First quarter of 2017

Hello and welcome to new readers that may have seen my seminars at the GAMA Trade Show or PHD’s Speed Gaming last week.

So as some of you may know, in addition to my many other roles, I’m also a member of the Academy of Gaming Arts & Design. Specifically, I’m a member of the jury that selects the nominees for the Origins Awards for the RPG category.
And can I just say? Having spent the better part of the last couple months poring over the releases from the past year, we are in a new golden age of RPGs. The quality of stuff coming out today is simply out of this world. And with an edition of D&D on the shelves that people are really loving… there’s no way you as a retailer shouldn’t be knocking it out of the park with RPG sales right now.

On with the show.
Games and Stuff’s Top 20 selling roleplaying games by game line for the period of January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017

  1. Dungeons and Dragons (Q4 Rank #1)
  2. Pathfinder (Q4 Rank #2)
  3. Star Wars (Q4 Rank #3)
  4. The One Ring (Q4 Rank #6)
  5. Shadowrun (Q4 Rank #4)
  6. Call of Cthulhu (Q4 Rank #5)
  7. Traveller (Q4 Rank #7)
  8. Fate 
  9. Lamentations of the Flame Princess (Q4 Rank #19)
  10. Savage Worlds 
  11. Mutant Year Zero 
  12. Numenera 
  13. Warhammer 40,000 (Q4 Rank #8)
  14. Iron Kingdoms (Q4 Rank #15)
  15. Cats of Catthulhu (Q4 Rank #10)
  16. The Dark Eye 
  17. GURPS 
  18. The Strange 
  19. Dragon Age 
  20. Adventures of Baron Munchausen 

First thing that stands out to me is that The One Ring* has usurped Shadowrun in the #4 spot. The game is gaining traction with groups among my customers, but the big thing here was the release of The Adventurer’s Companion, the first One Ring supplement targeted specifically at players of the game, and not necessarily just Loremasters. This has had a significant impact on the sales of the line.

Moving down the list, we see both Traveller and Call of Cthulhu holding fast just outside the Top 5. It’s rare for me to see games hold their rankings outside those first five. For two games to be in the running for six months is significant. Call of Cthulhu in particular, rather deserves this spot. It’s a modern classic, and I’m eager to see if Chaosium can keep up with the regular releases. The quality has been really good too. I was especially impressed with some of the adventures in Nameless Horrors, which I recently read.

Beyond those two, the familiar faces from the end of last year are few. Sales of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess line were bounced by a couple of new releases, including Blood in the Chocolate, a twisted fantasy Willy Wonka adventure done in the way that only Lamentations can.
My deep stock of the defunct Warhammer 40K RPG stuff is just about depleted, and the re-named Cats of Catthulhu (formerly Call of Catthulhu) keeps selling piles of those little paperbacks.

Dungeon Crawl Classics and Through the Breach both slipped off the list, after at least six months for each of them. Breach is waiting for a new edition, while I fully expect DCC’s disappearance to only be temporary. Plus, we’ve got Mutant Crawl Classics coming later this year.

So where’s that leave us? NINE game lines that didn’t make an appearance last go ’round. I’m overjoyed to see The Adventures of Baron Munchausen make the cut. Released about half way through December, the newest edition is a smart looking little $25 hardback book. I love that even though it’s obviously the smallest part of their bottom line,  Fantasy Flight Games still supports quirky RPG stuff beyond their main Star Wars RPG offerings.
For those of you that have success with things like Fiasco and other Gamemaster-less RPGs, I can’t recommend Munchausen enough. It really is the grandfather of so many of today’s indie RPG darlings. It’s basically a trial of oneupmanship; it’s a competitive game of lying and storytelling.

Nice to see The Dark Eye make the list. I had my doubts about the strength of the game in the US market. Maybe I’m wrong.

And that’s that.
What’s coming soon that I’m excited about? Well, the 7th Sea supplements have just started hitting shelves. I’m eager to see how the continued line fares.
Beyond that, I’m looking forward to:

  • Blades in the Dark (Evil Hat)
  • Cthulhu Confidential (a 1 player/1GM system based on Gumshow from Pelgrane)
  • Blue Rose (Green Ronin)
  • The Two-Headed Serpent (an epic Pulp campaign for Call of Cthulhu)

And with that I’ll leave you.
See you next time!

*Full disclosure: I am an employee of Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.

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