Crafty Games State of the Company: Spring 2010
Every so often we pull back the curtain and talk about what’s going on at the home office: what’s changed, what’s working and what isn’t, and what you can expect from us in coming months. The last couple months have been especially busy behind the scenes, so let’s get right down to business.
Independence at Last
The biggest news this time around is that we’re now an independent publisher. Over the last several months it’s become more and more evident that Crafty Games has outgrown the Flaming Cobra imprint, and so we’ll be parting ways with Mongoose at the end of March. This is an important step for us, and paves the way for great things to come.
ALERT! Every title in our current print library remains available from Mongoose but only until the end of the month. If you’re looking to pick any of these titles up, now’s the time — starting in April, the only stock remaining will be whatever distributors and retailers have on hand.
New Distribution Partner: Studio 2
Our next print product, Fantasy Craft Second Printing, is soliciting now and will street in July or August. After that you can expect a steady stream of follow-up books for all our games, available through our new fulfillment partner, Studio 2 (Distributors and retailers should click here for ordering details).
We’re extremely excited to join the Studio 2 family. They have years of experience in what’s become a very tough market, and we’re sure that if anyone’s got the goods to help take Crafty Games to the next level, it’s them.
Our PDF products continue to be sold through DriveThruRPG and that won’t change anytime soon.
What Does All This Mean to You?
From a customer’s perspective, this won’t have a whole lot of impact, except for a few months without new books while we spin up our new runs. When our books return you’ll notice a couple less logos on the back but the otherwise you can expect the same great material and service you’ve always received.
It will be important to get the word out to retailers that our books are now being sold through Studio 2, however, and since we expect many of them won’t see this post, talk to us at the GAMA Trade Show, or otherwise get the information, we’re calling on Crafty Agents everywhere to help. If you don’t see our products in your FLGS, ask for them. If your retailer isn’t sure where to get our books, direct them to our new Distributor/Retailer page, and if they have questions, have them email us. It’s the best way to help us grow, which in turn allows us to make cooler products faster.
Crafty Games Website Upgrades
You’ll also notice quite a few changes at the Crafty Games website. Many backend upgrades are currently underway to address various issues and generally improve your visits. We’re also shifting some of the site’s tools to better reflect the trajectories of our product lines, and to help you find the information you crave easier and with less hassle. The forums, for example, have been reorganized by game line and community, concentrating all the action where you’ll most need it and ending some of the confusion about where certain threads should be posted.
We’ve also updated our In Development page, your one-stop source of information about products we’re currently working on. We’ll go into the schedule below but we wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that this is where we’ll be posting product details, previews, and release info as it becomes available. Generally, you’ll see products first appear at the end of the queue with vague details because with an operation our size that’s the best estimate we can offer out the gate. Product details will tighten up over time and previews and a target release month will appear as we close in on the finish line.
If you want to stay current with our upcoming products, see changes as they’re made and get previews and expanded details about titles approaching release, you’ll want to bookmark or subscribe to the In Development page today. (You can subscribe to any page on our site with your favorite RSS reader — just look for the orange icon at the bottom.)
Crafty Games Web Store
Another upcoming change at the Crafty Games home site is the addition of our very own online store, which will feature our entire catalog of print and PDF products. Not only will this allow us to sell directly to our customers but we’ll finally be able to offer print/PDF bundles! We’re deep in development now and hope to have the store live in the next month or two.
You Mentioned Something about the Schedule?
With the shift to Studio 2 we’re starting over on the inventory front, which is a bummer in the short term (our Mongoose library going out of print at the end of March and no books for a few months), but it also works to everyone’s advantage in a number of ways, allowing us to incorporate errata and feedback into the books we bring back into print, and accelerate some of the bigger plans we have brewing.
Once again, visit the In Development page for release estimates and other details.
Our newest offering continues to be the strongest seller in our history, and we’ve got big plans to keep it in the running for many years to come. First up is Fantasy Craft Second Printing, due out in July or August. This new edition will fold in all the errata that’s come up so far, and will feature several other clarifications and adjustments to enhance game play and balance. Customers who’ve bought the PDF will be able to download the update when we send it to the printers, most likely in early April. An independent errata document will also be released simultaneously for those who want to hold on to their Mongoose printings.
Next up is the Adventure Companion, which contains three original settings and a healthy rules expansion for GMs and players of the core game. Each of the settings is depicts a different time period and genre, and has its own unique flavor: players become spies, provocateurs, and assassins in the declining Greco-Roman nations of Cloak & Dagger; primitive shamans and warriors defending their icy homes, or the diabolists and summoners threatening the land, in the savage sword & sorcery Epoch; or traditional high fantasy adventurers exploring the winding river deltas and lost tombs of Sunchaser. The Adventure Companion will also introduce organization rules, group Prizes, new classes, feats, tricks, and more.
Looking to run some Fantasy Craft but don’t have much time on your hands? Fortunately, this is the Time of High Adventure! Our third book in the Fantasy Craft line presents three original, ready-to-play adventures: The Darkest Hour, in which the heroes protect the crossroads of Fels Cut from a new undead menace; The Cleansing of Black Spur, in which they seek to restore a keep long held by ancient evil; and The Vault, in which they face the ultimate dungeon challenge. As with all Mastercraft adventures, these feature sliding DCs and adversaries that scale to challenge any level, letting you run all three adventures for new or veteran parties of any composition.
Soon after will come Spellbound, your gateway to ultimate magic power: hundreds of new Fantasy Craft spells organized together with those from the core book to create the definitive grimoire for all casters. Also included are eight unique classes, one dedicated to each of the eight schools of magic, plus new feats, campaign qualities, and guidance to enhance arcane and divine magic in your games.
Farthest out in our current Fantasy Craft schedule is Gear for the Ages, a treasure trove of fantastic equipment sure to have something for every Fantasy Craft hero! Weapons, armor, equipment, upgrades, magic items, and artifacts are all included, supported by new treasure tables, expanded character options, and useful play aids for adventuring in any era.
Fantasy Craft fans can also expect regular PDF releases for the duration, beginning with the next wave of Call to Arms releases: the Bloodsworn, Force of Nature, and Mist Dancer.
Spycraft and Ten Thousand Bullets
Prior to our departure from Mongoose, we’d expected Ten Thousand Bullets to be our next core Mastercraft release, but with the existing Spycraft print catalog going out of print it’s the perfect time to update our flagship game as well! Fortunately, with both these core books being modern and with substantial overlap in their development, it should be comparatively easy to build them side by side.
Spycraft Third Edition will be a fresh start for the brand, featuring a renewed focus on espionage play and customizable tools not only for building the ultimate agent but also your very own agency or criminal enterprise. Highly flexible tools will allow for variable levels of super-science and cinematic vs. realistic action, and the NPC builder first seen in Fantasy Craft will be adapted for modern human allies and enemies. Basically, you can expect everything needed to build your perfect spy game, no matter when, where, or how it unfolds — and for those looking to play out of the box we’ll of course include default settings for everything, this time targeting the high-impact, low-camp intrigue of Craig’s Bond era.
Ten Thousand Bullets is the crime-noir opus of Crafty Games partner Alex Flagg, which marches with all the classics of bloody urban drama: Heat, Sin City, The Wire, The Shield, and GTA III, to name a few. Not only will this core book contain everything you need to build your own heroes, villains, and even your own urban backdrops, but also include a ready-to-use metropolis called Empire City, where the ambitious and desperate clamber for power and control on both sides of the law. With over a dozen fully realized neighborhoods and hundreds of establishments and NPCs, there’s enough in Empire City to keep you in sweat and bullets for months or years to come.
We expect both books to hit in next spring, within a few months of each other. As with all Mastercraft products, they will be fully compatible with each other and — for the cross-genre lovers in the audience — with Fantasy Craft as well.
Soon after these core books you’ll see Gear & Gadgets, a comprehensive guide to modern civilian, military, and espionage equipment, from common small arms to bleeding-edge electronics, high-tech armors, and clever new designs from R&D. Gear & Gadgets is being written to support all modern Mastercraft games, and will include material specifically developed for both Spycraft Third and Ten Thousand Bullets.
Vow of Silence, our black ops vs. the black arts setting, is in the queue for Spycraft Third but hasn’t been formally scheduled yet. More on that as we close in on Spycraft Third’s release and settle its broader product plan.
Fans of Spycraft 2.0 shouldn’t fret too much, as we’re far from done yet. Over the next few months we’ll be releasing many new PDF products to close out the line, beginning with the rest of our Saturday Morning Spycraft series: Spookbusters (anyone care to guess what that one’s about?) and Stone Sentinels (our take on Gargoyles). Spycraft 2.0 will close where it opened: in the World on Fire, with a slew of fiction and adventures leading up to the grand finale, Born of Ashes, which will feature the heroic factions, the end of the setting’s epic storyline, and a new campaign for those looking to take on the Alliance of Evil Geniuses. We’re investigating print-on-demand options for both Saturday Morning Spycraft and Born of Ashes but we haven’t settled on anything yet — more on that as we close in on the release date.
The Mistborn and Looking Glass Wars RPGs are currently slated for release next summer (that’s the summer of 2011), so they’re a bit too far out to project anything concrete but they’re still very much in the works. Watch the In Development page for details as the books close on release.
What about “X”?
Observant readers may notice that one or more of their favorite projects aren’t mentioned here, which means that they’re far enough out that we haven’t anything to say about them just now (i.e. don’t expect them before 2012). Things can change on a dime in this industry, of course, but that’s where we are at the moment. When we get to major new projects, or expand the schedule beyond what’s above, you’ll see updates on the In Development page and we’ll probably make some noise about it elsewhere on the site as well. Thanks in advance for your continued patience and understanding.
Several of our partners are closing in on product releases: it’s a distinct possibility that you’ll see the fourth track from the forthcoming Spycraft Soundtrack in short order, Sonic Legends has been banging our door down asking for new products to soundscape, and we have a major announcement about another partner that should hit in the next couple weeks. We’re very excited about what everyone’s got in store, and we’ll help them spread the word just as soon as they give us the thumbs up.
Companies interested in developing products for Fantasy Craft, Spycraft, or Ten Thousand Bullets should drop by our Powered by page and apply. Don’t mind the Spycraft 2.0 logo — the license will remain the same when we update the page for Spycraft Third.
Keeping up with Crafty Games
As always, the Crafty Games website is the very best place to find the latest information about our games and keep in touch with us. The biggest news stories are posted to our front page and we maintain a blog for smaller stories. You can subscribe to either individually, or both with this feed…
We’re also on Facebook and Twitter…
Thanks for reading, and stay Crafty!
Alex and Pat