Where We're Going #4
Feature by Howard Thompson
The Space Gamer No 4 (1976)


Planning ahead for TSG and Metagaming is made difficult when we don't know how high up is. Circulation and game sales are growing rapidly despite recent cut backs in promotional activity. The larger TSG's circulation becomes, the better job it can do for S-F gaming. But, the rate of growth will be smoothed. Erratic spurts in circulation disrupt design and TSG work too much.

Staff hours available will be expanded with new people. More time will be put into planning and developing new games and services. TSG will go to 32 pages with the feedback form and almost all advertising material as separate items. At 32 pages TSG will carry 22-24,000 words per issue, depending on the art work. TSG is scheduled quarterly for 1976, but if qualified assistance is found bimonthly publication may come before 1977. TSG may even gain a circulation that allows eight issues per year. The extra issues would come in the fall and spring. If some of our estimates of potential circulation aren't too far off, monthly issues may be possible in a few years. Because of some economic advantages of a standard 32 page format, our inclination is to publish more frequently rather than expand beyond 32 pages at least for the near future. At some point, there may also be occasional special topic supplemental issues that won't count against the regular subscription.

TSG's circulation also impacts game production. TSG accounts for more games bought than stores and direct mail advertising combined. TSG subscribers are the most important market! The more subscribers the more and better S-F games. 1976 should tell us to dust off some of our pretty fantastic dream projects and figure out how to make them real or to be just another minor, if specialized, game publisher.

Word-of-Mouth: In issue #2 we mentioned that word-of-mouth referrals were an important source of new S-F garners. Many don't learn of TSG from ads but from friends. Quite a lot of you accepted the offer to send sample issues to friends of subscribers.

So, we'll say it again. We'll send a sample issue of TSG to anyone whose name is submitted by a current subscriber. Or, if someone mentions a subscriber by name and asks for a sample issue we'll send it. TSG is an easy way to show people what S-F gaming is all about at a hobby level. Quite a few groups of S-F fans discovered gaming in this manner, and we appreciate the plugs!

Game Design Contest: We had planned to conduct a SF&F game design contest hut there wasn't sufficient interest to warrant the effort. The idea may be brought out of moth balls when our circulation is larger and we can publicize it properly. In the mean time, don't stop work on a design you may have wanted to enter. Non-staff designs are being published, so send anything you feel deserves consideration. Royalties may not make you rich, but they can pay for enjoying the hobby.

Hymenoptera: Our hive society in conflict game will be delayed until late in 1976. We want to publish some outside designs first. Delay also means possible return of a plastic map and full die-cut counters. The game is for 2 to 6 players, each controlling as insectoid culture city-state. Bio-technology plays the crucial role in Hymenopteran evolution similar to machine industrialization with man. Geneticists develop mutations to perform tasks as we design machines. Intense competition in food harvesting makes warrior mutations prevalent. The game is a complex and unique creation that deserves polishing and first class packaging.


Retroreview Note: This is the first reference of the previously spelled "Hymenoptria" as "Hymenoptera". Occasional misspellings such as the misspelling of "prevalent" as "prevelant" have been corrected throughout the article.

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