This is Audio EXP for the 6th of February 2021, and the title of this episode is ‘Airbenders and Zine Quests’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #82]
It’s good to chat again. Today, in Audio EXP, I’m beginning with some stats and then dig into geeky news with the usual RPG focus.
I’m going to be talking about silence for the stat section. Now, in this case, we’re defining silence broadly; anything less than 60 decibels. That’s about the level of background chatter in an office.
The community of creatives at DIYS.com have researched which craft activities keep children quiet, below 60 decibels for the longest. Anything over 20 minutes is a good result, by the way, and perhaps that’s why it’s easier to give them the PlayStation controller.
Here’s what doesn’t work very well. Printing shapes and finger painting will keep kids below than 60-decibel level for less than 10 minutes.
Paper chains aren’t much better, keeping the noise down for only 11 minutes and that’s an important exception we’ll get back to later.
Also disappointing is playdough modelling, which only acted as a noise distraction for 12 minutes.
Okay, that’s the highlights of what didn’t work, so let’s now run through crafting’s top performers.
In fifth place; painting rocks and that’s an activity which kept kids below the 60-decibel level for 29 minutes.
Next, lasting for 30 minutes is jewellery making, and I can see that one developing into a profitable Etsy hobby in the future. It might be a good investment of your time. Or, er, as DIYS.com ran this research, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned Etsy. Oops. Too late now.
Next up, Origami. That classic is enough to keep kids quiet for 31 minutes.
In the second place, making slime which lasts in relative silence for an impressive 33 minutes. I must admit, I worry a little about the cleanup there, but this child-free blogger can’t really comment.
In top place, with a duration of a whopping 34 minutes, is the art of paper weaving. This is where coloured strips of paper are woven together into sheets to create pretty designs.
Weaving paper together to make chains is a lowest-performing activity, but weaving paper together to create more paper pages is a top performer. See, life is complicated.
In the RPG news section of this podcast, I will begin with an excellent scoop for Magpie Games. The indie studio has landed the license for a currently untitled RPG set in the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.
The publisher has signed a multi-year deal with ViacomCBS.
Geek Native can confirm that it will be a Powered by the Apocalypse game and I should be able to follow that up with an interview in due course.
In a similar bit of RPG news, The Dragon Prince RPG is open for playtesting and will go on pre-order next week.
Head to Tales of Xadia.com and sign up for the newsletter there. That’s how you get into the Cortex-powered playtest.
Fandom, the company who owns Cortex and knows many entertainment companies, also has a Masters of the Universe RPG coming up.
It’s not all good news for Fandom, though. This week they’ve been rocked by a series of high-profile departures, and they follow on their head writer leaving. Adam Bradford, the head of Fandom Tabletop is going, as is the public face of the company Todd Kenrick.
I asked whether there was any news that Fandom would like to share, but my contact there just said it was business as usual. Or words to that effect.
It’s the start of the month, and that’s when Geek Native tries to make life a little less “business as usual” for indie creators and studios, and a little easier.
That’s to say that the RPG Publisher Spotlight for March is open.
The winner for February is EN Publishing. Yep, that’s the RPG studio side of the RPG news and community site EN World. As you’d expect, I’ve a few contacts there and will continue to try and line-up an interview.
If you’re a Geek Native patron then, thank you, you’re fantastic. You can also vote for one of the following companies to step into the limelight next month;
At the start of the month, all Geek Native patrons got a free PDF copy of Pew Pew! Bounty Hunters in Space. Sorry if you missed out, but there is still a chance to get the lightweight RPG.
I’ve a paper copy to giveaway and so I’m running a competition. It’s open worldwide, and so I invite you to take part.
Or, if you just need a free RPG and need it now, then I’ve some suggestions. Publisher DWD Studios has made White Lies and all of the espionage thriller’s many supplements entirely free.
In White Lies, players are part of Bureau 19, an agency created by the secret 19th power in the American Constitution.
If you’ve got a few quid and are willing to wait, then there’s a bonanza of choice on Kickstarter right now. It’s Zine Quest 3.
In short, that means publishers and creators have been encouraged by Kickstarter to launch campaigns for magazine-style content this week; be those mini-RPGs or supplements for other games.
The idea is that all the effort will help everyone involved; gamers who like zine content will come to Kickstarter in their masses and campaigns will fund more quickly, and better.
I hope it’s working.
I have some concerns since I track Kickstarter launches. We had a handful of launches over Christmas and New Year barely. In January, we were heading back to the usual of 20 or so.
For Zine Quest week, I tracked over 150 launches. 150! Imagine someone trying to pick their favourite Zines to back out of those, and that’s assuming they knew to look.
So, I’ve posted about the Kickstarter Heat metric I’ve been working on.
It’s not just the volume of launches that affect whether or not it’s a good week to open your campaign on Kickstarter. You also care about whether a popular Kickstarter is gobbling up everyone’s spare cash.
So, Kickstarter Heat is a formula. Every campaign launch generates three points of Heat, and for every £3,500 a campaign asks for it gets a bonus point of Heat.
I’m using the asking price of campaigns as a proxy here for how healthy Kickstarter is. If gamers are generously backing projects, publishers are more likely to launch big campaigns, set high campaign totals, etc.
Yes, every week, some campaigns launch with unrealistically high campaign goals, but that tends to balance out. As do those campaigns that launch with small goals designed to ensure the campaign funds quickly and securely.
Excluding Christmas, the monthly average for Kickstarter Heat has been around 100. This week; it was over 500.
I plan to make some more tools around Kickstarter Heat. For example, I think it would be useful to see which day of the week tends to be popular for launch or big fund requests.
However, I may also need to tweak that Heat formula. I’ll keep you in the loop.
Outside of Kickstarter, there have been some releases that might get your attention.
The horror RPG Delta Green got its first-ever published campaign. It’s called Impossible Landscapes. The four operations in it span four decades.
Green Ronin’s romantic fantasy Blue Rose has a D&D 5e conversion and the print-on-demand book is discounted until Valentine’s Day.
On that Valentine’s Day note, Canadian nerdy bar Storm Crow converted into a geeky shop to survive the lockdown. They have a giant-sized metal d20 with 20 on every side. You can get one for free if it’s going to be part of a marriage proposal. Yes, really. All you have to do is drop them a note. You’ll find instructions and links on Geek Native.
After Valentine’s Day, other events that might have your interest are two Spring Showcases of tabletop games.
Gen Con has announced their Spring Showcase for March 6th and 7th. That’ll have an RPG focus. The Tabletop Gaming Magazine, a British publication, has announced theirs for March 27th to 28th. That’ll have a board game focus.
Both are online and free.
From the world of more traditional entertainment, HBO is now showing a trailer for The Nevers.
A gang of Victorian-era women with superpowers; oh, colour me interested!
Josh Whedon was the showrunner but isn’t involved any more. He left about the same time the internet started to express some concerns and was replaced, get this, with a British woman. If your show is about British women then having a British woman running the series probably isn’t a bad thing.
The Nevers is due out on HBO in April. If it comes to the UK, then it’ll probably be via the Sky Atlantic deal, and that will likely include NowTV.
In less useful, but not surprising news, the Black Clover anime will finish soon. It was initially conceived to run for 51 episodes and will reach 170.
There’s one quirk in this story, though. We’re told there will be a big announcement that the studio will make at the same time. Your guess is as good as mine.
Now, to finish up, there are four bundle deals that I think are worth knowing about this week.
In the Bundle of Holding there are Fantasy and Modern AGE deals.
$10 or so will get your Green Ronin’s Fantasy AGE RPG, with supplements, and if you stretch to the Bonus Collection you’ll get the Dragon AGE RPG it was created for, and Titansgrave.
Meanwhile, in a different deal, $20 will get you Modern AGE and a host of supplements, and if you get the Bonus Collection, you’ll get The Expanse RPG with its accessories.
On the Humble Bundle side; there is a chance to get Warhammer ebooks from The Black Library. They come in a range of different languages, and the first tier is less than a buck.
The other Humble Bundle is for Asmodee Digital board games from Steam. Once again, the first tier costs less than a buck, and for it, you’ll get Small World, Love Letter, Pandemic and some expansions.
Go a bit higher, and there’s Splendor, Ticket to Ride and Terraforming Mars.
And let’s wrap it there, keep safe, stay out of melee range and see you next week.
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