In the wake of the Great Power sourcebook getting out there in print to Kickstarter backers and buyers, the question has been raised: Why didn’t I just do a second edition of Icons, and when will there be one?
The primary reason Great Power happened before a new edition of the game is that Great Power was largely written when I parted company with Adamant Entertainment. Rather than start the lengthy process of developing a new edition of the game, I wanted to move ahead with putting out the book I already had; Icons fans had endured enough delays and waiting.
I also had very little information to base a decision regarding a new edition upon. I wanted to see what sales looked like, figure out about print runs, existing stock, and sell throughs, and try out Kickstarter with something a bit less substantial than a new edition. Great Power fit that bill nicely.
Great Power also offered the opportunity for some “1.5” style revisions or updates to powers and hero creation, with some optional rule sidebars, making it a step forward, but an incremental one.
All that said, I’d say a new edition of Icons is fairly inevitable: The game’s initial print run will sell through. Once it does, I would want to keep the rulebook in-print-on-demand like Great Power, which necessitates revising it anyway. As long as I’m doing that, I might as well revise, update, and make whatever changes are needed along the way. Of course, I’d want to take the time to do it right, so it would be a solid foundation for the game for the foreseeable future.
There are lots of questions concerning production and playtesting to consider as well, like the length of time, open or closed playtests, free or paid access, Kickstarter or not (I’m actually leaning towards not, but that’s a different article), and the degree and importance of backwards compatibility with both the first edition rules and Great Power, which limits the scope of some revisions.
I will say that anyone hoping for all of Great Power to be folded into a new core book will be disappointed. Great Power was intended as an expanded powers book and has more detail than I think the core Icons rules need. Plus it seems unfair to come out with a sourcebook and then immediately follow it with a book that includes all that content and more! I’d like to see a new Icons that is a fairly slim volume (even in the smaller 6 x 9 in. format), with just the essential rules needed to play the game.
Right now, however, this is all just theory. I’ve got some other things to work on before turning my attention to the work of revising Icons for the future. If you have thoughts on the future of the game and what you’d like to see for it, feel free to add a comment or send me an email about it!