The future of the cypher system.

So the new cypher system rulebook is coming out later this year, and the current state of the game seems promising, but something has been bothering me.

Community, or the lack of it. Don't get me wrong, reddit and G+ have some active pages, and even this site and ninthworldhub exist, but each of these really seem to have a very small active userbase. And it's spread out thin. I have noticed that there seem t obe no offical stance of community, there are no official forums, reddit and G+ don't seem to have much of an official presence.

These games are amazing, but without community how long can they really last? Almost every single major game out there has some kind of official forums, some have more or less official contact form the company, for example savage worlds has Clint regularly posting on there, while the Wizards communities are more of a community run by the players and moderators.

Is there a reason why montecookgames seems to have no real community built? Each of these fan community sites is still amazing, but there is nowhere near the kind of participation that you see from even the smaller games.

Comments

  • Ooh, tough question. I like it.

    I think there's a lot of relativity here. The community certainly isn't huge, but, neither is MCG for that matter. They're just a few folks there with very specific roles. Doing development on a centralized community requires a lot of work and money, between technical and social pieces, and the manpower to support it. After all, there's a big difference between folks like WotC and MCG. Not to mention MCG now supporting 3 product lines, which is impressive by itself for a small publisher. Bottom line, they're betting their future on focusing efforts on building a strong core product first.

    That means community building falls to the fans. This is pretty natural in any small fan community. Several of us have worked hard to create these resources. And with the help of folks like @Davidwilsonbrown to build the CypherCast Network, I think you'll see these resources grow together.

    I look at a system like 13th Age as a comparison to us. Both have similar fan bases for the creators, both were Kickstarted, and both launched around the same time. But compare communities, and I think we win, hands down. Resources like The Ninth World are stronger, for instance, than Vault of the 13th Age. Though Pelgrane Press does have official forums, they aren't nearly a strong as Ninth World Hub (and that's even considering the stumbles we've had this past year that lead to rebuilding on this platform). And I'd say with the launch of this new CypherCast Hub, you're only going to see us pick up much more momentum, simply because it's a better tool.

    The original Numenera Kickstarter had less than 5000 backers. Certainly hard to peg how growth has been since then But considering the G+ community has over 2000 users, and NWH has over a thousand, that's a pretty good participation rate (I don't really think about Reddit much, because I think it serves a somewhat different role).

    I would love to see more involvement from official MCG folks in the threads, but I can appreciate how busy they are, and the risk entailed on making "official" statements on an unofficial site.
  • True, I can see the whole small publisher thing and I do commend them for the recursion codex, but my main point still stands, from the official site there is a facebook, twitter, kickstarter and blog feed links.

    Trying to find any kind of community is a bit of a hunt. Reddit links for me at least show up with a few searches, but I am not sure if that's google finding my preferences or something neutral. From Reddit I can find google plus and these hubs, but it's still a bit of a chore.

    I will say that reddit while way more massive than G+, still is a little esoteric for those who are used to more traditional forums. I know that it took me quite a while to get used to it, and google plus is still quite the wasteland.

    I feel as though MCG should do something, if not creating an official community at least plug the existing ones. My fear is that Cypher system is riding high on the kickstarters and may turn out to be a flash in the pan.
  • As an aside, I think i may have put this in the wrong place, I put it in the cypher system category and not under numenera or the strange and i cant find it when just in that category. Not sure if thats intended or if posts get lost if there is no "forum" at that category.
  • Well, I feel like we need to take a bit of the blame, because I agree that tools like The Hub and The Ninth World should be much more visible from a search standpoint. We hurt ourselves a bit on that with the rollout of NinthWorldHub v2, which fell flat, and had a lot of issues, which I have no doubt hurt search rankings. We're aiming to change that with v3 (Or if you will, the CypherCast Hub v1, depending how you want to keep track). And TNW isn't generating article content the way I would like it to be. This is where I really feel the community can shine. There was a lot of blog content getting posted to NWH, but the visibility wasn't good. That'll change, and will probably end up getting tied into TNW somehow. I'm also going to be doing work to TNW to improve it in several places once we finalize the launch of the new Hub site.

    As for MCG's involvement, I don't want to put words in people's mouths, or speak out of turn since I occasionally am privy to information that isn't public (and then forget when said info becomes public) - but what I think I can safely say is that the issue is absolutely on their radar, and you'll most assuredly be seeing the results of some of that over the summer. (EDIT: this should give you some good information on where the community stands)

    And just to be clear, neither myself, nor TheNinthWorld.com are in any way officially related to MCG. I'm just a dude that was excited early, and had the skillset and chance to start building some tools to support the community, and am having fun doing it.
  • edited May 2015
    Wow, thanks for the question @Josiahbradbury and the accurate responses @fienan.

    MCG is a six full time people + a few part-time contract help company. When you look at what they've produced in the past 2 1/2 years, including the tremendously high quality of those products, I think it shows where they're putting their efforts. We built the ninthworldhub to serve the community, but the rapid growth has blown past what that site served. That's why we're rebuilding this and we'll be directing people here to rebuild the community.

    Thanks for participating here!
  • The moment is now for us (defined broadly) to build the community. I share the concern that without a robust fan community the games will fade relatively soon. I really think the core team at MCG is more than booked up with meeting their own publication schedule.

    This raises an important question. What is lacking in the current community? Is it a matter of more active discussion boards? chats? media like podcasts? Fan-created material?
  • Yeah I think a lot of it has to do with a few amount of people created a Game consumed by thousands. They didn't have the resources to create and maintain an Official Community. That's a full time job really. They instead focused their energies on creating content, and hoped the fans itself would handle the community. In the beginning they did. Early on a few dedicated fans spent a lot of time (and money) in trying to nurture a community for a game they loved. But individual interests wane for some, and life gets in the way for others, and the people maintaining the community get overworked and things start to become scattered.

    We are trying to get things back on track, but I think there has always been a rather active Google+ and Twitter Community. I am not sure what Facebook has to offer, I don't use it too much. But as the Cypher Core book comes out and this CypherCast idea grows look for this place to be a good hub for knowledge and such.
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