Metrics, the New Game, and Being a Good Person

As Murders & Acquisitions continues to roll forward (and there's more coming about that in the near future), I thought I'd take some time to talk about some other NerdBurger Games news.

Website Metrics

The website has been live for about five months. I've taken some time recently to look at the site metrics.

The site averages a little over 50 unique visitors every month (with 76 unique visitors so far this month...WOW). I expect those numbers to climb in the coming weeks and months as we move closer to publishing M&A.

About 25% of the visitors are referred to the site from ENWorld, an RPG site where I post occasionally about what's happening here on NBG.com. I see a lot of views for the posts I make at ENWorld, but I wasn't sure how many people were actually clicking the links there. Turns out it's quite a few. Direct links are the most often noted in this metric, leading me to believe there are a good number of people who have bookmarked the website. That's cool.

The blog page is easily the most hit page on the site. Not surprising, given that the blog page gets the most updates.

A New RPG Brings a New Design Approach

As I've commented here and there, I'm working on a new RPG, the successor (hopefully) to M&A. I haven't provided much info on the new game yet, but that will change in the not too distant future.

The most interesting thing about this new game is that it uses a mechanic that is very different from the various mechanics I've played, GMed, and designed in the past. This puts me in a weird space, designer-wise.

When I started designing Murders & Acquisitions, I went with a mechanic that is similar to a number of mechanics for games I'm very used to. My initial design push resulted in a rules document about 25 pages in length. The core of the game as we know it now was in those 25 pages and it's what I sent to playtesters during the first round of playtesting and critique.

My first pass at this new game is only about five pages long. And, truth be told, it's mostly in outline form. A lot of the specifics are in my head. Before I begin designing in more depth, I plan to put together a rudimentary playtest to run with friends. This playtest will include that five-page outline (plus maybe a little more development) along with my first pass at some characters with all their attributes, skills, etc.

For this first playtest tryout, I want to run a one-hour scenario that is primarily combat-oriented, so the mechanics get a good workout. Then I'll have a brainstorming session with the playtesters. We'll toss ideas around, pick some variations, modify the character sheets and rules, and run the scenario again with the revised rules. All of this in one 3-4 hour playtest session.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do this two or three times before I premiere a basic public playtest at AndoCon in March of 2016.

Paying it Forward

I got my start designing as a professional (that is, actually getting paid) when a friend, who was an organizer for D&D Living Greyhawk back in 2001, gave me the opportunity to write a Living Greyhawk adventure titled, "Winter Tears."

Over the following years, my name got passed around to a few other people and I wrote for Dragon Magazine, the Wizards of the Coast website, and the RPGA. I got laid off from my day job around six years ago. It was the best thing that ever happened to my RPG freelance career, and is, in large part, the reason Murders & Acquisitions even exists.

When that happened, I went looking for some supplemental income by talking to my few RPG industry contacts. They passed my name up the ladders to others and my RPG freelance side-career began in earnest.

Since then, I've had the opportunity to "pay it forward" with a few people by collaborating with them on some of my projects and recommending some people for other opportunities that I wasn't involved in.

I recently had the chance to do this again. A friend of mine is in negotiations to do some RPG writing.

So, just something to keep in mind. If you've got some "clout" in whatever area, pay it forward to friends, family members, and contacts. Seeing them succeed is a pretty good feeling.