As we move into the last two months of 2012, the editorial staff is hard at work on the playtest for next year’s Mythic Adventures, the warehouse staff is eagerly awaiting the arrival of our big winter hardcover, the NPC Codex, and the web team is cranking away at the exciting new Paizo Game Space virtual tabletop. Everyone has smiles on their face as they complete major tasks for 2012 and as they begin to think about what’s coming in 2013.
The management and finance teams, in the meantime, are hard at work finalizing 2013’s budget. This multi-month process involves solidifying the editorial schedule for the year, making go or no-go decisions on marketing programs, new employee hires, and everything else with a cost associated with it. While we always remain open to new opportunities on short deadlines, when the budget for a year closes, you end up with a good snapshot of every product, employee, convention, or other initiative we plan to do in the year. It’s a time when things get locked in, and when decisions can no longer be put off into the future.
As a result, it’s the best time to make important changes to Paizo’s product lines and general strategy. Since we’re about to put the lid on the 2012 budget, I wanted to take some time here in the Paizo Blog to speak with my “publisher voice” and let you in on a few important developments that are scheduled to hit in 2013.
Branding Changes for GameMastery
Paizo’s line of GameMastery accessories dates back to the time before Pathfinder, when we were a magazine publisher just dipping our toes into the RPG game publishing field for the first time. The maps and card products released under the GameMastery line were designed to work with any fantasy RPG, and we wanted a name for the line that suggested the widest appeal to the widest number of customers, regardless of what system they played. Since its launch, we’ve released more than 100 Map Packs and Flip-Mats, and dozens of Item Cards, Face Cards, and other card-based accessories to help you run your campaigns.
Card and map subscriptions are at an all-time high, and the design department keeps finding ways to make each release improve upon those that came before it. We have plenty of terrain types, dungeon maps, and other settings yet to go, and if anything the rate of card sets will increase in the future. We now plan to produce a set of Item Cards and Face Cards for every Adventure Path we publish, with additional rules-oriented releases similar to Chase Cards, Condition Cards, and the Critical Hit deck in development as I write this.
As time has gone on, and as the Pathfinder RPG has become not just a dominant brand here at the Paizo offices but also in the game industry in general, more and more of our GameMastery accessory releases have started to tie into Pathfinder adventures or the Pathfinder rules themselves. As a result, we’ve decided to retire the GameMastery brand, and beginning in February of next year, GameMastery Map Packs, Flip-Mats, and Card releases will come out under the Pathfinder brand.
This change allows us to reexamine how we package our maps, and gives us the chance to improve them to make using the products easier. For Flip-Mats this means packaging the maps with a wrap-around cover similar to the one used for our Pathfinder GM Screen, which gives us more space to preview what the maps look like, highlight key features, and (really importantly) to allow customers (and retailers) to shelve their maps “spine out” for easier sorting. Map Packs will feature a similar packaging metamorphosis, and will now come in a small box for easier storage and display.
Many (even most) of Pathfinder Map Pack, Flip-Mat, and Card releases will still be “rules agnostic” and suitable for use with a variety of systems, but the truth is that the Pathfinder brand has a cachet with buyers, distributors, and customers that GameMastery does not, and this change will allow us to get our products into a wider network of stores. When they make it into those stores, they’ll also be shelved with other Pathfinder products, making it easier than ever for Paizo fans to find what they’re looking for.
A close look at our budgets has convinced us that we need to make some price changes on some of our product lines to keep up with rising production costs. Starting in February 2013, Pathfinder Map Packs and Pathfinder Flip-Mats will rise in price from $12.99 to $13.99.
Also starting in February, the monthly Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes, which have held steady in price for 66 consecutive volumes, will increase to $22.99 (subscribers will pay the new discounted price of $15.99, plus their other subscription benefits like the Pathfinder Advantage discount and free PDFs). Additionally, the monthly Pathfinder Player Companion line will shift from $10.99 to $12.99.
This is the first time we have ever raised prices on the Adventure Path, and we agonized over the decision. In truth, we probably should have raised the price a few years back when the cost of paper and printing increased with inflation and increased global demand at the end of 2008, but we wanted to hold the line as long as possible. We must do it now to keep the high standard of quality we publish each month, and we hope that you’ll find the few extra bucks well worth the investment.
Keep your eyes on the Paizo Blog for more updates about upcoming products and exciting new releases for 2013. It promises to be a huge year for Paizo and the Pathfinder RPG, and we can’t wait to share some of our exciting plans with you.
Your support has been integral to the Paizo story these last 10 years, and we look forward to sharing the next 10 years with you!
P.S.: Look for your regularly scheduled Friday Pathfinder Battles miniature preview blog right here later this afternoon.