Bad News About the Castle Zagyg Project
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:24 pm 
 

Well...the title says it pretty clearly.....

Those of you who read these forums will remember my review of Gary Gygax's Castle Zagyg project with Troll Lord Games.

I was enthusiastic about the opening hardback, Yggsburgh, but you may recall I was flabbergasted, frustrated, outraged and intensely annoyed by the city map...which was a 3rd or 4th rate effort totally unworthy of the product or the historic nature of the project.

Troll Lord Games has decided to fix the problem with at least three new map and gazetteer publications:

Moat Gate
Town Halls
Storehouse District


For each of these 44 page booklets we are asked to pay $9.95.

In other words, after spending $40 on the original, very thick, very glossy Yggsburgh city book, Troll Lord Games is now charging at least $30 more to get the very city we already paid for.

This is me looking irritated:  :evil:

How about just making a decent map...a line drawing, not a color painting...that gamers can actually use?  I know I would have paid another $10 for a decent map of Yggsburgh...in spite of the fact that I already paid for a decent map of Yggsburgh and didn't get it.

Arrgh!


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:47 pm 
 

Let me just point out a little misunderstanding you seem to have:


Actually, there are 24 planned modules for Yggsburgh, each one going into much more detail than what the "core Yggsburgh" describes. The "big book" is more of an overview of the entire city, where these books are more "neighborhoods" and you only need the ones you want, or like, or will use. This is to give a more introspective view of the city, as each section interacts and so forth. Think of it like this: Yggsburgh is macroscopic; the town modules are microscopic. So, in a very minor sense this is "stuff you already have," like the names of streets and some other material, but its 98% new, and is intended to explode the amount of information available, not restrain or reprint it.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:18 pm 
 

Misunderstanding or not, I see FormCritic's point.  

I don't like this "drill-down" style of design and/or marketing, either.   Just make the original thing bigger in the first place and be done with it! :?

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:21 am 
 

I find 1300 pages* to be a bit unwieldly, don't you think? :scratch:

*Assumes 24 44-page books and one 256-page hardcover.



  

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:10 am 
 

That's the idea, Trav. It is easier to indulge the mind with smaller packets of information, and still leave the room to create your own stuff, than it is to be given everything at once with less room to create your own stuff, because its all so intertwined.

Don't get me wrong, I see the point being made about the format. Would I have done it differently? Probably, but I don't run TLG (or Trigee, which makes the decisions about everything CZ; so to start, you're barking at the wrong tree,) and only work for them, sometimes. I do understand why it would be done the way its being done, though.

I also think it makes it more accessible, in doses, to everyone. They can get only those areas they might find appealing, and not bother with the rest. For example, say, you want a seedy underside district... don't go buy CZ:Y. Buy the one zone covering it specifically, and integrate it. Modularity, in every sense of the word.

Have you even seen the items in question? They are available (or some of them, anyway.) Maybe look at one and then decide if its a bad idea... you might still feel that way, and that's cool. But, there is more going on than the ad copy says....


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:17 am 
 

Well I personally don't have any problem with this. The Castle Zagyg, Vol. 1: Yggsburgh book had about 100 locations in the city to begin with, and these new books now basically fill out everything.  It is no different then getting adventure paths like in Dungeon or now how Piazo does it in Pathfinder with each one broken up.

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:56 am 
 

Traveller wrote:I find 1300 pages* to be a bit unwieldly, don't you think? :scratch:

*Assumes 24 44-page books and one 256-page hardcover.

Of course it is.  They should hire an editor, because there's no way that's all gold.  However, it's more economically feasible for them to pulp out a bunch of smaller booklets and hope that some are hits.  Not unlike TSR's later years, WotC today, and many many others.

By dividing the material into 24 separate products*, each generously padded with fluff, you'll need to purchase them all to get the nuggets of useful information buried in each.  You don't have to buy them all...but they are betting that you will.  Nothing new.


* I use that term very loosely.  C'mon -- we're selling individual districts now?  What's next, random "city block" packs?

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:18 am 
 

Flying Buffalo created Citybooks from the 1980's into 90's

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:12 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:Of course it is.  They should hire an editor, because there's no way that's all gold.  However, it's more economically feasible for them to pulp out a bunch of smaller booklets and hope that some are hits.  Not unlike TSR's later years, WotC today, and many many others.

By dividing the material into 24 separate products*, each generously padded with fluff, you'll need to purchase them all to get the nuggets of useful information buried in each.  You don't have to buy them all...but they are betting that you will.  Nothing new.


* I use that term very loosely.  C'mon -- we're selling individual districts now?  What's next, random "city block" packs?

Tell that to Gary then.  It was his decision to have the separate books detailing each district, with the Yggsburgh book as a broad overview.  Personally I have little problem with how things are being done on this.  If you don't need the added detail, you're good to go with the hardcover.  If you want additional detail on a specific section of the city, you buy that book.  Other than the map of the city in the hardcover, I fail to see the point behind the wailing and gnashing of teeth here.

But, if you want a world in one package, go buy the World of Khaas, (aka David Hargrave's Arduin).  That's only 900 pages.



  


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:55 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:Other than the map of the city in the hardcover, I fail to see the point behind the wailing and gnashing of teeth here.

The point, since you missed it, was that this sort of publication strategy stinks.  It produces a litany of products, a few of which are great, many of which are not.  Note that twenty-four products have been planned, all before any meaningful feedback can be obtained from consumers.

This is exactly the same "modularization" we experienced with the GAZ series, and with the splatbooks series, and with the d20 hardcovers.  I didn't care for it then, I don't care for it now.

Lest you think I'm simply being negative, I also mentioned what I do like -- and more importantly what I would buy.  Something larger, carefully-edited, and complete.  Like the boxed sets and hardcovers of yore.

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:02 pm 
 

RPGs have always followed the marketing strategy of parsing out info with as many titles as possible, e.g. the charts in the original DM which really should have been included with the PHB.

Annoying, yes. Once demand for a product declines, they republish it in more reasonably compact form, such as the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:09 pm 
 

serleran wrote:Let me just point out a little misunderstanding you seem to have:


Actually, there are 24 planned modules for Yggsburgh, each one going into much more detail than what the "core Yggsburgh" describes. The "big book" is more of an overview of the entire city, where these books are more "neighborhoods" and you only need the ones you want, or like, or will use. This is to give a more introspective view of the city, as each section interacts and so forth. Think of it like this: Yggsburgh is macroscopic; the town modules are microscopic. So, in a very minor sense this is "stuff you already have," like the names of streets and some other material, but its 98% new, and is intended to explode the amount of information available, not restrain or reprint it.



The problem is that I didn't misunderstand.

I already bought the city of Yggsburgh.  I should have gotten a decent map with the book for the $40 cover price.

Branching out into two dozen side adventures is OK.....

But what I (me, myself) and probably most other fans of the setting want is Castle Zagyg.

Can't repeat this enough...Castle...........Zagyg.

C A S T L E  Z A G Y G

So, when this product finally comes out, is Troll Lord Games going to fail to print the map that goes with it?

And then, will they split the map into four pieces and charge me $10 more for each one?

The issue here is credibility for Troll Lord Games.

What will be remembered as The Great Yggsburgh Map Fiasco is not a thing to be proud of.  The company has fixed the problem, but in the entirely wrong way.

This is a game company that I want to like.  I want Troll Lrod Games to make money hand over fist....in great and mountainous piles of loot and sales of game products in swarms so great there aren't enough printing presses in Wisconsin to meet the demand.  Decisions like this one erode consumer confidence and that is sad.

Just sell me the map...please.


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:32 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:The point, since you missed it, was that this sort of publication strategy stinks.  It produces a litany of products, a few of which are great, many of which are not.  Note that twenty-four products have been planned, all before any meaningful feedback can be obtained from consumers.

This is exactly the same "modularization" we experienced with the GAZ series, and with the splatbooks series, and with the d20 hardcovers.  I didn't care for it then, I don't care for it now.

Lest you think I'm simply being negative, I also mentioned what I do like -- and more importantly what I would buy.  Something larger, carefully-edited, and complete.  Like the boxed sets and hardcovers of yore.

Did you send this complaint to ICE when they produced all the various supplements detailing regions of Middle Earth?  Because ICE did produce an overview book regarding Middle Earth, which I have, as well as supplements detailing Arnor, Gondor, and some other places.  That is the exact same thing that you are referring to, yet I don't recall anyone complaining about ICE's business practices at the time.

Now...you mentioned what you do like and would buy.  If you want something larger, and most of all complete, you had best start writing now and creating your own world, because there is no such thing as a "complete" world.  Next thing you know, you'll be refusing to use Greyhawk because Gary gave almost no detail in it.  While I'm discussing Greyhawk, wasn't that a box set from TSR?

I buy what I need for the game I want to play.  I prefer Greyhawk, but if I need just the Yggsburgh overview, then I buy the hardcover.  If I need to buy a specific section of Yggsburgh for whatever reason, I buy that.  No one here is thrusting your arm behind your back and forcing you to buy anything.

Let's be realistic here.  Your problem isn't with the publication strategy so much as it is a fear that the people implementing that strategy will fall into the same trap that TSR and Hasbro both have fallen into.  I admit that it's a valid concern, but in the end an unwarranted one.  Of course, if you want to lodge a complaint, go and talk to the Trolls, and then listen to them as they tell you to talk to Gary, since it was the decision of Gary's company (Trigee) to release Yggsburgh in this fashion.

Don't expect much in any event, since the only squeaky wheels are on this forum. :roll:



  

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:54 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:

The problem is that I didn't misunderstand.

I already bought the city of Yggsburgh.  I should have gotten a decent map with the book for the $40 cover price.

Branching out into two dozen side adventures is OK.....

But what I (me, myself) and probably most other fans of the setting want is Castle Zagyg.

Can't repeat this enough...Castle...........Zagyg.

C A S T L E  Z A G Y G

So, when this product finally comes out, is Troll Lord Games going to fail to print the map that goes with it?

And then, will they split the map into four pieces and charge me $10 more for each one?

The issue here is credibility for Troll Lord Games.

What will be remembered as The Great Yggsburgh Map Fiasco is not a thing to be proud of.  The company has fixed the problem, but in the entirely wrong way.

This is a game company that I want to like.  I want Troll Lrod Games to make money hand over fist....in great and mountainous piles of loot and sales of game products in swarms so great there aren't enough printing presses in Wisconsin to meet the demand.  Decisions like this one erode consumer confidence and that is sad.

Just sell me the map...please.


I understand the waiting for Castle Zagyg, I want the thing as well. Maybe not as bad as you though ;)

I however can't accept your argument on credibility for Troll Lords. I have talked with the guys that run Troll Lords and every instance of a problem they have fixed it above and beyond the norm. For myself and many others that have posted on their forums. And no they do not constantly have problems, just when they do its fixed when brought up to them if not before.

Its the nature of the beast though for companies since d20. Printing schedules will never match that of WotC, deadlines will be missed and if one doesn't have patience by now, then keep getting frustrated or buy only WotC products.

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:11 am 
 

The process of problem solving at Troll Lord Games is totally transparent, compared to other gaming companies.  As a result, it seems that the company has many more problems than it actually has.  Now, the Trolls have indeed gone above and beyond the call of duty in solving the problems that have cropped up.  They have also been up front whenever they discovered that they were going to miss a shipping date.  For Castle Zagyg, there are no shipping dates, because shipping is dependent on how fast Gary and Trigee can get the various parts of the castle written.

People have been waiting for Castle Zagyg, but acting impatient and jumping up and down isn't going to make Gary and the crew write up the castle any faster.  *shakes my head*  I'm beginning to understand just why Gary was so reluctant to release the castle in the first place.  Strangely, I'm finding that the Castle doesn't interest me like it interests so many others.  Perhaps it's because I know I can make my own, and do it just as well as anybody else.  Or perhaps it's simply that I'm thinking too much like Gary, in wondering why people would want to adventure in my creation instead of their own.



  


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:05 am 
 

Your problem ...is a fear that the people implementing that strategy will fall into the same trap that TSR and Hasbro both have fallen into.  I admit that it's a valid concern, but in the end an unwarranted one.

So you agree it's a valid concern...and yet you're not concerned.  Why not?

We know that history tends to repeat itself.  Are you saying you think it'll be different this time, or just that we should give them the benefit of the doubt?  I'll admit I'm not an optimist when it comes to forking out cash on RPG supplements.  I've been burned too many times.

Anyway, the "nobody's forcing you" argument is a lame one.  It's designed to deflect or dampen criticism.  You don't want me to comment on something if I'm not going to buy it?  Too damn bad.  We can and we should be critical of the products and companies in this industry.

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:54 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:So you agree it's a valid concern...and yet you're not concerned.  Why not?

We know that history tends to repeat itself.  Are you saying you think it'll be different this time, or just that we should give them the benefit of the doubt?  I'll admit I'm not an optimist when it comes to forking out cash on RPG supplements.  I've been burned too many times.

Anyway, the "nobody's forcing you" argument is a lame one.  It's designed to deflect or dampen criticism.  You don't want me to comment on something if I'm not going to buy it?  Too damn bad.  We can and we should be critical of the products and companies in this industry.


When discussing Castle Greyhawk/Zagyg I can boil my interest down to two phrases:

I'll believe it when I see it;

and

I'm not holding my breath...

Not to be a ass but I honestly DONT think we'll ever see it, whatever is said.  Honestly it wouldnt' bother me...the legend has become so overblown the past 30+ years it's bound to be a disappointment unless it's Castle Whiterock sized with art by Erol Otus......

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:05 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:

The problem is that I didn't misunderstand.

I already bought the city of Yggsburgh.  I should have gotten a decent map with the book for the $40 cover price.

Branching out into two dozen side adventures is OK.....

But what I (me, myself) and probably most other fans of the setting want is Castle Zagyg.

Can't repeat this enough...Castle...........Zagyg.

C A S T L E  Z A G Y G

So, when this product finally comes out, is Troll Lord Games going to fail to print the map that goes with it?

And then, will they split the map into four pieces and charge me $10 more for each one?

The issue here is credibility for Troll Lord Games.

What will be remembered as The Great Yggsburgh Map Fiasco is not a thing to be proud of.  The company has fixed the problem, but in the entirely wrong way.

This is a game company that I want to like.  I want Troll Lrod Games to make money hand over fist....in great and mountainous piles of loot and sales of game products in swarms so great there aren't enough printing presses in Wisconsin to meet the demand.  Decisions like this one erode consumer confidence and that is sad.

Just sell me the map...please.


I had a lot of the same complaints as Mark...it's still odd to me a product about a city doesn't have a bad-ass fold out city map (the money shot, so to speak, for such a product) which is why I didn't buy it off the shelf and waited until a sale to get it rather cheaply.
I also agree with Mark..I want to like Troll Lords...hell, I DO like them.  But it is frustrating (the many typos in their products are irritating and something that seems to be easily corrected...) I guess because I look at what COULD be and expect more than I should....
 And Deimos is right...this is all CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  No rip jobs here.  We all want the Trolls to succeed.
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:11 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:We all want the Trolls to succeed.

I want them to succeed, but I also want them to hurry up and get the Lejendary Adventures out.  There are a few releases I'm waiting on.  :D

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:12 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:People have been waiting for Castle Zagyg, but acting impatient and jumping up and down isn't going to make Gary and the crew write up the castle any faster.  *shakes my head*.


:lol:  :lol:

Yup...pretty well describes what I'm doing.   :lol:

I'm acting like such a baby because I like Troll Lord Games.  I'm not going to stop buying from Troll Lord Games or anything.

I have made a mistake mixing the two issues...delay of Zagyg and map of Yggsburgh.  Maps are my main point of irritation with most gaming products.

Paying in multiple installments for a map I should have already gotten...that's a bad business choice.


I am more interested in the Castle Zagyg publication as a historical piece than as a place to game.


As for Castle Zagyg....

I worry that in putting out legions (and two dozen is a lot) of side publications will actually prevent the real project from seeing the light of day.

When I wrote my original review the plan was to release Zagyg in seven hardback installments.  I noted that, given the $40 starting price, the project was unlikely to be finished.  $40 was enough to put off the casual collector...and thus greatly reduce the sales of each successive book.

I have since applauded the decision to reduce the series to three total books.  That was a wise and realistic choice (possibly spurred in part by Rob Kuntz's departure from the project to start Pied Piper).

Now...24 other publications to flesh out the Yggsburgh campaign seem likely to exhaust consumer interest.  It is like eating tons of chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant while waiting for your dinner...and then being too full to eat the main course.

I worry that Castle Zagyg will finally appear to a chorus of derisive flatulence...rather than appearing as the powerful centerpiece of a famous campaign.


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