This is Reiver Games' third calendar year (I formed the company in July 2006), and I've been lucky enough that things have gone from strength to strength. In 2006 I decided to go for it, and released my first game design. Border Reivers did well, getting positive reviews and selling well. In 2007 I released the first Reiver game by another designer, Yehuda's It's Alive! It was launched at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham in June, where I also sold out of Border Reivers. The Expo was my first 'trade show'-style convention and it was a huge success, with my entire stock disappearing in 3.5 hours and I took a further thirty orders. By the end of the year I'd sold two hundred out of the three hundred run of It's Alive! So how do I hope to improve things in 2008?
So far I've concentrated on one game at a time, with the exception of those first 3.5 hours at the Expo. This year I don't want to spend any time without a game to sell, hopefully overlapping the runs a bit better so I have periods when I have two games available. I also hope to release two games this year, as opposed to one each of the two previous years. To achieve this I'm hoping to release a submission (as yet to be decided) and one of my own games (probably Jorvik). Releasing a submission will reduce the burden of development on me, and Jorvik is fairly easy to manufacture, being a simple card game. There is also the possibility of a professional run of It's Alive! assuming it sells out in a reasonable amount of time, and continues to be well-received. I'm thinking I'm going to stick to getting the boxes professionally manufactured even on the hand-made runs, as this provides a notable step-up in quality, and saves me about an hour per game construction time. These are goals that are a stretch, but you've got to set goals that are achievable, while being challenging or you'll never get anywhere.
In 2006 I went to two conventions: The Cast Are Dice and Psychocon. In 2007 I managed four: Beer & Pretzels, the Expo, The Cast Are Dice and MidCon. While this definitely introduced me to a larger audience I also started being more honest with myself about the cost of attending conventions. In 2006 I paid for all the food, hotels and travel myself, only charging the business for convention fees and commissions. Last year I started charging everything to the company, and keeping track of how much the trip cost me / made me as a whole. The Expo was a clear winner, with a huge take, and a healthy profit after paying for fuel, hotel for The Wife, Dave and I and the convention fees (a whopping £75). The others all made me money, but not a huge amount. As a result I'm considering attending fewer conventions this year not more. But the most exciting one is obviously Essen in Germany, which I would really like to attend this year. There's not much point unless I've got a lot of stock though. The Expo is a cert, Essen and TCAD are likely. Others are possible, but unlikely.
I'm also hoping to be able to make a pretty big announcement in a few months time - keep your eyes peeled!