Monday, March 8, 2010

Adventure Games Publishing is Closed

It is with great regret that I announce the closure of Adventure Games Publishing. Print product sales end immediately. PDF products remain available on the AGP DriveThruRPG site through the end of March, then migrate to either the Judges Guild or Troll Lord Games sites on DriveThruRPG (those of you who already purchased them will continue to be able to download them). After that date, Judges Guild and/or Troll Lord Games might continue to make print versions of these products available or not; that is their call, not mine. As all the details about the transfer of properties are still being worked out, please do not inquire after them about these items for several weeks after the transfer.

The decision to close AGP was neither easy nor quick; it has been brewing in my mind for a long time. It is the end result of far more mistakes being made than successess being earned. At one point a good friend, who knew of my work on Comics & Games Retailer, asked me point blank why I did not take the very good advice I dished out in that magazine. I still do not know why myself.

The closure is, essentially, the final result of ever fewer sales on each new product, both print and PDF, such that at this point, I'll end up paying people to take my next product. 100 Street Vendors of the City State, barring a handful of sales of Noble Knight Games, sold a grand total of three print copies. Yes, you read that right, three copies. The PDF sales were not much better, a grand total of 13 copies sold as compared to 15 copies being taken free by reviewers (and many, many thanks to the two of you who have actually posted reviews!)

As though the dreadful sales on what I considered to be my best, most tied-in work of the Wilderlands was not enough, this is also tax time, and looking over the results of the prior year was most educational. The end result, even after pinching every penny and keeping all expenses down to the bare minimum, was a grand total net income such that I earned a total of less than $2 per hour for all my work on AGP in 2009. Were this simply a sideline to a full-time job, that would truly be a nice result. As this is supposed to be my "day job," that result is, as we call it, a "reason to quit."

And so we are done. A few things:

If you wonder why I don't keep print sales open for the remainder of the month, it is due to the simple fact that at this point, even if I get good sales, all my profits from said sales could all too easily be wiped out on the purchase of the ink to print that last book (as ink for my printer runs $100 per cartridge). So any final sales of print products could be counterproductive rather than profitable, and there is no way to know until the final book is printed.

I still have a box and a half or so filled with copies of XXXI and 2008 Wilderlands Jam, as well as two HUGE boxes of Campaign Map 18: Southern Reaches. Rather than simply destroy them, one of these days I'll eventually get those to Bob Bledsaw at Judges Guild; he will sell them as he sees fit. As all other booklets are either sold out or were only printed on order, that is the last remaining stocks from AGP (no wondrous warehouse finds to be hand a decade or three down the road).

Adventure Games Publishing is unlikely to return; I plan to altogether put it in my past, and put my past behind me. Eventually, six months, a year, or two years (or more) down the road, depending on how long it takes the burns and wounds to heal and be forgotten, I will return to writing, likely as a hobby (writing for Fight On! perhaps), then later, maybe, for other publishing... But first I need to return my hobby where it belongs, to that place in my heart where it is a hobby.

This blog, Adventures in Gaming, is also going to close. It is too tied in with AGP in my heart for me to continue forward with it. A month or three from now, I will return to blogging, but elsewhere. For those interested in following whatever shall follow, I will certainly post here to let them know where they can find me.

Adventures in Gaming and the Adventure Games Publishing Catablog will remain up; I have no plans to take them down. Let them remain as historical artifacts.

I could get into the whole "what's going on with the Adventure Game Industry and how it applies to AGP," but frankly... I really don't care anymore. It seems the Adventure Game Industry has had enough of me, and I have finally had enough of it... and so it is time to move on.

Finally, many thanks go out to:

My wife, for being unbelievably, incredibly supportive;
My mother, for being there when we needed her;
Bob Bledsaw (may he rest in peace) and Bob Bledsaw Jr, for so very much I cannot say;
Steve Chenault, Peter Bradley, and the other good folks at Troll Lord Games;
Noble Knight Games and Chimera Hobbies, for taking a chance on my products;
My subscribers, for putting so much (sadly, misplaced) faith in me;
All who purchased by products;
Reviewers who understood;
My fans, many of whom are also good friends.

To all, good gaming!



Jeff Rients said...

Man, this is a sad day. Best of luck in your future endeavours, James. Don't hesitate to shoot me an email anytime or swing by if you're in the area.

Timeshadows said...

James, this is sad news. :(

I'll be watching for your next blog.

Best to you,

Matt Forbeck said...

Sorry to hear this, James. Best of luck with whatever you take up next.

Melan said...

Deeply unfortunate after XXXI and the first Adventure Gaming Journal. Take a rest and get back when you feel like it.

Al said...

Above comments pretty much cover my sentiments - best wishes for your future endeavors!

Joseph said...

I most certainly hope to see more of your writing in the future, as a pure hobbiest or otherwise.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

As a huge fan your your material, I too am saddened but I think in the long run it might be the right decision. Only you can be the judge of that, however. I will certainly keep an eye out for your next blog and wish you all the best.


Zachary The First said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, James. I remain a huge fan of your products, and your beasties terrorized my C&C players. I'll look forward to your next efforts.

Drop me a line when you get settled in your next online blog/gig!

Alexander said...

The economy right now is simply brutal, and the best-capitalized businesses are being savaged; making money in content right now is nigh-impossible for anyone. I, for one, tremendously admire and respect you for making a go of it with AGP.

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." - Teddy Roosevelt

Tenkar said...

James, while it saddens me to see AGP close up shop, it doesnt surprise me. You fought the good fight longer then anyone could have expected given the totality of the circumstances - it really was a perfect storm.

I look forward to whatever you write down the line... in your own time.

Anonymous said...

James, I'm deeply saddened by this news. I value your Wilderlands works greatly, and hold them with the same high regard as all prior JG/Wilderlands releases.

I understand your decision and respect you for it. I wish it hadn't come to this, naturally, but I understand the forces at work.

Best of luck, and do stay in touch.

Jon "tacojohn" Hershberger

Norman Harman said...

Well that sucks. But, I gotta say you're ending this like you ran it, with class.

Catch ya on the rebound.

sirlarkins said...

I don't know if the adventure games industry has had enough of you, but I certainly haven't. I'll look forward to whatever you have the time and inspiration to put out in the future.

Anonymous said...

Sad news indeed. Best of luck to you in the future.

Anthony Emmel said...

I am sorry to hear this. I was waiting for more products to buy. :(

Rick Marshall said...

I am so sorry your venture didn't work out economically, because you produced some great things. Aendryth's Eldritch Compendium is delightful, and your two collections of curses were my favorite gaming supplements I bought last year. You should have thrived. Another time, if our nation weren't struggling through an economic depression, you would have thrived.

To thank you for producing such great work, I just bought everything you published that I hadn't yet bought so I can appreciate the rest of your fine work and to help you recoup your losses just a little bit. Everyone who cares about your work and about you should do the same.

Matt C said...


This is sad news indeed. While I wasn't a subscriber, I did purchase some PDF's and liked them.

I'll also miss this blog.

Sean said...


You fought the good fight. Enjoy the hobby time and I hope if you decide to go back into publishing again it works out better. Your ideas, musings, and news of your new ventures will always be welcome here at Fight On!



Anonymous said...

I still wish you had had the chance detail and the World of Loh-sem out in gazetteer format.

If the quality I saw in your two briefs posts was expanded on (sandbox style) I woulda snatched me dat up!

My condolences for your loss and good luck to your future endeavors.

Akrasia said...

Sad news! I very much enjoyed XXXI and AGJ#1, as well as your C&C PDFs. Great stuff. I hope that you return to writing RPG material eventually. In the meantime, though, take comfort in the knowledge that you produced some cool Wilderlands material.