Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

A New Model For Rule Publication

For the last few months, I have been puzzling out a new model for wargame rule publication, specifically for the miniature wargame rules that Repique publishes. As I stated on the last Skype Conference, I don’t believe the present model of print, or even the PDF model, has any long-term viability. The present model has excessive per unit costs to the publisher and, therefore, to the customer, very limited distribution channels, and imposes limitations on the product and its design which result in reduced quality and utility. Even when PDFs are introduced, a few issues are resolved, but the grave fault of effectively losing control of one’s intellectual property is a killer for any designer or publisher. All of these problems are negatives for the growth of the niche publication market where wargame rules are firmly lodged.

There are now coming on the scene various new technologies and means of publishing and distributing ideas and limited run documents. At the forefront is the wave of new readers and tablets led by the iPad, The Kindle, The Nook, and the Sony eReader. More will soon make their appearance, and the prices on all, especially the one-purpose eReaders, will rapidly decline. This will occur at the same time they all become even more capable and user friendly. I am convinced they are the new path for niche publications.

Not only will widespread use of these devices allow cost savings for the consumer, reversing the inflating pricing that leads to $30-$50 rulebooks, but the quality of the product in terms of layout, interactivity, referencing of topics, as well as yet to be discovered gaming capabilities, will be drastically improved. Someone has to jump into the deep end of the pool and try a new model.

So I am committing to the following model for Repique Publications, starting with Zouave, and continuing with our future release of Zouave Campaign:

1. There will be an initial numbered “Limited Edition” print run of each new release. All will be signed by the author.
2. Once sold there will NOT be an additional print run. There will be an ePub run always available for sale, that will work with any eReader.
3. All support materials, Player aid cards, POD decks, scenarios, and addenda for the rules will be published as PDFs on the forum.
4. All publications will be actively supported with a website blog, monthly Zouave Podcast, email response and forum discussion and Files, Links, etc.

The price points for the Print copies will be typical and competitive with current market pricing of $25-$35, while the ePub copies will be sold at current market pricing also-roughly $12-$15.

Over a few year’s time, I expect step one to be phased out and ALL publication to be in ePub format.

Zouave was published prior to my settling on this longer term strategy, and I am now within a very few copies of selling the initial run out. Though I will not be able to offer the numbered or signed copies, I will do so on “Zouave: Campaign” targeted for late Summer-early Fall. I am undecided about another print run of Zouave to meet this model, or just proceed to the ePub publication. It appears that Zouave will be OOP within a few weeks. I will then decide upon printing additional copies or simply moving it to ePub.

I will also appreciate any feedback and reaction from the assembled throng. Discussion on the forum is also encouraged. I am open to several issues, including the nature of the initial print run-by subscription? First come, first sold? The size of the initial Print run is also TBD-though Zouave’s sales seem to indicate several hundred initial copies are warranted. I suspect that the 300-500 range is where it will settle. Over time that initial print run will decline and at about 150 copies ceases to be a viable option and Repique products will be solely ePub.