Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands is a year old today. Actually it’s a lot, lot older than that but January 6 2014 marks the day BHAW graduated from homebrew game I occasionally enjoy running to homebrew game I occasionally enjoy running and that can now also be downloaded as a free pdf. A lot of work went into making that step of converting notes designed private consumption into a clearly documented and lovingly illustrated book. But this was a really good game, my thinking went, it deserved a wider audience.
Twelve months on, has BHAW found a wider audience?
Looking at the site stats I can see that BHAW has been downloaded some 520 times. I’m not sure whether that counts as a wider audience in our small, fragmented hobby. Were these actual sales I’d probably say yes, but in this instance I think you have to discount a large portion of people who might have grabbed the pdf because it was free but never actually got round to reading it. Anecdotally I feel BHAW hasn’t really got a whole lot of traction yet. To put this into context I’m still more likely to spot in the various roleplaying fora a reference or recommendation for Mutant Bikers of the Atomic Wastelands, a tiny Fudge-based roleplaying game I released in the 90s and pretty much neglected thereafter, than BHAW. There is still a way to go.
There are a couple of interesting trends though that I gleam from the site stats. The rate of new downloads of the game has remained steady throughout the year. After the initial spike the rate of new download settled down to something like 4 or 5 new downloads each week throughout. A year later, people are still discovering BHAW.
Also the main source of hits has changed. Initially I could see most hits on the BHAW page came directly from the roleplaying fora I regularly frequent (I have a link to BHAW in my signature, that is pretty much the extent of my promotional efforts). In the latter part of the year visitors to the BHAW page were more likely to come from a search engines like Google. This suggest that not only are people still discovering BHAW, now they are doing it even when I am not directly or indirectly plugging the game.
Back in April I wrote a short post about future plans for BHAW. A birthday is a good time to revisit these I think. My main objective for the year was arrange a limited print run of the BHAW in book form for me and my friends. That was the one thing I was absolutely committed to doing and it has been done. It was more work than I expected but book is a beauty and to be able to run BHAW with a real, physical book at the table gives me a lot of satisfaction.
I mentioned I was hoping to release some BHAW adventures, I just managed to get one out before the year ended. I have a couple more in an advanced state for which I need to do some art and layout work. I think there is a fair chance I will complete these in 2015. But that is likely to be it. I had mentioned plans in that post for a couple of BHAW expansions. I was dubious about them at the time due to the amount they would entail, I remain dubious now.
So that is the state BHAW after its first year. In closing I’ll just mentioning how recently I had the chance to run a few BHAW game after an extended break. I was instantly reminded of just how good it really is and how well all the it fit together. So to anyone still reading, if you’ve not tired BHAW yet, you really ought to (https://ukrpdc.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/bounty-hunters-of-the-atomic-wastelands/).
Happy birthday Bounty Hunters!