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#160: Adamantine Analysis
Charts and graphs are my friend.
I. Dear Reader
If you’re not aware, DriveThru allocates medals to products based on the number of sales. Their highest medal, Adamantine, is given to products that have sold more than 5000 copies. Only 180 products have crossed this threshold.
I thought it might be cool to classify these products into categories and see what that tells us. Please note that sometimes I’ve put a product in two categories, like Against the Cult of the Reptile God is classified as both “D&D” and “Adventure”.
Here’s the result:
Some things worth pointing out:
The most popular categories are “Trad” and “D&D”. The “D&D” category is first-party products like handbooks, older adventures and settings (Dark Sun) as well as third-party products. “Trad” is a fuzzy category (like all the categories) but it consists of all games that essentially keep the same player-GM relationship as D&D. It includes all the World of Darkness games, Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, and so on.
Maps are the third-highest category which is interesting but it’s almost all by one place, Seafoot Games. Kids are also a surprisingly large category but again, this is almost all Hero Kids stuff - more than 20 of their products have sold more than 5000 copies.
Storygames and OSR are almost equally popular.
You can probably guess most of the games in the Storygames category: Apocalypse World, Blades in the Dark, Fate (Core, Accelerated, Systems Toolkit), Fiasco, Microscope, Dread, Ironsworn, Ironsworn: Delve, Masks, Monster of the Week, The Sprawl, Wicked Ones.
Same with OSR category: there’s Beyond The Wall, DCC, Five Torches Deep, Knave, Maze Rats, Mothership, Dead Planet, Stars without Number, Worlds without Number, Black Hack 2e, Gardens of Ynn.
And just because I can, here’s the average price for products in each category:
The IP section only consists of the Alien RPG and the Witcher RPG and hence the average is very high.
Disclaimers: The categories are unscientific. But hey, what are you going to do? Here’s the raw data.
I think one of the struggles with talking about a scene like “indie RPGs” is that there’s lack of any actual numbers. And in that situation, it’s easy to assume that the loudest voices on social media are the most correct. So when I find some numbers, I like to share them. Let me know if you’d like to see this expanded to the Mithral tier which has about 450 products there. And also if there are specific questions you have with this list that I can try to answer.
This newsletter celebrates reaching another milestone this week. We saw our 5000th subscriber! I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has read, shared, and support this newsletter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ve taken this as an incentive to add two things to the site:
a Best Of page which lists some of my favourite issues
and a How To Get Featured section in the About page because people keep reaching to me about it.
II. Media of the Week
On the Yes Indie’d Podcast, I interviewed Layla Adelman, critic and co-designer (alongside Stras Acimovic) of Critical Role’s Illuminated Worlds system. We talk about how Layla reviews games as products and how that has changed after reading thousands of games.
On the RTFM podcast, Max and Aaron continue their quest to read the f**king manual and this time the manual is Pasion de la Pasiones. I’m a big fan of this game and this episode does a goob job of explaining why the game is great - with help from Quinns from Shut Up & Sit Down and People Make Games.
Please consider joining 50+ other patrons and support the newsletter on patreon to help keep me going.
If you’ve released a new game on itch.io this month, let me know through this form so I can potentially include it in the end of the month round-up.
III. Links of the Week
CBR reports on Apocalypse World co-designer, Meguey Baker campaign to raise funds for medical expenses.
On the Age of Ravens blog, Lowell Francis starts a new series about great mechanics. This one covers Stress dice in Alien, Gear in Blades, and Scale in Mouseguard.
On tumblr, windienine teaches Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish Granting Engine in one blogpost.
POCGamer continues their amazing series about being underwater and how to think about underwater games.
How Beyond Cataclysm had to buy all the d13 dice in Europe for their game.
On the Exeunt Omnes newsletter, a list of combat mechanics to steal from boardgames and some advance notice on their MORKTOBER initiative.
The Alexandrian writes about Kenneth Hite’s famous series about conspiracies and more, Suppressed Tranmissions.v
Handiwork Games have released an SRD for their Trouble Engine from a|state. As the game was based on the Blades SRD, I think it’s really nice they took this step. The Trouble Engine is a thorough procedure for the GM to invent and implement dangers and escalations that make a location feel dynamic and real.
IV. Small Ads
All links in the newsletter are completely based on my own interest. But to help support my work, this section contains sponsored links and advertisements. If you’d like your products to appear here, read the submission form.
HULL BREACH now available! Our massive anthology and setting for Mothership contains everything you need for the perfect sci-fi campaign. Dozens of new scenarios and toolkits in one beautiful hardcover.
Don’t Play This Game, a solo RPG of handcrafted horror. Inspired by found footage films and cursed messages. Sign up and try to survive the demo here.
This newsletter is currently sponsored by the Bundle of Holding.
Big bundle of The Nightmares Underneath with all the dungeons you can eat!
Also, pulpy science fantasy game, Atomic Robo, considered one of the best Fate books.
Hello, dear readers. This newsletter is written by me, Thomas Manuel. If you’d like to support this newsletter, share it with a friend or buy one of my games from my itch store. If you’d like to say something to me, you can reply to this email or click below!