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TOPIC: The Future of TD

The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #1

With this year's tickets going so fast, what is the future of TD? I assume GenCon will continue their support of such a popular event. However, will TD suffer from its own popularity?

I consider myself lucky that I got a couple slots for TD. Thinking to next year, I may be hesitant to buy early run tokens when I have no guarantee I'll even be able to participate in TD.

How much can TD expand? I assume it is limited by physical space, the organizers' time, and the number of volunteers.

Do you *gasp* raise the price to try to create equiibrium between supply and demand?
Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything.

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #2

I have been thinking about this as well. Given that the gross income of TD is roughly (3000x20) = $60,000, I believe I have heard that Jeff and Co. are NOT making enought to cover costs. Of course, the benefit for GenCon is that some people come just for TD and the inevitably of playing other games, buying things in the dealer room, and spending money in general. So in the big picture, breaking even is still good. :)

Given that ticket sales are accelerating and given the "addictive" nature :twisted: of TD, I can only imagine that there will be a high retention rate and that next year will be even crazier. Growth is being driven by among other things, word-of-mouth as friends tell each other "You HAVE to try this!" and that is likely to continue.

So given that, personally, I would plan on FOUR adventures with potentially all groups coming together for the Final Battle against Tiamat! Imagine 28 adventurers (less those who have died) all joining forces to kill a legendary Dragon! Or having multiple levels of complexity could be an option. Easy, Difficult, Hardcore. Another option is an Intro adventure that is VERY affordable ($8 ) and only 4 rooms or so (1 hour with Inn) to give people a taste of TD. You know they will be back. :D And buying tokens, etc.

Unfortunately, I think based on demand raising prices is an inevitability.

Well certainly there are options but one thing is for certain, TD must continue to expand and grow and that planning for NEXT year should start now. Two adventures will not be enough.

My 2 dollars on the subject,
Douglas
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #3

I think it is fair to say a lot of people have been thinking this over. I wonder what Jeff will do?

He has stated in the past raising the price is not his first choice. I agree, to keep the young and strapped gamers as customers, the price may need to stay around $20.

So what other options are out there?

1. Increasing party size to 8, 9 or even 10.
2. Decreasing number of rooms and increasing number of adventures.
3. Just increase number of adventures to meet demand.
4. Get even more sponsorship - more customers = more exposure.
5. Start marketing other items to make more money.

I'm sure there are more ideas...just trying to cover a few.
Gary aka: Grimwood, Cleric of the Western Woods CLERIC for life - I have the character card to prove it! Former owner of a Ring of Three Wishes and Jeff's finger!

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #4

I'm pretty shocked that they're not making enough to cover costs. I mean, outside of the startup costs of course. No buisness ever recoups those in the first few years and I think on average dosen't it take like a decade to do so? Most of the supplies for TD I'm assuming are reusable. The walls and a lot of the permanant fixings can be reassembled year after year after year. The expenditures are high because TD is still growing in its initial setup but I figure things will be pretty stable by this year or next. I mean, I'm assuming the tavern will be a permanant fixture from now on. Any hardware bought for the tavern can have its cost factored over the years that it can be reused.

Another great way to boost revenue as lucas has shown us is the merchandise the hell out of anything. Last year there were TD t-shirts. Add to the pile with TD bumper stickers, button, sweatshirts, golf bags, etc. Whatever the heck else you can dream up. Do a little bit of market research to see what would sell and start selling it alongside your token pouches online before the con even hits. That should give you an idea of what the popularity and demand will be. If you sell out, make sure you have a system where you can take orders at the con and ship out once you're back in stock.

I really can't imagine that TD can't be a very profitable enterprise once the foundation expenditures are all made.

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #5

Most of the supplies for TD I'm assuming are reusable.


I'm fairly confidant that this isn't a reasonable assumption. I suspect the majority of True Dungeon's cost are recur every year. Here's a quick list of major items

Ballroom rental: This has to be hideously expensive.
Set transportation: Several trucks or semi-trucks worth.
Dungeon wall framework: The metal poles that hold up the walls. These are rented every year.
Dungeon setup: I guess they have to pay union labor to "supervise"
Props: Most room-specific props probably have to be re-made to suit the specific puzzle. Plus they need multiple versions to cover breakage.
Staff Room & Board: Not everyone gets room and board, but some do

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #6

Dungeon setup: I guess they have to pay union labor to "supervise"


I think that was just in the So Cal version, but still it does cost money even then.

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #7

And I still think all of that can be overcome with a profit at the end, ecspecially when I think TD can make MORE from token and merchandising sales than it does on ticket sales if it plans things right.

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #8


Ballroom rental: This has to be hideously expensive.


The Ballroom rent for around $3,000-$5,000 per day. With 6 day of rental (including set up and take down) nearly half the money from tickets is going to pay for space. I can't wait till 2008 when they enlarge the convention center. Space there is so much cheaper than renting a ballroom.

By the way, all you folks from out of town, get a good look at the RCA dome before it is gone. Indianapolis will be breaking ground on its replacement this fall. Once the new building is built, the RCA dome is comming down and the convention center is expanding in that site.

George
It is said your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true. It's called Life. - Terry Pratchett

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #9

Or having multiple levels of complexity could be an option. Easy, Difficult, Hardcore.


Here's something I'm curious about:

How many people are playing BOTH the regular mode AND the hardcore version of a given adventure?

I know I am, and I know others out there are doing is as well. This means that I am making 2 runs through a dungeon, when other people are going to be lining up in hopes of a standby ticket, for just 1 run... possibly their first run ever.

Would making 3 settings give people more options? Or would we see the same people going through all three modes? I think we'd see a lot of the latter, as TD addicts strive to get their fix as many ways as possible. And that doesn't begin to answer the question of how complicated it would be for Jeff to make 3 levels of complexity to all his puzzles.

TD is Smash Hit.
They've got more people wanting to play than they can possibly accommodate. I think it might be wiser to look at ways to make the event more accesible, rather than creating more options for the current addicts.
I mean - they've already got us hooked. But if they can pull in 1000 people who have never played TD before, then thats another 1000 people who may be buying tokens, T-shirts, Tankards, etc. Plus, TD's fame can't spread if the people who hear "You've GOT to try this!" aren't able to get a ticket for love or money.

Another option is an Intro adventure that is VERY affordable ($8 ) and only 4 rooms or so (1 hour with Inn) to give people a taste of TD.


That sounds like a really neat idea!
With an adventure half as long, you could run twice as many people through, and it would take up only half the space!
Here's an idea building on that one: What if the Intro Adventure was like a mini-module of the previous year's game? That would allow props & puzzle from previous years to be re-used, and wouldn't mean any mental energy on Jeff's part to think up new ones. PLUS, the TD regulars wouldn't be filling up those slots, if they'd already done that module the previous year... it would leave more room for actual newbies.

I hope Jeff gives some serious consideration to an idea like that!
As much as I'd love to see 4 different adventures culminating in one fabulous battle at the end, I think it would be better for TD to re-use puzzles and ideas to give everyone a chance at something, rather than have us addicts take over the place ;)
"THERE WILL NEVER BE A TOKEN EQUAL TO A GOOD BRAIN!"- Smakdown

Check out these awesome resources:
Cranston's Character Generator for iDevices or Android
Amorgen's Excel Character Generator
And the ever-useful Token DataBase , expertly maintained by Druegar.

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #10

That actually sounds like a great idea.
"Great bards don't die. They just decompose."<br />GenCon Indy 2005 Volunteer DM, 2006 Epilogue

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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #11

Another option is an Intro adventure that is VERY affordable ($8 ) and only 4 rooms or so (1 hour with Inn) to give people a taste of TD.


I will admit it. I did not see this explosion in ticket sales coming. It has changed everything. Umm...wow.

Thanks for all your suggestions. The TD Directors and I have a lot to think about, and we would welcome your suggestions. The coolest part about this is I won't have this huge axe hanging over my head all summer of "will we sell out?". Our budget is now fully funded, and I won't have to finance this baby personally -- hoping to get paid back. Thank you ALL for your great support of TD. I am flabergasted!

One thing I would like to point out is that the number of rooms in the dungeon has little affect on the number of attendees per day. I know that sounds crazy, but if you think of the dungeon as a water hose it makes sense. The only difference between a 4-room dungeon and a 10-room dungeon is the 72 minutes extra it takes the 10-room dungeon to drain out at the end of the day. Both only can handle 7 player per 12 minutes. It makes those 10-room dungeons very enticing.

True Dungeon is all about volunteers, and we will won't decide anything until after this Gen Con. Who knows...the volunteers might get tired of all the very hard work, and we might have to curtail the event. I don't think you realize how much work these great people put in all year long to make this happen. Don't always assume they will be around to put this event on for us. I try not to do it -- but I am guilty of it also. Sometimes I have to stop myself when I get all big-headed with future dreams. Everything depends on the Directors and others wanting to basically take on part-time jobs, and the other 40+ volunteers wanting to give up a week's vacation and their Gen Con to host this event. I try to make it as fun and rewarding as possible, but the event demands that great people do some very nice things for all of us. PLEASE thank them if you get the chance. I know they appreciate it. Okay...end of sermon. Sorry I went a little wacko there.

Hopefully, I CAN keep the event fun for the volunteers, and hopefully I can keep from bugging them too much. I think we have something very special going here...something that I have always dreamed to be a part. I plan on enjoying it to its fullest while it lasts -- and I hope you do as well.
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The Future of TD 15 years 5 months ago #12

With an adventure half as long, you could run twice as many people through, and it would take up only half the space!


Okay, I shook my brain a couple times, and realized that the above statement is not entirely correct.

Even with an adventure which lasts half as long, you couldn't run twice as many people through, because parties would still be going every 12 minutes. You could, at most, get a few more slots in during the evening hours, since the module finishes a little earlier.

You could run twice as many people through if you had 2 Intro Adventures, but that would take up the same amount of space as a full-size adventure. Not ideal.

The half-size Intro Adventure is still a good idea, though. If it was possible to spare a little space for a half-size (or even 1/3 size) dungeon, and a few staff members to run it, it would mean just that many more people who could play TD.
"THERE WILL NEVER BE A TOKEN EQUAL TO A GOOD BRAIN!"- Smakdown

Check out these awesome resources:
Cranston's Character Generator for iDevices or Android
Amorgen's Excel Character Generator
And the ever-useful Token DataBase , expertly maintained by Druegar.

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