Monday, October 23

What Does Success Look Like?

Following on from last week's blog about why I've gone down the route that I have and what my long term goals are I thought it would be good to share what my goals for this year are. In my head the year runs from September (when I started genuinely making Zombology) to August rather than the calendar year or the traditional April-April financial year.

This time round I'm trying to be a bit more business-like than I was with Reiver Games. I've got a business case I've written with sales predictions, costs and planned actions and risks.

Success for me is not based on the reception of Zombology directly, though the criteria will only be met if it's fairly well received. Zombology is a niche game that's likely to be a bit love/hate with people. One of the advantages of a small print run is that I can make more unusual, interesting games, ones that might not succeed as mass-market games. Some people like a zombie theme, others hate it. Semi-cooperative games are a turn off for a lot of people. Some people might find it too deep/complex for what is a 10-15 minute game once you know how to play it. I'm hoping that most of the people who buy it enjoy it and are happy with their purchase, but it's hard to treat that as a success criteria, and I don't want to rely on something like BGG scores as a proxy.

So the obvious measure is sales. My business plan has me selling 135 out of the 200 copy print run by the end of August next year. That's five a month most months with the exception of the pre-orders and launch buzz in Sept/Oct and Christmas in December and an aggressive target of 50 sales at the UK Games Expo next year.

Not quite on target yet!

In the days of Kickstarter goals are not enough. You also need stretch goals. So let's throw a couple of those out there too - one that's tough, but might be within reach and one that's crazy hard.

Stretch Goal 1 is to sell the whole 200 copy print run within the year - i.e. by the end of August 2018. That's tough, but not impossible I think. I sold 300 hand-made copies of It's Alive! in 2007-08, for £15 each, so 200 at £10 should be distinctly possible. Obviously it's a different, more niche, game and there's a lot more competition these days thanks to Kickstarter. Also, I've a young family at home that I want spend quality time with, so there's more time pressure on the crafting, marketing and selling than there was back in the early days of Reiver Games.

Stretch Goal 2 is pie in the sky, but if you don't dream big you'll never get there. Stretch 2 is to get Zombology picked up by another publisher for a professional run after I've finished the hand-made run. I'm not going to put any effort into this, so I'll not be submitting it to publishers or hawking it to them at conventions. The only way I can see this working is if Zombology gets great reviews on BGG or similar or if someone who works for a publisher orders it and really likes it (that happened for It's Alive! - I had the chance to licence it to another publisher, but back then I wanted to be the professional publisher, so I said no).

So there we are - that's what I'm trying to acheive. Wish me luck! Any advice greatly appreciated.

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