Sat, 1 December 2012
This episode is part 2 of the seminar at Metatopia featuring Fred Hicks and Brennan Taylor discussing Kickstarter from the perspective of someone running a campaign.
Thu, 29 November 2012
This episode is a seminar at Metatopia featuring Fred Hicks and Brennan Taylor discussing Kickstarter from the perspective of someone running a campaign.
Tue, 27 November 2012
This is a recording from Metatopia that features most of the Evil Hat folks talking about Evil Hat and how it works.
Tue, 10 July 2012
In this episode Fred and Chris, discuss Evil Hat's new Kickstarter for their card game Race to Adventure. They discuss what decisions they made well, which decisions could use improvement, and which decisions are basically a wash.
Mon, 25 June 2012
Mon, 30 April 2012
Mon, 16 April 2012
Tue, 10 April 2012
This episode we have a scoop! Fred and Chris are joined by Phil Reed (@phillipjreed) and Andrew Hackard (@RedPenOfDoom) from Steve Jackson Games to talk about business at a big scale, and SJG's plans to launch the new, gigantic edition of Ogre via Kickstarter.
Mon, 19 March 2012
In this episode Fred and Chris talk with Chuck Wendig. They discuss the upcoming Dinocalypse Kickstarter, and Don't Read This Book, the upcoming Don't Rest Your Head anthology. Along the way they discuss the challenges of working on writing fiction that springs from an RPG, their collabration process, and more.
Don't Read This Book
Sat, 28 January 2012
In this episode Fred and Chris examine Brand Maturity by talking about how Evil Hat has moved from two guys with a free hack of another free game to a company making board games, card games, RPGs, and fiction.
Mon, 21 November 2011
In this episode, Fred and Chris discuss; Metatopia, what's interesting about Metatopia as a convention, the area the podcast is focused on, and trying to nail down a definition for what the Hobby Industry is exactly.
Double Exposure (Dreamation, Dex Con, Metatopia)
Metatopia has innovative pricing. $20 for playtesters, $50 for designers.
Jennisodes (Recording of Ken Hite's design seminar.)
Kickstarter Bulletpoints from Metatopia
Elevator Pitching Advanced (Pitch why you do, how you do, then what you do.)
Deadly Fredly: Foot in the Door (Article about how to enter the hobby industry.)
Tue, 1 November 2011
It's this episode Chris and Fred talk to Peter Adkison about his time as the C.E.O. of Wizards of the Coast, which includes the time that period when WotC purchased TSR and acquired Dungeons and Dragons, among other things. This is a bit of a follow up on the last episode. It's very interesting and contains info I've never heard before. Show notes will be crazy.
Words in quotation are direct quotation. Word's not in quotation are my notes, to fill in or expand the quote.
1. Founder of Wizards of the Coast 1990
C.E.O. until 2001. (Peter says 2011 by accident, he meant 2001.)
During that time WotC; launched Magic: The Gathering, bought T.S.R., on day 2 after purchasing T.S.R. began developing 3rd Edition dungeons and Dragons, created the Open Gaming License and the D20 License, and was bought by Hasbro.
He was not involved in 3.5 or 4E D&D.
2. Bought Gen Con in 2002.
C.E.O. of Gen Con L.T.D. until present (Present equals Nov 2011, I can't predict the future.)
3. Cofounder of Hidden City Entertainment with Jasper Myfors in 2004
C.E.O until 2011
Hidden City licensced and created cards for Bella Sera. (Girls on horses.)
Peter on TSR being purchased for 25 million, and it's actual value.
25 million was roughly the amount of debt T.S.R. had acquired. Purchase price was actually higher.
"25 million was way way way more than it was worth." If you used the 1997 revenue to determine the value. If you used 1996 revenue, "it was right on the mark." By 1998, WotC had increased the value to the 30 to 35 million range.
Novels actually made up the larger share of revenue not games. It was "roughly 60 / 40 split."
The purchase was more for strategic purposes. "By us it was strategic in nature... by buying T.S.R., Wizards became clearly the top dog in the industry." It changed WotC's positioning "from the head of a category to the head of an industry."
This seems to pay off as they are purchased by Hasbro in 1998, and Peter reveals the D+D brand was at least 1/3 of how Hasbro valued the company. Wikipedia put's the purchase price of WotC by Hasbro at 325 million.
Peter on Hasbro.
Hasbro was hands off as far as managing WotC. Peter was told, "You will earn your way into integration through poor performance." Peter posits they were interested in WotC as their foot in hobby games. "Add it all up, it's as big as the mass market."
Peter on the OGL.
"The strategic vision behind it was, hey-- lets let other companies, frankly, do the part of the business that doesn't make money, and we'll just do the core books. I think that was a good strategy. The problem from Wizards perspective was that Wizards never really made good on the strategy. We kept... Wizards kept doing core books and kept doing companion settings. Whereas I think, Ryan Dancey, would say the original strategy was to cut the D&D team down to like half a dozen people. And that would have been painful. One of those painful decisions companies make, but might have been exactly the right strategy to do with the brand. That's kind of why it happened. I don't think anyone could forsee the repercussions of the Open Gaming License. The amazing response."
"... if we do go down this strategy it means we do have to charge more sharply into the downsizing of our internal staff. Maybe that realization would have said, well let's not do that. why should we do that when the company overall is highly profitable."
Peter on ideas that may have been left unexplored for growing the D&D brand.
"My vision for D&D, at the time, was doing an MMO. You know a big... do it ourselves... we're making tons of money. Take all the Pokemon money, or not all of it, but a big chunk of the Pokemon money, start a studio... and this was before World of Warcraft came along... and that's what we were real excited to do. and that's what we thought would be the biggest driver towards making Dungeons and Dragons as big, or bigger even, than Magic: The Gathering. We started a studio and had 30 people working on code and art."
Links: (to come.)
Thu, 6 October 2011
You thought it was podfaded? Season 3 Episode 01 is here to convince you otherwise. That's How We Roll is back with a vengeance. In this Episode Fred and Chris discuss what lead to the long hiatus, how they're planning to get back on track, and what they've been up to. They then dig into the main topic which is a discussion of Wizards of the Coast marketing, and brand strategy, for Dungeons and Dragons.
Chris mentions D+D worth $25 million? Best I could do was this fact. WotC acquired TSR and Five Rings Publishing Group for $25 million on April 10, 1997.
Hocus Focus (A Dresden Files playset for Fiasco)
Fri, 2 April 2010
Mon, 14 December 2009
[1h 2m 5s] Fred and Chris catch up on the last three months, including the impending release of the Dresden Files RPG at Origins 2010 and Chris's impotent rage about not getting to order Jeni's Ice Creams for delivery. Then on to talk about how they won't be picking up on last episode's cliffhanger and instead focusing talking about VSCA's approach to publishing with Diaspora (the good and the bad) and Games Workshop's surprising attitude towards its fans.
Mon, 24 August 2009
Fred and Chris talk about:
- Is it worth the effort to sell RPGs, as a retailer?
- Not Attending GenCon
- The Ennies Results
- Dominion and the Diana Jones Award
- Should NDAs exist?
- Disclosure vs. Surprise
Tue, 4 August 2009
In this abruptly shortened episode, Fred and Chris talk about Transparency. There would have been another half hour of material here, but unfortunately the recording software on each end of the call screwed up (differently), making the rest of the episode hard to listen to. We'll be publishing some "deleted scenes" elsewhere, away from the podcast's main feed, for those made of tough enough stuff to listen to our mangled blatherings.
Sadly, this means you missed out on our cliffhanger for the next episode, so we'll give it to you here: Fred asks Chris the question, "Are RPGs worth it, for a gaming retail store?"
Mon, 27 July 2009
Fred and Chris talk about Origins, the Origins Awards, and the Ennies. (Also, Battletech, and other typical ramblings.)
EDIT: We missed some "this needs editing" bits towards the end there, sorry! We've uploaded a new version of the show, so if you heard the "bad" one, you can pull down the revised copy now-ish.
[Show notes pending volunteer effort!]
Mon, 13 July 2009
Now featuring much, much improved audio. If you hated the audio in episode 1, don't worry -- it's all better now.
0:oo - 1:30 Chris and Fred giving some intro thoughts
1:30 - 2:50 Fred talks some about layout for Hero 6th edition
2:50 - 9:00 Fred talks about the birth of his child
9:00 - 15:00 Chris and Fred get a bit meta
16:30 - 1:10:00 The talk turns to communication with the gaming community
Fred's early history in customer service
Chris' orginization of the Endgame Mini-cons
The three D's of building community
How to disseminate information
How community impacts sales for retailers and game companies
Ways lack of communication has hurt game companies
A small bit of DFRPG talk
The use of forums in building community
The power of responding positively to negative reviews
Mind control through synergy
Mean what you are saying to your community
Compartmentalize the negative and accentuate the positive
1:10:00 Another cliffhanger for this week - "Transparency"
Follow Chris and Fred on Twitter: @chrishanrahan or @EndGameOakland; and @fredhicks
Call the voicemail at 1-301-637-7HAT (7428)
or Email roll [at] evilhat [dot] com
Music by Finn Kish
Show annotation provided by J. B. Mannon of At The Table.
Wed, 10 June 2009
PLEASE NOTE: The audio on this episode is CRAP. Don't judge the podcast by the audio quality here. It improves significantly with episode 2.
[1hr 6min] Season 2 kicks off with a "digital delve" into the topic of D&D Insider, PDFs, conventions, and some retail store community basics. Our sound on this was a little wonky -- a combination of Skype and the tendency of Fred's laptop fan to randomly scream at "heavy whirr" levels in the background.
All timestamps very approximate.
1 min - Fred and Chris talk about WOTC's decision to take their PDFs off the market.
7 min - Fred talks about the Evil Hat PDF philosophy
13 min - Fred finally gets to the Evil Hat PDF Guarantee
18 min - Catalyst games is trying to get PDFs and retailers working together too
19 min - A bad economy is an opportunity. It's time to innovate.
20 min - Loop back around to D&D again: how has D&D Insider (DDI) affected the picture?
31 min - Wrap-up on the PDF/DDI topic. Send us your thoughts!
32 min - Chris is going to Origins, but Fred isn't. He has a good excuse.
34 min - IPR isn't going either
38 min - Let's give the Forge booth its props: it wasn't easy
40 min - What's the future of Origins?
41 min - Dreamation/Dexcon: East Coast awesome, but not really a big con
42 min - Actual predictions about Origins get made; then we sing its praises
49 min - Wrap-up on the predictioneering
51 min - Let's talk about mini-cons: Good Omens is coming to Endgame in July
53 min - Endgame's minicons in general
54 min - So let's talk about mini-con how-to's for retailers...
55 min - ... only not, because we need to talk about community-building first.
59 min - "A clean, well-lit place to play"
61 min - Going beyond the physical
62 min - The trap of distribution. It's not the one you're thinking of.
64 min - It's all about communication ... and it looks like mind control will be the topic of the next show.
65 min - Cliffhanger wrap-up!
Fri, 5 June 2009
Fred Hicks and Chris Hanrahan sit down to discuss the reinvention of That's How We Roll in the coming months. With season 2 of THWR on the horizon, it's time for a reroll.
Mon, 1 September 2008
[36min 37sec] Fred Hicks and Chris Hanrahan (of Endgame in Oakland, CA and the 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction podcast) sit down for a conversation just a week or two before GenCon, to talk about Evil Hat, what they play, and the nature of the publisher-retailer relationship, among other things.
Part 2 of this conversation veers off of Evil Hat specifics (mostly), taking a walk through all number of topics, including a shared love of the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
Fri, 29 August 2008
[46min 7sec] Fred Hicks and Chris Hanrahan (of Endgame in Oakland, CA and the 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction podcast) sit down for a conversation just a week or two before GenCon, to talk about Evil Hat, what they play, and the nature of the publisher-retailer relationship, among other things.
Part 1 of this conversation focuses mostly on Evil Hat things -- though in the House of Hanrahan, things do tend to get a bit random here and there...
Mon, 28 July 2008
[Approx 23 minutes] This podcast marks the start of another category of episodes for That's How We Roll, titled Out of Town, featuring conversations we have on the road with the cool folks we know who aren't necessarily a part of Evil Hat.
On this episode, we sit down at Origins 2008 with "Have Games, Will Travel" podcaster Paul Tevis to talk about the value of ending things.
Thu, 15 May 2008
[32min 44sec] This finishes up the conversation with Lenny from our chat at the GAMA Trade Show 2008 in April. In this episode, you'll hear more conversation about the Dresden Files RPG, as well as a discussion about differing perspectives on Vincent Baker's In a Wicked Age.
Mon, 5 May 2008
[45min 38sec] While in Las Vegas for GTS, Fred sits down with Lenny to talk about all sorts of things. In this first part, they cover what it means to be a game designer, the mayor of Las Vegas, and some of the things Lenny's been working on with the Dresden Files RPG.
Mon, 28 April 2008
[1hr 8min] In this episode, Fred Hicks sits down with Chris Hanrahan from 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction to talk about their impressions of the GAMA Trade Show, IPR, "the industry", selling RPGs as a retailer, and a ton of other stuff.
No show notes for the moment! In the interests of putting out something super-current, Fred's skipping that part for now. We're podcasting without a net, baby!
Direct download: THWR-UTH02-Thats_How_We_Roll_2d6_Feet_in_a_Random_Direction.mp3
Category:podcasts - under the hat -- posted at: 7:31pm EDT
Tue, 12 February 2008
[1hr 11min 33sec] This past Saturday, we got all of the Dresden Files RPG team -- and then some -- together in Maryland for an Evil Hat convocation (first of its kind). Once we were done discussing all company matters, we gathered in Fred's living room for a roundtable discussion about how the day went and whatever else happened to come up. Along the way we talk about some of the development of the Dresden Files RPG, other upcoming games, independent publishing, MUSHing and Amber, how exactly Chad Underkoffler does what he does, and being honest about what it is you're best for in a collaborative organization -- among other things.
If you've ever wondered what's going on "under the Hat", here's your first peek. Have a listen.
Wed, 6 February 2008
[1hr 4min 21sec] We finish out Faith, Faces & Fingerprints setting creation with the shaving of children, a map, a discussion of magic, and much more. The setting of Donnerdam takes its full form, primed to start the game. Character creation did follow this but did not make for good radio -- lots of silent scratching on character sheets and such. So our next episode will carry a snippet of play from the first session. Stay tuned!
Direct download: THWR-ATT03-Faith_Faces__Fingerprints_-_Setting_Creation_3.mp3
Category:podcasts - at the table -- posted at: 5:08pm EDT
Mon, 4 February 2008
[50min 59sec] We're back with the second part of the Faith, Faces, & Fingerprints setting creation session. Unlike the first recording you heard, this gets into the "main sequence", where a sort of organic "freeform round-robin" question and answer session gives everyone a chance to get their priorities for the setting baked into the details.
This worked pretty well. The idea of folks who've answered questions taking a coin that prevents them from answering further ones definitely helped to make sure everyone got a chance to contribute; but we exercised a liberal "embellishment policy" that gave room for some enthusiastic discussion of the answers that were offered.
Direct download: THWR-ATT02-Faith_Faces__Fingerprints_-_Setting_Creation_2.mp3
Category:podcasts - at the table -- posted at: 8:47pm EDT
Wed, 30 January 2008
In this debut segment of "In the Lab", Fred runs a complete game of Escape or Die! at Dreamation 2008. You may recognize podcasters Remi Treuer (of the Durham Three) and Rob Bohl (of the Independent Insurgency) as two of the player voices.
Escape or Die! is currently in playtest and has a few hurdles to cross before publication, but you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how it plays from listening to this. The idea is simple: you're in a highly lethal escape movie where the only options are, indeed, to escape or die. The catch with the game is that it's run on the clock, putting a lot of pressure on players to narrate circumstances and push their characters forward quickly before their doom catches up with them. In play, this makes the game almost a "real-time RPG", in that it lasts about as long as the movies it emulates.
Like a big dork, I turned off the recorder before I got a bunch of feedback from the folks who played -- but I got a chance later in the weekend (unrecorded) to put a few of their suggestions into practice to good effect.
Mon, 28 January 2008
(1hr 8min; 31MB) Fred sits down to kick off his Faith, Faces & Fingerprints game with Rob, Deborah, and Kim. This session focuses entirely on creating the setting of the game, starting with some setting seeds that Fred brought to the table. Part one of several