June 2010

Eclipse Phase is Origins Award RPG of the Year

Eclipse Phase was just voted the Best RPG of the Year at the Origins Awards. To say that I am pleased, after all the hard work that went into this game, after all the business kerfuffles over the last few months, and considering the competition —well, I am very pleased.

Eclipse Phase

Eclipse Phase is a complete game with a detailed science-fiction setting. It’s published under a Creative Commons license; because we have to build the future we want to live in, and sharing is an integral part of gaming culture. I’m thrilled to sanction and encourage that kind of sharing in a formal way. We sell the electronic version for $15 because we want to get it into your hands; after you’ve bought it, give a copy to your gaming group so they can fall in love with it, too. The print version is a gorgeous, 400-page full-color hardcover book, and it should be available in stores everywhere.

Eclipse Phase is a base for experiments, also. If you buy the Gamemaster Screen Hack Pack, not only do you get PDFs of the GM Screen and the Glory adventure, but you get the InDesign files we used to build the GM Screen, to let you hack your own custom GM screen. And when you’ve built your screen, you can share it with everyone. We’ll have more experiments soon.

But for now, we have our game back in sales channels, there are two print releases coming soon (the Gamemaster Pack and the glorious sexy space whale-filled Sunward), it’s thrilling to be working with Rob and Brian on future stuff, and we won an Origins Award for Best RPG. That all feels pretty damned good.

Don’t Ask: “Would you consider?”

Often, a fan phrases a question towards a company in this manner: “Would you consider releasing this book as a hardback?” or “Have you considered releasing a fiction anthology?”

Please don’t ask questions in this manner. You’re trying to ask a question about the end results but the question you are actually asking is about process.

Some people would actually argue that someone can’t answer that question without quickly considering both possibilities, and so the answer to any “Would you consider?” question is always yes.

Let’s use an example: “Would you consider printing future books in hardcover?”

Before a publisher decides to print a book in hardcover, they have to look at the additional printing and shipping costs for doing so, compare that to the expected sales for the book, and ask some necessary sub-questions: will making this book hardcover sell more copies? Will making it hardcover make it possible to raise the price enough to cover the additional printing costs? Will this actually add value for the people buying the book? Does it conflict with the way that series of books has been published in the past?

It’s safe to say that if you see a book on the shelf, the publisher has considered all sorts of different things to try and make the book more attractive to buyers and more profitable to themselves. That is simply part of running a publishing business. Considering happens a lot.

If you want to ask a question about the process, do it:

“What factors most influence you when deciding if a book will be hardcover or softcover?”

or:

“Book X was hardcover, but Book Y and Z were softcover. Wasn’t Z similar enough to X to merit a hardcover? Why wasn’t it?”

If you want to ask questions about the end result, do it:

“I’m looking forward to Book A, but I really want it in hardcover. Is it going to be one?”

I understand that some people think that asking a “Would you consider?” question is a polite way of requesting that end result: but it’s better to just say “I would really like to see this book as a hardcover. I bought your other hardcover books and want more, please!” (“Please” is still a magic word, even when money and business is happening.)

Please don’t ask me if I’m considering things. Ask me what it took to get previous things done, or what it would take to get the things you want done.