Dungeons & Dragons Down, Star Wars Up In Popular RPG List - Update

Dungeons & Dragons Down, Star Wars Up In Popular RPG List - Update

pathfinder core rulebook cover

Dungeons & Dragons has slipped to the #4 sales spot.

Update: In a post on Google+, Monte Cook has refuted the idea that Numenera didn't sell well enough to rate this list, instead saying that the majority of Monte Cook Games' sales are through direct or alternate distribution like Amazon. As noted in the original article, ICv2 only surveys traditional hobby games distributors and stores. "As of a few weeks ago," Cook said, "we were at an estimated 18,000 customers."

That puts Numenera on a similar footing to Evil Hat Productions' Fate Core, given what we can tell from their openness with numbers, though it's hard to draw a definite conclusion as to which system sells better due to Fate Core's pay what you want PDF model. Cook partly attributed some of Numenera's success to the inXile video game kickstarter for Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is based on Numenera's Ninth World setting.

Original Story: Industry trade publication ICv2 has released its sales statistics for Fall 2013, and several newcomers have pushed Dungeons & Dragons out of the top three most popular tabletop roleplaying games. Pathfinder, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, and Fate Core now occupy the top spots in the business, at least in sales terms. D&D is down, but hasn't released any major products in the last year - so no surprise there. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire jumping up is no surprise given its roots at Fantasy Flight Games - a company with large market cachet leveraging the Star Wars brand would have to try hard to fail.

Fate Core jumping up to third is probably the biggest surprise on the list, because it looks like they've managed to parlay their huge Kickstarter success into a stream of sales. Most notably absent from the list is Monte Cook Games' Numenera, which while having a more successful Kickstarter than Evil Hat Productions - netting over half a million dollars - has apparently not turned that initial success into a steady flow of sales.

D&D will likely make the jump back up to the top spots later this year, with the release of the new edition in August of this year. For now, however, it's a telling story about how much of their market share Wizards of the Coast has ceded to Paizo.

ICv2 compiles statistics from interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. It releases them as part of its Internal Correspondence publication.

Source: ICv2's Internal Correspondence #84

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I'm not really surprised that Fate Core is so successful. Fate has kind of been a RPG community darling for a while now, and not without reason. I'm actually more surprised by Edge of the Empire's success. I like it quite a bit, but I hear a lot of complaints because of its dice system(which is, in my opinion, one of the game's best features).

As for Pathfinder... well I've seen bookstores that only carry D&D and Pathfinder, so no shock that it's selling well. Not my thing, personally. I already own D&D 3.5, and Pathfinder doesn't change enough to warrant me buying all new books. If I want "D&D 3.5 improved" I'll play FantasyCraft.

If WotC had wanted to boost sales during the interim, they really should have released 4E PDFs for sale. There are enough people that love that edition(I'm not a fan, personally) that would likely shell out for legitimate digital versions of the game given the opportunity. But apparently WotC fears piracy so much as to leave them as the sole competitors in the digital market. Because that makes sense.

The headline for this seems a little misleading. At first glance it looks like Star Wars has surpassed D&D, when in fact all that has happened is that a D&D variant has split the user base.

What this is really speaking to is that Paizo has surpassed Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro.

You know they really messed up with 4th edition when a rip off of 3.5 is now selling better than the official D&D.

Also, while numenera was more successful in money than fate core, fate was far more successful in terms of number of people reached (by having the game cheaper). I guess that works out better for them in the long run.

Yay Pathfinder!

Also, I gotta say, I had not heard much about this Fate system. Guess I've been distracted by Numerna. If it's gotten this popular, then perhaps it's worth a look.

Anyone here who's played Fate - what's it like?

triorph:
Also, while numenera was more successful in money than fate core, fate was far more successful in terms of number of people reached (by having the game cheaper). I guess that works out better for them in the long run.

This is actually precisely what I think, as well. Hardcover + PDF at $25 is going to win out against Hardcover at $59.99 and PDF at $19.99 every time.

Bara_no_Hime:

Anyone here who's played Fate - what's it like?

It's a fascinating, fairly light genre-neutral system that hinges on leveraging descriptive phrases about your character called "Aspects" to improve your rolls. It uses funny dice. It's story driven in that you have the power really affect the environment and course of play mechanically, but it's traditional in that players have skills and stats and things like that, and those limit what you can do.

For their part, the publishers are so confident you'll like it and want to buy more/give them money that they give the game away for free.

I suppose I should go ahead and write a review of the thing for y'all.

Not surprised Edge of the Empire is doing so well. It's a fantastic system that naturally encourages roleplaying while removing the tedium of adding up obscure modifiers. Probably the only wonky things are the rules on spaceship combat (which could be much better with something like a random event table to encourage non-pilot/gunner participation) and the somewhat confusing rules on healing items and how replenishable they are. Still, it's well worth it just because of how fast-paced and fun it can be, especially if your group wants to run a less-than-reputable adventuring party.

JonB:
For their part, the publishers are so confident you'll like it and want to buy more/give them money that they give the game away for free.
I suppose I should go ahead and write a review of the thing for y'all.

Indeed!

Also - just downloaded the free version. I'll check it out and see what I think.

Thanks!

Anyone interested in Fate would do well to check out the Fate Core Google+ Community, which is pretty active. There's a category that includes examples of play as well.

Here is a thread from another forum that goes into what makes Fate good(or at least in what circumstances it might be good for your group).

I would hesitate to call it a generic system so much as I would call it a supremely flexible system. Fate Core is designed to be customized(and there is a companion book - The Fate System Toolkit - that gives a lot of great examples on how you can do that. Some examples of types of games that have been designed around Fate include:

Action Science! (Atomic Robo)
Space Opera (Bulldogs!)
Hard Science Fiction (Diaspora)
Mecha Action (Camelot Trigger, Apotheosis Drive X)
Supernatural Drama (The Dresden Files)
Victorian Era Superheroes (Kerberos Club)

Scars Unseen:
I'm actually more surprised by Edge of the Empire's success. I like it quite a bit, but I hear a lot of complaints because of its dice system(which is, in my opinion, one of the game's best features).

It's a bit offputting, I've got to say. One of these days, I'll get around to trying it but the whole "custom dice" thing is certainly a hindrance to adopting.

I'll probably just spring for their dice app, too.

Socrates' Daemon:
The headline for this seems a little misleading. At first glance it looks like Star Wars has surpassed D&D, when in fact all that has happened is that a D&D variant has split the user base.

What this is really speaking to is that Paizo has surpassed Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro.

It's not even so much the base is split, there's been a support lull so there's no new (major) product. The part of the base that's still playing D&D will likely still be playing D&D when Next comes out. And then the sales will very likely switch back that way.

It'll be more interesting to see how things look after Next comes out.

Not surprised to see d20 systems on the list, they were and still are the big names beside the brief stint of White Wolf pre-CCP in the 90s.

But I had vain hope for Shadowrun to appear after reading 2D's storytime.

I'm a bit surprised to see Star Wars: Edge of the Empire up there. At the same time, I feel like I shouldn't be because it's a simple but elegant system which allows a lot more room for interpretation and description than comparing hard stats and bonuses. I really hope the supplementary materials and follow-up systems are high-quality as well, and that they continue support for Edge of the Empire once Age of Rebellion and the one with jedi are out. I'd hate to see everyone flock to the system with loadsa jedi and straight up rebel-imperial combat and let smugglers fall by the wayside. Well, at least by the time those come out there'll be plenty of material to make the equipment list less sparse so people can enjoy the games for years to come, regardless of how the sequel games turn out.

Really I'm just happy I found a good group of people to game with. Even if it is at an FLGS.

Scars Unseen:
I'm not really surprised that Fate Core is so successful. Fate has kind of been a RPG community darling for a while now, and not without reason. I'm actually more surprised by Edge of the Empire's success. I like it quite a bit, but I hear a lot of complaints because of its dice system(which is, in my opinion, one of the game's best features).

I agree with you, the dice system, while a bit off putting for D&D vets, is actually really cool.

OT: I actually quite enjoy Edge of the Empire, I'm GMing a game right now and it's a surprisingly good intro for players who are new to RPG's due to the lack of math and small annoying stats.

I also like that the rule book actively encourages you to fiddle with the rules, add skills, subtract skills and basically have fun.

LiMaSaRe:
You know they really messed up with 4th edition when a rip off of 3.5 is now selling better than the official D&D.

WotC really could have had a good thing going with it; I love the system, and I could have happily played for years (and did, although less than I would have liked). I think they screwed themselves on the business end by trying to make a online tabletop (that as far as I know never actually got a full release), an expensive Dungeon subscription, and the death of the OGL, which was probably the biggest blunder. If they're going to cut out third-party supplements, they have to step in themselves and publish buckets of stuff (the splatbooks tied to the Encounters program were fine, but they were all basically low-level, Forgotten Realms-focused stuff); I'm still hoping that they will eventually do an epic-level book, or at least Greyhawk.

Wow, got really off-topic there. I need to stop hanging around my FLGS before I reach full neckbeard. Anyways, I'm really surprised Edge of the Empire is selling as well as seems; I guess the West End version has finally run it's course.

I'm a big Pathfinder fan, and this was after my group tried out D&D 4e for the better part of a year. It was an okay game, it just didn't feel particularly like D&D and the combats in particular felt too slow and grinding due to numbers inflation and the way healing worked. Paizo produces a great quality product (hardly a 'rip off', just d20 OGL like many other games), and they're extremely reasonable with their PDF prices. Most companies could learn a thing or two about both their RPG subscription model and the benefit of keeping PDF prices around $10, even for $40 print books.

Fate is one of those games that I like in theory but it really requires a group that wants to dig into it, and a lot of simulationist gamers simply aren't interested in the more narrative heavy approach that the system takes. But I'm very pleased to see how well they're doing, being a KS backer myself, and I'm eager to see what their future holds. I also note they have a very reasonable pricing scheme as well.

I'd like to give Edge of the Empire a try, though I'm a lot more interested in their upcoming Rebel and (I assume) Empire books.

mattaui:
I'm a big Pathfinder fan, and this was after my group tried out D&D 4e for the better part of a year. It was an okay game, it just didn't feel particularly like D&D and the combats in particular felt too slow and grinding due to numbers inflation and the way healing worked. Paizo produces a great quality product (hardly a 'rip off', just d20 OGL like many other games), and they're extremely reasonable with their PDF prices. Most companies could learn a thing or two about both their RPG subscription model and the benefit of keeping PDF prices around $10, even for $40 print books.

Fate is one of those games that I like in theory but it really requires a group that wants to dig into it, and a lot of simulationist gamers simply aren't interested in the more narrative heavy approach that the system takes. But I'm very pleased to see how well they're doing, being a KS backer myself, and I'm eager to see what their future holds. I also note they have a very reasonable pricing scheme as well.

I'd like to give Edge of the Empire a try, though I'm a lot more interested in their upcoming Rebel and (I assume) Empire books.

One thing that you may want to note is that Edge of the Empire also has a fairly strong narrative bent. The player can introduce elements into play through use of destiny points, much in the same way that players of Fate can invoke aspects(though EotE doesn't tie destiny point use to anything specific like aspects).

Then again, the way I see it, Fate is only as narrative as you make it. It is entirely possible to run a mostly traditional style game that is simply more flexible than more crunch heavy games. Compare to D&D 3.5:

Skills replace attack bonus, AC, saving throws and possibly some class abilities(and obviously the skill system)
Stunts make for a more focused, potentially more interesting analogue to feats or other class abilities
Extras can be magical items or yet more class abilities

And then there are aspects. Now, I personally noticed a decline of this practice since 3E came out, but when I was playing 2E, if a player wanted to do something cool that wasn't strictly allowed by the rules, he simply described what he wanted to do, and then the DM would tell him what to roll to succeed("okay make a Dex check" or "that'll be a -5 on the attack" or even "well I'll let it happen if you can roll a nat 20"). This has been derided by some gamers as "Mother May I" play style, but in a good group it can make for a much more flexible and dynamic game than D&D typically alows(and certainly more do than the heavily codified 4E).

Aspects are a baked in way of doing that better than D&D ever could. By tying aspects in to your character, Fate personalizes your capabilities in a way that feats and class abilities never could. By making the game more group directed than GM directed, it eliminates the permissive nature of "Mother May I" and puts control of the character's capabilities back in the hands of the player where it belongs. By allowing the group to hang aspects on just about anything(the player's character, the scene, an opponent(through use of the advantage action)), the scope of what can be affected by the player and how expands far beyond anything that any character but a highly inventive wizard could affect in D&D.

Basically, it is quite easy to run Fate as "theater of the mind" style D&D on crack.

Of course DnD sales are going to be lower, they have a much larger used market, having been around so long. Not to mention how many people play the older versions still. I don't know anyone who plays 4e, but I know several groups each that play 3.5/3.0 and even AD&D.

spartan231490:
Of course DnD sales are going to be lower, they have a much larger used market, having been around so long. Not to mention how many people play the older versions still. I don't know anyone who plays 4e, but I know several groups each that play 3.5/3.0 and even AD&D.

I don't think I could ever go back to AD&D again. I have Castles & Crusades to fulfill that style of gaming.

Thunderous Cacophony:
[quote="LiMaSaRe" post="7.844708.20808476"][snip]

Anyways, I'm really surprised Edge of the Empire is selling as well as seems; I guess the West End version has finally run it's course.

Friend, I'm going to be polite here, but it has been twenty-seven years since that game came out. 1987. I'm not sure "run its course" is right - it feels more like it has collapsed into a pile of dust.

JonB:

Thunderous Cacophony:
[quote="LiMaSaRe" post="7.844708.20808476"][snip]

Anyways, I'm really surprised Edge of the Empire is selling as well as seems; I guess the West End version has finally run it's course.

Friend, I'm going to be polite here, but it has been twenty-seven years since that game came out. 1987. I'm not sure "run its course" is right - it feels more like it has collapsed into a pile of dust.

Hey, the RPG retirement home still sees a lot of action. I mean, people are still playing Rifts for crying out loud.

Scars Unseen:

JonB:

Thunderous Cacophony:
Anyways, I'm really surprised Edge of the Empire is selling as well as seems; I guess the West End version has finally run it's course.

Friend, I'm going to be polite here, but it has been twenty-seven years since that game came out. 1987. I'm not sure "run its course" is right - it feels more like it has collapsed into a pile of dust.

Hey, the RPG retirement home still sees a lot of action. I mean, people are still playing Rifts for crying out loud.

Rifts, White Box through 2nd edition D&D, Traveller, Paranoia; there's no limit to the depths of nostalgia, and PDFs mean that everyone can have the books as though they were freshly printed. Also, thanks for making feel ancient while simultaneously telling me that the game is older than I am. Maybe I am spending too much time with grognards.

 

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