Aug 10, 2014

In Which I Totally Sell Out, Man

Next week or the next after that (I swear it will be this month) I am going to launch a crowdfunding campaign. My intent is to raise three thousand dollars, which is a lot less than it sounds, and basically spend all of it betting on horse racing on artwork. It would not just be for the core book but also for the expansion in one fell swoop. It will be through IndieGoGo because that's basically the best option I have available, since Kickstarter is not open to residents of my corner of the world (Argentina).

Not much of a choice when one of them just isn't available, is it?

Let's have a quick FAQ.

Is the game going to continue being free?
Yes. Well, mostly. I spent a lot of time debating how exactly to go about this. I like to say "Games are meant to be played." which, in this case, means that I think people deserve to play a good game first and I deserve recognition for a job well done after the fact. Also piracy exists and that's not a battle I can win by conventional means. The current System Reference Document is a good example of what I will give to everyone who wants to give BCG a try. 

Why should I pay money for a free game?
Because you want it to look good and art is not cheap. Because you want the game to be better and if we overfund I can spend more hours on it. Because you want a limited edition hardcover that won't be accessible otherwise. Because you want to have one of your own ideas in the expansion. Because you want to show the industry they should be making more games with a focus on good rules. Because you just want to help me pretty please with a cherry on top?

What is this about an expansion?
BCG is cool and all but I want to use it as a base from which I can build other, more flavorful and genre-specific stuff on top. Battle Century Z, the innovatively named sequel, is going to feature around a hundred pages of supplementary material, of which the most prominent are a series of 'hacks' or alternative rules to, for example, set your BCG games on fantasy worlds with magic-powered robots. Of course, it will also feature an expanded armory of powers, weapons and other goodies to spice up your non-hack games.

What kind of rewards will you be offering?
There won't be any T-shirts, custom dice or other paraphernalia that doesn't really add anything to the game. Instead I'm going to offer, in addition to getting things at a discount of their retail value, limited edition hardcover versions of the manual and a few limited slots to let you commission abilities for the expansion. You think of a Miracle, an Upgrade, or any other cool thing you want in that doesn't exist yet, I handle the rules, and you get your name in the description to show everyone what a totally radical person you are.

How much is it going to cost?
Exact prices are subject to change but I want to keep them around the following tiers (all prices in US dollars): 10 for both digital pdfs, 30 for both softcover manuals, 40 for both hardcovers and 60 for two hardcovers and two softcovers. These costs don't include shipping, but I'll be delivering via the awesome folks at Drivethru who have experience in sending stuff all over the world at decent prices so there shouldn't be any surprises there. Because printing won't happen immediately, anyone who gets physical product pays half when the campaign ends and the other half when it is time to start printing things out (next year). I'll go more into detail on this later, but it is a pretty cool thing and it is all thanks to Drivethru.

What will be the format of the books?
BCG will hover around the 200 page range, BCZ will be around 100. Both books will have softcovers with black & white interiors to keep things cheap for me and accessible for you. Games are meant to be played, after all. This is not going to be a book you keep in your library to show off, but the one you want to actually play with. The limited edition hardcovers exclusive for backers will also offer to have a softcover companion copy so you don't have to damage your collector's piece. Overfunding means more art and me adding things to the books, so they could go for up to 20 or 30 pages more each.

How is the money going to be spent?
Carefully. I'll post a full breakdown later, but a quality color cover or splash page (the kind you see in works with a real budget) is going to be around 200-300 dollars. Smaller illustrations range from 50 to 200, and surprise surprise, anything involving giant robots requires a skillset that is more expensive than anything that doesn't! BCG has about 75% of the art it would need (40 individual pieces), but that's still only about half of what a 200 page book would need in a best case scenario to space out the walls of text better. BCZ obviously has none yet.

Do you have an expected delivery date?
If things go well: You'd be receiving a finalized BCG pdf around the start of next year and the physical versions would deliver one or two weeks after that. BCZ would be a year from then. These are my estimations based on the assumption that no plan survives contact with the enemy. I'd like to finish things before the new year but there's no way I won't run into unexpected inconveniences. If things don't go well BCG would deliver around the same time and BCZ... Well, let's just say it'll have to wait.

How we got Here

Roleplaying is special because any GM is part-time game designer, and the more effort they place in crafting an experience for their group, the more likely they are to end writing up their own custom rules and whatnot. I like games. Or at least, I like games in the broad sense, because I tend to find most games lacking. After enough goofing around homebrewing various systems to make a Super Robot Wars-esque experience, I realized I might as well write the game I always wanted to play myself. Clearly no one else was going to do it for me. That was Giant Guardian Generation.

I admit I miss the overwhelmingly ridiculous name. Dearly.

Quick aside for those not in the know: Super Robot Wars is a turn-based tactics RPG, often featuring pilots and mecha from various anime, manga and videogames. It combines all these wildly different series together by not even pretending to care about realism and carrying its pretty basic gameplay with a lot of style. End aside.

GGG was as much of a fangame as it could be without outright calling itself a fangame, because I really wasn't aiming any higher than 'fangame' at the time.The concept of maybe publishing my own thing was there from the start, to be honest, but as the kind of thing that would be cool if it happened. Like world peace, a solution to global warming, and getting to see Rebuild of Evangelion 4.0 in my lifetime.

The movie is just going to be two hours of Anno laughing in a pit of money and figurines.

That was around three years ago. Time may not fly but it sure rides the shinkansen. I've been doing this long enough in my spare time that I figure I have a shot at this as a second job. Still, my priority is to make a good game, and get more people to play it. As I stated earlier in the year, the part of the process that is not just my own work has been going well but not fantastic. I mentioned before that you can do things cheap, fast or well and you can only have two options of the three, and I ended up choosing well and cheap (in that order).

This entire year so far I've basically not even tried to get the word out, because I've invested all my effort on the design side of the game and going back and forth with artists, editors, and of course you, my intelligent readers of refined taste. More eyes on the game is obviously a good thing, so that's what I'll be doing next. And if I can trade 'cheap' for 'fast', that would also be really, really nice. Over the course of the year I've been debating exactly whether crowdfunding from Argentina is a remotely viable idea for something like BCG. There are many hurdles in the way, but ultimately I lose nothing by trying.

If we don't go next week then I might actually treat this like a normal blog and discuss some other stuff related to the game that has been going on. I eagerly anticipate good news rather than shaking my fist angrily at the sky, but I'm prepared for you, sky. Give me your worst.*

*Please don't give me your worst.


  1. Hey I'm really glade to hear your moving forward with ~=The Plan=~.
    I know your getting everything ready but I have a question. How long are you going to leave this open for funding? I ask as I need to know how long I have to gather funds, I also want to spread the word for this on the different gaming forums I visit. I've only been visiting your site recently but I love your simple and yet effective rules so I want to make sure that this project gets off the ground and ends up a real success.

    P.S. Do you have a price point for the hard cover yet?

    P.P.S. I'm excited....can you tell?

  2. Until the end of September or so. Everything I hear points out to having somewhere between 28 and 43 days as the ideal length, and I've set apart the next month to basically dedicate myself to doing this thing. We might see each other in a forum or two.

    Question 2 sounds like a thing that should have been in the FAQ. Exact numbers can change, but I'll edit in an estimate.

    Good vibes are always awesome to have around. Let's make them spread.

    1. Thanks for posting the estimates, is paying half optional? I'm terrible with money and would prefer to pay it all up front lol. =P

    2. You can. In fact, if you pay all up front I probably save a little money and you probably overpay a little.

      If you wait, you can probably pay a little less because you get to pay the exact value of getting it printed and shipped. If you don't, then I have to charge early based on their estimated final cost.

      We're talking 1-5 dollars saved/extra per book at most though, including shipping, so the difference is there but it is not huge.

      If that sounds like a fair trade to save you the trouble of handling things, I can do it for you, sure.

    3. That sounds fair to me, I don't mind paying a little more for convenience. Do you have any plans to expand the fluff any?

    4. Yes. At the very minimum, I have plans to do some episodic adventures in the expansion that tread new territory in the setting. If I have the time, I'd like to add some to the core book too.

  3. You have my axe! And my dosh! And my new BCG threads in various gaming sites I frequent!

    (And my desire to write a spanish translation of BCG to see if you can sell it at local cons and make a little bit of money to tide you over for a bit, assuming the costs of assembling something that even vaguely resembles a book aren't stupidly high here as everything else is. Or is that a little bit much? :P)

    But seriously, it's good to see this happening. Let's spread the word.

    1. The primary reason I haven't tried anything like that yet is that I really don't want to have to retranslate anything before I'm 100% certain a product is 100% finished and there's no more need to errata or re-edit anything. Other than that, yeah, I'd like to do that.

      Printing costs for doing stuff locally aren't all that cheaper, but shipping costs sure are. Doing some local distribution would make a good stretch goal.

  4. Good luck man. I'm hoping to hear more good news about your game. Also, yes i'm the same guy from something awful that broke his GM with the miracle nonsense. Thanks again for the response and maybe now the guys i got playing this every month will be able to help you while we test every new iteration of your game!

    1. I remember you! I still have the ideas I got from that discussion shelved. Super-powered Miracles going off make for cool plot hooks and I want to work on those soon.

      Good luck running things, I'll be here if you have any questions.