David Bezio just informed me in the comments to my last X-plorers post that the final version is available now on Lulu for download as a PDF or for order as paperback book. He also has created a website for his company Grey Area Games.
X-plorers is a thought experiment. What if the fathers of roleplaying were science ficition fans and created a SF RPG in 1974? X-Plorers feels much like a game created in the golden age of roleplaying. From the official site:
In the year 2,222 AD Earth, Venus, and Mars are united under one government, the United Corporate Nations (UCN). The UCN is a political engine composed of representatives of thousands of powerful corporations. Far beyond our solar system lies the “Reaches”, a densely packed cluster of stars, many with habitable worlds very similar to Earth. The UCN is looking for both habitable planets and those ripe for resource exploitation. Such a vast and new galaxy breeds nothing but trouble. Who better to handle such trouble but the galactic troubleshooters…X-plorers X-plorers is a “what if?” role playing game. In this case, what if the fathers of the role playing hobby were more into science fiction than fantasy when they wrote that first set of official rules back in 1974? What if that game was about humans expanding and exploring their universe, instead of delving into deep dungeons to kill monsters to earn treasure? These are the questions X-plorers attempts to answer.
I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that the final version of X-Plorers was not available for free as PDF. I somehow expected it to follow the business model of most retro-clone RPGs that offer the PDF for free and sell the printed version.
The PDF version of X-plorers sets you back €4.65 and a printed paperback version is available for just €9.30. If you are a fan of old-school gaming and SF, you should have a look at X-plorers. You can discuss the game and upcoming Grey Area Games products at the official forums or the X-plorers Yahoo Group.
UPDATE: The free version of X-plorers is now available from the Grey Area Games website!
Once again, thanks for the comments. You’ll be happy to know that X-plorers will, in fact, be available as a free download as well later this week. The Free version will have identical rules content, but will not contain any of the art or the sample adventure. Those things are the reward for those who help to support the game line (as well as the ability to get the game a few days before those who simply download the free version).
Of course, I hope people see this for what it is, and not an attempt at money grubbing. These products take a lot of time and money to produce. I want to keep the X-plorers line as high quality as I can with great original art and the best writing, editing, and proofreading I can manage. I’m hoping that the “profits” from each product will be just enough to help finance the next one. In essence, my hope is to not go too far in the hole (as I have with past free products). I’m not trying to get peoples money to get rich (we know that doesn’t happen with RPGs ;)), I’m just trying to make enough so I can keep producing more things for people to enjoy. If no one buys the full version to support the line, it will die.
Of course, the main thing is to get the game into the hands of people who will enjoy it and have a good time playing it…thus the free version.
Thanks for your comment, David. It's good to hear that there will be a free PDF after all. I think X-plorers is an interesting game with solid mechanics, and with a free entry product the chances are much higher, that people will give it a try.
And I am also sure that some people will appreciate having the opportunity to get a "deluxe" version with cool artwork and a sample adventure. I don't think anyone will see this as "moneygrubbing". I was just a bit suprised at first, since I thought you even mentioned that the PDF will be free and then I only found a paid download. Perhaps you should make it clearer on you blog/site that a free version is coming and what you try to accomplish with the "deluxe" versions.
OK, the free version is up at the home page: http://greyarea.webs.com/
Cool! I updated my post accordingly!