The Golden Box: A High Plains Samurai Radio Drama/Actual Play

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Openly Gamer Theatre has created something truly incredible that’s a great way to learn what it’s like to play High Plains Samurai. The Golden Box is a combination radio drama/actual play recording for a previous version of HPS (something like Version 0.8 where players would roll against their own Difficulty, which has now been changed to rolling against the target’s Defence). If you’re on the fence about this game or want to hear their version of this Tarantino-esque gathering of bounty hunters all trying to acquire the same artefact in Hunan, click here and let the story begin.

Cast

Vendetta Black – Shannon Steele

Kaze Sora – Brandon Irwin

Mr. Runcitter – Aaron Woodside

Narrator – Eric Ausley

Guard – Mario Garcia

Brad – Todd Crapper

Old Lady – Jennifer Ausley

Kiki – Marielena Alcaraz

Khilmore – Chris Hussey

Marco Portune – Michael Waldschlager II

Belidia Runcitter – Katarina Ausley

Music

Benjamin Tissot ( bensound.com )

Machinimasound ( machinimasound.com )

Edited by Eric Ausley & Dan Helderman

Written and Directed by Eric Ausley

Not Even the Fires of Chaos Can Stop Us

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Notice the date change and read below to find out more… 

If there’s one guarantee when preparing a Kickstarter launch, it’s that nothing will work out as you planned. Surviving the ups and downs requires a willingness to adapt and adjust as needed.

In light of some recent events, the release dates for both High Plains Samurai: The Rehearsal Edition and the HPS Kickstarter have been modified. See below to learn more about how Chaos has already begun to thwart our well-laid plans by attacking the home of its creator.

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Just as the other Elemental Spirits did not give in to their father’s wrath, neither shall we. Therefore, we are announcing revised launch dates. The Rehearsal Edition will now launch in February 2017 and the Kickstarter has been pushed back until May 2017 to allow additional time and effort to ensure all of you receive the best possible version of the game and its possibilities. But that does not mean you are going to wait. As mentioned in the Facebook post, you can now download a text-only PDF copy of High Plains Samurai’s playtest copy… TODAY!

Click here to download an early preview of High Plains Samurai: The Rehearsal Edition.

Everything you need to discover the One Land, its plights and people, and start playing (including a playtest scene titled “To Catch A Train”) is here and ready for you. In the coming week, a complete PDF version with full layout and artwork will be launched to start the public playtest, so stay tuned for that.

Measuring Success (or How Well ScreenPlay Sold)

(This is the second draft of this post written from scratch. Something about the chart above is really throwing off WordPress and anytime I attempt to select more than one word, it scrolls straight down to the bottom. Therefore, to keep it simple and avoid a third attempt, all links are provided at the bottom of this post.)

Another fiscal year has come and gone and this one is extra special. As detailed in my personal blog, Broken Ruler Games is now an actual business. Licence and everything. Which means apologies must be made for any ruse or hand waving magician-ry of the past four years. Yet what made the goal of starting BRG remains and fuels the engine of this next step.

It meant creating a clean and accurate slate as a business rather than part of freelancing. Only a month ahead of schedule, it was time to see how well ScreenPlay has fared and discover the aftermath of 2015’s Bundle of Holding.

Let’s See Some Numbers

Yes, let’s start with that. Below are the sales/downloads for everything in the BRG catalogue from October 2015 to August 2016.

Product Total Sold Gross Sales Earnings
Killshot: The Director’s Cut 36 $259.21 $140.08
  PDF 25
  Hardcover B&W 4
  Hardcover B&W + PDF 7
Killshot: An Assassin’s Journal 6 $10.17 $5.95
  PDF 6
  Softcover B&W 0
Killshot: Direction 2 $7.15 $4.18
  PDF 2
  Softcover B&W 0
Killshot Files #0 42 $9.78 $3.98
  PDF (Free) 42
Killshot Files #1 16 $19.94 $11.67
  PDF 16
Killshot Files #2 16 $57.22 $33.47
  PDF 16
ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition 645 $0.00 $0.00
  PDF (Free) 645
Ironbound 444 $64.46 $37.72
  PWYW 231
  Softcover POD 5
  Blessed and the Damned 208
ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition 92 $444.44 $260.01
  PDF 75
  Softcover POD 5
  Softcover POD + PDF 12
  Hardcover POD (playtesters exclusive) 11
TOTAL 1315 $872.37 $497.06

Starting with highlights, the numbers for both ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition (not including additional downloads during ENnies voting, which were provided on Google Drive instead of RPGNow – the original provider) and Ironbound are impressive. Those are loads of opportunities for people to discover ScreenPlay with little to zero cost (and risk). Did it translate into the desired number of ScreenPlay core book sales? No. Based on the initial launch, core book sales have dropped nearly 70% in August compared to May 2016. Even the Christmas In July sale did not improve sales. There are still sales taking place with 11 PDFs in August and a couple POD sales.

There was also no carry-over from the ENnies nomination. A couple hundred more downloads, yes, but there doesn’t appear to be any impact on core rulebook sales.

The true test will be the October release of Dial M for Monster (slated for layout this weekend). At the very least, it will make for a geiger counter of a specific concept over a universal system. And whether or not people like to play old drive-in movies for Hallowe’en as emphatically as they did in playtesting.

Overall sales were down 50% from the previous year. Killshot sales dropped significantly, down by more than 90% from 2014-15 and the main cause is the Bundle of Holding. Oh, how could you, sweetest moment of BRG’s short life. The BoH was an amazing opportunity and it was also a swan song for this edition of the game. At this point, it seems to be cooling down to a slow trickle… but this is after three years in the spotlight. For my first original design, this is truly amazing and I’m happy to report over 1,000 copies of Killshot: The Director’s Cut are resting on bookshelves and tablets all over the world.

Perhaps this means it is time to take another crack at Killshot Reloaded in the near future…

Um, Great Time to Start a Business, Huh?

It does seem like going +1 forward on BRG after a year like this may not have been the smartest move but it’s all skewed on one major factor: the Bundle of Holding. For a small indie publisher such as BRG, gaining access was fundamental to last year’s success. Yet such a thing cannot be expected as a regular feature. When I look at the total earnings BRG has accumulated in four years, 2015-16 was on par. 25% of its total earnings were made in the last 11 months and that means we held our heads above the water as the cruise ship took off without us. Thumbs up!

There’s also the price points between Killshot and ScreenPlay, with the latter priced at half that of its violent older brother. While ScreenPlay’s numbers were not what I hoped, those for Ironbound are very promising and I am considering a possible Ironbound sequel once it reaches 300 downloads.

Here’s what this teaches me. For the past four years, Broken Ruler Games has been a development studio with help from Mystical Throne Entertainment and operated on soft launches and zero marketing. Promoting, yes, but promoting is when you connect with an existing audience (Twitter followers, email subscribers) and marketing is reaching a population outside of that. Plus it’s only been available on OneBookShelf sites – that’s going to change. A lot is. It has been a learning experience these past four years and there’s a very good indication this could grow into something more, something with a bit more muscle going into the bigger picture. I’ve been having fun with BRG and creating games for people to play; now it’s time to take it seriously.

Are you ready?

Un-Broken Links

To read my personal blog post on turning BRG into a legit business (that sounds kind of mafia, doesn’t it?), click here.

You can read more about ScreenPlay, Ironbound and Killshot by clicking on them words.

Discover all about the Bundle of Holding and pick up some sweet bundle on their website.


Todd Crapper is the Owner/Lead Designer/Jack of All Trades for Broken Ruler Games. Basically, anything you see written with that blue target and snapped ruler on it was written by him. Including this. He’s writing about himself in the third person. Weirdo.

Save 25% on ScreenPlay and Killshot This Week

Normally, there’d be a witty remarks to start off this post that may or may not play up on Santa’s workshop being taken over by rogue elves when the big man and his dear wife go away on holidays… but this sale is so big there’s no time to waste joking around.

The annual tradition that is Christmas In July is going on now at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow where pretty much everything they have is 25%, including the ENnie nominated ScreenPlay and Killshot roleplaying games. If you’ve had any of our products sitting in your wish list or if you’ve downloaded ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition and have yet to take it to the next level, you only have 4 days left.

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What are you still doing here? Didn’t you read there’s only four days left to save 25%? Start clicking, start saving!

Vote ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition for ENnies 2016 Best Free Game

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Voting is now open for this year’s ENnie awards and that means you can vote for ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition as 2016’s Best Free Game. Sure, there’s plenty of other great games in every other category and you could probably go ahead and vote in those categories too but everyone here at BRG is concerned with only one game in one category. #totalhonesty

If you haven’t done so yet, you can learn more about ScreenPlay: The Rehearsal Edition on the official page and download your free copy of the game too.

Get Ready To Play: Release Dates For ScreenPlay and Ironbound

This past weekend, layout wrapped up for both the ScreenPlay core rulebook and the preview treatment/adventure, Ironbound, making it time to make our announcement official. So official they’re going up in big, BIG fonts.

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Ironbound goes on sale as a Pay-What-You-Want PDF release from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow on Monday, May 16th.

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The ScreenPlay core rulebook PDF goes on sale for $5 USD from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow on Monday, May 31st.

We’re also working on getting Print On Demand version of the ScreenPlay core rules ready for a projected launch in June 2016 and the wheels are in motion for the continuation of this new sage for BRG. Throughout the coming month, Broken Ruler Games and Mystical Throne Entertainment will begin the marketing campaign for both products and expect to see your copy of either or both PDFs later this month if you were a part of our Rehearsal Edition playtest.

To learn more about ScreenPlay and what you can expect, click here. Learn more about Ironbound and their fight against slingers of magick spells and invokers of summoning rituals here.

A Final Update & A Look To The Future

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As the public playtest for ScreenPlay winds to a close, the latest version of the Rehearsal Edition has been posted on our ScreenPlayers Guild G+ community. If this game has kept you up late at night or you’ve been itching to read through and give it a try with your group but don’t know if you’ll be able to do so before January 29th, join the community today. (Version 1.5 of the rules will NOT be provided through DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.)

Now work progresses on taking ScreenPlay to the next level and after careful consideration, we’re turning to the public once more to make its official launch bigger than ever. Yep, we’re crowdfunding it! (Either Kickstarter or Indiegogo are on the table and a final decision has not yet been made.) The response from playtesters has been fantastic and it feels right to try and give this game a fighting chance to rocket out of the gate with more than our original plans. Expectations are to launch the campaign in Spring of this year and we’re working on building up some stretch goals to make the offer even sweeter than ever. If this sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee), stay up to date right here on brokenrulergames.net or through the ScreenPlayers Guild.