Tuesday, July 8

Belated June Report

I've been so busy over the last week or so that I've not had time to report on my progress in June. There was lots, plus a lot of game playing too. As usual I'll start with my game playing first.


June was a busy month for playing games. The Expo finished on the 1st of June, I managed to get to both Beyond Monopoly! and Hugo's GarforTTGamers, and I had Mal and Linz down one weekend, saw Mal, Linz & Robin another and finally Mal again for a Monday afternoon on his way home from Manchester. It saw Race for the Galaxy return to the top of my most played list, and a whole bunch of first plays:

It was good to get out Lord of the Rings again, though we were crushed both times. Carcassonne: The City was a present from Dunk for being Best Man at his wedding, as well as coming in a neat wooden box, it is also a pretty good game.

I also had a lot of single plays: Ave Caesar, Canal Mania, Cartagena, Confucius, Diamant, Dominion, Galaxy Trucker, Guillotine, It's Alive!, Mr. Jack, Pandemic, PitchCar, Puerto Rico, Star Wars PocketModel and TransEuropa. Of those Ave Caesar, Carcassonne: The City, Confucius, Dominion, Galaxy Trucker, Mr. Jack, Pandemic and Star Wars PocketModel were new to me. Best new game of the month is probably a toss up between Dominion and Pandemic. Dominion was just a prototype but it was a nice original game (very hyped at the moment). Pandemic is a co-op game (like Lord of the Rings) which is also very popular at the moment. I think Pandemic for the win, but more plays of a published Dominion might well up it's rating. It was great to get so much gaming in, especially with people I rarely see.


It was a good month for game design/publishing too. I got to play Carpe Astra with Eric Martin of Boardgame News, almost got It's Alive! to the printers and finally got around to playtesting a lot of my submissions.

It's Alive!

I got the last of the It's Alive! artwork back from the designer, and after some negative feedback here, got him to make a few changes to the box design. It's still less popular among Geeks than the old one, but I prefer it and I think it'll stand out on the shelf better. I got a quote I was happy with for manufacturing It's Alive! and almost sent it off to the printers (that slipped to early July). I also had a decent amount of interest from shops and distributors, still only a small fraction of the print run are spoken for, but I'm hoping that once a few shops start stocking it, word of mouth will do the rest.

Carpe Astra

I continued the never ending tale of tinkering with the Carpe Astra scoring, and at the end of the month came up with something that I think I'm happy with. I'm now making some more representative prototypes to send to a couple of playtest groups in the US. The new prototypes have been done of the computer so they look more professional than the hand-drawn effort I've been using, and they also have the flavour text on, which should help improve the immersion.

Codename: Ancient

I've finally dusted off this prototype (which didn't look like anything special) and fallen in love with it. It's been getting really good reviews wherever I play it too. The only slight problem is the designer is not replying to my emails - I don't know whether he's on holiday, ignoring me or the emails are being eaten by a spam filter somewhere.


I'm still going through the rest of my submissions, there's still some I haven't played yet, and some that some pretty good, but I'm not sure they're good enough. I'm looking for something fairly cheap to manufacture next (maybe a card game?) since with It's Alive! and Carpe Astra so close together I'm running up a lot of costs. Something cheaper next is definitely the order of the day, especially seeing as it will take a few months before I start recouping the costs for It's Alive! and Carpe Astra.


Tim said...

Are you looking for more U.S. playtesters? I have experience -- I was a credited playtester for Wealth of Nations.

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Tim,

Thanks very much for the offer. At the moment I'm limited by time and money (it costs a surprising amount to make a prototype on my A3 inkjet printer). As a result I'm not looking for extra playtesters for Carpe Astra, but in the future I may well want more playtesters for other games. So watch this space :-)



Tim said...

If you need me to simply print some cards or files, I can do that. Carpe Astra sounds interesting, and I'm especially interested in growing publishers, so please keep me in mind -- my username on the geek is GamesOnTheBrain.