Monetization in Tunnels & Trolls™ Adventures

As we proudly announced a few weeks ago, Tunnels & Trolls Adventures will be launching on August 17, free to play on the Apple and Google App Stores. Here at MetaArcade Headquarters, we have been working tirelessly in giving our entire app a facelift, fine tuning all the adventures, and other odds and ends to polish the game for its initial release. There’s still work to do between now and then, but we’re looking forward to showing the world what we’ve created.

Over the past few weeks since we announced the launch, we’ve had some questions on what our monetization model will be. As a free-to-play game, this is not unusual. When we set out to figure out our monetization, we knew it had to align with our core goal of bringing the Tunnels & Trolls gamebooks to life in our digital devices. Whatever we chose had to somehow bring in revenue for our company so we can keep making these adventures, while not hindering our players from playing the adventures. It would have been easy for us to make it a straightforward “buy to play” product, much like how gamers experience pen and paper adventures today, but we felt that that would have limited who could play the game digitally. Making it completely free sounds great in theory, but then the long term (or even short term) future of the company would be in doubt very quickly! So with all that in mind, this is what we came up with for the initial launch of Tunnels & Trolls Adventures.

In short: if you don’t want to spend money, you can watch ads; and if you don’t want to watch ads, you can spend money.

All adventures in the app will have the option of either being purchased outright with a currency called Gems, or you can play a single run with another currency called Hearts. The only exception here is Naked Doom, as that adventure will be completely free for the foreseeable future, and you won’t have to spend any money or watch any ads to play Naked Doom as much as you like.

So what’s the difference between purchasing an adventure versus playing a single run? I’m glad you asked!

Purchasing an adventure enables you to play that adventure as many times as you want on as many characters as you want. These purchases are paid for with Gems, which you can buy in the app stores with real money currency.

Hearts, on the other hand, can be thought of as lives.  Each Heart you get provides you a single run in an Adventure. If you choose to play with a Heart, it will consume your Heart and then you can enter the adventure and play until you either complete, fail, or abandon it. If you want to play again, you can choose to spend another Heart to do so. 

We’ll start everyone off with an initial batch of Hearts, and you will be able to get more Hearts by watching ads in the game. So if you run out of Hearts, you have another option for obtaining more without having to purchase with real money.

If you do choose to spend money, you can either purchase ten Hearts or ten Gems for one US dollar, with all current adventures costing 10 Gems and up.

At this stage, we believe we’ve struck a good balance with giving all players options on ways to play and accompanying various styles. We expect some of you won’t bother with Hearts and will purchase adventures outright with Gems as you do with pen and paper adventures, and that’s fine. Some of you may choose to only play single runs with Hearts and that’s ok too. And in the middle, we expect some players will prefer to use Hearts to try out adventures and then purchase the ones they like with Gems, and that’s also great. What’s most important to us is that you have a way to play that fits your preferences!

Gen Con 50 is coming up fast, and everything is coming together nicely. If you’re at the show, we hope you’ll stop by booth #509 to say hi to us and our partners at Flying Buffalo. We’d love to meet you and hear your thoughts in person!