Thursday, April 29

Au Revoir

As you will all know I've been finding things hard the last few months. Privately I've been agonising about what to do with the company. I had a game that was very nearly ready to go, but to go with it I would have needed another £15,000 or so in the company (in liquid asset form - i.e. cash). I've been leaning towards going back into IT work (full-time or part-time, contract or permanent) to earn some money not only to fund my personal life, but also to generate enough cash to fund my next game.

The other option that was floating round in my head was just to jack it all in and shut Reiver Games down. I've invested £13,290 of my own money in Reiver Games, and as things stand although my stock is worth more than that (at the price I paid, let alone an 'average' sale price), with all my money tied up in stock the company is not going anywhere. I've tried a whole bunch of things to try to drive sales but without cash to advertise heavily the sales have been pretty slow. Is it really worth throwing another huge wad of cash at the company and hoping I do things better with my next game?

I've decided: No, it's not. So I'm now officially winding Reiver Games down. As you can imagine I'm pretty gutted about this, but it's a hard market to succeed in, it's been a lousy couple of years economy-wise and I have to accept some responsibility and admit I'm not the guy who can make this happen.

What's next? I'm not sure. I've a lot of stock left (which I'm still paying to warehouse), and a bank loan to service. Some options are:

  • Sell the company on to someone with more business nous and a bigger wad of cash who can afford to advertise the games to drive sales and fund more products. I can't see this being that likely.
  • Sell a large amount of stock to a distributor/competitor and dispose of the rest.
  • Sell off what I can and bin the rest
  • Fire-sell what I've got

What to do? I really don't want to fire-sell the stock - the designers have entrusted me with their games and I want to them earn the rewards they deserve for their brilliant designs. Also, I really don't want to hurt those distributors and retailers who took a chance on buying my stock and have done a huge amount to support me. Undercutting them just to turn a quick buck feels like a really crappy thing to do. I'm going to be speaking to a few people in coming weeks to explore the options I have.

On a personal note I'm spending most of my time looking for paid work now, but I hope to post a few retrospective posts about what I feel went right and what went wrong. Consider them cautionary tales for those of you who would love to get into the gaming business.

I'd just like to take this moment to thank everyone who has supported Reiver Games over the last three and a half years - I definitely couldn't have done what I did without you. Thanks. Also, special thanks to my designers: Yehuda, Ted and Dirk. Thanks you trusting me with your designs - I'm sorry I couldn't make them as successful as they deserve to be.

On a final note, if you'd like to commiserate in person (or point and laugh) I'll be attending Beer and Pretzels in Burton on Trent in a few weeks.


Steve said...

Genuinely gutted.
If I win the lottery tomorrow I'll give you a call!

Paul said...

I am really sorry to see the end of Reiver.Good luck for the future

Mal said...

Man, that's really sad. So sorry it hasn't worked out. Oh for a wad of VC cash, eh?

Duncan said...

In a word, Shit.

Really sad to see the dream end this way. Will give you a call later.

Jack said...

Hiya guys,

Thanks for all your support along the way. It's been a blast and I've learnt a huge amount from my experiences.



Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about that Jack, hopefully it is just a hiatus and RG will be back after a few years break!

Sounds like you had fun while it lasted, which is the important thing of course!

Jack said...

Hiya Ben,

I did enjoy it, and thanks for your support.



SteveK said...

A tough decision. Good luck with whatever comes next. See you at B&P.

Jack said...

Hiya Steve,

Thanks - see you there.



Peer said...

Sad to see you go!
Good luck for the future - I keep my fingers crossed for your future endeavers (right word?) in the boardgame world!

Jack said...

Hallo Peer,

Vielen Dank! I wish you well too.



Michael Schmitt said...

I,m really sorry to hear about the end of Reiver Games. I have to thank you for your support in sending me your games for my café, the Spielwiese in Berlin. Good luck for your future, I hope you won`t get lost for the gamers world.
all the best,


Jack said...


Michael, Vielen Dank auch fuer Ihr Unterstuetzen.



Justus Rambaldi said...

Jack if you try negotiate licensing to produce the games outside of England.

Send-me a PVT I think something could be make about Summeria.

Try this Brazilian Company GROW they have capital and resources to produce Summeria.

Jack said...

Hiya Justus,

Please send me an email to jack at reivergames dot co dot uk

And I'll give you the details.



Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to read this, Jack, but of course you have to do what is best for you.
Good luck with your next steps - and with selling off the stock. I wish I had a way to make this better.

Jack said...

Hiya Melissa,

Thanks for your support. Hope you and Fraser are both well.



Dan said...

I'm really sorry to hear the news Jack. I still feel that this isn't the end - something good may still come of this.

Johan said...

Really sorry to hear the bad news Jack. Good luck with the wind-down and with finding employment.


Eric Hanuise said...

This is a sad day, indeed.
Best I can advise is to sell as much stock as possible to a distributor that'd be interested (if any).
Second option would be a web-retailer, it's a bit of a firesell, however they'll take the whole lot so only one transaction for you.
Last option is to keep going while stcks last, while setting up for your new job.
Anyway, best of luck to recoup your investments, and sorry for your loss.

Philip said...

I hate that this is how the story ends. You're truly been an inspiration to me! At least keep blogging! Best of luck to your future endeavors.

Mal said...

Dude, you know, at the end of all this you can look back with pride and say at least you gave it a damned good go. It's a great thing that you did too, as you've given hundreds, nay thousands, of gamers around the world a lot of fun.

I know you certainly did for me and I'm immensely proud and privileged to have been involved (even if in a very small and sporadic way) in your adventures. Frankly, I wish I'd had the same sized cojones in chasing my own dreams at times. So, don't feel too down. You've done yourself proud, mate.

Geoff said...

That really sucks, I own and enjoy Carpe Astra and have never been shy about throwing it out there as a recommendation to people. Good luck for the future.

Ryan said...

Hi Jack,

I'm really sorry about that. It's a tough industry. I am actually leaving the industry as well after spending a few years trying to make it as a board game artist. I don't know if you remember me, but we met when I was just starting at Essen 2008 (I had the post-nuclear war game). I had a few games (Bridge Troll, Chocolatl, New England Rails, Dominion Cards, Trollhalla). But I just can't support myself doing it, so I'll be moving on as well. But it sure taught me a lot! I wish you well in all your future endeavors! Good luck!

David said...

All I can say is that I wish you the very best for the future, and through my small exposure to the company I have developed a great amount of respect for both it and yourself.

Kevin said...

Good luck and God bless. I am sorry to hear about you having to close it down.

Todd said...

Jack- I've really enjoyed your blog and your games over the last few years. I'm sorry to see you had to give it up --but I think its something we all understand. I've been living vicariously though you and your blog and rooting for your success. Sumeria is a genuinely great game and I hope it sees a second edition some day. I hope I don't see your games on a liquidator like, though that is probably an option you are strongly considering. The good news is that if you go that way, lots of folks will be exposed to your games and get to play your games (though at a financial loss for you).

Good luck in winding down Reiver Games and in your upcoming new adventures.

Gregory Gunther said...

Sorry to see you have to give up the dream. Its seems like all the game blogs and dreamers are closing up shop recently. It's all so disheartening.

I still feel so naive and optimistic about the independent games industry, (I guess I am still just dreamer).

Everywhere you look on the Internet and Social media, the hype is talking about how now you can build a success by finding your niche, and sharing with your fans and audience. A small, creative independent designer or publisher, should be able to find their audience and make it. (If only we could get games produced at runs small enough to be profitable!) Argh!

Yet, it doesn't seem to be working that way with this industry. So frustrating.

Looking forward to your retrospective posts on your experience. Thanks for sharing your journey.

J said...

Well as a consolation prize, you have just decided which game I will buy next for myself! I am a casual gamer (and I had just found out about your games (T_T)), but I love to see these independent games be made. I hope you success in what ever you find! I will be buying "It's Alive" very soon.

Mike said...

Sad to hear of this development, Jack. Best wishes in your future plans, and who knows, maybe Reiver will just hibernate for a bit and emerge when the climate is a bit more hospitable.

Jack said...

Hey guys,

Sorry for the delay replying, I've been away for the long weekend.

Thanks once again for all the good wishes, it's great to know that so many people enjoy my games and wish me well.

Blogging will continue in a day or two, once I've gone to town on my suddenly obese inbox.



Tao said...

Sad to hear that Reiver Games has to shut down. Let me know if there's anything I can do.

FYI - as a retailer, we understand if you have to firesell. It happens sometimes, and it's not really your fault. Just part of doing business.

Ferdi said...

Sad news and bad news, Jack (we talked briefly in Essen last year), but congrats on taking such a tough decision.
A German saying is "Better an end with horror than a horror w/o an end!"
Good luck for your future!


Jack said...

Hiya Tao & Ferdi,

Thanks also for your support. At the moment I'm in discussion with a number of interested parties discussing the possibility of selling the company or it's stock. Fingers crossed.