GURPS on DriveThruRPG

Steve Jackson Games has made GURPS ebook products available through DriveThruRPG. Previously, the company sold exclusively through its own online storefront, Warehouse 23.

GURPS is a multi-genre game (hence the name, Generic Universal Role Playing System) that’s been around since 1986 but still sees good support and regular releases. While the game itself has many fans, its supplements are also highly regarded as source material for people playing other games.


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Phil Reed, CEO of Steve Jackson Games, published the company’s annual Report to the Stakeholders today. In it, the company revealed that they had a second year of decline from 2014’s high of $8.5 million to $6 million. The main reasons cited for the income slowdown were delays on planned releases of Car Wars Sixth Edition and the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. With the delay on Car Wars, Mr. Reed writes it was due to “an insistence on making the game exactly the way we want it. We would rather not ship the game than ship a game that doesn’t meet our standards.” They are also seeking to get the Munchkin CCG ready to print by the end of the year.

The company looks to have a difficult year ahead for it, with the Ogre Kickstarter campaign from 2012 still not completed. “We are still sinking time into the project,” he writes, even though “we’re seeing real progress; several outstanding pieces of the project are finally coming to a close. Whew.”

Issues with the GURPS line have been problematic for the company as well. Two hardcover books for the GURPS line, Discworld and Mars Attacks, were released but performed poorly at retail. “Today’s cluttered market, combined with our insistence on getting it right, made both books expensive experiments that tell us one thing: Do not produce more GURPS hardcovers until we have guaranteed that the sales are there.” Also tying up resources at the company is the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS introductory box set. Reed writes, “what would have been a profitable project is rapidly turning into a loss.”

But it isn’t all doom and gloom: Munchkin continues to do well with reprints, Guest Artist Editions, and expanding into Walgreens. In the top twenty products sold by dollar volume, all but three were Munchkin related. The company released five new games which appear to have done well at retail, and Zombie Dice had to go back to reprint due to “unexpected demand during the fourth quarter” of 2016. “A game from 2010 that keeps outselling our forecast is good and bad, but we’ll take this situation over the opposite problem any day.”

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Mostly Munchkin

stevejacksongamesNearly at the end of 2015, Steve Jackson Games has issued its Report to the Stakeholders for 2014. The report, a tradition for privately held SJG, provides a behind-the-scenes peak in to the company’s performance and plans.

Most notable for 2014, though by no means a surprise, is the importance of Munchkin games. Among SJG’s top-20 products ranked by sales, only two were not Munchkin: Zombie Dice at number 3 and Zombie Dice Deluxe at number 18. Even among the next 20 ranked were only four not-Munchkin.

On the subject of sales, the company reported total gross income for 2014 of $8.5 million. This was, technically, the first time annual income declined for SJG since 2005—it was down down $300,000 compared to 2013. However, 2013 was also the year of the Ogre Kickstarter project, which alone brought in $1 million. Excluding that one-time event, the company’s income in 2014 was up $500,000.

Despite the overwhelming importance of Munchkin to Steve Jackson Games, it’s clear from the report that the company remains committed to a diverse product line. It republished (in 2014) 20 year-old Knightmare Chess, now has a full-time staff member dedicated to reviving Car Wars, and continues to explore options for GURPS despite a very difficult market.

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Ogre Operation 218Steve Jackson Games‘ Phil Reed was happy to tease us at the GAMA Trade Show with news of an upcoming Hellboy Board Game planned for the fourth quarter. No other details or images, though. Grrr!

So what else did he reveal?

Muertoons Mix-Up, a card game for tweens based on the the Mexican Day of the Dead book and cartoon series, is scheduled for a summer release at $13. It’s a redesign of SJG’s earlier game, Spooks.

Ogre Operation 218, a two player card game based on Battle for Hill 218 published by Your Move Games, will follow in the fall at $15.

Car Wars ArenasGURPS Mars Attacks, a full-color, hard-cover RPG supplement, should hit retail in October at $25.

And on the Car Wars front, SJG isn’t yet ready for the promised new edition of the base game. However, the company is planning a Kickstarter project later this month for Car Wars Arenas, a package of five map sheets and an arena rule book. With stretch goals, the map sheets could be double-sided.

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