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Some thoughts on the DF 'hump'
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TOPIC: Some thoughts on the DF 'hump'
#21074
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Hi all -

So, I've got six sets now (room, cavern, cavernous river & walls, DoE, DoE WA, and traps I), and I drew out my first real dungeon for DF. I figured if I get wicked additions I (normal) and advanced builder I'll be good to go for a real dungeon crawl. So, I'll be ordering those tomorrow afternoon.

Which is cool. Furthermore, with eight sets I'll be able to collect gradually, spending $50 or $100 every month or two. I've used DF stuff for set pieces etc. before but to make a whole dungeon requires a real up-front investment before the thing gets to the point where you can buy it gradually.

Anyway, this seems to me like it's a barrier to entry for the product, which is the point of this post. If you can get into something functional for $100 and then keep going that's a lot different from getting into something that requires $500 up front and then allows you to collect it like a lot of different hobbies (trains, books from WotC, whatever) over time.

So...do I have any useful suggestions?

Maybe - I'll let the forum veterans tell me whether this is a reasonable idea. What I was thinking was that if DF made, say, sets with modular pieces (so not like the very cool Ogre Cave) that came with 1-3 room dungeon setups, as a single or series of mini-encounters, then you could buy that and have a 'thing.' Maybe take a cue from things like D&D one-off encounters or the old Ars Magica Mystic Places - limited locations with a definite theme that you could build.

You could even do a series of these so that you could 'buy into' the DF 'adventure path', say $100 at a time.

I mean, Fantasy Starter Set is cool and all, but I think a $100 set with a couple evocative pieces and an implicit adventure (translate to your own system) would be a better seller, and make it easier to get into DF stuff.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts, I've got some more things I'll post, but I'm totally crazy about these products. Interested in your responses (DF people and forum lurkers alike) and I'll post more when I can.
Calithena
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#21075
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Don't miss the trees for the forest.

Each of the basic sets -- Fantasy dungeon, Caverns, DOE, and MBS -- is enough to create a room or three by itself. With a bit of cooperation from your group, you can go through entire "crawls" one room at a time. You just have to be willing to disassemble each room as the party moves through the adventure, in order to have the pieces available to assemble the next room.

The "entry barrier" only exists if one is dead set on laying out an entire crawl all at once.

While extensive set-ups are visually impressive, they actually have a couple of things going against them. They take up a lot of space that some gamers might not have -- some people don't have 4'x6' tables available for gaming, and DF set-ups must share space with books and character sheets and munchies. If you don't want the players to know what is coming, you have to conceal the set-up -- since many GMs will want to unveil the crawl room by room, this can make for a fair bit of craft work with cardboard or other materials. And some people regard rooms that the party doesn't get to as "wasted effort", or giving the players advance knowledge with which to plan the next session's strategy.

While I support the idea of themed expansion sets (see my posts with titles that begin "Rooms"), I also believe that one of the major advantages of DF is that the sets are quite generic, allowing GMs/builders to create a wide variety of adventure settings, instead of being directed down particular avenues. I'm not sure that there is a point there, unless it is that I think thematic accessories should support the basic sets, rather than supplant them as the primary purchases made by new DF customers.

You don't need to have a lot of DF to get a lot of use out of the DF you have. The "hump" only exists for those who want to have everything on the table at once.
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#21076
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Calithena,

First of all, welcome to the forum.

I really like your "collector's path" idea, although I would suggest perhaps a slightly different approach towards it -(if I understood it correctly).

My suggested adjustment to your approach would be to use and promote existing DF sets. Maps would attempt to maximize the usefulness of a small number of sets that would vary and increase in a specific order (from 1 set to 5 sets max).

As an example for a fantasy-minded collector, I would personally suggest the (starting) path as being:

#1)MM Room and Passage Set
#2)MM Advanced Builder's Set
#3Cav ern Set
#4)MM Deluxe Room Set
#5)Medi eval Building Set


Of course, there are many possible variations and there would be a need to be a Sci-Fi version created as well.

As for the maps and pictures of layouts, I would suggest they be shown (and possibly made available) from the website itself.
This of course would be easier to accomplish if DF predetermined the specific "path" for both major lines and opened the opportunity for forum members to map and design layouts based upon pieces from those (1 to 5) sets only. Some of these "path/starter" setups could also be displayed at conventions to encourage sales.
If this were possible it would essentially facilitate the "starter program" that you were suggesting on multiple fronts -albeit with a slightly higher consumer cost than you were initially indicating.

Any thoughts, suggestions or input -(especially from anyone using mapping software or posting pics).

The idea of a structured (and promoted) starter program/path(s) would take some intial effort, but once it was established would encourage new collector's on a continuing basis.

Calithena,

I personally think this idea of yours has great potential and I hope it, (or something similar) becomes a reality someday.

Steve
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#21077
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Hi all -

Fair points, Jack. The thing is, I think at least some people are going to want to lay out a whole dungeon at once as soon as they see the stuff. I did have fun laying out the DoE set by itself (for example), but even there to fulfill my 'vision' I had to buy a few loose pieces from the DF website (which they got me in time for my game, which was sweet). Maybe I just think big. But I bet I'm not the only one.

Wereweasel - if you could do it with existing sets that would be the best of all worlds of course. Another option would be to make 'special site' sets that came out 'between' the existing sets, so something like

Ruined Temple Set (modular room-and-passage type pieces to make a crumbling temple and the entryways, plus maybe a small adjacent room (or not), and including some cool extras like an altar and a couple of wall segments with murals that would make collectors want to get it)

Rat Maze (this would just be an application of Narrow Passages to one of the exits of the temple)

and so on.

It's true that when I first got the Cavern Set I could make 2-3 cavern sequences and my mind started buzzing with the possibilities. And DIYers will always prefer it the way it is. I just think these products are so cool, and a lot of people can see that coolness, but there's a sense that I got anyway that to really make 'something' you have to lay out about $500 up front before it can become a typical casual collecting/modeling hobby (by 'casual' I mean 'spend as much as you can without the wife kicking you to the curb'). I don't know how common this is (that's a market research problem) but modular sets designed to make specific 'places' (which would basically be like existing sets but incorporating a few extra cool 'pieces' for flavor) would be one way to make people get that 'something' feeling from their first $70-$130 purchase.
Calithena
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#21078
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Welcome Calithena

Always good to see new enthusiasts. Here are my 2p worth of comment.

Your idea sounds very good - on paper. But unfortunately in the current time it won't work. The reason - DF is too small a company to make the concept working. Look at the DOE set - this is THE best seller. Still there are some of them in stock - despite all old diehard DF customer having stocked them up.
To make your idea working DF would need to sell around a thousand of each of these themed starter sets. Currently with only direct orders and the non-US market only for Die-Hards this just won't happen. If the market would be 5 times bigger - maybe.

So what are the alternatives ?? First of all I don't think the 'hump' is as big as you might believe if you visit this forum. What you see here are the extreme customers - the ones who have most of the stuff. You can do a lot with less !!

So how high is really the hump ??

I think $200 is realistic for a start.

Some options for that amount:
Option 1: 1 Room Passage set for 89, One Starter for 44.10 and one Dungeon Accesories for 29 plus shipping (provided you are in the US)
Option 2: 2 Room and Passage sets (best price / wall and floor space ratio)
Option 3: 1 Room and Passage plus one of the Wicked Addition Sets
Option 4: 1 Room and Passage plus De Luxe Room Set

With all the above options there is A LOT you can do. No - you won't be able to fill a whole table. No - you won't be able to build up any dungeon you can dream of - or some of the great stuff shown in the Photos area.

An alternative will be MBS plus some add-ons which also should allow to do a lot with <200$

Caverns
Caverns are luxury. Yes - they are around the greatest that DF has made - but they are luxury and less versatile. You get a lot less pieces - this restricts you a lot more. And to start it cost you quite a lot.

DOE
Beautiful - but again - you pay extra for that set compared to the standard line.

Water Sets
Now you really need to have a bigger budget. Water has several very nasty effects which increase the cost. You don't have much floor space for the cost. You can't leave holes !! in the layout. There is no lake with a hole in it. Between rooms - no problem if they are connected by a passage.

Traps
Nice - but only an add-on once you have enough other pieces

All this taken together and I think you maximized the hump for yourself a lot. You went for 5 different areas instead of going for a single one first - Classic DF (Rooms, Passages), Caverns, Water, DOE and Traps. For a starter it is easier to go for one first and get critical mass and then the second - not trying all at once (okay - MBS is still missing in your collection).

But what else is there to help ??

I think we should make some good layouts with some of these <200$ options and post maps or even maps with adventures in the area Jeff has made. This would help a new customer to start. Each 'adventure' could be a theme - and might act as a substitute.

I hope you don't take it personal when I say I think it was wrong what you bought first. If you are in here for the long term then the selection is pretty good. But I feel your selection of starter sets will force you to buy more sooner as a different selection would have done. Some of the hump you critisize is of your own doing.

Thod
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#21079
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Well, you've got a point about my acquisition pattern.

Maybe then the thing to do would be to bundle 2 sets with a couple of independent themed pieces into 'starter packs' that come with a dungeon setup. So you buy, say, Rooms & Passages + WA 1 and then you also get a couple extra things like the demon gate to flesh it out. That might let you do what I'm suggesting with existing technology.

My first build used basically everything in the DoE plus some cavern passages and a spiral staircase I ordered as independent pieces from the website. So I was able to do stuff.

I'm glad I shot for DoE and Cavernous River early now because they're gone...but I do see your point.

Now off to order $270 worth of stuff to make my dungeon!
Calithena
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#21080
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Calithena

Good you didn't took it personal. Actually - first time I heard the River Set it out of stock. Well - I'm sure this will come back - but yes - this could take a while and if you just go off to order $270 of stuff then you will buy to fast to be able to afford half a year or longer for DF to get the River set restocked.

And the DOE - again - yes - I would recommend every starter to get it NOW. Worst case he will be able to sell it with minimal loss once the sets are gone forever. But it increases the 'hump'.

If I get time I will work on a set-up with some minimal sets. I know there is a lot you can do. Loads of sets are just for the lazy one who has no imagintation how to best use the little he has to maximum effect. Okay - I fall into that group as well. Don't even know how many sets I have by now.

Thod
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#21081
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
What I did to get over the "hump" was buy one set at a time over the course of say, one set each 6 months. I only opened the first one to confirm that this was a product I really wanted. Then I put a jar on a shelf and anytime I started to buy a fast food meal or some other junk food, I'd just put the money in the jar and go eat something healthy (and cheap!) If I had some spending money and I didn't really need a new RPG book, I'd put that in the jar too. Each time I had enough to get a new set, I'd go to my FLGS and pick one up, then put it in the closet. then I when I had 5 sets I openned them up and made a big dungeon. That was it! I was hooked. Now I get about one or two sets a year. Some of the sets are just too expensive for me to justify, such as the cavernous lakes and cavernous rivers sets but there are many others to choose from. But that inital "hump" is a tough tough one, esp. if you look at that initial set with an eye towards what you can't make with it rather than what you can make with it. I knew I would be disappointed every time I couldn't make a large layout so I just hid them from myself until I could do just that.
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#21082
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
That discipline will take you far in life, Daggerdale. I'm selling some of my old game stuff to pay for it instead!

Cavernous River is, like, crazily cool though. I hope when it comes back in stock you win the lottery or something so you can buy 3.
Calithena
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#21083
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 9 Months ago  
Calithena,

fyi

If you're interested in any, might I suggest you purchase/add any individual Upper and Lower Stair pieces to your next order, while they are still in stock.

It is showing 41 left.
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#21084
Some thoughts on the DF 'hump' 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Ahhh, "The Hump", I'm glad we have a name for it now........ GRIN
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Cheers !!!

--- Thor Atlanta, GA (Kauke@Juno.com)
*** E-Mail Me for a current Trade List (DDM,SWM, DF, A&A)!!!!
 
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