When To Fold.

March 22, 2012

It’s never easy admitting it when you’re wrong.  That’s the basis of the ‘sunk costs fallacy’ where you keep throwing good money after bad, right?  Trying to pull out of the loss by investing more time and effort?  Whereas the smart gambler folds on most hands.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I’m cutting my losses on HORIZON.  As of right now, I’ve invested thought, time and effort.  All of those are currencies where I’m well supplied.  My hope was that my interest in HORIZON would spur similar interest, which would (eventually) turn into cash.  It worked with REIGN, right?

But if you’re reading this, you’re the exception, not the rule.  I’m sorry if this seemed like a tease: You wanted it to work, so did I, but it never really reached critical mass and became self-sustaining.  I put out the rules and got back no great surge of enthusiasm.  I reached out to an artist and we went back and forth, but he never really made this a priority either.  The breaking point, however, was Gameday 31 where I showed up willing to test the rules for the first time and had one guy ready to play.

It would be easy to blame this on the guys at Gameday, but 100% wrong.  I didn’t push that playtest, I didn’t pursue testers for it, I didn’t nag the organizers to make sure everyone knew I’d replaced a withdrawn morning game, I didn’t do a lot of things I could have to ensure that I’d be running the rules instead of sitting around. 

Moreover, the scenario I set up for that playtest?  Pretty half-assed, to be frank.  So what’s it say about my commitment to the project if I can’t be bothered to set this up?  Nothing good.

This is a bit dispiriting, to be sure, but in the long run, I have to chalk this up as a win.  Or at least a draw.  Did I get a brilliant, fun, profitable game out of it?  No.  Did I sink in months of effort and tons of my own cash to produce a game that flamed out in the marketplace and left hundreds of unsold copies mocking me from my damp basement?  Also no.

There it is.  Time to walk away.



I’m not terribly prepared, but I’ve got five days to get ready, right? Because I’m going to run the first, EVER, game of HORIZON next Saturday at 9:00 AM at Gameday Chicago. Here’s the details, of where & when


But, well, basically, 9:00 AM at the exquisite Games Plus store http://www.games-plus.com/ . Will it be awesome? Will it send me scuttling home in disgrace to completely rework the mechanics (or, as likely, decide to use the setting for ORE)? Find out if you can make it there, then!