Thursday, 13 July 2017

A Quick Spellcaster Poll

First off, a big thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of Spellcaster! I don't think it is challenging White Dwarf in terms of sales, nor is it going to allow me to retire tomorrow, but it has certainly sold well enough to get me thinking about the second issue. On that note, I wanted to get a little feedback about how the issue could be improved.

What you've got in Issue 1 is what I can accomplish for $5. So, my question is, which of the following items would you be willing to pay $1 more for, if any.

Professional Layout

Internal Artwork

Professional Miniature Photography

More Rules Content

Other Articles (Miniature Painting / Terrain Building / etc.)

Fiction

Other (Let Me Know)

Are any of those worth $1 to you? In theory, the magazine could include all of them, although the price would then be closer to $12, rather than the current $5. Or, are you happy with the basic style, content, and look of Issue 1?

Either way, if you could comment below on what you would like to see for Issue 2, it will help me decide how to approach the next issue, and what improvements the readers would like to see.

Finally, I know a lot of people would like to see the magazine in a print form. For the moment, that's just not an option. Maybe someday a print compendium will appear, but for now, Spellcaster is going to remain a digital only product.  

44 comments:

  1. Nothing ruins a game like endless rules additions. I understand why this might look commercially attractive, but for me personally it's huge turn off.

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  2. I like to see them as rules 'possibilities'. Nothing in Spellcaster is official. It is just a place of ideas that people can pick and choose from for their own campaigns.

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  3. More rules could become cumbersome as further issues come out.

    I would love to see short stories or some other fiction.

    Perhaps a focus on each particular school of magic, or spotlight on warbands so to speak.
    You could start with people you know and even open it up to submissions from readers.
    Include pics and a small blurb about the warband.

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  4. I thought the layout was fine. It would be nice for internal artwork etc, but for the price and content, $5 is a great price. Especially as I've just bought a three bed house in Didcot, and still renting for a few months until it's livable (mortgage, rent and bills for two properties will be very tight on the little purse I have!) But then I'm sure I could stretch a bit more for some lovely extra content!

    It would be nice to see

    Other Articles (Miniature Painting / Terrain Building / etc.)

    Fiction

    Perhaps you could even play around with some new schools of magic and continue to think of other interesting rules that could be incorporated.

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    1. Hey Kivati, I bought a house in Oxford (which I'm in the process of selling), so I know that place in Didcot must have knocked you back a bit! Thanks for the thoughts.

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  5. I enjoyed issue 1.

    The layout isn't award winning, but it is neat and gets the content across to the readers, which is what counts. There are too many magazines, both professional and fan made, that go overboard with the layouts and it becomes a mess. Even GW suffer from this at times, so for me clean and simple wins the day.

    More professional photos and artwork would be nice and push it up in terms of visual appeal, but your audience are people already hooked on Frostgrave, not someone passing by a magazine stand and flicking through to be wowed...

    For me, more scenarios or rules would justify a price increase. As you've already said, this is a chance for you to experiment with rules that you feel don't fit within the main game. Maybe a series of articles that build up into a new location? Not as different as your new book, but something that fits within the existing Frostgrave theme and war band setups, but allows for some different events, scenarios and creatures. I remember working on a few like that for Mordheim that ended up in the mini magazine that GW released for that system.

    Alternatively, beta versions of rules that you are working on to get feedback? Not sure if your writing contract for the main product line allows for that one though

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  6. Scenarios are good, more rules make it hard to keep track. Save those for expansion books.

    Painting guides by Kevin would be nice.

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  7. Maybe a rules/scenario/creature index that is updated in each issue, telling you where any of these reside. I keep missing the magazine scenarios, so it would be good to have a complete listing somewhere.

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  8. Paul, I try to keep that up-to-date here on the blog (click on the Frostgrave tab at the top) or follow this link. I need add the last one in Miniature Wargames: https://therenaissancetroll.blogspot.co.uk/p/frostgrave.html

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  9. I would recommend better layout, more art, and more content. These items don't have to be over the top, but it should look more professional and have meat on the bone. The first issue was bare minimum I felt. It felt like a money grab with no pride in the presentation or amount of content. If you want this to be a regular item that contributes to your income, add value to it and put effort into it. If you don't think you would be able to handle it all, subsidize your content with fan articles. I do have a suggestion though for an article. I think it would be interesting to have school of magic specific soldiers for each type of wizard. Something like say a grave robber for a necromancer or a an acolyte for a sigilist, etc. I also think limit the amount of rules. Having to refer to a rulebook, four source books, and magazine articles to get all the rules to play the game is not wise. This is supposed to be a simple skirmish game. Each new batch of rules adds to the complexity of the game and the search for which book, etc. said rules are in.

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  10. The layout of the first was professional enough.

    Internal artwork and pictures would be nice but not necessary.

    More rules content than what appeared in the first? I think you reached a fine balance. Scenarios are always useful but a look into the thought process of how you design them would be really useful. I write my own scenarios to drive a story and I often wonder if I am making the game unbalanced in places. Miniature painting and terrain making articles, videos, facebook groups, blogs and forums exist everywhere. YouTube and Twitch are far more useful than a written guide ever could be.

    Fiction would again be nice but not necessary. For me, the ruleset is the main appeal of the game rather than the world it takes place in.

    Just keep up the good work.

    P.s if the price was $6 I would pay it. Don't tell my wife!

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  11. Well I for one am of the school of thought that if it ain't broken don't fix it.
    I like the expanded class thing for knights would be cool to see this for other classes.
    That's the end of rant lol

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  12. I was more than happy with the content and layout of issue one. I agree that adding more rules might complicate things, but maybe the occasional article clarifying certain bits that you get asked about a lot?
    I'd also like to see more solo scenarios, though I daresay these take time and effort to write and playtest, so I'd understand if this wasn't possible.
    I'd also like to see model suggestions for some of the more obscure creatures, such as the Foulhorn or the crab/turtle demo thingies from Pacts - you know, the ones where it's not as easy to buy a 'counts as' that's faithful to the books.

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    1. Oh, and fiction - who doesn't like fiction?

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  13. I really like the idea of new scenarios, but preferably with new monsters/extravagant board layouts kept to a minimum. Some of the more simple ones from the original book (worm hunts etc) are some of my favourites, and while I'd love to play some of the ones out of the Folio they need monsters that are very hard to find models for /need scenery beyond my abilities

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  14. Layout is grand but more content definitely- Other Articles (Miniature Painting / Terrain Building / etc.) thanks

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  15. How about a sci-fi version with a new soldier

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  16. I think the Layout and general finish was very good.
    Personally, I'd love more rules expansions. The way you designed firearms as non-canonical optional ruleset could be a great stepstone here. Again,personally, I would love to create a dwarven or undead warband, and would totally pay 1 more dollar for that.^^
    TL;DR: I buy miniature mags less for the pretty pictures, but for the hobby content. Additional/Optional rules and hobby articles are top reason to buy. Frankly, there are enough free great pictures of minis on Instagram.
    CHeers and keep up the good work!

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  17. I'd love to see new wizard types and spells, me and a friend tried our hands at that and have yet to test them out. Short stories, new campaign scenarios or in game effects like in TOTLL, anything to help flesh out the world a bit more would work, I'm a sucker for a good narrative.
    Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll be great.

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  18. I'd love to see new wizard types and spells, me and a friend tried our hands at that and have yet to test them out. Short stories, new campaign scenarios or in game effects like in TOTLL, anything to help flesh out the world a bit more would work, I'm a sucker for a good narrative.
    Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll be great.

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  19. First off, congratulations! Really great magazine. I personally would pay up to $10 for this magazine if it included these things:

    Professional Layout
    Always a plus, but the magazine does read clearly and concisely.


    Internal Artwork
    Again a plus. Creatures and imagery help sell the content and spark the imagination. I am a professional illustrator and would be happy to lend my talents free of charge, as I love this game and would have a blast helping out.


    Professional Miniature Photography
    Definitely consider this!

    More Rules Content
    Yes. This is a must. Folks are going to want more options and scenarios.


    Other Articles (Miniature Painting / Terrain Building / etc.)
    I would absolutely love to see articles from players on this.




    Fiction
    Meh. I can take or leave the fluff.


    Again this is a great magazine and a well designed start to a greater idea. I'm looking forward to seeing more. IF you are looking for artistic contributions please let me know.
    -Jonathan Myers
    Fantasy Illustrator
    https://www.facebook.com/jonathanmyersart1974/

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  20. Internally I'd like to see some photographs of miniatures.

    The rules additions are fun, and in this issue are justified, but as others have indicated it would be a shame if suddenly there became a subset of play that involved 3-4 back issues of Spellcaster and a PDF thats no longer available just to run a scenario (I know you're not there yet, I'm just doomsdaying)

    Fiction might be fun, but what I'd LOVE to see would perhaps be some Battle Reports with sort of Mascot warbands, or some strategems, or player/creator insights into units and how to best apply them on the field.

    That would keep me coming back for more for SURE.

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  21. I would cough in another buck for:
    Professional Layout
    More Rules Content
    Other Articles (Terrain Building)

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  22. I think that additional rules, as an optional thing, may be good. More pics would be great too. But what I think would be very good is battle reports fully illustrated with tons of pics and rules advices.

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  23. I was thrilled to get horse rules that I'd been hoping for.

    I disagree with people who say that more rules is bad. They're all optional so it's nice to be able to pick and choose whatever you want.

    So more rules is all I'd look for. Bare bones presentation and $1 in my pocket is fine with me.

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  24. I'd really love to see more rules content and articles. I don't care that much about color printing, except the cover, and more professional photography and artwork inside, but a bit of fiction here and there also wouldn't be remiss. And I would be absolutely willing to pay more to get all that. I'd even be fine paying $12 to get everything listed.

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  25. plus 1 for additional rules or scenarios anything else fine

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  26. The issue 1 was perfect for me. A bit of everything for a good price.
    For issue 2, maybe less new rules and more scenarios with new Frostgrave places (the harbour, the red district, arena,...) with cool creatures... ;-)
    A beautiful map of Feldstad could be nice too.
    Gab (BE)

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  27. As others have already said, the layout did the job, but could have been improved. I don'y think that's where you should concentrate short term.

    Internal Artwork would be nice if you can get it, but again isn't make or break.

    In general, I would concentrate on why people buy Spellcaster, and that's for specific Frostgrave (and Ghost Archipeligo) content, which to my mind means:
    Scenarios
    Fiction
    Rules (including more creatures/monsters)

    I would add to that, as someone else mentioned, it would be interesting to see other skins for the game, showcase how other people use the rules with different genres and miniatures.

    Mini photography, painting and terrain can be sourced from a million other places, so I wouldn't wastre my time on them if I were you, unless it was something that was extremely on theme.

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  28. Great job with the first issue.

    I would pay more fore more rules content. Everything else is nice to have, but i would't pay more for it.

    I would like to see the common soldier getting more personality (skills?) to raise them to more than simple cannon fodder.

    Have you seen the House rules compendium from the FB Frostgrave group? Some excellent ideas there.

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  29. I would like to also add the problem with additional rules in several different places. If you don't have a steady group who can agree on exactly what rules to use, it can make it difficult to get a pick up game. There is nothing worse than trying to get set up for a game only to find that your opponent is using rules from a source you weren't aware of or conversely looking forward to using new rules you just picked up to find that your opponent doesn't want to allow something they aren't familiar with.

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  30. I enjoyed the first issue. I am totally new to minature war gaming so any readable and accessible information is great. I would like to see more solo scenarios, battle reports with pics (if possible), and more optional rules. And maybe examples of warbands/terrain from different sources. Maps of the world would be excellent as well. The layout was fine and somewhat refreshing. Over produced layouts are sometimes confusing. I would rather pay for content rules/scenarios/visuals than a fancy layout. Yes, I would pay more, your writing is very good and understandable to me even as a complete newbie to the genre.

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  31. I'd pay up to $12 per issue (assuming it was maybe a quarterly?) for any or all of these improvements EXCEPT for the new rules. I agree with quite a few on here that rules just tend to snowball and can even break things. I realize they're not considered official, but once they're in the wild, some will want to play them while others will not.

    While I'm okay with the current layout at the $5 price point, seeing things in more of a magazine style layout would be great. That means artwork, editorial(s), articles related to FG and even GA, and scenarios... LOTS of new scenarios.

    I don't know what the Frostgrave player size is, but I've got to imagine this could be a nice source of income for you if enough players find it useful.

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  32. I would love some semi-official rules for soldiers to advance. This is the one thing my group is looking for right now. I know that there are some fan-made alternatives, but none of them really do it for us.

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  33. Throw everything in, I'll pay. I won't read the fiction (sorry it's never in the same league as serious writing), but some do.

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  34. I really liked issue #1. Simplicity is good & keeping it at a low cost for those who want to add other options to their campaigns is good. Some of the other comments mentioned some FAQ's on things asked my numerous people, though perhaps a FAQ on the blog is better. The new magazine does allow potential to develop more creatures with stat's & who knows maybe even some more co-operation with Northstar to create these said creatures as miniatures (see JP's comments above. One of the wonderful things about the game is the ability to use miniatures from other lines, however when you start getting into Frostgrave specific critters, then it becomes a challenge.

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  35. Solo scenarios, please!

    How about more settings within the Frostgrave world, around the edge of Felstad? Trading posts, monasteries, prisons, etc.? More NPCs, and more spells, too. How about some more anti-magic stuff? Like an organization or religion that hunts down spellcasters?

    I also second this suggestion:

    "I'd also like to see model suggestions for some of the more obscure creatures, such as the Foulhorn or the crab/turtle demo thingies from Pacts - you know, the ones where it's not as easy to buy a 'counts as' that's faithful to the books."

    Artwork is a good reason to buy the physical books, so I would save it for that. Most importantly, keep Spellcaster coming!

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  36. Joe,

    Firstly, congratulations on a great issue. I'm not sure that I'll be incorporating the gunpowder or mount rules, but anything Frostgrave is an interesting read. I understand that these optional rules are just that - options. But I do think rules published by the game designer are viewed as more than a houserule. And folks will likely incorporate all of it.
    That said, I'm still new to the game and am sticking with the core rules for now. I haven't seen a need for more complexity. Maybe that will change.
    What I'd love to see in Spellcaster is perhaps some illustrations, some short story of a struggle or particular aspect of Felstad and then follow it up with a scenario that ties back into the story. That scenario could even be followed up with a painting guide and terrain building tutorials for the encounters.

    And of course more solo scenarios.

    Again, congrats on the first issue,
    Pat Tovey

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  37. I would like to see improvements in the layout and interior art. Also diagrams, specially for the scenarios. I do believe if you want to do this on the mid-term it might be valuable instead of paying a person to do the layout everytime get someone to design some templates. Like an article template, a scenario template and so on, that you can reutilize over and over. Same thing with some graphical assets, for example doing the coat d'arms of the Knight Orders and then use those shields for different article headers. I would love to tinker with the current magazine and send you an example.

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  38. I want to see miniature painting /scenery building articles, new scenarios and fiction to improve the background

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  39. Thanks for the first issue! Really like the rules for horses and the knights.

    I'd go for a few dollars more for: more solo scenarios and small or large campaigns; a few more pictures. Maybe articles on locations in the city and how to build/create/buy pieces for them...

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  40. More art.
    A twist on fiction: combine fiction and battle reports. Write story-telling battle reports of linked scenarios. Include photos of awesome miniatures and terrain, showing the key moments of the story.

    I agree with the camp that says forego more rules. Instead, port the existing rules into new settings and genres. Provide scenarios and the aforementioned narrative battle reports to show new Frostgrave locales/environments, sci-fi, pulp, post-apoc, Cthulhu, etc.

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  41. congrats on the first issue. I love frostgrave and it's become my go-to game. Love the constant expansions and updates for it. keeps the game alive and well for me so the magazine is a great way to help with that.

    With that said here's what i would pay for

    I'd love to see more options for base building and really bring that into the forefront of the game as it stands it's one of the only parts of the game that i feel is lacking. Most of the base components are really expensive and give too little bonus or are too specific to a certain spell or spell catagory to really be helpful. Games like necromunda have me playing for years because of the feeling of building a warband and base of operations. Really give a sense of progression beyond just levels and more loot and spells. Plus it's nice to have something that can potently give bonuses to game play or generate resources such as money, potions, scrolls, items, etc.

    Base building aside i also like many of the suggestions i've read here on the forum.

    I'm a sucker for world building as it helps be feel more connected to the game as a whole and also helps inspire my creative juices when coming up with my own content or warbands. I'd love to see a world map and more settings for the game (as was mentions earlier) the docks, red district, arena, temples, outer districts... etc

    I'd love to get more rules, monsters, scenarios, hirelings, items, and mini-campaigns as it's always nice to get those things from the source as opposed to just fan made ones.

    i like the idea of the occasional painting and terrain article as well as a strategy highlight to use certain spells or hirelings together to great effect.

    a little internal artwork is always nice but doesn't have to be all out.

    some things that i read from other peoples posts that i think were great ideas were wizards specific hirelings, expanded classes(kinda like the knights) maybe have different healing schools for apothecaries or different thief or mercenary groups that focus and different stats.

    having a section for fan content would be a big plus as it will give different opinions and help connect us a group.

    Narrative Battle reports are always fun to read and was one of my favorite parts of old white dwarf's back in the day.

    and finally i love the idea of more NPCs or factions running around. One that was suggested was an anti-magic wizard hunting group, or maybe there's a weird underground kidnapping ring that can come in randomly and try to steal your hirelings or wizards and you have to search for them, try to mount a rescue, or pay their ransom to get them back. maybe occasionally you can never get them back or you find them later through random luck.

    anyways i've probably written too much as it is but i love frostgrave and i'm excited for the potential this magazine represents of keeping the game and content alive and well. Thank you joe for such an awesome game that i can get so passionate about. :-)

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