The Cost of Doing (RPG) Business

A blue-tinted monotone photo of a row of books with the covers facing away from the camera so only the edges of the pages show. Overlaid on top of the photo is a graph plot with a line gradually increasing.

The start of a new year is always a time to look over our books and review where our expenses and revenues are heading. The good news is that our financial performance is solid. We have several very successful products, and in 2022 we added new staff, ran a number of successful crowdfunding campaigns, and scored wins at the ENnies as well as a coveted Nebula for Thirsty Sword Lesbians.

However, there are some supply-side challenges we need to address.

Some background: Over the past 16 years we’ve made a deliberate effort to make our games affordable and a joy to own. Whether it’s a handsome cover, clear layout, or making sure you get the PDF when you buy a new copy of our games, we hope we provide a terrific value when you choose one of our titles.

We also made the decision early on to set a price point for a particular game, print the MSRP on the cover, and stick to it. So if you bought a copy of Monster of the Week in 2022, you paid the same as when it released in 2015.

Traditionally, the price hikes involved in printing books were small and represented a minor factor in our costs. But as the pandemic disrupted supply chains, one of the biggest areas hit was the paper supply. We have seen quotes for reprints of the exact same book spike up 75% in just 15 months. Trusted partners who could turn a reprint around in 6-8 weeks now need 12 or more. We have seen printing companies fold up shop. We’ve asked for a quote on a book 3 months before a Kickstarter only to have an entirely new (and much higher) quote come in when the KS ends.

Short story: The rate of inflation is not something we can continue to absorb. In 2023, we’ll be raising prices on several of our games. Typically, it will be somewhere from $5-$10 per book. We don’t think this increase places us above the current price of other offerings in the games market. If anything, it brings the price of our games more in line with other publishers in the TTRPG space.

We wish it wasn’t necessary, but we hope you understand.

We are still committed to publishing great games that are as much a pleasure to hold in your hands as they are to play. Evil Hat is a small, six-person operation. We try to keep our overhead low and our value high. Thank you for supporting us.