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[Invisible Sun] $100 PDF

Knaight

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I've got no issue with the price - it's above what I'm willing to pay, but I don't have an issue with market strategies of high price points with fewer customers, and this is designed to fit that. With that said I do have some skepticism at the idea that this is actually a great idea from a financial perspective. That price point is really heavy, and with printing costs added on (and this needs printing) there are very few customers left. I suspect dropping the price a bit would actually work out financially, especially since that opens up the people who would read it but not play it and thus don't pay printing costs. Similarly I'm also pretty skeptical about a lower price point devaluing the physical books with their costs - at that point you're basically paying the much smaller difference between printing this off at Kinkos or whatever and getting a copy shop quality product that you then need to spend some time carefully cutting cards out of and getting professionally bound books and good cards.

Where I do have an issue with is the idea that exclusivity itself has value, and that the game is more valuable precisely because fewer people have it. I've seen some small grumblings to that effect from backers (stuff like it being bad that there's a PDF now, because that makes it more available), and while I don't currently think this was encouraged from Monte Cook I would hold it against Invisible Sun if that turned out to be the case.
 

Zeea

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Looks like the issue is that they're selling a huge chunk of a game line as one bundle, equivalent to if D&D 5e had been released as the PHB, DMG, MM, Xanathar's, and Starter Set in one package. The price point seems very reasonable from the perspective of the bundle, but being able to buy in installments is something most people prefer. So, I'm not sure how great this strategy is.

This doesn't really seem different than some of the better heavy board games out there in the same price range. You get more physical components with a board game, but a lot less mechanics and writing; that's just always the thing with board games vs. RPGs because of the nature of the products. The main question is whether people are interested in board games or RPGs that are that heavy, and that answer is always kinda variable. I'm personally not very interested in an RPG that needs 1000 cards, or even a board game that needs that, and I'm way more tolerant of extra cards and such in board games.

On the other hand, looking at some of the other descriptions here, it looks like this is an experiment in bringing some of the recent golden age of board games stuff into RPGs, and that's a cool concept. I'm not really interested in this particular game, but I would love to see some similar things with slightly lighter component requirements for game ideas I'm more into.
 

Reynard

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There is a difference between setting a price point where you can make a profit or at least not running a loss and intentionally creating a prestige product that is meant to be experienced by a smaller circle of people. I get the impression that Tetsubo is talking about the latter.
It seems like an arbitrary line. I don't think we are talking about a $50 product that gets a $250 price tag just to be exclusionary or "prestige." We are talking about a product that needs to be set at that price point to work and to make a profit. Whether it is "worth" that cost (or the reduce price of the PDF, with the limitations that entails) is entirely subjective, but how much it *should* cost is usually based on objective measures of development and production cost.
 

GregStolze

Go Play REIGN!
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Where's the line? A $50 game is beyond the reach of some. Should everything be free to be sure no one is excluded?
Well y'know, there are some lunatics who try to give things away AFTER they've been paid for.

-G.
 

Weisenheim

Baroque Space Orc Mage
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I don't get the objection to this at all. I really hope that Invisible Sun does well enough for MCG that the model is copied. This game doesn't sound like quite my cup of tea, but I would be ecstatic to see an exquisitely-crafted game filled with art, props, cards, books, and other widgets that was written for one of my niche interests. I would love to see more luxury products. If publishers are held to the kind of low prices that only pay off in bulk we'll never see stuff like this.
I guess this is why the issue is here even to begin with. Because only some people are going to accept that premise from the get-go. I don't know the numbers on it but I know there's folks out there who aren't buying RPG stuff for the luxe effect, so added cost is not a feature for them. Judging by the response in this thread and other places I've seen online in response to this product release, it hasn't gone unnoticed. How that effects the bottom line for MCG with respect to this product, I can only guess. The discussions I have read about his business model lead me to think that he is fine with how it runs - he targets a smaller, dedicated base that is into and can afford the luxe. It seems to be successful enough that he's still around. But I don't know if it means that his base is representative of the larger hobby in terms of tastes and spending power (his base may be more representative in terms of mechanical preferences, but I don't even know if I could say that much). I have seen few people address this product release in a positive light - mostly due to cost - wherever I've seen it discussed online.

I think having a bunch of required props for the game, while it seems cool from a design angle, is also a negative for a lot of folks. Look at how many people don't want to play something that has fancy dice (even when they're not really that fancy) or even uses cards at all. Mention those are features or required for a game and that could be an instant unsell and I think has been on this forum multiple times.

I think it's more exclusionary than it could be otherwise because the typical exclusion you experience in a game not suited to you is that its vision doesn't fit yours, whether in terms of setting/lore, mechanics, or both. In the case of this one, there's a financial exclusion as well as exclusion of people who don't want to or don't feel comfortable playing something that requires all the props. You have to clear financial and play style hurdles before even getting to the game itself.
 

swammeyjoe

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I went and downloaded the free preview from the MCG site and while it's pretty, the art isn't *amazing* and the setting seems just so, so overwritten and excessively "different" for the sake of being different.

I have no problem with RPGs that use lots of components (WFRP3 is a top five game for me), but I didn't see anything in the setting info I'd connect to. Feels like someone took all the boring parts of setting guides that I normally skip over and combined them.

I think I like to keep my Urban Fantasy and my Traditional Fantasy a little further apart, but if you like that sort of thing it's probably worth it

Edit: to be a bit more on topic, I think everyone should go look at that preview as a guide for the amount and quality of the content you're getting before discussing the price.
 

Menchi

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It seems like an arbitrary line. I don't think we are talking about a $50 product that gets a $250 price tag just to be exclusionary or "prestige." We are talking about a product that needs to be set at that price point to work and to make a profit. Whether it is "worth" that cost (or the reduce price of the PDF, with the limitations that entails) is entirely subjective, but how much it *should* cost is usually based on objective measures of development and production cost.
This is what Monte Cook Games have said - Invisible Sun simply cannot be produced using normal game production. It's too expensive. Only Kickstarter makes it possible because they know exactly how many copies to make and it's priced in order to make a profit without leaving them with a loss making number of retail copies.

I went and downloaded the free preview from the MCG site and while it's pretty, the art isn't *amazing* and the setting seems just so, so overwritten and excessively "different" for the sake of being different.

I have no problem with RPGs that use lots of components (WFRP3 is a top five game for me), but I didn't see anything in the setting info I'd connect to. Feels like someone took all the boring parts of setting guides that I normally skip over and combined them.

I think I like to keep my Urban Fantasy and my Traditional Fantasy a little further apart, but if you like that sort of thing it's probably worth it

Edit: to be a bit more on topic, I think everyone should go look at that preview as a guide for the amount and quality of the content you're getting before discussing the price.
Invisible Sun is neither urban fantasy nor traditional fantasy. It's pure surreal fantasy. It's a game of the Golden Dawn hanging out in Parisian cafes where the coffee is made from emotions mined from the crystal depths of an alternate reality, where Alastair Crowley has an Ibis head, and Marlene Dietrich's songs cause people to have vivid hallucinations of flaming angels falling from the sky, and the singer in the nightclub is a human shaped gathering of silver charms. After taking shelter from a storm of falling keys, the PCs may decide to go to a bar to debate the finer points of using a demon's heart to power their car or not while a school of translucent fish swim by.

If the idea of a game about studious gentlefolk explorers living in a surreal art nouveau city recovering from a reality shattering war appeals to you - then Invisible Sun might be worth a look. It's not Kult. It's not Unknown Armies - you're not visiting Earth modern era. That's all just a faded dream. You're living in a world where the internet is literally tapping into the collective subconscious of the world. Where sentient human shaped portals stand on street corners handing out newspapers.

Conan
 

Law Orc

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It seems like an arbitrary line. I don't think we are talking about a $50 product that gets a $250 price tag just to be exclusionary or "prestige." We are talking about a product that needs to be set at that price point to work and to make a profit. Whether it is "worth" that cost (or the reduce price of the PDF, with the limitations that entails) is entirely subjective, but how much it *should* cost is usually based on objective measures of development and production cost.
(Apologies if this was posted earlier, I thought it had gone through this morning but I can't find it.)

Yes. It looks to me like those involved made the game they set out to make, and this is just what that costs. It seems to have high production values and is the equivalent of a set of core books plus a medium-complexity modern board game in terms of what you get. That's a lot of work.

A lot of RPGs are priced absurdly low. Thst can lead to a sense of entitlement on the part of the buyers, and a sort of disrespect for the value of the work and expertise of the people making them.
 
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