In 2004 I was a hobby games designer. In 2006 I became a hobby board game publisher. In 2008 I became a (bad!) professional board game publisher. In 2011 I was a failed entrepreneur and really didn't feel like designing games any more.
When I had the idea of Codename: Vacuum at the end of 2012 I started my second incarnation as a hobby games designer. And that's where I stayed for nearly three years.
My Reiver Games failure hung over me, so I've been in no rush to get back into publishing. I know just how much hard work goes into hobby publishing (hand-made Border Reivers-stylee) and how many copies you've got to make and sell to be successful in the professional arena. Also, my confidence took a bad knock: games I thought would sell really well didn't sell and the game I had designed personally was the weakest of the games I published as Reiver Games.
So for the last two and a half years I've been a hobby games designer and nothing more. That's been fun, and I've now got a great support network in the form of Newcastle Playtest. All this time my games have been slowly developing. I've been keen not to rush into publishing again with a sub-par game.
This year's goal of hobby publishing a game is finally starting to take shape and once again I'm starting to feel like a publisher (albeit a hobby self-publisher). Rather than designing the games or doing the basic graphic design required for a prototype, I'm starting to think in terms of production.
This weekend I've made a new prototype of Zombology, trialing a net for a wrap around box label (currently just a white sheet - no art at all).
I'm also working out how best to arrange things on sheets of paper to minimise printing costs. I've got a quality bar that I want to stick to (as good as Border Reivers), and depending on cost I'm going to have to choose a print-run size based on where the economies of scale make it affordable.
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again!