A New Development Model for Repique
I have spent the last few months thinking about new ways to develop and distribute Repique Rules products, especially Die Fighting II, Die Marching, DFII Command Cards, and any future developments of the rules. This has led me to some changed strategies.
My first widely distributed rule set, Piquet, in 1995 pioneered the historical wargaming practice of a core rule set and multiple supplements, as it was designed to cover all periods from Ancients to WWII. The supplement strategy is a good model for a developer as it allows each add-on to be tailored to the specifics of a period, new ideas be incrementally introduced, and, at the same time, added revenues are generated as each supplement is published. It also brought in the concept of miniature wargame rules being called a tool-box (a term I grabbed from computer software terminology), which the gamer/owner may adapt and easily modify to suit his preferences.
In the last few years, as I developed DF and DFII, I have become more intrigued with the software metaphor. This has occurred as new tools for publishing, providing video support, and distributing rule sets have been provided by computers. I have even explored the use of iPods, computers and tablets in table-top war-games. DFII was delivered as a digital multimedia rules set, the first of its type, I believe. It is all very exciting.
There are still limitations for the use of computers in play, as most miniature gamers seem to prefer a more manual, hands on, approach, and the interface of the computers with the tabletop is, so far, rather clumsy and slow. Sometime in the future that will be solved.
However, one aspect of computer software I have decided to implement in Repique Rules is the idea of upgrades delivered as new ideas and development occur, as well as new files that correct errors in the initial delivery. So far, all customers have received a couple of corrected Free Dice Tables, and two updates with ideas on handicapping, proximity corrections for Red Dice, adjusted 4R card rolls both prior to and during play. The latest update offered some simplifying adjustments to the proximity rules, and a whole new set of rules for extending games beyond the "one bucket being empty-and its over" method found in the basic rules. Every purchaser of DFII has received these free by direct email. These sorts of updates will continue.
I am now adding to this approach by committing to the concept of BETA versions of new period templates, and future DFII related new rule sets. That is, any extensions of DFII into earlier or later periods will be sent as a FREE beta version to all purchasers of DFII. Most importantly Die Marching which I am now in the process of FINALLY completing, will also be sent as a free Beta Version to all customers. The operative word is free, but it will be paid for, I hope, by strong input from people that have already invested in the overall system with their purchase of DFII. I will look forward to many excellent suggestions, and proofing, by the recipients of these "Free" beta versions.
When the rules have garnered a good number of ideas and critique by the early users, I will offer a final version at a reduced price to the beta testers. The final version of Die Marching will be in the same format as DFII with a combined video and digital print file format. I may move from CDs to direct video downloads depending on the state of the computer technology at that time. I am also exploring a print booklet version of DFII and Die Marching for sale. It will use the slide show format for the rules proper-with two slides to a page. The goal will be to make it short and inexpensive.
The first extension of DFII into a new period will be a template written for Early War France 1940, a period that has always fascinated me. If that goes well, a later war template will also be done. Again, the beta version will be free and sent via email as a text file Pdf to all purchasers of DFII.
The Command Cards are also in the works for future publication, but will undoubtedly be sold using the normal channels, on a per deck basis.
At $26 dollars DFII has been a very good buy, and these add-ons will, I think, make it even more attractive. Best of all, they ask nothing more of DFII Customers, than that they try them! I've been messing around with Die Marching for over two years now, in secret, not even my usual gaming group knows what I have up my sleeve! I can't wait to try them out on the group in the next few months, and to get them out to the rest of my customers at that time.
More details as I proceed, but this is the settled course.