Analyzing 6 Months of Business

I just closed out my 6th full month of business with Minotaur Games and I thought I would take a moment to share some of my thoughts and observations. Working as my own publisher has taught me a lot about the 3rd Party business, and on occasion, I like to share some of what I have learned with all of you (just in case you have the mad dream of starting up a small business yourself).

Over the past six months, I have seen relatively steady growth. Nothing phenomenal, but the overall trend-line is positive. Things started off relatively slow in terms of growth. With each PDF, the overall sales numbers, week over week were steady with some promising indicators. Not surprisingly, release weeks were always my big peaks, with the off weeks falling off significantly. Here is what the chart looks like thus far.

6 Month Sales

As you can see, things were pretty even for the first few months. I had some drop off whenever I went three weeks without a new release, and as a result, the following release weeks suffered for it. At the time, I was convinced that I really needed to maintain a 2 weeks cycle if I wanted steady growth (this would later prove to be not entirely true).

Then came the end of the June and the Drive Thru RPG sale. That gigantic spike came almost entirely from that sale. Despite taking a smaller percentage of the price, it was still a phenomenal week. It also coincided with the release of Monster Focus: Liches, which made it an instant hit. Unfortunately, this was also the start of the summer convention season and a trio of freelance projects for me. Combined with the “sale hangover”, the next six weeks would be grim for the Minotaur.

Weathering the summer lull, I thought a lot about my strategy for the fall. I decided to launch a new line, Rule Zero. I wanted to put out some rules that tinkered with system components. I really had no idea how it would be received, but the idea was interesting to me (which is vital to help drive and motivate me to get the work put together). The next big spike was for Rule Zero: Critical Hits, and while it did incredibly well, I was not prepared for the roaring success that would be Rule Zero: Underlings. Sales from that first week approached those of the Drive Thru Sale, which is something I thought to be impossible without a much large line to draw from. To top it off, placing in the #1 spot on the Paizo list of 3rd Party Publishers seemed to really boost sales as well, leading me to have resurgence in the fourth week without a new release to bolster it. As of this post, Underlings has gone on to be my most profitable PDF, exceeding even my first PDF (Monster Focus: Skeletons), which has been out for over six months.

Its been a wild ride and I’ve learned a lot. I am not longer obsessive about my daily numbers, focusing instead on weekly and monthly trends. I am no longer convinced that I have to maintain a two week release schedule, as long as I stay relatively regular and put out PDFs that I have a passion for, the sales will come. Management and maintenance are a lot more work than I thought they would be, from keeping the site up and running to financial records. And finally, the Minotaur has a lot of great fans who help me spread the word, write reviews, and are overall good folks, interested in good games and engaging rules.

Running a 3rd Party Business is a tough job, and I’ve come to have a great deal of respect for my fellow 3rd Party Publishers. Long hours, lots of coffee, and tired fingers go into every one of these products. Go out there and pick up some of your favorites. Sales are the best way to show them that you appreciate their work.

To another great six months. I’ve gotta get back to working on Rule Zero: Gem Magic. There are still a few hours of night left…

Jason Bulmahn
Lost in the Maze

Six Months of Minotaur Games!

I am King of the Maze!

I am King of the Maze!

Its hard to believe, but Minotaur Games turns six months old today! It was on March 20th that Monster Focus: Skeletons released to the world, and since then 9 other prisoners have escaped the maze. Taken in total, these 10 PDFs have been downloaded just over 2,000 times!!!

Its been a crazy 6 months, and I have learned a lot about the PDF and 3rd Party Publisher business, which was one of the major goals behind launching Minotaur Games. There have been a few missteps (remind me to show off the alternate, absolutely terrible art I did for Gravelings.. ugh) and a lot of successes that far exceeded my expectations (I’m looking at you Underlings). I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and worked hard to improve the quality and range of my lines. So far, so good, but there are bigger things to come!

What’s Next?

The next PDF from Minotaur Games is already in the works. This is going to be a big one, clocking in at about 16 pages, if my current estimate holds. As a result, it is taking me quite a bit longer than expected. I was hoping to have it out next week, but it is looking like I am going to have to settle for the week after. Would you like to know what it is about?

I have always enjoyed the dynamic in video games that allow you to upgrade your gear with magic gems or other trinkets, but it has taken me quite a while to figure out a way to bring this to the table. I think I’ve come up with a way that is both evocative and balanced. Rule Zero: Gem Magic will release soon, and inside you will find rules for 100 different magic gemstones that can be affixed to any magic item, granting you additional powers and abilities. Each gem has a number of different abilities it can grant, based on the item to which it is attached. For example, a ruby shard allows a weapon to deal 1d4 points of fire damage on a hit, but attach that same shard to a staff and it allows the staff to be used to cast fireball!

Suffice to say, I am very excited to release this PDF as soon as possible, but I have to make sure that it meets my standards first and that is going to take a little bit longer. I hope you will like it!

The Future

I have even bigger plans for the future, including my first ever print product! I am going to keep the details secret for now, but I am hoping to get things rolling on the first ever print product from Minotaur Games later this year. I am contemplating using kickstarter to help me close some of the financing gaps on this one, but if I do, it will be a very small scale production. I am sure that since this is my first shot at this (on my own at least) that it is going to take me a while to get things right, but I have a lot of exciting ideas and I hope that you will stick around for the ride.


If you’ve been wandering the Maze with me for a while, you know that I am a big fan of contests. I like to give back to the people who have helped support Minotaur Games. So, since this is a big milestone, I should probably do a big contest!

Send an email to and include the following:

  1. Your Name
  2. Email Address
  3. The name of each Minotaur Games PDF you own, followed by the first word, from the last page of text from those PDFs (if you don’t own any, pick up Monster Focus: Gravelings, its free!)

In one week, I will draw 6 emails at random from those that are submitted. What you win is based upon how many PDFs you own! Note that the Bonus PDF for Rule Zero: Underlings is not counted as one of the ten.

  • If you own 3 or less, I’ll give you one for free of your choice.
  • If you own 4-6, I’ll give you two for free of your choice.
  • If you own 7-9, I’ll round out your collection with any that you are missing and throw in Rule Zero: Gem Magic when it releases.
  • Finally, if you own all 10, I will send you every PDF I make for the next six months!!!

The contest closes at midnight, PST on September 29th! I’ll make the drawing later that weekend!

So, in closing, thanks again for supporting Minotaur Games. Good Luck finding your way out of maze. If you manage to make it back to civilization, tell them I regret nothing!

Jason Bulmahn
Minotaur Games

Underlings Bonus PDF!

Rule Zero Underlings BonusRule Zero: Underlings is #1 on the Paizo list of PDFs from other publishers for the second straight week! This is the first time Minotaur Games has pulled off this difficult feat and I felt I should give thanks to all the folks who have supported the minotaur!

Over the weekend, I put together a small “gift” for those of you who picked up Rule Zero: Underlings! It’s an entire PDF of bonus material and you can have it for free! Just click on the following link: Rule Zero Underlings Bonus

So, enjoy the bonus material and thanks again for supporting the Minotaur!

Rule Zero: Underlings is #1

I am always happy when I get my weekly Paizo email to see one of my PDFs in the list of top 10 PDFs from other publishers. I am amazed whenever one of products climbs to the top of that list and Rule Zero: Underlings reached that lofty summit! For all those who have picked it up, you have my thanks! I hope you enjoy it!

If you have not checked out Rule Zero: Underlings, here is a sample of what you are missing. This group of underlings has a group CR of 5, the drow race template, and the priest template.


Drow Priest Underlings (4)                       Group CR 5
XP 2,400 (600 each)
CE Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 120 ft.
Wound Threshold 5 hp
Kill Threshold 11 hp
Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2
Immune sleep; SR 10
Full-Attack Melee rapier +7 (2d6, 7 average, half damage if attacking as a standard action)
Full-Attack Ranged hand crossbow +7 (2d6, 7 average, half damage if attacking as a standard action)
 Spell-Like Abilities (CL equal to group CR)
1/day—dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire
Priest Spells (CL 5th, +5 concentration)
1st—cause fear (DC 11), doom (DC 11)
Skills Heal +9, Knowledge (religion) +9, Stealth +9


This not quite what you are looking for? Rule Zero: Underlings contains stats for underlings from CR 1/2 to CR 20, almost 50 race templates, and 6 simple templates, allowing you to get the minion you need for your adventure. There are over 5,000 different variants for you to choose from! You can pick up Rule Zero: Underlings today from all of the major online retailers!

Rule Zero: Underlings goes on Sale Today!

Rule Zero Underlings CoverYes Master! Whatever you want Master! Of course I can go sweep the floors of the fourth level of your glorious dungeon, and yes, I will feed your pet gelatinous cube. Where do I find the food? Why are you looking at me that way… master?!?

Underlings, minions, boot-licks: every good villain needs them. Planning world-wide conquest leaves little time for trivial details. But when the horde of lesser servants ends up facing off against the heroes, the results are often a long, drawn out fight of attrition. Rule Zero: Underlings presents a new way of doing things, giving you a simple underling stat block that you can customize to your campaign. Easy to run in combat, easy to dispatch by the heroes, these underlings make for the perfect speed-bump before moving on to the real villains. Most importantly, you can have a fight with over a dozen of these monsters and the combat still runs smooth and quickly.

Rule Zero: Underlings is now available from the following retailers!

10-Page PDF • $2.99 • PaizoDriveThru RPGNow ShopD20