Monday, September 21

Contract

Last week was rubbish. This one was better.

I've designed lots of games. Most of them are rubbish. Or broken. Or at best mediocre.

A few, I believe, have merit. I've invested my time, my effort and my money in self-publishing those. Self-publishing. It’s a bit of a vanity project isn’t it?

I've also signed and published other designers' games. Under contract. Games I felt were good enough to invest my time, effort and money in. Objectively. I didn’t have an emotional connection to them - these weren’t my babies.

US Army / Public Domain

I've never had a game published by someone else. Signed a contract with another publisher. Had someone decide my game was good enough for them to invest their time, effort and money in. Crossed that hurdle.

I'm not sure why that seems significant. But it does.

I've been publishing games since 2006. Six titles. Thousands of sales.

A few years ago a (non-industry) friend got a board game published. I was proud and happy for him.

And a tiny bit jealous.

This week I signed a contract. From a publisher. Might I cross that hurdle?

Monday, September 14

Nadir

I ran another board games publisher once. Reiver Games. It failed. Over weeks. And then months. And then fatally.

I spent those weeks and months a failure. Watching the bank loan repayments and warehousing bleeding my company dry. Unable to create the sales I needed to keep it alive. Each day despondent, trying ideas that didn't cost much, watching those ideas fail. The money seeping out week by week.

It hurt.


That's how last Wednesday felt too.

I love Kickstarter. Without it, FlickFleet wouldn't exist and Eurydice Games wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as it has been.

But I hate Kickstarter. The minute your campaign finishes, you're in debt. Way before you get the money, you owe hundreds (or thousands if you're lucky) of people. They've lent you their hard-earned cash. And you owe them. That weighs on me - I hate being in debt. What if I get hit by a bus? What if Paul's house burns down? 

Those debts weigh on me. I'm sure that's why we've fulfilled early until now. The weight of those debts pressing us to get the rewards out and the debts paid as fast as we can. I hate Kickstarter.  

Fulfilling early is unusual. We've done it twice. It has become part of our identity - the crazy guys who hand-craft games in their garage and fulfill early.

But a supplier let us down on Wednesday. The order was eight days late and when I finally got through to them, it was delayed until next month. We'd miss a deadline. 150 debts that we'd pay late. Not early.

It’s my fault really. I should have baked more slack into the project. I didn’t.

We've lost our identity. Now we're just crazy guys. Late like everyone else.

We told our backers Thursday, once we'd had a chance to explore some other options. They were very supportive. I love Kickstarter. The community it creates around your project. 

The ad went live on Wednesday too. It didn't lead to any sales either.

Monday, September 7

Serendipity

Sometimes you get lucky. 

Back in June I barely left the house because my MS made me vulnerable to COVID-19. Paul was laid up with it for three weeks. Our website was shut since we couldn’t ship anything. Oh, and the conventions we were hoping to sell our left-over stock at were all cancelled. 

Things looked bleak.

Then I saw a post on LinkedIn for advertising grants worth £3,000 for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

It took ten minutes to apply. I wrote them a sob story. All true of course.

And we won!

Our ad runs this week in the Metro newspaper in London and south-east England.

Never thought we'd do a print ad

I’ve no idea what to expect. It’s completely untargetted but they print over 400,000 copies. Four hundred. Thousand.

I’ve spent the week making some first edition stock in case we get some orders.