The launch of the Caravan Endures has been a failure. I set the payment to a donation system, with the idea that I wanted the game to be affordable for people who were struggling, but it seems like that just became an excuse for people to get it for free, which, I can't blame them, but it still resulted in a loss of income with a ton of people downloading it, and few paying.
I've put $2k into this project, most of it paying artists fairly. I've been working on it for two years. I've made less than $200.
Seeing Kickstarters making $10k in a weekend for similar projects, well, that hurts. It's realizing I played the wrong hand all along.
But, I guess I'm left with the questions, why did it fail, and where do I go from here?
As far as I can tell, I failed from a marketing perspective. I'm autistic, I have a LOT of blind spots, and I saw other games blowing up and assumed mine would too. But I guess people aren't interested in a super niche-oriented game, especially one that promotes nonstandard fantasy narratives. Everybody wants to go kill orcs, nobody cares about the fantasy truckers trying to solve problems without violence. It's also designed around developing teamwork, which is a very niche skill to be focusing on. Even though it's a fun game that stands alone on it's own, and includes enough supplemental material to be played with any sort of group, I think people saw this as a social skills game, and probably didn't want to buy it because of that.
So, I guess I have to live with this. Where do I go from here? I don't know. Honestly, I'm exhausted. I put my game out there, and I'm sure if I did some better marketing I'd be able to sell more, but right now, I've had a number of failures and awful things hit me in the past few weeks, and my energy just hasn't been good. I've been needing a win lately, and it just hasn't come. Several other projects and things I needed wins on either fell through or were derailed. I still have some exciting projects, but the string of failures is just hurting a lot. SAD isn't helping, and the fact that the air is toxic in the Pacific Northwest is just making everything harder. And it's hard to make ends meet with nonprofit wages while inflation is out of control, even with me working three jobs.
But I'll stick in there. I'll try to think of ways to make my little game take off. Because it's a great game, I think. I'm proud of it. It's not perfect, there's issues here and there, but I've been using this system with my D&D groups for years and it's amazing. But for now, I'm just in a rough space. I don't need pity, but I hope this explains why I'm not pushing for more marketing on The Caravan Endures. I just don't have the energy.