Wushu Intro Kit

Tue 17 July 2007
By Aaron

With the summer being, well, terribly hot and me once again having (too) much time at hand, my mind wanders back to old ideas. One of those ideas that just keeps coming back is the idea of a "Wushu Intro Kit".

I like Wushu. I think Wushu deserves more of an audience then it currently has. I also like gaming in general and think that one of the biggest problems it currently has is the lack of easy and cheap intro games. And from all these stems the idea of the Wushu Intro Kit: A small box of Wushu rules, complete with an adventure, a "How to GM" guide and a dozen of small dice, all available at local gaming stores at around 10€. Something that's cheap enough to hit the sweet spot for impulse purchases, has enough stuff for hours of gaming, can be handed to a newbie with good chances that it'll produce a good session and, most of all, doesn't look like a 300+ pages textbook! Why Wushu? For one, it's available under an open license, which means I can freely use it. For another, it's an easy game that's, IME, perfect for introducing newbies. It's also rules-light enough to fit a complete game into a small, 30 pages booklet or two, doesn't need any fancy paraphernalia like miniatures or maps and only needs a bunch of six-siders which can easily be sold together with the rules.

Why a box instead of a book? While I've never been one of the Gorgnards who started gaming with boxed sets, I do recognize the usefullness of a "Just add players" packages when it comes to introducing people to a new game. (Or gaming in general.) Also, for ages I've been looking for a small, portable way to game, something that fits into my pocket and has everything I need for a game. (I mean, there are fucking chess-sets that fit into my pockets, how come there isn't an RPG that does?) And last but not least, I think the current trend towards TOMES of gaming isn't a good one. I like a nice-looking hardcover book with lavish illustrations and more material then I could use in a lifetime as much as the next gamer, but it's fucking hard to get new people interested into something that makes them think "Oh GOD, I have to read THIS MONSTER just to play the GAME?!?".

(Regarding Portable Games: I've had good experiences using Pocketmods to get portable Versions of Wushu. You can see my first try here and I talk about my newest experiments, this time with Wushu Open, here. You can also download the Wushu Pocketmod from my Wushu page.)

Why sell it at the FLGS instead of putting it online? Two Reasons: One, I'm a hopeless romantic and actually LIKE FLGSes, especially the good ones. So something that brings a bit of money into a gaming stores pocket is a good thing, IMO. And two, if this is going to be something that's meant to introduce gamers to Wushu (and new people to gaming), a gaming store is vital, because it's the only way the product will really reach anybody. While I do plan to sell these things online if anybody cares (And of course put the text online under an open license.), this will need a brick-and-mortar store to work.

So, how should this thing look like anyway?

Here's how I'd imagine the Wushu Intro Kit to be:

    Three small, german-language booklets: Basic Rules - What is gaming, what is wushu, how to make a character, conflict rules, and so on. Basically something you can hand your player with the words "Read this and then let's game."
    Expanded Rules - This is where the various optional rules come, the Held Dice, the different ways to make Charakters, Tips for the GM... No "GM secrets" or anything, just stuff that's not vital to the basic game.
    Adventure - The way I see it, an Intro Kit without an adventure is, well, not very usefull. Of course, writing an adventure for Wushu is also, well, kinda wierd. But at the very least, thsi should include a basic scenario: A few bad guys, a few locations and enough tips for the GM to make this into an evening worth of fun.

All of those should be less then 30 pages, sized A8. (Roughly 5x7 cm.) The reason for the size is that it allows me to print the whole booklet on a single A4 sheet and then just cut and assemble the booklet. It also fits perfectly in the next important part:

The Box: A few weeks ago, I bought a box of tea-flavored gumdrops at a local Bagel shop. Not only where they absolutely delicious, but the also came in this awesome tin can:

Awesome Box Awesome Box 2

The box is about 9x6x2cm with rounded edges, fits comfortable in any pocket ans has more then enough space for three small booklets and a bunch of dice. For the first test Kits, I can just use the three boxes I already have (Like I said, those tea-thingies are delicious.) and a bit of googling showed that i should be able to get tin cans this size for less then 1€. Assuming I find the dice cheap enough, I should be able to produce the Kits for less then 5€ a piece, which means people should be able to buy them at 10-15 € while still making both me and the owner of the shop happy.

Which reminds me: The dice. So far, I plan to include about a dozen dice in the box. As the box isn't that big once you factor in the booklet, I'm thinking about using those small 5mm dice you see sometimes. These should be big enough for (relatively) comfortable play while still being small enough to fit into a box and leave enough room for the booklets and maybe a pen or two. (Though those the customer has to get himself. ^_^)

What's left to do?

Pretty much everything. The first and most important this is actually translating the Wushu rules and writing the booklets. But we'll so how THAT goes...

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