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Whill

My comic shop expanded into RPGs!

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OK, I guess I should explain me "having" a comic shop. From about ages 11-17 (in the 80s), I collected comic books. Mostly DC, some Marvel, and hardly any indies. At it's height my collection had about 1200 comics, but over the years I have sold most of them off, only keeping a core collection of about 200 issues.

 

Then a couple years ago I heard about a new Star Trek ongoing comic series set in the new continuity. What intrigued me was that this series' creative consultant is Robert Orci, co-writer and producer of the new Star Trek films. The idea is that the expanded universe of publishing based on the new films will support and not contradict the continuity of the new films, and itself. This was a invigorating breath of fresh air for me. Regardless of how you feel about the new films, most Trek fans will agree that the original Trek franchise's expanded universe is somehow even worse than Star Wars' EU in that it is hopelessly inconsistent to itself and the film/TV canon. I never got into the original Trek's EU much, but most reading this will remember that Star Wars EU being so contradictory to the films (and itself) is a sore point for me.

 

Most of the new Trek comic series so far has been devoted to telling new versions of TOS series episodes, and overall it has gotten better and more original as it has went along, introducing some unforseen new twists into stories, and even totally improving upon some really lame episodes like "The Return of the Archons". The Trek comic isn't awesome, but it's not bad. But they didn't start the new series until they had a story for the second new film about to be released to avoid contradictions. After the sucess of the first new film they had even licensed a new series of novels set in the new universe and 4 novels were actually written, but they cancelled the series in the interest of not contradicting the film series. That proves to me that this new Star Trek franchise actually cares about franchise integrity more than milking every possible quick buck out of it, making it far superior to Star Wars' EU (and the Trek Prime EU) in that respect.

 

Starting to collect the new Trek series lead me to discover what was going on at DC (the Warner Brothers properties for those less initiated). About the same time as the start of the new Trek comic, DC had its biggest reboot to its continuity ever, in which they also simultaneously started all their series over with #1 in a single month. Mostly for nostalgia's sake, I bought several of these new #1s. A little while after settling on a preferred comic shop (I had a few options in my city), I began collecting one DC title, Justice League. My comic shop participates in a "pull list" program so they save my issues for me and give me a discount on all store purchases. So I collect two monthly comic book series regularly, but I imagine I will probably drop Justice League eventually. I have bought several trade paperbacks and graphic novels, mostly ones that serve as the basis for many of the movies I'm into, but most of these were ordered on Amazon due to how expensive they are at retail. Regular comic books are $3-$4 nowadays but the bigger books (many of them hardback) are much more expensive.

 

I do have the first 5 issues of a new Star Wars ongoing series set in the classic era (starting almost immediately after the Battle of Yavin). This new series was announced by the current Star Wars comic licensee (Dark Horse) shortly after Lucasfilm's sale to Disney was announced, which I think is a final ploy for Dark Horse to cash-in on Star Wars' primary bread-and-butter of the classic trilogy film characters while they still can before their license expires and Star Wars comics start to be published by Lucasfilm's co-Disney-owned company Marvel. Oh, and in the usual vien of most Star Wars EU products, the new comic series makes no attempt to reconsile with all the previous EU continuity set between ANH and TESB (no surprise there). But since that previous existing continuity is vastly utter garbage, I don't mind. The new Star Wars comic is ok. I originally planned on only buying the first story arc which was announced to be three issues, but they expanded it to the first six issues. So the next issue may be my last - we'll see.

 

Anyway, in the last month my comic shop (a literal "mom n' pop" store if "mom" and "pop" can only be in their 30s with school-age children) opened their connecting lot which is pretty much a full FLGS. I could hardly hide my glee when I walked in it. Games of all kinds, cards, minis, dice, you name it. They have two different rooms with multiple tables for hosting games to be played there by anyone during store hours. Their RPG section is mostly D&D at this point, but they plan to carefully expand based on customer interest/sales (they will order for you whatever they don't have in stock). They also have a handful of oddball old stuff in brand new condition - They even had a copy of the Metabarons RPG book for sale! To immediately show support for their new business venture, I bought a set of 12 traditional pipped d6s, the first set of d6s I have bought in about decade. They don't have a really large selection of dice yet but the ones I bought were frosted light blue and I think they look pretty cool.

 

And after buying FFG's basic Star Wars RPG set directly from FFG at full retail price (to give FFG the most profit off of the purchase), I had already decided I would patronize one of my local FLGS to buy the forthcoming core rulebook of the main RPG, just to support an FLGS. Now I know which one. I went ahead and put in an order for a copy, although I'm sure they were already going to get some copies for the store based on them having the other FFG Star Wars products in stock. I discovered the FFG core RPG book retails at a whopping $59.95, so I hope they do give me the comic discount (but won't complain if they don't). If this is any indication of modern RPG pricing, I can't promise I'll patronize any FLGS for any other Star Wars RPG purchases if I am interested in buying any more, but I am committed to this first one.

Edited by Whill

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That $59.95 price tag is fairly common for thicker full color books. When I say thicker, think 500 page thick. The average book price seems to be in the $40.00 range also in full color. Full color seems to have become the standard, something I personally find sad. I would rather see a lower entry cost for the hobby, but all indications seem to point to satisfying the collector urges of an older more established demographic.

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Great news that you've now got a FLGS in your immediate area, Whill. I wish I could have that sort of luck here.

 

As for the price of the book.

*cough* *cough*

 

That's a lot to swallow! I really don't think I could fork over that much money for an RPG book. Even if I DID have an RPG group and we planned on playing the game moderately often, I still think that's simply too much money....especially considering the chances are good that the game will have a fair bit of addenda and changes that will need to be made to it. (Which seems quite typical in today's RPG world...sadly)

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At first 60$ looks like a lot of money, but then I remind myself about inflation. When you take that into an account, then the price isn't so overwhelming. In fact, WEG's 2nd edition R&E cost almost the same, if you consider inflation. So the price isn't that bad, but the whole construction of the game is somewhat pricey, as there is more than one corebook to buy.

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That $59.95 price tag is fairly common for thicker full color books. When I say thicker, think 500 page thick. The average book price seems to be in the $40.00 range also in full color. Full color seems to have become the standard, something I personally find sad. I would rather see a lower entry cost for the hobby, but all indications seem to point to satisfying the collector urges of an older more established demographic.

 

Lower cost of entry? Reducing them from full color to just B&W reduces the cost to produce the book by only a few dollars per book. Also, $60 isn't that expensive when you consider how many games are bought for PCs or Consoles that are easily in that range. So, $60 for 500 pages is fine. Even D&D4e is $35 for 320 pages... and you need 3 books to run the game, so $105 + dice to get into it.

 

And just for comparison. D&D Player's Handbook was $20 in 1989. Per the rates of inflation the US has undergone, that same book would be almost $38 and was a B&W printing.

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At first 60$ looks like a lot of money, but then I remind myself about inflation. When you take that into an account, then the price isn't so overwhelming. In fact, WEG's 2nd edition R&E cost almost the same, if you consider inflation. So the price isn't that bad, but the whole construction of the game is somewhat pricey, as there is more than one corebook to buy.

 

More than one "corebook" to buy as part of the construction? You don't have to buy the other core books. Each one is a stand-alone game, just like the various settings for the Warhammer 40K universe are. They are supposed to be integratable, but that doesn't mean they are the same. If the 40K settings are any example, then the characters might share stats in common, but the baseline in each book will probably be different.

 

Also, each is slated to be about a year apart, so it's not like they are being dumped down all at once. July 2013, May 2014, then either late 2014 or early 2015 for the last. Plus supporting material (adventures, etc...).

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That $59.95 price tag is fairly common for thicker full color books. When I say thicker, think 500 page thick. The average book price seems to be in the $40.00 range also in full color. Full color seems to have become the standard, something I personally find sad. I would rather see a lower entry cost for the hobby, but all indications seem to point to satisfying the collector urges of an older more established demographic.

 

Well, dead-tree books are probably for an older demographic anyway. Younger people these days seem to prefer their books on tablets so they can carry 300 books at the same time and play angry birds. The PDFs are usually much cheaper (although usually way more expensive considering the cost to produce them vs the cost to produce a dead-tree book)

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Well, dead-tree books are probably for an older demographic anyway. Younger people these days seem to prefer their books on tablets so they can carry 300 books at the same time and play angry birds. The PDFs are usually much cheaper (although usually way more expensive considering the cost to produce them vs the cost to produce a dead-tree book)

 

At one point the former owner of WEG talked about some of the numbers for producing a book. The cost of printing them was one of the lowest parts (like $4/book for a book that might sell for $40). The major costs are time. Time for the writers, for the editor, for layout, for the artwork/artist, which don't change just because you choose to not send it to print. Also you have to factor in how many copies do you think you'll sell into the pricing of the books to make back the time and effort that went into making it. The PDF that is made for online selling is the same one that is sent to the printers to print the book. So, the slight reduction in price from the physical product does reflect the differences in "cost" to produce said item.

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All of those costs go down the more books you sell, but the cost to print the book remains the same. Then you also have to factor in distribution costs and mark up on the shelf. All of those are (or at least can be) drastically reduced when you have digital distribution. I don't claim to know the ins and outs of the industry, but if people can sell PDFs for +/-$10 with full color pages, professional editing and layout, etc. it seems pretty intuitive that the cost of putting a physical book in the hands of someone is more than $4/book, even if that is what the print cost is.

 

EDIT: I just spoke with an indie author I know and apparently I am gravely mistaken about this. The cost to produce his print book (granted it's BW and a short digest size book) is less than $5 per book. Still, I think it makes my point about dead-tree books being for the older, collector demographic even stronger, in that case.

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More than one "corebook" to buy as part of the construction? You don't have to buy the other core books. Each one is a stand-alone game, just like the various settings for the Warhammer 40K universe are. They are supposed to be integratable, but that doesn't mean they are the same. If the 40K settings are any example, then the characters might share stats in common, but the baseline in each book will probably be different.

 

Yes, I'm aware how the system works and still I'm somwhat put off by it. I see how it is good for the company, but I prefer how they did that in old times.

 

As for paper books... It's nice to know that I'm older demographic :D The scary thing is, that it is becoming reality!

I need also add that in my opinion most of e-books (and paper books!) have awful layout and it will be wors in future. There are fewer people who know how to do it in a proper way, as this is the easiest part of publishing industry to be left out. The amount of mistakes I see in "profesional" books!

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I have a failing for high quality full-color hardback RPG books, but I've never paid $60 for any single RPG book. I hope it's worth it.

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I know I got the hardcover edition of Game of Thrones by Guardians of Order for D20 several years ago. It was very close to that in price, and well it was worth it. A well made binding, full color, high quality paper, a book you can be proud to display, and capable of withstanding most of the people in my groups (I have one old friend who was just brutal on books, bull in a china shop, but completely accidental). Of course I love a well made book regardless of genere or use.

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A couple months later. They hired a new employee who seems to specialize in the game side of the store, always asking if you need help with anything in that side. I asked the owners and they said that so far the game business has done very well. The gaming tables always have multiple games being played. If only all the gamers took showers on a regular basis, it would be perfect. But then again no FLGS is.

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