A tabletop science-fiction roleplaying game of memetic horror.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
Recovering from Chaos
about 1 month ago
– Sun, May 03, 2020 at 07:58:46 PM
It's been a few months since I last got in touch with you fine backers, and I have been thinking a great deal about the underlying purpose of After the War. Our fine contributor Jacqueline Bryk inspired me to start a long twitter thread unpacking some of these ideas and I thought you may be interested in hearing about it.
When I originally designed the game with Alasdair Stuart, our original inspirations were how a game about what kinds of horror settings could be aligned with a game system of changing your beliefs. Our first concept related to replicating the feeling of Europe after WWII. We were thinking about farmlands ravaged by trench warfare, farmer's fields cratered by mortarfire, and forests too dangerous to enter. We thought about Spanish Influenza and famine. We thought about the pervasive trauma that literally soaked the ground on the western front. We thought about how a world of broken, bleeding, and grief-ravaged souls who still mustered the strength to restore Europe to a place where peace could find root. Homes were rebuilt, farms reclaimed, and an economic union formed that lasts to this day. We thought about hope in the face of horror.
In After the War, we fought an external, conquering force and unleashed equally devastating weapons that killed untold masses. Ten years have passed since that date and people struggle to recover. The old enemies of totalitarian fascism and murderous anarchy still remain in the minds of the survivors and seek to weaponize the trauma in their minds.
We were finishing the text when November of 2016 came around and the world began to come unraveled. Our secret hope was that this game would help people learn how to cope with the trauma and horror that seemed inevitable given the explosion of xenophobia and global fascism. Since the game was released, the world has continued to spiral out of control and we have faced increased challenges which make it even more relevant to our daily lives. We have seen democratic norms eviscerated, a paramilitary police force kidnapping immigrants and concentration camps established. We have seen economic warfare against the poor and a brutal pandemic which strikes down the most vulnerable members of our society.
After the War was designed to give people the tools to understand and cope with a world on fire. We wanted to teach people how to form lasting, peaceful communities despite the trauma that many of us are suffering during this chaotic time. We wanted to demonstrate that there is always hope for a brighter future if we work together. We can We can be gentle with ourselves. We can fight for justice and demand that powerful be held to account. We can make a better world for those to come.
We hope that you and yours are safe in these turbulent times. We will get though this, together.
Jason Pitre for Genesis of Legend Publishing
The Final Stretch Goal - Recordings from Earth
3 months ago
– Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 02:09:59 AM
Recordings from Earth
Alasdair and I have been working away on our final stretch goal for the "After the War" kickstarter campaign, and we are very pleased to announce it has been completed. We have put together a 20 minute video to help your group start playing. This includes a walk-through for character creation, explaining settlement creation, and teaching the basics of the rules.
If you want to start your campaign of After the War, this video is for you. We hope you have a blast.
More on the Horizon
While this may be the final stretch goal, there is more exciting content to come over the coming year for this game of memetic horror. We are currently developing a set of three adventures with pregenerated characters so folks have plenty of options to run the game. We will absolutely let you know when it's ready!
Jason Pitre for Genesis of Legend Publishing
Recordings from Earth - Under Way
4 months ago
– Sun, Feb 02, 2020 at 04:46:27 PM
I just wanted to touch base and let you know that we have had some progress on the final stretch goal for "recordings from earth" stretch goal. This will be a narrated introduction to the game which will teach you how to make characters and play. I have written the script and sent it off to Alasdair, who has extensive audio narration experience. We will then use that to prepare a video presentation (for youtube) as well as sharing the MP3. You will be able to play this for your group during your first session so that we can teach you how to get stated.
Missions on the Way
We are also currently developing a handful of standard adventure missions with pregenerated characters as a helpful tool for folks to get started. We have most of the first mission complete (Black Hole Sun) and have outlined two others.
Palanquin on Kickstarter
While I am at it, I also wanted to let you know that I have just launched my kickstarter for Zinequest and I am super excited about it. It's a game about a teenage princess who is fleeing a palace coup with the aid of unlikely companions. It's inspired by games such as Dream Apart / Dream Askew, Kagematsu, Archepelago, and Witch: Road to Lindisfarne. If that strikes your fancy, I would invite you to take a look at this small (and affordable) game. Link is here!
Thank you for your time, and happy gaming!
Jason Pitre for Genesis of Legend Publishing
After the War - Budget Breakdown and Critical Analysis
5 months ago
– Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at 11:26:23 PM
As the end of 2019 approaches and most backers have received their copies of After the War, it’s time for a retrospective of the project from a publishing perspective. This isn’t an easy update to prepare, and I appreciate that you are taking the time to read it.
During every kickstarter campaign, we make a habit of doing a full budget breakdown so that our backers can see where all of their hard-won pledges were spent. This campaign is no different, and it’s a treat to dig into the campaign results. All values are in Canadian dollars and rounded up, for consistency’s sake. As a reminder, the campaign had 457 backers who pledged $15,823 (Canadian Dollars) to help bring this project to life.
Executive Summary (TLDR)
The project was an artistic success, but a combination of scope creep and a lower backer count than forecast led to a significant budget shortfall. I am working hard to recover by encouraging post-campaign sales to individuals and retail stores.
The campaign had a total of 467 backers and raised a total of $15,823. More than half of backers supported the campaign at one of the two digital tiers (Proud Belter or Industrious Martian). The remaining kind backers have acquired 195 physical copies of the book. Those fine freelance contributors who wrote, illustrated for, or edited the book were also owed complimentary copies of the book, which came to another 20 copies.
Our campaign included some efforts to specifically support retail backers, which was very helpful. We sent out 61 additional physical copies of the book to retailers, raising an approximately an additional $1200.
We also used Backerkit for some additional pledges after the campaign ended, which sold an additional 11 hardcopies and 13 digital copies, along with some extra PDF sales. This raised a total of $1,655.
When all of these are combined, we raised a total of $18,678 and sent out 287 copies of the book into the world. In addition to the base goal, we reached the following stretch goals.
Strange Gifts (a section in the book describing psionics, magic, cybernetics, songcraft and mutations)
AI Song Archives (a human-curated and artificially generated soundtrack)
The Covenant Yard Adventure by Jacqueline Bryk (Chapter 11)
The Precursors Expansion (a section in the book describing ancient alien archeology )
Recordings from Earth (recorded tutorial/instructions, in development_
Polvan Cartographer (a series of illustrated, isometric settlement maps)
The income was respectable for the project overall, but it’s on the lower end of my forecasts. I had expected to raise closer to $20,000 on the project, but had not factored issues such as the disappearance of Google Plus (as a marketing platform) or other disruptive events.
Net Kickstarter: $14,365 after kickstarter and payment processor fees.
Net Backerkit: $1,285
Net Retail: $1,200
After the war PDF Sales: $280
Total External Development Costs ($12,250)
This is the largest project that we have produced to date, with over 25 unique contributors. We have also made it a priority to pay our freelancers above average rates, with a minimum per-word rate of 6 cents USD/word for the bulk of the writing and higher rates (20 cents USD/word) for the small Survivor Stories in Chapter 2.
The stretch goals also increased the total budget requirements in an incremental fashion by requiring additional art, editing, and commissioned writing. These factors led to some significant development costs for the project.
The total editing budget appears relatively low due to the fact that I bartered my layout services with John Adamus for his project “Noir World” in exchange for his editing for “After the War.” Any internal development costs in terms of labour by Jason are excluded from these numbers, which we discuss later.
Total Writing Budget: $5,109
Total Editing Budget: $719
Total Illustration: $6,422
Total Layout: $0 (Jason’s Sweat Equity)
Total Production & Fulfillment Costs ($15,364)
There was significant scope creep on the project, which was made evident when we went through the layout process. Our original estimates for print quotes were based on a 240-page book which ballooned to 356 pages at the end of the day. Because of that expansion, we changed to a domestic Canadian printer and bindery. This allowed me to rent a cargo van to pick up the books, then manually export 450 of them into the USA for domestic mailing costs. This involved learning the ins and outs of brokerage, but saved a significant amount on total fulfillment costs.
While we could have worked with a printer overseas, we were concerned about the potential tariff implications and the significant risk to our timelines. We were happy to have gotten competitive quotes from our Canadian book printer and bindery.
Book Printing Costs: $7,472
Book Binding Costs: $3,724
Brokerage & Customs: $860
Van Rental: $250
Shipping Costs: $3,058
Total Production and Fulfillment Costs: $15,364
Inventory Value ($14k-$39k)
Due to the economics associated with printing, I was obliged to print a minimum of 1000 copies of the book, which increased to 1075 after the “overages” that standard parts of the printing process.
Each unit has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $50 CAD, so we can put a dollar value associated with each unit. If we sell a copy directly, we receive the value of the MSRP. If we sell directly into retail, we receive 50% of MSRP, and via distribution we receive 36%.
Originally Printed: 1075 Units
Kickstarter Copies Sent: 287 Units
Remaining Inventory: 788 Units
Remaining Inventory Value: Between $14k and $39k depending on sales channels.
Net Kickstarter Income
As you have probably determined already, the project is currently in the red. While the campaign has resulted in a significant value worth of inventory, those books have yet to be sold. Genesis of Legend Publishing has invested revenues from our earlier publications along with some personal contributions by Jason.
External Development: -$12,250
Production and Fulfillment: -$15,364
Net Income: -$10,484
Inventory Value: Between $14k and $39k
Now it’s time to unpack this. Every project that we release needs to reach three objectives in order to be deemed a success internally.
Did we deliver a quality product to backers? This is an unqualified success in our views. The book is beautiful, substantive, and gives a wealth of useful resources for games. We are confident that you fine folks have gotten value for your money, and hope that the book enables compelling stories in the years to come.
Did we compensate the workers fairly? Despite the rather dismal financial picture, we still managed to pay our contributors equal to or exceeding the market rate. We were proud to pay the writers of the survivor’s story at a rate of 20 cents/word for their small pieces. The only failing on this criterion is that, due to budget shortfalls, I have been unable to take compensation for my writing, editing, game design, or layout work. I hope that some form of compensation will be possible after some of the inventory has been sold.
Did we behave in a sustainable fashion? No, we did not do so. Our significant cost overruns on this project required us to invest much of the company’s revenues towards patching the hole, and Jason also invested some of his personal funds into fulfilling these obligations.
The key concern on this factor is that this kind of unsustainable product development is only available to those with financial privilege. Jason’s day-job is stable and well compensated, which means that he was able to share his art in the form of this book. Creatives from more marginalized backgrounds or who suffer from poverty could not subsidize their own works to the same extent. Our projects should be at least self-funding and should ideally require no subsidization by the creator.
We are incredibly proud of our work on After the War, and feel that the game was a critical success. We have sent copies off to our distributors (Indie Press Revolution and ACD Distribution), and look forward to seeing out book in many friendly local game stores.
We are restructuring our approach for future games to be more sustainable. We are obliged to have a much stronger control over the scope of our project. Our next Kickstarter project, Palanquin, will be a small game in zine-format in February with trivial production costs by comparison.
You can Help!
I would like to ask for your help in raising awareness of the game so we can sell come of those copies and break even on the project. If you folks are anything like me, you probably have a stack of games on your to-read pile. If you would be willing to take fifteen minutes to read Chapter 1 about the book and talk about your first impressions online, you could make an incredible impact.
Thank you for your time and attention . If you have any comments or questions, Please let me know in the comments, and I will be happy to share more information!
Jason Pitre, Genesis of Legend Publishing
After the War - December 2019 Update
6 months ago
– Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 01:39:47 AM
It’s been a bit over a month and I wanted to send folks another backer update for After the War. At this point, almost everyone should have received their books with the exception of a handful of retail backers. If there are any issues, please get in touch with me at email@example.com and I will be happy to help resolve them.
In addition to the core goal, we have also completed the following stretch goals.
Strange Gifts (Included in the book)
AI Song Archives (Music available in update 8)
The Covenant Yard Adventure (Included in the book)
The Precursors Expansion (Included in the book)
Polvan Cartographer (Included in the book)
Offworld Setttlements (included in the book)
We now only have a single outstanding stretch goal; the Recordings from Earth. This will be a narrated introduction to the game as if we were teaching it to your group. We are slowly working on it and look forward to the release.
Adam Koebel’s First Look
I am also happy to report that the excellent twitch streamer & vlogger, Adam Koebel, has done a “first look” review of the game. He did a nice, long review and analysis of the game which I suspect many of you folks would enjoy. Here it is!
Available for Sale!
Now that backers have their copies, the game is available for sale. We have gone slightly over budget at this point and we would appreciate your help to boost the signal.