Friday, March 9

Monthly Report: February

February's monthly report is significantly late I'm afraid - mostly due to the excitement around the It's Alive! announcement. It was a pretty good month in terms of games played and an exciting month in terms of creation.


As usual I'll deal with play first. I went to a couple of games nights at Paul's, I saw Dave for games once, we had a dinner party with the obligatory party game after dinner and I hosted a games night too - so plenty of gaming opportunities. As I was playing with my own games or those of friends I see regularly I didn't play any games that were new to me, but I did play several old favourites. To experience some new games I need to get down to Beyond Monopoly really, but I'm having difficulty finding a weekend free. We've had guests and taken on a time-heavy commitment that can only really be done on the weekends. I'm sure I'll get there in the next month or two though. Guillotine was popular again, it's our standard filler at Paul's and Dave has just managed to get his hands on a copy via a BoardGameGeek trade. Carcassonne remains popular, and I still consider it my favourite game. Despite owning several of the expansions the vanilla game hits the table with fair regularity too.

First up the popular games:

In addition, there were a bunch of less popular games too: Alhambra, Cranium, Die Mauer, Pirates of the Spanish Main, Power Grid and Ticket To Ride.

In terms of games played it was a fairly average month, but still enjoyable, and I'm glad Dave liked Border Reivers. When I'm designing a game I'll often suggest it to friends to get a chance to do some more playtesting. Once a game is finished I stop suggesting it - I pimp it at conventions and online, but friends only get to play it if they ask - I don't like to ram it down their throats. However, despite having played it well over a hundred times I still enjoy it, and playing against an experienced opponent is a lot more fun.


Which brings me on nicely to games design and publishing. It felt like a very busy month for games design, although on the face of it I didn't get an awful lot done. I guess the excitement makes it feel busier.

Border Reivers

It was a fairly steady month for Border Reivers sales, which is nice after the post-Christmas lull. I need to keep up Border Reivers sales to afford the It's Alive! production so a solid month is encouraging. I investigated a few advertising options, but most of them are out of my range - BGG advertising runs to the tune of a few hundred dollars, not much for an established publisher, but way out of my meagre budget. I also constructed another batch and started yet another. After this one there are only a few more batchs yet to make - it definitely feels like I'm on the home straight now - mustn't slack off! I have managed to get some stock back in, making games faster than I've been selling them which is both good and bad!

It's Alive! / Codename: Monster

Obviously a very busy month for It's Alive! I had to make the final go/no go decision, choose an artist (with my friend R H Aidley winning), get a contract together, sign it, post it to Israel and wait for the reply. Plus I worked on a new version of the website, polished the rules a bit, and created my first press release.

Codename: Jorvik

Dave's brilliant idea re-invigorated me on Jorvik, I was feeling a bit despondent about it - it just wasn't quite right, not enough interaction. I didn't managed to get enough time to create a new prototype though - that's a job for this month.

Codenames: Artist & Dollyo

No progress this month - too busy on other things.

Codename: Sennon

I'd made a first prototype of this over Christmas, but when I came to play it solo to see how my ideas worked in the flesh, the components proved to be way too fiddly. Back to the drawing board on this one - it'll probably stay on the back burner for a while I think.

Codename: Surprise

This was a new idea I've had, loosely based on a series of books I've been reading. I love the theme and spent the seven hour train journey to Paris working through some ideas in my notebook. Hopefully I'll get something together fairly soon and start playtesting it. Dave's keen on the idea too (he's reading the same books) so I'll probably have a willing playtester in the early stages when the game is rubbish.

What do I want to achieve this month? Quite a lot! The Wife goes to Denmark for a month on Sunday for her work so I'm going to be home alone, with game design, prototyping and construction the only things to keep me from chronic boredom and loneliness. I hope to finish (or nearly finish) all the Border Reivers construction, getting the last copies made ready for sale. I also hope to do some of the graphic design for It's Alive! (the schematic information that will sit on top of the artwork. I really need to get the new Jorvik prototype made and it would be nice to come up with a first prototype of Surprise. It seems like a huge amount, but I'll have a lot of evenings at home alone, and I've got a week off work to concentrate on construction too.

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