Thursday, April 19, 2018

More Thoughts on the Gygax Games / Fig Announcement (Snark Free)

Last night in Tavern Chat, one of the topics that came up was the Gygax Games / Fig announcement. As we were discussing, I received a PM with the following screenshot:

Talk about horrible timing. Not only is there no Gygax Games website to go along with the announcement that Gygax Games was to license IP for video games BUT the Gygax Memorial Fund website was down (still is as I type this)

So, why the apparently rushed announcement that Gygax Games was apparently NOT ready for? And yes, they weren't ready, as you can see from the Facebook commentary of one of the Gygax Games team members:

The announcement benefitted Fig but does little for Gygax Games. Fig needs "eyes on". It needs traffic. It needs incoming links. Sure, it's funded some huge IPs for millions of dollars, but these were well-known IPs / developers with huge followings. Compared to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Fig is barely a fig leaf.

Here are some Alexa traffic rankings for Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Fig:

See the traffic rankings? I'll throw ENWorld in for comparison.

Just as important, if not more, look at the "sites linking in". Nearly 40k for Kickstarter. Over 18k for Indiegogo. 75 for Fig. They aren't in the same ballpark.

That's telling. It means that Kickstarter and Indiegogo are destinations unto themselves. Backers will go there to find projects. Few are going to Fig to find projects. Projects are sending folks to Fig.

So, yesterday's announcement was potentially huge for Fig. It got them press. It got them traffic. For Gygax Games, with no website, it means very little. No traffic from yesterday's announcement. Just an opportunity to piss off the established fanbase of Gary's work (why Alex couldn't you have avoided trashing TTRPGs?) Gamers have a short attention span when it comes to news in the industry, but insults tend to linger.

My advice, unsolicited as it is, is for Alex to start priming the "social media pump". For this endeavor to have any chance to succeed Gygax Games needs to have a presence on Facebook, in gaming forums (both tabletop and electronic), news articles, blogs, and Alex needs to be that face. He's personable enough in person. He can't be like Gail, a recluse, as that WILL NOT build up the fan base that will be needed for success.

Gygax Games needs a website like yesterday. Professionally done. Pleasing to the eye. It needs to be updated frequently with news related to this project. It needs to funnel Alex's excitement.

Anyhow, for comparison, below is The Tavern's Alexa statistics. We're no ENWorld ;)

Talking about ENWorld, the commentary on the relevant thread over there is worth the read.


  1. You still have fig all wrong. Fig is a PLATFORM that will attend to all the needs of a game from concept to delivery. This is similar to a publishing house who takes a manuscript and convert that into a novel with all the publishing, editing, sending out copies etc etc.

    So what if it doesn't have the same page views as Indigogo or KS, both those sites sell hand bags, raise funds for gaming shops, build records, have 3d printers, AND video games. You the backer throws money at the screen and pray you get something. Fig does the one thing: video games, and makes sure that the person giving the company money WILL complete the project so you don't get screwed like so many many KS' and Indigogo's do.

    I don't know what your hate on (and above snark) for Fig is but for what Fig's sole purpose , and the reason it was created for, the site is doing the job remarkably well.

    1. And you fail to see is that Fig's greatest successes were successes prior on KS. Those projects already had a fan base. Gygax Games doesn't even have a website.

      Why the hell do you announce a new initiative when your business partner doesn't even have a website up? Wouldn't you wait a week for them to put it together? Heck, even a Facebook presence to link to. The cart is most certainly before the horse as Paul Stromberg himself states above.

      The announcement was certainly for Fig's benefit. The timing was not in Gygax Games benefit. This was an opportunity for Fig to get a sizable amount of press coverage on gaming news sites.

      I'm not disputing Fig's focus or its successes, but for Gygax Games to be successful on Fig it needs to do what other successful companies that have used Fig have done - bring its base to the Fig platform. Gygax Games has no base to bring.

      Yes, its a platform for creating and funding game creation. But without knowing what IP is available to use, how are developers going to make a pitch - to Fig or Gygax Games? Or do they simply pitch their game engine and Gygax Games licenses IP to be slapped on top?

      As for snark, you are seeing in this post what isn't there. My observations may not match yours, and in the end you may be right and I may be totally wrong, but disagreement doesn't make snark. The above was sarcasm free.

    2. As an aside, folks have to get to Fig to invest in the games being produced. Without investors / backers, there is no funding.

      As Fig is not bringing in web traffic like KS or Indie, that means that its success stories are being funded not by Fig's community, but by the communities that the game developers have nurtured. Gygax Games has no community to share so for this to be successful, whichever developer(s) that sign up will need to be bringing their own community.

    3. You are severely overestimating the brand power Gygax's name brings. The announcement was for developers to pitch game ideas - there is no funding announcement.

      Fig is known in the videogame community. When funding opens for games on Fig I see it on almost every major news gaming website. They only do one or two campaigns at a time after a vetting process has occurred. Kickstarter and indiegogo have hundreds of live campaigns. They are not the same thing.

      This announcement is to see if there is anyone interested in using the IP - that is all.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. In addition even if Fig was the best outfit in history for helping folks develop video games it doesn't mean making video games is the best use of Gary Gygax's IP to provide an income for his wife and son.

  4. Maybe some of the bartender/CEO comments about Alex have been a bit snarky, but honestly, I think most gamers wish him well. Unlike his mother, Alex comes to conventions, runs games, and makes an attempt to involve himself in his father's legacy through Garycon. The problem is at this stage anything coming from the same people who have so badly bungled the Gygax Memorial Fund is going to be looked at with derision and not taken seriously. We are at the stage of "Show us, don't tell us" with this bunch. It would be great if this was hugely successful, but first thing is they need to have a website up.

  5. The vitriolic hatred (for lack of a better word) that you have towards Gary Gygax and his family is disgusting.

    1. You do realize it was Gail and the Gygax Trust that sued Gygax Magazine out of business, right? The magazine that Luke and Ernie were integral parts of and the mag that was beloved by the community. I guess you forgot that.

      It was Gail that threatened to sue me for a comment made by a reader here at The Tavern. Not something I said, something said by a reader.

      If you ask me If I have any love for Gail, I'll tell you no. The Gygax Memorial Fund is, at best, poorly managed. I don't hate her any more than I hate Kenny or Gareth. I just don't like them all that much for well documented reasons.

      As for the Trust, its 10 years now that Gary's works have sat and rotted, hoping for the huge payday that never happened. That payday, if it does happen, will benefit Gail. Possibly Alex. The rest of Gary's kids? Not a dime.

      I have nothing but good experiences with Gary when he was alive (we communicated via ENWorld back in the day). Same goes for his kids. Even Alex was gracious when we met as Gary Con IX (he did have choice words regarding me and the "annoyance" I was to his mother, but that was said to another, not me, and I understand why he feels as he does)

  6. Just as a point of clarification here, the Gygax Menorial Fund and Gygax Trust include Gail Gygax and possibly Alex Gygax. The rest of Gary’s (my Dad’s) children are not involved. I organize Gary Con every year and all of his children have been there to celebrate along side his many friends and fellow game enthusiasts. Erik has come to a few Gary Cons as well. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says or does, however I haven’t felt unfairly targeted.

    1. Thank you Luke. One year I need to steal five minutes of your time at Gary Con. I've just never seen you not in motion while at GC ;)

    2. Wow, 'you never know who will drop by' indeed!


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition