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Matt Ventre


10 Things to Do Before I Release My Latest Roleplaying Game (Legacy of the Cage)

This is more of an accountability list and a look behind the curtain at what it's taken to release a tabletop action/roleplaying game.

Legacy of the Cage: The Gauntlet - a dice-powered mixed martial arts action fighting game for one or more players releases digitally on July 1.


    1. Finish the "go to press" draft.

    It's not the locked-down version (in fact, that won't exist almost ever, given how technology enables us to make edits and errata in near real-time), but it's the version that I will submit to some internal playtesting groups and use, with last-minute edits, to flow into the designed document for digital release (which is basically a PDF).

    2. Update the website.

    Due to some trademark issues, I had to rebrand slightly to avoid a lawsuit. The website and some of the social media information is incorrect now.

    3. Initiate seller accounts where the game will be available.

    SPOILER: you heard it first.

    Legacy of the Cage will be available on DriveThruRPG and itch.io digitally on July 1 (assuming they approve my drafts in time).

    4. Set the price point and promote it.

    SPOILER: another you heard it first moment.

    I'm thinking the price for a first-run digital copy is somewhere between $9.99 and $13.99.

    There's a concept called "itch-starting" which is a play on words of "Kickstarting". Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website for creative projects. Itch, on the other hand, is just a digital marketplace for independent designers.

    Itch-starting is selling your "unrefined" product on itch.io at a lower price point and increasing it over time as it gathers sales and feedback from customers.

    This seems like a good way for me to experiment with different sales channels and, eventually, add in more important changes as people enjoy the game.

    PLUS: people who offer great feedback will get credited in every subsequent version of the game manual. It pays to play!

    5. Create some more artwork.

    These types of games tend to be text-heavy affairs (it is, after all, just a book) so including some appropriate artwork brings life and flavor to the pages.

    Indy games with solo developers like me, from an audience perspective, don't need to have full-page professionally drawn artwork. They should have at least a handful of some interesting and stylistic pieces to augment the copy.

    Check out an example of some art I did here on my game company, PlayArchitect Games, Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/CaFUkt6Fr8p/


    6. Spice up the print layout.

    I have a baseline layout with most of the font treatments and table design worked out. However, I need some other things that game books require: sidebar callouts, clear page numbering, inline callouts, block quotes, image placeholders, and subtle border design.

    7. Flow the final copy into the print layout with the artwork.

    This is the next BIG task to clear.

    Once the go-to-print copy is ready, it has to be set into the layout and positioned around artwork (or, the artwork has to be "fit" into the copy flow, if you want to think of it that way).

    8. Come up with a back cover (optional, but nice)

    Since this version won't be in print (yet!), the back cover design doesn't have to be glamorous. It's a nice-to-have that makes the work feel more "complete" even if nobody ever really looks at the back cover in their PDF reader.

    9. Promote the hell out of it.

    I have a 100+ subscriber email list that I cultivated in 2020-2021 plus a 100+ follower IG account - I can use these to get the word out to my audience and see if I can drum up enough interest to convert some sales.

    More than anything, I want people to *play* the game. The sales will come if the game is of a high quality (it is!) but it's about attention.

    10. Video content is king.

    There has to be a few "What's this game about?" clips that explain the premise and the theme, the mechanics, and then get into how you actually play the game.

    Books are good for reference, but they're notoriously bad at "teaching" you how to play a game. Rules design (which is a cousin of technical writing) is a huge skillset all on its own.

    Videos are a great shortcut for the folks who want to have someone explain visually in just a few minutes.

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