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Working on a new ruleset

I am working on getting a new ruleset ready to publish. I won't say now which one but ask you what do you want to see? If it's different from what we're working on, we'll see about the feasibility of the one you want.

Our approach to publishing is different than most. Most ruleset authors have a print run and then sell those as they get orders. There's a potential flaw, though. After two years of running that business, I learned this with the Judges Guild. In 1978, I discovered that a printed product's sales can be so slow that one can not afford to reprint it. Literally. Ironically, 45 years later, we are back to a time of expensive money. One must buy a big print run for an affordable price for consumers. The first run may sell well. But sales can drop off, and the "return on investment" of a second big print run might take years to sell all. Even if one bit the bullet to buy the second printing, it's unlikely that one will do it again.

When you buy a rulebook, it would be ideal if it remains in print indefinitely so that new gamers could buy a copy and provide you with new opponents.

Armed with this study, I decided Print On Demand would produce our rulebooks. This meant I had no money tied up in buying a big print run now or later. There are many advantages:

  1. Can have different choices of binding, the interior in color for luxury or black ink for budget buyers. Lulu has the comb binding option and Amazon perfect binding.

  2. No handling of the orders and shipping for me.

  3. It can have worldwide shipping points, reducing time and cost for international buyers.

  4. The quality is quite good.

  5. Amazon & Lulu have much more buying power than I do. I based my projected future pricing on current inflation. But so far, only now has Amazon projected a moderate increase after 20 months of strong inflation.

  6. POD vendors have liberal return and repair policies. Some have discounts or deals that I could not afford.

I notice that Sam Mustafa's Honour rulebooks are going to "POD" also. I commend him for this.

I know of other companies that may be hurting their sales because of the following:

A. Website difficulties may make it hard or impossible for new buyers.

B. Being out of stock* is likely related to the big print run issue I mentioned at first.

C. Not having the right option that suits the buyer: binding or ink color etc.

D. Not having an affordable or timely international delivery option.

E. Only selling a PDF when some buyers prefer a physical book and want to avoid the hassle of getting an acceptable local print option.

So, I'm looking for opportunities to produce POD versions for companies suffering from scenario A-E. So, even if it's still in print, what ruleset would you like to see another option for?

Epilog: After selling my half of Judges Guild to my ex-partner, Bob Bledsaw, with a bit of distance from the day-to-day chaos of building a business, I took the time to do this cash flow study and when to stop reprinting slow-sellers. But Bob wouldn't listen. He couldn't bear to let items go out of print, so his inventory of slow-sellers grew massively. Each box represented a lot of cash tied up. And this was when interest rates kept increasing greatly. So borrowing money for slow-sellers was not good. It was at least part of why the Judges Guild had problems.

Eventually, Bob and I started doing some print-on-demand through the new company, CafePress. So we got to do a few projects together again, in POD this time, 2004-2008.

*I just read a wargamer complaining about how so many of a certain big company's books were out of print. It just shows that even the big flaming guys have this issue.

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2 commentaires

Would like to see some Napoleonic era rules, both land and sea. (Terry Terry)

Bill Owen
Bill Owen
26 mai 2023
En réponse à

I'm a fan of Volley & Bayonet, which I was going to pair with David Manley's Dahlgren & Columbiad river/sea battle rules & his By Sea and By River campaign rules for an ACW campaign using the boardgame A House Divided (and also considered the War of the Triple Alliance which would also use D&C and he has a campaign supplement on Wargame Vault called The Paraguayan War). But I had not thought about Nappy. When I get to NH, we could talk about opportunities.

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