Design a game — for best results, one that reliably produces fun play. Let's say the game is a 98-page PDF download or so.
Distill from that game a one-shot scenario and an abbreviated rule set that you can use to play through that scenario. Let's say the distillation is a 16-page PDF download.
Release the distillation for free, sell the full game for something reasonable ($10 download, cost-plus-ten Lulu print).

Sure, you could do this for lots of games. But for many of those games, the distilled one-shot would pretty much give away all the "secrets" of the full game. In other words, you'd be able to extrapolate the full game from the one-shot. Don't mistake me, I'm not thinking in terms of "people could cheat and not have to pay money for the game!" I'm thinking in terms of complexity and creative output. The trick of this is to make the full game sufficiently complex that it can not be contained in the distillation, but the powerful play experience, or at least one dose of it, must be portable enough to "fit" into the distillation.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I'm right there with you!

I'm right there with you! Here's what we're trying to do with Scattershot:

Scattershot is an omni-system; the core game (without any 'how to') will probably somewhere between 16-32 pages PDF download (free).

There are 12 satellites planned, ranging from fantasy to funny animals, from science fantasy to steampunk, from romance novel to giant robot combat, from cyberpunk to superheroes, you get the idea. Each will carry the full core rules plus all the genre-based extensions (like spells for fantasy or super powers for...well, superheroes).

This allows for us to put out a 'lite' version of each satellite, 'tuned' to match a fad genre. Both the core and the genre-based extensions will be cut down to their sine qua non. As these all work off of a basic template, out publication of them can be rather agile to catch the wave.

Finally, the 'lite' core will be distilled down to four pages. So too will each genre of extensions. These will be printed on 11" x 17" sheets folded into a little rule book and handed out at conventions (and downloadable) for free.

The reason this won't 'give away all the secrets' is because of how the omni-system is set up. It's dirt simple, but fine-tuned genre-based extensions aren't as easy to write as you might think. Any customer can thumbnail any such pretty easy and get it into play, but it will face a lot of usage questions. The official products solve this problem and provide exhaustive clusters of extensions.

The whole scheme is built on a 'value to customer' ladder. To get started should be as cheap as possible (including free); when you want to go beyond the narrow 'fad' genre, there are free extensions for download; when you want to start making your own detailed world, there will be a nice product that covers it all.

Post new comment