IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

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Laurence
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IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Laurence » Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:44 pm

So here's a crazy idea that would draw new players into Fighting Fantasy and also provide value to existing fans:

Short single-shot adventures with the basic FF game system built in. Release a series of them as cheap PDFs.

The selling point is that it's an instant alternative to your usual RPG. (*cough* D&D *cough*)

Essentially, the pitch goes like this:

Need a new pick-up game for tonight? Check out this awesome fantasy adventure. It's only a few bucks.

Oh, and by the way, it also comes complete with characters, combat system, monster encounters and score sheet. You can download it right now and start playing in five minutes.

From a marketing perspective, I’d put the emphasis on the adventure itself: brilliant cover art, grabby title, interesting story hook.

The game system becomes almost a free bonus. What you're really selling is the invitation to go on an exciting adventure.

Look closely at the original books –- it didn't matter whether you knew how to play FF or not. It wasn't complicated, so there was no intimidation factor, no learning curve. You just picked it up and started playing.

People are brand loyal. It's a proven fact. (As a marketing copywriter, this is something I deal with daily.) So, de-emphasize the brand. Don't imply: “Hey, you need to switch from your existing game to Fighting Fantasy!” Instead, imply: “No matter what you play – even if you don't usually play RPGs – you can play this too. It's quick, fun, and a real bargain.” Lower the barrier to entry into FF.

I'm looking at Legend of Zagor right now and thinking how it could be an amazing multi-player adventure. Simple characters, simple game system. Do a one-night version of that.

So my idea is basically this:

Offer people a quick, interesting dungeon or wilderness adventure using the basic FF rules. SKILL, STAMINA, LUCK. Nothing fancy.

Maybe include a MAGIC score for wizards and/or priests. But no magic points. Just handle spells the way they did in Citadel of Chaos and other FF books: choose a handful of spells, and you can cast each spell once.

Existing Advanced Fighting Fantasy players could, of course, skip the basic rules and use these adventures in their AFF campaigns.

But even someone who's never even heard of FF could start playing in five minutes.

It's not a "quick start" pack. It's not a sample of a bigger game that you need to buy. It's self-contained. All you need (say it with me, now) is two dice and a pencil.

My idea is that each adventure would stand alone ... or you could string them together in any order to create a campaign. And that, my friends, is how you get people hooked on a good game. 8)
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby shintokamikaze » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:02 pm

Or you could just cut out the middle man and come up with your own simple combat system. write some adventures and stick them on drive through rpg :P
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby bottg » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:51 pm

shintokamikaze wrote:Or you could just cut out the middle man and come up with your own simple combat system. write some adventures and stick them on drive through rpg :P


That is true, but the FF name/logo/history is a grab to many. I think that Maelstrom Domesday/Humanish/Sorcerers are excellent games, but AFF outsells them by some margin on the webstore, almost certainly due to the FF heritage.

"New Game System A" might sell some, but the same product with the FF logo on would sell many more.

This is a good idea though!
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Laurence
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Laurence » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:01 pm

I'm thinking the target audience for this particular product is someone who likes to play games, and wants to try something new with a minimum of effort.

Maybe they have kids and need something simple. Or they just aren't interested in investing a lot of time learning yet another complicated RPG system.

But they do want something quick, easy, and fun.

Once they get a taste of FF, and realize how much they like it, they may go looking for more FF (or AFF!) branded content.

Voila, new Fighting Fantasy fans. (And customers!)

Please indulge me for a moment as my marketing brain runs wild here. If you have a series of small, self-contained products, it's easy to give one away as a sample to help push sales of the rest. For example:

- bundle one with other Arion game products as a promotion (buy these paper miniatures, and get a quick new FF adventure to go with them)
- bundle one with indie RPG products from other manufacturers
- give one away on Free RPG Day
- offer one free as an incentive to sign up for promotional emails
- send one out as a free sample to gaming bloggers
- offer one as free content for a popular gaming newsletter or website

I'm not advising giving them all away, obviously. But “first in a series free” is a tried and true sales technique. So it's a thought.

BTW, bottg, if you need someone to do the writing, just say the word! 8)
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Nuvole! » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:40 pm

I actually though about writing a series of one-off, introductive, amateur adventures using a simplified AF2 ruleset.
It is one of my *too many* projects... supposed to be a seven adventures bundle to be fully playtested, with playtesting I'm stuck at third adventure and with writing a bit ahead of it but not much... and I haven't progressed for a while.
I'm sure that sooner or later I'll complete it.
If we all write up our amateur adventures and share them on the net, perhaps we'll find a bigger number of AFF2 players around... :idea:
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Nuvole! » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:43 pm

Laurence wrote: bundle one with other Arion game products as a promotion (buy these paper miniatures, and get a quick new FF adventure to go with them)

I like this option a lot.
I think Graham hasn't explored joining in a synergy what are perhaps the two most successful parts of Arion Games. Although I suspect there may be issues with rights or similar...
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby shintokamikaze » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:07 am

bottg wrote:
shintokamikaze wrote:Or you could just cut out the middle man and come up with your own simple combat system. write some adventures and stick them on drive through rpg :P


That is true, but the FF name/logo/history is a grab to many. I think that Maelstrom Domesday/Humanish/Sorcerers are excellent games, but AFF outsells them by some margin on the webstore, almost certainly due to the FF heritage.

"New Game System A" might sell some, but the same product with the FF logo on would sell many more.

This is a good idea though!

yep, FF is dear to the hearts of many :P
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby shintokamikaze » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:14 am

shintokamikaze wrote:
bottg wrote:
shintokamikaze wrote:Or you could just cut out the middle man and come up with your own simple combat system. write some adventures and stick them on drive through rpg :P


That is true, but the FF name/logo/history is a grab to many. I think that Maelstrom Domesday/Humanish/Sorcerers are excellent games, but AFF outsells them by some margin on the webstore, almost certainly due to the FF heritage.

"New Game System A" might sell some, but the same product with the FF logo on would sell many more.

This is a good idea though!

yep, FF is dear to the hearts of many :P


Wow I never knew FF was your big seller :shock:
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Nuvole! » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:49 am

Nuvole! wrote:I actually though about writing a series of one-off, introductive, amateur adventures using a simplified AF2 ruleset.
It is one of my *too many* projects... supposed to be a seven adventures bundle to be fully playtested, with playtesting I'm stuck at third adventure and with writing a bit ahead of it but not much... and I haven't progressed for a while.
I'm sure that sooner or later I'll complete it.

Still progressing... slowly.
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Nuvole! » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:26 am

Laurence wrote: “No matter what you play – even if you don't usually play RPGs – you can play this too. It's quick, fun, and a real bargain.” Lower the barrier to entry into FF.

Is this in practice a Fighting Fantasy RPG, second edition, to provide sort of an entry to Advanced Fighting Fantasy, second edition??? :?:
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Re: IDEA: New instant FF mini-adventures

Postby Slloyd14 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:19 pm

As someone who has trawled through the Tunnels and Trolls rules to make them solo-friendly and also developed my own solo systems (SCRAWL and Wayfarer), I feel I can add something.

Doign a solo game for an RPG is usually a problem as in the RPG version, characters have access to a wide range of skills and spells that give them lots of options, which is fine when there is a human right there who can respond to any idea someone comes up with, but it is not good when you are writing a gamebook and have to think of all the possible options in advance.

I've found that the best option is to limit the number of situations that the characters can encounter and then relate all spells and skills to those situations. In SCRAWL, I managed to reduce them to 36 skills.

AFF is quite straightforward as most situations can be matched to a skill easily. There aren't many skills that can't be easily applied to a situation.

Spells are another problem. There are 2 problems with a lot of spells.

1) Some spells are game breakers that will mean that a hero can just get around any problem you think of. Flight and teleportation are the main offenders.

2) Spells can be used in so many situations that it will be a real pain to think about whether spell X needs an option for your adventure. It will make books very large and only apply to a few readers. We say this with the Sorcery spell books when the hero knew 48 spells and even then you were only allowed to choose 5 spells at a time. The first book is actually smaller than 400 sections if you are a warrior. There are a large number of spell options. Even minor magic gives a load of options.

My solution was to make spells only act as bonuses to skill rolls or to substitute items of equipment. For example instead of levitation and flight, you could have a spell that grants lightness so that you get a +4 bonus to climb, jump and acrobatics rolls for 1 roll for the cost of 1 magic point. That way, you can still have a cliff to climb and not stick in extra sections for the levitation, flight and teleportation spells. The fire bolt spell can be used any time you could use a ranged weapon and ranged weapons can be used once before any combat you are not surprised in.

To make the solo games more compatible with the RPG games, you could have the same spells and skills work differently in solo and RPG games. For example, a character could have minor magic and a list of spells, but instead of accounting for every spell in the solo, minor magic could provide a +1 bonus to any skill roll in the solo game on a successful roll. Levitation can provide a +4 bonus to jump, climb and acrobatics and fly could give an auto success on those rolls. Illusion could give you a bonus against any creature that could be fooled by illusions on any roll. Open is an easy one - it gives auto success to any pick lock roll. Fire bolt can be used any time you can use a ranged weapon. Ward negates the damage from a ranged weapon. Strength, weakness and other combat spells are pretty straightforward as is healing magic. Warding undead and spirits is fine as long as it is obvious which creatures are which types.

Divination spells are problematic, but you can get around them by having them give knowledge bonuses. You know what would be good in an RPG game? A game where the main characters can use magic, but divination is not allowed at all. Maybe you could have other characters too. And you look for artefacts. Anyone know of a game like that? I'm sure whoever does write a game like that will be a top class writer and game designer.
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