2016 in Review

Avalon Review of 2016

Well another year is coming to an end and so we here at Avalon are once again taking a look back to see what we did right and what we got wrong.

 

2016 over all was another down year. The economy is still sluggish in terms of sales numbers and with the chaos of the election year, even more so this year then in the past, brought some doubts to the market and lower over all numbers. While the market was soft, it was not a huge drop in over all sales numbers then seen in other years, but the lower numbers were clear.

 

Even with lower sales numbers Avalon was a profitable venture, and expanded its product line with well over 200 new products produced and put up for sale in 2016. We were able to finally get Kung Fu Kuma out as well as all its support products. We also produced two new volumes of Heroes Weekly, with the addition of 48 new issues between the two volumes. Avalon also expanded its efforts in the Infinite Futures product line with new IF Threats and the release of Cyber Age for IF.

 

What Did We Do Right

Avalon tried to bring new voices to the market and added two great writers to our stable of creative people. Both woman offered great work for publishing and helped to expand our offering in Pathfinder with new issues of Heroes Weekly as well as new product line such as Avalon Spell Books and Haunts.

 

Avalon continued to be a profitable venture and stayed out of debt once again. We added new capital to our investments in the stock market, with double the amount of funding then we had previously invested.

 

One major effort this year was to clean out the pipeline of products in the works. With some effort we were able to complete, layout and either publish or have ready to publish, several products and product lines, including the long awaited HWM Powers, and Scorched Earth for Pathfinder.

 

Avalon was able to keep anyone willing to work with plenty to do, offering several new product lines and or opportunities to continue to have a voice in the gaming hobby. Several of our writers were able to either explore new directions to work in or were able to add to already established product lines.

 

As always, Avalon was on time with its payments to our creative people and only a few times did we have a hick-up with any emails being missed or late in replying. Avalon also had several new opportunities presented to us from outside sources, some of which we jumped into with both feet, while others we had to pass on because of concerns about the viability of the venture. Some opportunities we put on hold for 2017 where we will explore them in more depth.

 

What Did We Do Wrong

Avalon did not have any major disasters this year, but some things still need to be addressed. While the web site is a great tool for us and we continue to expand what it has to offer, with new reviews and content, we still need to push it as a destination for great gaming news and content. We failed once more to get a store front up and running, as it never really got beyond the talking stage. We also explored other ways to bring in views, with reviews and the like, but we still can do more.

 

Avalon once more sort of fell short of getting the word out about what we have to offer. While we have been around for almost ten years now, people are still coming in says they have never heard of us. We dropped online ads as they never seemed to pay off, but we may have to look into new efforts to bring us to the forefront of peoples minds when they think of fun games.

 

We talked a lot about a lots of ideas. Some while might have been fun to work on, would have cost too much and might never have brought in new money or fans. Online comics were looked at, but as with a lot of stuff, the effort to make it become a paying venture was just too much work for the return.

 

The same seems to be the case for online fiction. While it might be great to pursue, the effort to make it pay off might be way too much for us to bother with. Does that mean we will not eventually jump on these or other things, it is just that we may have to either wait for them to be more profit potentials or until we have the time to really promote them so that they become profitable.

 

What Is In The Works For the Future?

So what to look forward to in the coming year? Well Avalon has a lot in the works that’s for sure. We have David Caffee, the master writer that he is, working on a Savage Swords version of Pathfinder as well as a great setting for that game. Meanwhile we are also working on new stuff for Pathfinder, with new HWM goodies and character books, as well as new ship deck plans and threat books for IF.

 

With Pazio planning to release their own Sci-Fi version of Pathfinder in the summer of 2017, Avalon will be well placed with a ton of support materials to be used with that system as our IF product line will be bulging with goodies.

 

We are also going to jump into releases of 5e based products and are looking into having versions of IF and HWM made ready for that system as well.

 

We also have plans for a 5e solo system and some great new table top miniature systems. Avalon will continue to support some current product lines such Arcana and our Mini-Games as well as offer art, paper models and new Pathfinder goodies.

 

What will 2017 hold for Avalon, who knows . What we can says for sure is that we will continue to try to present games and gaming goodies, and to offer the best stuff we can product, and at a great price.

What is in the Pipeline….

Here is a brief update to on what Avalon has been doing and our product pipeline…

1. Finished the tarot deck project.
2. About half way done with a poker deck set of cards.
3. Finished the draft rewrite of all the battle axe cards and worked up a sample deck of pod cards. Will get proof of those cards set up.  Once I get that proof back I will complete the work on the 2nd edition of that product line and have all of the cards ready for pod.
4. Completes Arcana journals (12 issues) for 2017.
5. Have all the artwork done for Scortched Earth and will begin layout for a first of the year release.
6. Have one more issue of Avalon Lairs to be written by Maria and then I will get those 12 issues laid out for a first of the year release.
7. Have all 12 issues of Avalon Hazards laid up and ready for first of the year release.
8. Have three of the six HWM feat books written, waiting for the last three and then will work them up for a release next year. Also have three new HWM character books worked up with seven more to be written by Jennifer P.  All of this will be released in 2017.
9. Have space pirates and star marshals worked up for IF, and have several new threat books in the works for release next year.  I also have art done for several origin books for IF, and 12 spaceship deck plans ready for release next year.  This will put us in a good place when Pazio releases their sci fi version of Pathfinder.

Future projects we want to look into…
1. Start putting out some 5d D&D products.  Convert some Pazio products into 5d.
2. Look to put out a 5d D&D version of HWM and IF.
3. Start to build pages for some sort of comic, be it a web comic, or PDF.  Look at ways to get it into a for profit product. (Sell on drive thru comics, comicolgy and maybe pod)
4. Set up a Patreon campaign.

Stuff I need to do when I find the time…
1. Get the Hero version of Avenger’s traveler stuff ready for release.  Have it all written, just need the time to work it up into a product for release.
2. Work on Quest of Heroes solo mini game system and a few adventures.
3. Complete the rewrite of Dark Dungeon.
4. Finish up some artwork projects I started but never completed.
5. Finish the second volume of my novel. (First one is written and the second volume is about half done)
6. Learn to play the guitar.
7. Lose weight and get to two miles a day on my walk. Up to 1 and 1/4 now.
8. Finish Ramsey’s and Aaron’s card games. (Both are written but have no art or been laid up.)

Avalon Tarot is here

Yep, our first tarot deck is here.  This first series is in standard U.S. poker sized, but we will have a standard tarot deck size posted within the next few weeks.  This deck is very nice, full color and well worth the price.  You can get the PDF at RPGNow and in the next few weeks also order a printed copy.

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We have plans for some more decks as well as some poker cards sets.

 

Have fun.

 

Summer is almost Here

Summer is almost here so that means more time to work on games.

 

Here is a short list of what is planed for work this summer.

 

Working on the next 12 issues for Arcana Journal for release in 1017. Yep, we work that far ahead. We are also going to give each issue and realm book a real good proofing and correct some errors and stuff.

 

More Heroes Weekly on the way with vol 6 all done and ready to go. We also have some new character books coming out and a new power system to apply to your games.

 

Avalon Characters. A new Pathfinder series which will detail out five NPCs that you can use in your game. Each issue will cover a different class or race. Lots of fun in these little gems.

 

I will also be working on some new stuff for Counter Wars, a super hero version of the system, as well as a Robot / Droid battles and maybe something for the Fringe.

 

Speaking of the Fringe, some time back in the forums I had spoken about maybe working up a series of linked scenarios using the Fringe as the back drop, but using different games for our collections. Well I have the bare bones of it all layed out, and it’s a gem. The series will require that you have Nova Blast Star fighter, Zero-O and Future Wars, and if you like you can do some Role Playing using IF 2.0. Don’t worry thought, we will offer up the whole thing in a bundle for a great price if you don’t have all of these games. Should be a blast.

 

I want to work on some more Gadget Girl stories if I have the time, as well as don so more work on a Tarot deck for use in Arcana. We will see though.

 

Well as you can see, a full load of work to do, as well as hang out with friends and the kid, drink some beer and go see some good movies.

 

 

Counter Wars

So I have been playing some games of Counter Wars, and having a blast. This little gem has allowed me the thrill of a table top battle like I used to get with Warhammer and other miniature games, but without the hassle of the models and space needed.

 

We have played three games so far, all at 200 points as that seems to be a good point were you can bring in a fair number of characters and allows for a good mix. Each game the goblins won and so far are undefeated.

 

Our first game was the goblins against the dwarfs, with the goblins bringing in a troll, an ogre and ogre magi, a chief, hero and shaman and some wargs and warg riders, all filled out with a pbnch of cheep goblins to fill out the points.

 

The dwarfs bought a cannon (Boom!), a bear rider, and a lot of dwarfs, along side a rune smith, thane and some slayers, berserkers and bashers. Last but not least a giant filled out the ranks.

 

While the game was close, in the end the goblins pull off a victory, mostly because the dwarfs had two bad rounds of crap dice rolls. I am still convinced that had the dwarfs rolled better, they could have won. Still the goblins did swarm the dwarfs, an while a one on one fighter with a goblin is no big deal, the dwarfs had a hard time dealing with the swarm effect, ganged up by small goblins and then while held in place this allowed the goblins to get off charges on the side and rear of the dwarf, which will bring down anyone.

 

The second battle was the goblins and elves going at it. This time the goblins more or less had the same army, but without the troll and more wargs and war riders. The elves bought some archers and spearmen, of course some blade dancers and rangers, as well as some mages. A unicorn and a mounted elf filling in the ranks.

 

This time around the elves found that their elder magic allowed several elves to get enchanted weapons, while the goblins savage magic let then get off one or two real good charges with an extra D6, which made all the difference in the battles. Once more, the elves had two bad rounds of dice rolls and the game was lost with the goblins swarming the poor elves and surrounding all of them with several attacks on all sides. Elves archers proved to be great as shooters, but also in melee with a good charge.

 

The third battle was with the goblins and the elves, but taken to an extreme. The goblins bought nothing but cheep goblins, no magic at all and only a chief to round out the numbers. A cave drake was the big buy for the goblins. The elves on the other hand bought a few archers and scouts, rangers and blade dancers, but then all their other points went to magic users. A tree singer, a hero, and two spell singers. Two centaur filled out the ranks.

 

So this time it was the elves just trying to kill off as many goblins as they could, but they never could get enough on the little green folk down. Ya every time the elves made any sort of attack the goblin died, but there were just too many one them. In the end the goblins surrounded all the elves and just brought them down. Highlights of the battle were the elves shooting the crap out of the cave drake, doing 28 hits in one round. Poor critter had no chance. The elven tree singer was a blast as well when on her first turn she used the move tree spell and rolled a large forest over 10 goblins. She did not kill any of them, but hurt all of them. Had she been able to get the spell off a few more times she could have maybe turned the tide of the battle. One of the spell singers took water as her spell school, and used wave to great effect, knocking down goblins attacking her or in the path of the spell.

 

So what have I learned. When fighting a goblin hoard army, you have to turtle up, and protect your flanks so the goblins cannot not get more then one or two attacks on you per turn. If you can keep then for getting off those side and rear charge attacks you can hold on for a long time, killing a goblin each turn. Healing potions for your best warriors would be good too.

 

We have also come up with a few house rules, which seems to make thing better. Use these if you want.

 

Hills: Small and medium characters do not block line of sight between an attacker on the hill and their target below and the same for those making attacks at targets on the hill.

 

Fear and Horror: Fear generates a -1 morale mod and horror a -2. This seems to make both a bit more affective.

2014 in Review

2014 in Review

 

Well its that time again, another year down and another one to start.  2014 was a mixed bag for Avalon with a lot of ups and a few downs, but in the end we survived and continue strong into 2015.

 

Game Market

Because Avalon does not survive all on its own, but is a small part of a bigger market we have to look at what 2014 held in store for the hobby in general and how this effected Avalon.

 

We all watched 2014 start and hoped that it would bring an end to the downward economy, but instead we more or less watched it stagnate.  While other parts of the economy as a whole were on the rise and recovering, the hobby game market was down over all.  Sales were flat at best for most publishers and a few had to close up shop or were sold off.

 

While Pathfinder is still the game of choice for most gamers, Wizards of the Coast finally released their 5th ed of D&D.  It has done well, but not steamrolled the market, and in the end the release of 5th ed has only made yet another game that some play and many don’t.

 

Avalon in 2014

Avalon continued to keep a steady release schedule, putting out well over 200 products and hitting the top publisher mark several times.  Our annual dollar day sale was a hit as always and we continued to build our customer base and fan club.  Sales were on par with 2013, if maybe a little down, but overall we sort of floated on the river and headed down stream without to many bumps.

 

What We Did Right

Avalon continued to release good games, and supported already popular product lines.  Avalon Quest, Heroes Wear Masks and Infinite Futures all did well this year and Arcanum continued to bring in new fans to this long-standing board game.

 

We brought in new voices and artwork keeping with our goal of producing more quality products.  We also keep production up, having at no time any real lapses in release of products, and generating new products and product lines for release in 2015.  Infinite Futures 2.0, Kung-Fu Kuma and Solo Super Heroes for HWM are all ready to go or are in the process of being worked up, and all will see a release next year.

 

We continued to look for new markets, and have started down the long road to maybe entering the Japanese market some time in 2015.

 

While our fiction plans sort of got off track, we finally got it back in working order and hope to see fiction releases to becoming a big part of Avalon’s income in 2015.

 

The web site has been cooking along well under Lance’s stewardship and has slowly become a place for fans to meet up, ask questions and discuss their games.  We will continue to try to drive fans to our site, and maybe get it up and running as its own market.

 

Avalon stayed out of debt as we always do, and built up a nice nest egg of ready cash on hand should opportunities present themselves.  Everyone got paid and some of our more steady free lances did well with us this year, making some handy cash.

 

What We Did Wrong

Not everything worked as planned.  Some product lines were duds.  Not that they were bad games, or poorly done, but it just some times happens that a game does not find its market and does not do well.  We had a few of those this year.  The good thing about the PDF market though is after a product has been paid for it remains active forever and someday will make its costs back.

 

Fiction 

As stated before, we had big plans for this but it never seemed to work out just right until just recently.  Still better late then never.  We have high hopes for this venture.

 

High End Products vs. Fast and Easy

One of the things Avalon started out as was a publisher that could put out fast, fun games.  We then tried to move into larger releases but fewer per year, making sure that the new stuff had higher production quality.  Not sure that was the right move.  Sales were off, some of that is due to the economy as a whole, but some of it might well have been that we spent too much money on getting stuff to look nice, but less time and energy on just getting it out.  Higher costs bit hard into our profits, more so then I would have liked.  Most of this was in terms of cover art, which can cost as much as three times the cost of the product itself.  So in 2015 we will cut back on the high end covers, and only produce them, either in house, or only for selected products.

 

Web Site

While we have been building a steady following, we have not made any moves toward making the site a for profit venture.  It will take a lot of work to be able to well directly to our fans from the site, but maybe next year will be the year we get it started.

 

Poor Communication

There have been times when I missed an email or William got lost in time and space, or both of use went missing in action.   We will try to be better at being in contact and getting to every one of those emails in a timely fashion.

 

What to look forward to in 2015

We hope to continue to be strong and release lots of games and fun stuff.  You can never tell what will happen, but I can say it will be a fun ride.

 

 

We love ya too much to fool ya

We see a lot of this sort of thing on Kickstarter; incentives publishers are offering to get you to not only support their project, but to get you to buy even more.  You have all seen it, buy the game for $25, or buy the game for $50 and they will also put your name in the book as a supporter.  That kind of stuff.

 

Hey, we love our fans.  You want your name in one of our books, just tell me and I will included it.  You want one of the NPC’s to be named after you, drop me a line.  Hell we will even work up an image of you as the villain, just send us a pic.

 

You don’t have to pay us extra for your support, we love ya just the way you are, so take that extra $25 bucks you were going to spend to get your name in the book and go buy some other small publisher’s product.

Some Great Games

Some great games I have played of late So my group has more or less taken a break from RPGs and we have delved into other games for a little while. Here are some of my favorites.

Gloom. A great time was had with this card game. Normally I don’t like cards games too much, but this one was a real blast.

Kaosmasters. A fun battle game. Light, fun and full of interesting way to win the game. Good looking mini’s as well.

Star Wars X-Wing. Me and my daughter play this off and on. She always beats me….

 

Rob