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"Profit in selling Generic Rule set? " Topic

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1,260 hits since 24 Jul 2012
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Megagente Inactive Member24 Jul 2012 6:58 p.m. PST

Good day or night.

I want to know if there is any profit margin in selling generic miniature game rules online in print format using the HP MagCloud service? and giving it in free black and white format in PDF.

Also what will happen if the main core rule is a variation from other free and paid game systems?

I will appreciate for some comments.

PatrickWR24 Jul 2012 7:03 p.m. PST

Ganesha Games sells Song of Blades & Heroes at a fairly cheap introductory price, which encourages gamers to try out the various supplement books (of which there are many). So that's one route.

Two Hour Wargames gives away a free PDF of Chain Reaction to encourage players to try out the system and buy the various other rulebooks based on the same engine.

Those are just 2 companies taking opposite approaches. Both are healthy and productive members of the industry, at least it looks that way from where I sit.

doc mcb Inactive Member24 Jul 2012 7:06 p.m. PST

We sell a color pdf of PRIDE OF LIONS, and have a b&w version available free as an addition, if anyone wants it. We print copies to sell at cons. And Wargames Vault and Ganesha carry, or will soon carry, POD versions as well as the download.

Anyone who buys the printed version from us at a con can give us their email, and we'll send them the pdf free.

In other words, the basic approach is that you only pay for one version, and get the "lesser" versions included.

I am not familiar with HP MagCloud?

Megagente Inactive Member24 Jul 2012 7:38 p.m. PST

Thanks for the responses,

I dont know if this might be a problem, but I am not in the U.S oor Europe.

How those game rule developers deal with the miniatures they recommend the public to use? Do I need to have a permission from the developer to use my own photos of their product?

MagCloud is an online printing and digital service. They charge like 20 cents per page for printing in good quality, and then you can increase the selling price to make some profit. They print and charge your customers so you dont have to deal with that. You can offer your content to the public free or paid in pdf format.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2012 7:52 p.m. PST


chriskrum Inactive Member24 Jul 2012 11:08 p.m. PST

For the most part writing and publishing a set of miniature rules is a vanity project, not one in which you can expect to have a profit on. Unless you have an established IP, your own line of miniatures or an established business trading miniatures, you will find it difficult to sell them in any quantity that will generate a profit--at least one with a large enough margin to overcome the expense of trying to generate a profit, potential legal costs, etc. especially if you are using other peoples work and miniatures in your rules without express written consent.

In the US, one isn't technically allowed to copyright rules or a system--that is the actual mechanic--however, the description of a mechanic is copyrighted automatically. If you are basing your rules on someone else's work be certain the words you use to describe them are entirely your own and not borrowed from the original source.

Photographs of other's miniatures that are used in a commercial project will generally require the permission of the company that makes them. Lots of companies might not care, but it's not a risk one should take.

There's more leeway if you don't ask for money and make it a commercial endeavor. The moment you start trying to make a profit, no matter how small, you cross into commercial territory.

Personal logo elsyrsyn Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2012 4:24 a.m. PST

I believe Specialist Military Publishing, who do Blitzkrieg Commander, et al, have some of their older stuff available for POD on Lulu, which sounds similar to HP Mag Cloud. Might want to talk to them. In general, though, I think that if you are approaching a gaming endeavor and thinking of profits first, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.


Personal logo sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2012 5:40 a.m. PST

As with the other contributions, "HOBBY: an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.". – almost opposite to "profit in selling". I make more from one days work, than I make from a whole year of wheeling and dealing in this hobby.

soledad25 Jul 2012 6:29 a.m. PST

I designed a game and made about USD 1000 profit. I would not exactly quit my daytime job. But it was fun and "good for the ego" to see a game one have designed in print and that people buy it and enjoy playing it.

But compared to how many hours I have put into it it was a very low salary for so many hours of work.

If I want to make money I work overtime on my daytime job! ;)

Megagente Inactive Member25 Jul 2012 7:04 a.m. PST

Song of Blades & Heroes pdf costs about $6 USD for 34 pages in Lulu.

Blitzkrieg Commander was like $30 USD printed at Lulu.

Chain Reaction 3.0 is about 30 pages for $5 USD printed.

Brink of Battle is about $33 USD and the PDF about $27 USD at Lulu.

Shipping is not going to be a problem, because the MagCloud is located in the U.S.

There might be some companies out there interested in promoting their minis to compete against the giant (you know who) that will allow some photographic materials or mutual cooperation.

I know I will not become rich, but I will be happy to accomplish something in the hobby. So for now I will start with a free pdf.

doc mcb Inactive Member25 Jul 2012 7:11 a.m. PST

There's a lot to be said for giving stuff away, if you re not dependent on it for a living. I now make a LITTLE bit on PRIDE, but it ALL gets rolled into new stuff such as artwork for expansions. My goal is for my hobby to pay for itself; anything beyond that would be fine and good but quite beyond my expectations.

richarDISNEY Inactive Member25 Jul 2012 8:28 a.m. PST

The Eclipse Phase RPG was given away as a torrent from the company itself. It knew that if you printed it out yourself (in full color) it would be WAY more than their printed version you could buy from them.
Good way to get players hooked.
I loved it and bought the printed one…

Dave Crowell25 Jul 2012 9:35 a.m. PST

I write occasional supplements and adventures for the RPG market. I get paid an amazing $0.00 USD USD per word. It is just enough to say I am getting paid for game design work. Technically.

My publisher is well satisfied if they sell enough copies to break even on publishing costs. Over the moon if there is actually a profit. I was paid my last royalties payment in beer at a gaming convention. There were enoroyal roots to buy a couple of cases of beer for the Con. This was from about a year's sales. Not a huge margin.

To be honest I write for the bragging rights of being able to say I am a published game author. Still a geek after all these years in the hobby.

CorSecEng Inactive Member25 Jul 2012 5:48 p.m. PST

I'd just go with PDFs through Wargames Vault first. They are reasonable. You get 70% of the price and you can even boost that by signing up the be an affiliate and then you get like 5% for referring back to wargames vault for your games. You also make 5% on anything else the customer buys.

I checked with them and they said it was ok to do that so all our links to the printable star fields include the affiliate id.

If you get enough interest them maybe use wargames vault or another service to POD.

Megagente Inactive Member26 Jul 2012 7:08 a.m. PST

Thanks for the tip CorSecEng.

Thats my approach. If the players enjoy the free PDF, I will offer them the printed color version.

Decebalus27 Jul 2012 4:26 a.m. PST

"Photographs of other's miniatures that are used in a commercial project will generally require the permission of the company that makes them. Lots of companies might not care, but it's not a risk one should take."

I dont know, what is the law in the USA. But copyright usually only protects the copyrighted thing, not a picture of that thing. I can make and publish a photograph of the new world trade center without harming the copyright of the architect.

But it has to be your own photograph, not a photograph by another person. That has its own copyright. So you cannot take the photograph from the website of the miniature company or some painting service. It is a good custom to name the maker.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2012 12:36 p.m. PST


Another way to go is to write it up and convince someone else to sell it for you. They get the majority of the profit but they take care of all the bussiness of it.
I had already been writting articles for Too Fat Lardies so had a relationship with them. When I wanted to publish Platoon Forward and Squadron Forward I had Rich do it. He edited it and laid it out professionally and sells it. I get braggin rights and just enough to donate to charity while he gets some profit.

Good Luck


skyflash400 Inactive Member08 Aug 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

I have written a generic set of wargames rules. They are available on kindle @ £2.00 GBP-00. They are called For the Glory. A Napoleonic army list is also available @ £1.00 GBP-00. An C18th set of lists is currently being proof read and I am working on a set of lists for imperial Rome.

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