With the most recent CAPERS Kickstarter update, I pointed backers to a Google Form where I asked them about their interest in seeing supplements for the game. So far, I've received 74 responses. I expect I might see a few more, but most of the backers who are really interested in seeing such things have probably already responded. If you're reading this and haven't yet responded, click the link to the update above and then follow the link there to the survey.
I find myself in a weird spot. When creating M&A and CAPERS, I never really planned to create further supplements for the games. A few PDFs with some cools stuff, sure, but we're talking freebies. A supplement, or multiple supplements -- which would make this a GAME LINE -- wasn't on my mind. With how well the CAPERS Kickstarter did (532 backers), I'm faced with the idea that supplements might actually be a good idea.
The Game Line Conundrum
Here's the issue. Supplements never sell as well as a core game, even for bigger companies with more popular games. Adventures can sell okay, as can more general content supplements, but they'll only get a fraction of the action of the core game. Now, offering supplements CAN help more people find the core game, but you likely won't get THAT many new purchasers, even with a fairly successful supplement Kickstarter. I've studied some other small, indie RPGs that Kickstarted supplements, and I feel like I'd maybe get 20 or so new core game buyers from a supplement offering.
Seventy-four interested backers PLUS twenty new core game purchasers makes for a potential backer number for a supplement of less than 100. That 100 likely wouldn't actually happen, as some of the people who initially expressed interest may have their interest drop off over time.
I've crunched some numbers on the idea of creating one or more supplements of 40-90 pages. All the maths tell me that I'd need a good 100 or so backers to make it happen financially. And that would only keep me in the black. It wouldn't necessarily net any profit. That said, profit isn't THAT big of a deal on such a small Kickstarter. It's more about getting the game in front of more people who missed the initial core game Kickstarter...and satisfying the current backers. It would help build an audience with a more robust game line, but it's still a gamble.
So I'm in a weird place. I have plenty of ideas for things I could do with supplements for CAPERS, some of them my own ideas, some of them garnered from suggestions made by those who filled out the survey.
That said, I'm not ruling the idea out. I've only just begun exploring the idea. There's plenty of time to continue my research. Plus, I'll be attending GenCon this year so I'll have plenty of fellow indie RPG designers at my fingertips and I'll be able to pick their brains on the idea.
There's a pretty good chance that I'll at least give it a shot. But we'll see.
Feel free to comment on this blog post if you have any thoughts on this.