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Turn Frequency and Pricing
#11
Alamaze out the gate was 6 dollars per turn I believe. There was also a set-up cost (with free turns included). Back then initially the turn around time was like 6 weeks or somethingSmile Second Cycle was released and it was $7.50 or so- These were also played via mail then so there was an actual cost to produce the turns and whatnot.

MEPBM is still going and they released a new variant as well. I believe they have a customer base due to the association with Tolkien and people pay more because of that "playing in the world of Middle Earth" aspect the game has.
-It's fair to say that MEPBM borrowed A LOT from this game...

Legends is a massive game and I think the "next gen" kinda first MMORPG type of game and a completely different animal than this game imo. I think it's a per order fee or something.

The thing to keep in mind is these games were designed decades ago
and so the costs associated with playing the games were in line with the work put into designing them. No doubt they were also labors of love. Over time, theoretically, they pay themselves off and then make more and more profit... they're no longer state of the art though.

Six dollars in 1987 was a lot of money! Today it's a lot less money but is it worth six bucks per turn now? I'm going to subscribe and play regardless but it might be a tough sell to a "modern" gamer in regards to what they're willing to pay to play. Subscription is the way to go, or maybe a pay per game fee, as turn based fees I personally think killed PBM/PBEM (along with technology...)

Note that another stumbling block (with games currently) is people like to win stuff. MTG, you get rare cards and foil cards and crap. You open cards then years later you have $$$ sitting there type of deal. MMORPG's award you levels and rare loot and rare adventures and on and on... people gravitate to that concept in hoardes.

That's why I suggested you look for the old school gamers/grognards type of game players. Alamaze on its own is a great game! I'm unsure how you sell it to a "modern" gamer though.
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#12
Nice post, good history Kal. I knew most of the designers back then. Jim Landis was interviewed by Flagship and called Alamaze the best PBM and said he wanted to surpass it with Legends, which is a completely different kind of game as Kal said. Ed Schoonover did HW and Duelmasters. RSI as I may have mentioned before engaged me to do their AD&D license but it got bogged down in their programming shop. GSI had Earthwood and got rights to Middle Earth. They attempted to buy Alamaze and when that didn't happen they kind of reverse engineered it and there was MEPBM. I think their main designer was Ed Greenwood (something like that). By this time Alamaze was with Phil in NC. BTW, Jim Paisley who was with GSI back in the Earthwood days is the fellow who did the Alamaze map. While Legends could get as high as $20+ per turn, notoriously expensive games came from Schubel & Son, where everything you did (seemingly) cost $3.50: move, attack, build, investigate - $3.50 each. Flying Buffalo, met Rick Loomis and his programmer at Origins. They have very simple games and built their rep on running everything on time, not so much on the quality of games. All these games were priced on a per turn fee.
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#13
Yeah, EVERYTHING was pay by turn or worse, pay per orderWink

Some games were well worth it! At the time strategy wargaming with multiple players was basically impossible to do asides games like this. Also, computers weren't commonplace.

I really do think "Legends" is the 1st example of an MMORPG type of game that functioned. I think in some regard PBM has an important history in gaming that's completely unknown/overlooked even though it was always niche.

There was a great WW2 game that ran as well, MASSIVELY complex game. I think one turn was minimum $25 -keeping in mind back then $25 was more like $50 in todays standards- The positions were like you could be a general or chief of the Luftwaffa Or Hitler even (and all the other Axis/Allies) and depending on your position there were divisions and production charts and if you played Hitler or something you could fire the other German players... it was CRAZY. If you were "In charge" you were allowed to view other players turns (like 1 per turn or something) and make sure he was doing OK because he could be telling you he's doing fine and in reality... Each game had a newspaper printed for it to give the "news" of the events unfolding in the world. If you were in charge of an air force or something you got to decide what to bomb and defend and everything. There were also positions that handled production and you had all these charts and got to decide if you build more aircraft/ships/armor and what to neglect... Anyone remembers this thing please LMK its name as I forget.

____________________END TANGENT_______________________

The issue really is what will attract new players to Alamaze. Supposing there's already a small fixed player base and hopefully getting the word out gathers more players. The focus should be on acquiring new (not meaning young) players. As long as you have a base of players keeping the games running (shouldn't be a problem it seems) then you build from there and the entry level players will play at what price is the issue you have.
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#14
The two largest commercial games in know of currently are Hyborian War and Middle Earth.

Hyborian War costs $5/turn for small nation; $7.50/turn for medium and $10/turn for large nation. Runs every two weeks (regular game) and once a month (slow game)

Middle Earth costs (and I'm translating from pounds): roughly $11.50/turn. Runs every two weeks.

Personally, I think the subscription model is better...

I think three days is the maximum turnaround (it's easy to do even for a single player running six nations).
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#15
I was reading the old "News from the Front" articles in the Oracle and I noticed something. The reports were full of notes mentioned that such and such kingdoms dropped. If you go to a Subscription pricing scheme I am guessing that it will reduce the number of dropped players, if it costs the same if you play the turns or not, why not stick it out. That could change the dynamics of the game with more if not all kingdoms staying in for the long haul, maiming a thorn in the sides of their opponents.

If, however, that is not the Alamaze game you envision then pay per turn may make more sense.
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#16
(03-04-2013, 05:42 PM)Lucky Tiger Wrote: I was reading the old "News from the Front" articles in the Oracle and I noticed something. The reports were full of notes mentioned that such and such kingdoms dropped. If you go to a Subscription pricing scheme I am guessing that it will reduce the number of dropped players, if it costs the same if you play the turns or not, why not stick it out. That could change the dynamics of the game with more if not all kingdoms staying in for the long haul, maiming a thorn in the sides of their opponents.

If, however, that is not the Alamaze game you envision then pay per turn may make more sense.

Rick and I have chatted quite a bit about this and we believe that the subscription service can only help prevent people from dropping. I am also hoping that the new Valhalla will provide more encouragement.
 Lord Diamond

Please do not take any of my comments as a personal insult or as a criticism of the game 'Alamaze', which I very much enjoy. Rather, I hope that my personal insight and unique perspective may, in some way, help make 'Alamaze' more fun, a more successful financial venture, or simply more sustainable as a long-term project. Anyone who reads this post should feel completely free to ignore, disregard, scorn, implement, improve, dispute, or otherwise comment upon its content.





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#17
Learning a new game aside, if I am to play, I would agree with DuPont and Lord Diamond. 7 days is too long for me. Three days or sooner feels about right for me. I am sometimes "wanting" when waiting for a turn while ideas are running.
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#18
Lucky Tiger,

Drops were a universal problem in PBM games.
Alamaze is good in that, like you said, a position can remain a thorn in ones sideSmile The geography and specialized kingdoms give a player a lot more survivability then say FOR. Even if you're outnumbered a good player can hang on for maybe the entire game. In many cases not only hang on but remain having a fun time.

I look forward to playing some games with you!
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#19
(03-05-2013, 03:47 AM)Kalrex Wrote: Lucky Tiger,

Drops were a universal problem in PBM games.
Alamaze is good in that, like you said, a position can remain a thorn in ones sideSmile The geography and specialized kingdoms give a player a lot more survivability then say FOR. Even if you're outnumbered a good player can hang on for maybe the entire game. In many cases not only hang on but remain having a fun time.

I look forward to playing some games with you!

We also hope to have a robust standby program. That should help.
 Lord Diamond

Please do not take any of my comments as a personal insult or as a criticism of the game 'Alamaze', which I very much enjoy. Rather, I hope that my personal insight and unique perspective may, in some way, help make 'Alamaze' more fun, a more successful financial venture, or simply more sustainable as a long-term project. Anyone who reads this post should feel completely free to ignore, disregard, scorn, implement, improve, dispute, or otherwise comment upon its content.





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#20
(03-05-2013, 03:47 AM)Kalrex Wrote: Lucky Tiger,

Drops were a universal problem in PBM games.
Alamaze is good in that, like you said, a position can remain a thorn in ones sideSmile The geography and specialized kingdoms give a player a lot more survivability then say FOR. Even if you're outnumbered a good player can hang on for maybe the entire game. In many cases not only hang on but remain having a fun time.

I look forward to playing some games with you!

I am looking forward to it as well. I am just waiting for all the particulars to be ironed out and the game to be opened up. My credit card is ready to be charged.

(03-05-2013, 02:14 PM)Lord Diamond Wrote: We also hope to have a robust standby program. That should help.

that's good to hear, I came in on stand by several times in the previous incarnation of the game, and it was a lot of fun. It offered a slightly different point of view when you came into a game with many alliances already forged.
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