more contacts among industry folks and customers; and I made a foray into ebooks and non-game publishing. (For more talk on that see my other site www.yourclear.info.) The established game lines expand their audience slowly but steadily; and Silver Branch continues to raise its profile.
Silver Branch Publishing
In non-games news, the print edition of my book The Radio-Controlled Message Bottle: writing to communicate has just been published under the Silver Branch name. If you’ve ever thought you’d like to see my collected tips on writing and how to present information, check it out on Amazon, major ebook stores, etc! (Page appearing on this site shortly.) It’s likely that further ebooks and pbooks of mine will be published through SB too. It may even be that it becomes a channel for other folks’ stuff about subjects like personal development. It’s too early to say how it will pan out. But if you see that on the site you’ll know what it’s about. I’ll try to keep design peace between the two sides!
It hasn’t been a big year for products (see below). But one feature of 2012 has been attending more gaming conventions: Con-quest in Derby, a brief visit to UK Games Expo in Birmingham, Continuum in Leicester, Furnace in Sheffield, Indiecon on the south coast and Dragonmeet in London. I had stalls at some, and just enjoyed some as a player (which I think is the balance to aim for), and got to meet loads of people. The year ends with this shiny new website, with gaps to be filled in shortly.
Existing game lines
Jaws of the Six Serpents continues to sell steadily. By whatever combination of luck and skill it was, this game came out as a really nice, compact package that’s a great solution for people who want a pick-up or convention game, or just want rules that get out of the way. It certainly gets a lot of love on the UK convention circuit – and that shows no sign of abating even though the book is three years old. The supplement Serpents’ Teeth came out in June and is also going steadily. There are no current plans for further products, but I’m keeping an eye on my Teeth (!) to see what the demand’s like. A few weeks ago someone told me that trying Jaws had converted her from a sceptic to a keen gamer – now that’s feedback!
Albion smoulders away slowly. It’s a harder sell as a bigger, more expensive book, and the very British setting is probably a turn-off for the American market. I started producing small PDF supplements but that’s been rather erratic. I’m wondering about the way forward for this: continue as individual PDFs or revert to the original plan and release the setting material that didn’t make the corebook as a single book for the GM. Part of this is down to what people want, and part of it is the workflow of finishing it all off in one go. There’s all sorts of other stuff that could be released as PDFs as well, like adventures and locations, but as a slow-selling line it’s hard to know how much pushing is worthwhile. On the plus side, it’s been great to see people running it at conventions this year, and I’ve had some positive feedback from home games, so it is spreading its tendrils gradually…
Questers of the Middle Realms is an older product, released in 2006, and I was thinking of it as basically done with. But I’ve been noticing recently that it still sells a few copies each month, and folks are still keen on it. At the moment it’s only available in print from Lulu, in a format that doesn’t quite work. Sooo… I’m planning to produce a Second Edition. It’ll be the existing text with a bit of spit and polish, plus the content of Bewildering Beasts and the other PDF supplements, laid out in 6x9in format to work better as a print book and on portable devices. I’m not planning to revive it as a line; more to to give it a stronger position as a legacy product.
Legends Walk still finds its way to a couple of people each month who are drawn to the combination of superheroes, mythology and lighter rules systems, which is great to see. There are no plans to do anything more with either the original or Truth & Justice editions, as it’s kind of a niche of a niche of a niche. I may put the print books into the DriveThru/RPGNow print programme to make them more accessible for those who want them.
New game stuff
Rocket Amoeba is a light multi-genre system that I started noodling with a while back: one of those things that wanders into your head and has to be exorcised. The name, by the way, is what happens when I ask my brain for a title. I should know better! But it does aim to be fast and adaptable. This exists as a draft book – because the technology is there and you might as well 8] – and this Crowdtest Edition is with a few people to see what they make of it. I’m hoping that over the next couple of months we can hone it into something people will like, in a nice compact, low-cost package. If the interest is there I’ll build other things on it.
So that’s the Silver Branch round-up at the moment. Let me have your likes, dislikes and “what about…” s below!