Wednesday, February 28

Publishing Progress

I've not been blogging as much recently in an effort to free up some time for construction and spending with The Wife. It doesn't help that my new job has been taking up more of my free time with overnight trips to London, Paris (this morning!) and San Francisco. However, I have been managing to make a reasonable amount of progress - I just haven't been reporting it very well.

Border Reivers construction has continued when I've been able to sneak some time. None the weekend before last, since my parents were visiting, but I had to take a day off work mid-week to get the car fixed, and I had some time on Sunday while The Wife went to work :-(. I'm also got to get a chance to do some last night while The Wife was visiting friends and I've got some time this morning before I go to get my train to Paris mid-morning. I've managed to get positive stock again, and I've nearly finished that last batch of five and started another. I've also been considering ways to advertise it better without spending any money. Paul suggested I contact a local magazine, which apparently helped some people in a similar position a few months ago. I've emailed them, we'll have to wait and see if they get back to me.

Codename: Monster is edging ever closer to the start line. The designer has posted me a signed contract, which all being well will arrive in a week or so, have to see how it goes. As soon as that arrives I need to start the artist off, as I'm hoping to have it ready for a convention, and timing is a bit tight.

Finally two other things. I still haven't got around to testing Dave's suggestion for Jorvik, though the idea has really re-invigorated me on Jorvik. I was feeling like it needed to be shelved, now I think it's got legs again. Also, I had an idea for a theme based on a series of books I'm reading, I know the sort of things I want in the game, now I just need to come up with some mechanics...

Tuesday, February 27

Session Report: Monday at Paul's

Last night I went round to Paul's for Monday night gaming and, for the first time, The Wife joined us - yay!

There was no Vin this week, but Lisa joined in and Greg and Spence made it so it was a full table. We started before Spence arrived, so we set up a 5-player game of Guillotine to get us in the mood. It seemed like my run of bad Guillotine luck (or ability) from the previous night was due to continue, as I struggled to get any valuable nobles. But it was good fun as ever, and the good company made up for my inability to behead the rich and famous. The Wife did remarkably well, storming through the bourgeoisie, and as a result stormed to an impressive victory. The final scores: The Wife 24, Lisa 18, Greg & Paul 16, me 14.

Spence arrived during Guillotine, so we had to choose a 6-player game next. Luckily Greg had brought Power Grid, so we broke that out and started explaining the rules to The Wife who was the only person not to have played it before. The Wife and I lagged a bit to begin with, no bad thing really as you get first access to the fuels and the connections, while Spence, Paul and Greg steamed ahead. Somewhere around the middle I thought I was in with a chance, but unfortunately I peeked too early. I connected to twelve cities when I could only power ten, and that put me first in the turn order for the final turn. The good news was that I was able to get the power plant I needed to power the fourteen cities needed to win the game. The bad news was that I was last to buy fuel and make connections and so I had to pay over the odds once everyone had tried to screw me. In the end I was four cash short of connecting to fourteen cities while Greg did it with plenty of cash to spare. Still it was a very close game, and I enjoyed it - I think Power Grid scales up to six surprisingly well. Final Scores: Greg 14, me 13 (24 cash), Spence 13 (22 cash), Paul 12 (105 cash), Lisa 12 (36 cash), The Wife 12 (22 cash).

Monday, February 26

Session Report: Dinner & Games at Paul's

Last night we went round to Paul and Lisa's for dinner, and both adult games (not as dodgy as it sounds) and kids games with their daughter, Ellie. After playing shop with Ellie and the most amazing toy cash register imaginable, a fantastic feast for dinner and bedtime stories we settled down to some adult games.

I'd brought Codename: Monster on the off chance someone would want to play it and both The Wife and Paul were keen. So we set it up and I explained the game to Lisa who hadn't played it before. The first game was won by Lisa, while the second was won by The Wife. Final scores: Lisa 51, The Wife 44, me 43, Paul 37 and The Wife 57, me 45, Paul 38, Lisa 34. In both cases the person who completed their set won, which is not always the case.

Next up was Carcassonne, The Wife was keen to play, both Paul and I consider it our favourite game and Lisa had never played with four and was keen to try a more populous game. We played vanilla Carcassonne, and with the official farmer scoring rules (I usually play the rules in my edition which are wacky and involve 4 points per). I got off to a very slow start (I was on 7 points about three-quarters of the way through the game), while the others raced ahead, with The Wife getting to 50 points before the final pieces were scored. Fortunately I acquitted myself much better in the final reckoning, but not well enough to win. Final scores: Paul & The Wife 59, me 56, Lisa 53.

We had time for a few more short games so we chose to introduce The Wife to Diamant and Guillotine - both favourites at Paul's Monday night games. First up was Diamant, which we played a couple of times. The Wife and I were scarily in tune - both running away fairly early to capitalise on left-over jewels, while Paul and Lisa both brazened it out to the bitter end. We had lots of runs during the two games where all five disasters came out very early on which makes for risky play. Final scores: Lisa 42, The Wife 39, Paul 35, me 25 and Paul 28, Lisa 23, The Wife and me 20. My tactics again fail to work for me. Must get some balls.

We ended the night with a couple of games of Guillotine. It was my destiny to get sorely creamed it seems. After failing to win a game all evening I was utterly lamped at Guillotine. Still, I really enjoyed it - that's my only real criterion for game quality, if I get crushed and still enjoy it's a good game. Final scores: Paul 27, Lisa 18, The Wife 17, me 9 and Paul 20, The Wife and Lisa 17, me 11.

It was a great evening - thanks Paul and Lisa.

Friday, February 23

Session Report: Dave At Mine

Last night Dave came round again for games. Due to being busy I'd not had time to learn the rules for any new games, so we stuck with some tried and tested favourites. Dave had recently bought Guillotine one of the favourites at Paul's Monday night games which he brought along with Carcassonne: The Castle which I had played a few times at Christmas. Dave also wanted to play Border Reivers again - yeay!

First up was Guillotine, a delightfully silly card game where you get to decapitate the French. I'd not played this 2-player before, and I wasn't even sure if it supported two players. Unfortunately Wizards of the Coast neglected to tell me on the box, so after much searching I had to check the rules. Two to five. Excellent. We played three games, I sneaked the first one, Dave creamed me in the second and then in the third I had a huge score (despite two -1 Martyrs and a -2 action card from Dave) and was convinced that I'd won, but Dave had equalled me to draw the game and the series. I'd collected the Piss Boy though, so I like to think I won the moral victory ;-) Final scores: Dave 23, me 25; then Dave 31, me 23; finally Dave 39, me 39.

Next up we played Border Reivers and due to a slack few days when it comes to construction I have no finished games and my copy is still missing loads of tiles as I've been raiding it for spares when I cock one up. So we played with my old prototype with nasty, lurid tiles, but lovely hand-scultped FIMO pieces. Dave won the toss and chose a central location for the mine, and feeling aggressive I went for the start location nearest to the mine and decided to contest it. I got to the mine first, but Dave built a couple of early towns and wrested the mine from me in fairly short order. I fought back, re-claiming the mine and building a Market to boost my income. Dave forced me out of the mine for a second time, so it was time to get medieval on his ass, and I went for cards and got my hands on an Insurrection (cue evil laugh: mwoa ha ha ha). After having just settled two towns and won the mine for a second time Dave was a little exposed, I knew he didn't have any hidden cards, so the Militia wasn't prepared to defend his city, so I went for it. My Insurrection came up trumps destroying his city in a blaze of glory and the tide had turned. Dave tried to save himself, pulling two armies back from the mine to upgrade one of his towns into a second city, but that left the mine with only one army defending it, and I managed to destroy that then his second (and only) city. It was a bit harsh to open up with the Insurrection, but I figured Dave had played recently and knew the risk of my hidden card. Hopefully I've not put him off the game :-) In hindsight, I think I would have left the mine in his position too, moving the one remaining army back to the tower or city where it would gain a numerical boost in combat at the expense of losing the mine. Dave had a reasonable amount of money at that stage, and would likely have rebuilt fairly quickly. Final result: I won my military victory.

We decided to round out the evening with a couple of quick games of Carcassonne : The Castle. Dave had played this before being introduced to vanilla Carcassonne, while I had only been introduced to it at Christmas. I really like this one, but it takes a completely different mindset from vanilla Carcassonne as the unfinished houses, towers and roads don't score at the end of the game. I won both games in the end, having done slightly better on the markets. Final scores: Dave 52, me 63; second game Dave 67, me 87.

Another great night of gameage. I'm really enjoying approximately one night a week of gaming either with Paul and chums or Dave. Next week hopefully it will be at Paul's as I'm off to Paris for work later in the week.

Wednesday, February 21

Reiver Games: The Plan

So in the comments of my last post Yehuda asked me about whether Border Reivers has made a profit and whether or not the business model is viable. Good questions, and not the sort I can really answer in the comments - so here is a full post dedicated to a full answer.


Short answer: Yes! Long Answer: Border Reivers has just broken even - including paying for the tools I bought which will last for more than one game. From now on most of the money I make from further Border Reivers sales will be profit, though there are still PayPal and BoardGameGeek fees to pay, and the glue for the tiles I buy as I need - and it's expensive. However the lion's share is now pure profit.

Viable Business Model

The above statement looks like it answers this question too, but it's not that simple. Currently I don't draw any wages from the company, so the company keeps it all. So as a hobby business it's definitely viable, providing I'm happy to spend a huge amount of my time working effectively for free the company will make a profit (assuming I keep publishing games that sell well). Since I own 100% of the company, I am really making money too, but I'm not taking any out. Is it a viable business model for full-time bread-winning? Nooo. I'm currently manufacturing the games largely by hand, which takes a phenominal amount of time, and drawing no salary. Even if I took all the profit as salary it would be a tiny fraction of my current full-time wage in my real job.

The Plan

So what is the plan? Well short-term it's to sell out of Border Reivers, which I'm making good progress on. Slightly longer term it is to publish more games in the same 'hand-made limited edition' way. This will gain me valuable experience in the marketplace and hopefully continue to grow the business in terms of capital. Hopefully soon I'll come across (or design myself) a game that sells so well in the limited edition phase that I feel confident enough to get a print run done professionally, which I can sell to distributors and shops/internet stores. Obviously I need to make more money before I reach that stage, as I currently don't have enough capital in the company to pay for a professional run (minimum 1000 copies really). What next, if I achieve all that? I don't know - we'll have to see how it goes.

In the meantime, if you'd like to contribute to my pipe-dream fund, please buy a copy of Border Reivers (or order a copy of Codename: Monster) for yourself, and one for each of your friends and family ;-p

Tuesday, February 20

Border Reivers Six Month Update

Well, I'm in London for work for a couple of days so this edition of Creation and Play is coming to you live from my hotel room.

I've been very busy with my new job and trying to get stuff ready for Codename: Monster, but in the background Border Reivers has been ticking along nicely. Last week Border Reivers turned six months old, so I thought I'd post an update on how things are going. Hopefully this will be of interest to someone...

I'm making a run of 100 copies of Border Reivers, but I've already given four copies away to people who've helped me, and judging by how it's going so far I'm likely to write off another four copies by clumsily cocking things up - as all the components are glued, and cut by hand there are a wealth of ways to make mistakes. This leaves me with 92 copies for sale from the print run. I'm still well ahead of schedule for selling out within a year (the goal I had set myself at the beginning), and since the free postage to America deal I did in January ahead of my trip to San Francisco sales are pretty steady at their pre-Christmas levels. I've had three or four weeks of steady sales now which is settling my nerves after the dry patch over Christmas.

Border Reivers has also been generating some content on BoardGameGeek, we've had another review (thanks, Dave!), some rules questions, a player guide and it's been added to a popular GeekList (thanks, Jeff!). This feels nice, as people are obviously interested in it. It's also received its lowest rating yet (4/10), so it's not all perfect, but even that wasn't very damning.

I thought people might be interested in a couple of graphs of sales breakdown. These are approximate, since I'm doing this from memory as all my records are at home but they'll be fairly accurate.

First up, sales breakdown by region:

As expected the vast majority of my sales have been to the UK - not surprising really, as I've only been to UK conventions and all my friends, family and colleagues live in the UK. Second comes North America despite the disastrous exchange rate. I've had a lot of interest from North America, but most of it loses interest fairly quickly when they see the price converted into dollars. I've only sold one copy to Europe, and that fairly recently to Germany, which surprises me. I thought I'd get more action from Europe, Germany especially since they're such big games fans. But I guess light, luck-heavy wargames aren't their thing. I've also sold a copy to New Zealand, which with the exception of the International Space Station is pretty much as far away as possible.

The second graph is a breakdown by sales channel:

Despite having only been to two conventions, one of which was pretty small, I've sold about an eighth of my total sales so far at conventions. I've more conventions lined up too, so hopefully I'll be able to maintain this in the future. Border Reivers seems to sell pretty well to people I've explained the game to and played with. Friends, family and work colleagues make up just under a quarter, bless them. These guys might not even play games, but they buy a copy just to help me out in my chosen dream. The BBC MindGames magazine review led to a single sale which was a little disappointing, but it was in America, which was a little bizarre. I added a fairly bland page to Wikipedia, which has led to three sales, tied to the Border Reivers historical page as it is. Eric Martin at BoardGameNews did a little piece on Border Reivers which also led to a handful of sales too. The rest of my sales (half!) come from BoardGameGeek, either directly or indirectly. So in total almost two-thirds of my sales are over the internet from people I've never met. Weird. And yet very cool.

That's enough - I'll not bore you any longer.

Monday, February 19

Codename: Monster Update

Here's a quick update on how things are going with Codename: Monster - my first submission from another designer.

Things have been very busy the last couple of weeks trying to get things organised for Monster. As I had said a while ago I was keen to have 'comic'-style artwork for the game (as it would suit the theme I had given the game perfectly). I contacted a local professional artist (Flameboy), and met him to show him the game. He was very helpful, and was keen to work on the project, but when push came to shove he needed to make a living doing this and was going to be a bit too expensive - more than my fledgling business could afford. However, The Wife (star that she is) suggested a friend of ours who is currently studying for a Illustration degree and used to be an artist for a computer games studio. He was also interested, and was significantly cheaper - plus the samples he sent me were fantastic. You can see some of his artwork at:

I've been aiming to release Monster at a forthcoming UK convention, and if I'm to do that I need to get cracking - trying to get everything ready in time. I can't start anything until I've got a contract in place - so I've been to-ing and fro-ing with the designer try to negotiate a contract we're both happy with.

We reached agreement last week, and on Saturday I posted two signed copies to the designer via airmail. Assuming nothing goes wrong, I should get one back in a couple of weeks time signed by him, and once that happens it's all systems go. I'll not make any official annoucements until then (mustn't count my chickens before they hatch), but hopefully you should hear something soon.

In other news, I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me play-test it so far, plus my parents placed the first order for it yesterday, as they were up visiting for the weekend. One down...

Thursday, February 15

Border Reivers Review

Hello all,

After months of putting it off, I was finally roped into a game of Border Reivers (you may have heard of it) on saturday night round at Jack's games night.

I'd heard a lot about BR and was a bit wary about playing it, however my concerns were unfounded (obviously) and I was impressed (really impressed). As such, I thought i'd throw a review onto Board Game Geek. You can find it here.

Great game Jack, really enjoyed it. Now, about those expansions...

Wednesday, February 14

Session Report: Paul's Games Night

Monday night I went round to Paul's for Monday night games for the first time in ages. Mt trip to San Francisco had got in the way of a couple and I think I'd missed the one before that too.

Not long after I arrived Spence and Greg got there, and seeing as Vin can be a little tardy we set up a quick 4-player game of Die Mauer. As it's out of print Paul had knocked together his own copy, so we played with that. It's a quick and simple game of bluffing and second-guessing. Each turn the current player chooses one of their remaining pieces to play. The other players have to guess what they played. All players reveal their choices simultaneously. If nobody chose the same piece as the current player, the current player adds their chosen piece to either end of a wall that the players are building jointly in the middle of the table. If someone else chose the same piece they get to play instead. The winner is the first to run out of pieces. It's slightly more complicated that that, but not much. I enjoyed this one - good fun with enough variables to make the guessing interesting - I can see why Paul wanted his own copy. Final Scores: Spence 0, me 5, Paul 6 and Greg 26.

With no sign of Vin, we decided to play our perennial filler: Guillotine. It's chaotic, and there's very little strategy involved but I still really enjoy this one, the humour, the illustration and the speed all combine to make a really fun game. I didn't have many good cards during the game but I still managed to off King Louis and in the very last turn I got the Master Spy too, which was enough to force a draw: Spence 20, me 20, with Greg and Paul scoring 17 & 16 (though I'm not sure which scored which!).

Vin arrived during Guillotine, so the final game of the night was destined to be a 5-player, and we opted for Alhambra Dirk Henn's game of building gardens set in the medieval Moorish palace. I've played this once before at Paul's and was crushed - I just couldn't get to grips with getting the cards I needed to buy the high-scoring tiles. Once again I suffered, I managed to get an almost-monopoly on the lowest scoring Blue tiles, but could never afford the highest scoring purple and green ones. Right from the off I was lagging behind, and it was only my decent wall-length that earnt me the ignominious title of joint loser!

It was a great evening, the humour was fullsome and coarse, the games were fun and I joint won one - so a good night all in all.

Monday, February 12

Session Report: My Games Night

On Saturday I hosted another games night at my house. We seem to have got a good list of attendees, as even with a few last minute cancellations we still had plenty of people for games.

Karen and Jochen were the first to arrive, and while we were waiting for others to arrive we started a game of vanilla Carcassonne. I usually get stuck into the farming early on, but this time I didn't and as expected the fields all filled up quite quickly. In my experience the farming is claimed very quickly, especially with more players, and once I was a couple of meeples behind I couldn't be bothered to get into the escalation game of continually raising the number of farmers you've got. Karen and Jochen both farmed quite hard, with Karen left without meeples to place on a few occasions later in the game. I did quite well with cloisters, and alright with cities, but come the end the farmers carried it with Karen winning, Jochen coming second, me third and The Wife last.

While we played Carcasonne, Dave and Pip had arrived, and they had a quick game of Lost Cities while waiting for a few others to arrive. After we'd finished Carcassonne, we set up a game of Ticket to Ride, which I'm beginning to lose a bit of interest in. I loved it the first time I played, and I've played it a lot since, but now it's beginning to pale on me - I'm not sure why. Anyway Karen, Jochen and The Wife were keen, so we set it up. I chose to keep two of my initial tickets (Los Angeles - Miami and Portland - Phoenix), and started trying to connect along the bottom of the map. The Wife and I fought a bit, firstly with me blocking a route she needed, and then she returned the favour. I got both routes completed by about two-thirds of the way through the game, and at around this point both Karen and Jochen went for extra tickets. Karen and The Wife were competing over the longest route, while I was just trying to claim some of the longer sections for the extra points. I managed to end the game, and I'd caught everyone by surprise, so they weren't really able to use their last turns effectively. In the end I won, since I'd managed to sneak the longest route, and I'd completed two expensive tickets. Karen and Jochen cames second and third, with The Wife bringing up the rear. This wasn't like her at all - she usually trounces me!

While we'd been playing Ticket to Ride, Paul and Rebecca had arrived and played Carcassonne with Dave and Pip, and now we were all finished we swapped around a bit. Dave and Paul wanted to play Border Reivers, so we set that up, while The Wife requested Codename: Monster, so the others played that 5-player.

Border Reivers started off badly for me with Dave winning a free army on his first turn, and then choosing not to spend money on reinforcements. I spent heavily (as is my usual strategy) and was largely unsuccessful at the beginning. Dave managed to get the mine, while Paul fortified his area of the board. I found myself in a position that several people have emailed me about - how to beat someone who saves rather than spends. I've always maintained that a saver is vulnerable to a spender as the spender will get more reinforcements and can attack with cards and armies. Which I did. I attacked Dave at the mine and managed to wrest it from him, and simultaneously used Insurrection to attack one of his cities. With Dave on the back foot I started looking North to Paul. Paul had been spending too, though he was less lucky on the dice rolls, so I didn't have to worry so much about him from an economic victory point of view. I started saving, and attacked Paul's border forcing him to spend more. In the end I won an ecomonic victory. The boys seemed to enjoy the game too.

With the other table all gamed out, we pinched Monster back, and played a couple of games of that, with Paul winning both.

Another successful games night!

Sunday, February 11

It Had To Happen Sooner Or Later

Border Reivers has got its first overtly negative rating/comment on BoardGameGeek. The guy gave it four out of ten, and said it had too much luck and churning for his tastes. I've no idea what churning is, but the luck is a fair cop, so if he doesn't like that in a game he'll not enjoy Border Reivers.

I'm surprised how long it has taken to get a really negative rating (previously everything was six and above), as it's not to everyone's tastes, but at least the comment wasn't unpleasant or bitchy. I'm sure I'll get one of those sooner or later, but there you go. Border Reivers now has sixteen ratings, just over halfway to the thirty needed to become ranked. I hope I make that far, despite the limited number of copies available.

Saturday, February 10

Good News Everyone!

When I started out making Border Reivers I set myself the goal of selling the entire print run of one hundred copies within a year. I had no idea whether or not this was possible, but it seemed like a reasonable goal. More recently I've set myself a second goal - to break even before the end of the UK financial year (April 6th), so that I can say that Reiver Games has been profitable in its first year.

With any luck I'll break even in the next couple of days, I've an outstanding order that will do it :-) That doesn't mean that everything I sell from now on is pure profit, as there are still outstanding things to buy such as glue. However, I am now well on course for selling out by August 12th (the one year anniversary) and for getting enough money together to publish another game. Of course, I don't actually pay myself for all the hours I put in either - so it's still not a viable full-time business.

In other news, The Wife suggested I contact one of our joint friends about doing the artwork for Codename: Monster. I'd forgotten he was artistic, and it hadn't crossed my mind to contact him about the job. I did, and he sent me some sample artwork which is great, I'm going to phone him to go through the details a bit more this weekend.

Finally, I'm going to have another games night tonight, so a session report will follow in a day or two.

Wednesday, February 7

Session Report: Games At Dave's

I went round to Dave's again for games this evening. Dave had suggested Memoir '44, Pirates of the Spanish Main and Codename: Monster. I got there a little late and had to leave fairly early, but we had time to play another Memoir '44 scenario where the Allies parachute into a small town from both sides, and one game of Pirates.

I started playing the Memoir '44 scenario as the allies, and I was sorely trounced by Dave's single unit of armour on my right flank. I tried to stay away from the armour, but Dave chased me down one unit at a time and slaughtered me. It was ugly. Fortunately, we were going to play it the other way round, and this time I'd have the armour :-). Didn't help much. Dave ganged up on my armour and destroyed them in fairly short order. It didn't help that I had four cards, three of which were for the centre, where I had no troops after the first turn or two. At one point I even had four cards for the centre and I had to discard one to get something useful. Dave creamed me again, a convincing win for him.

Next up was Pirates, and I was keen to redeem myself. We played a thirty point battle, Dave choosing a bunch of crew and three ships, while I picked two three-masters, a single mast ship and a Captain. Dave started first and came for me with two ships and went for an island with the third. I went for the other island near Dave with my biggest ship, and for another island with my other big ship. My single mast ship sailed in support for the one going near Dave. I managed to pick up treasure from the nearest island to me, and then drop it off at my home island and bring my Captained ship to bear. In the meantime I had collected the gold from the island nearest Dave and sunk his smallest ship using the big ship and the little one-mast one. Dave brought his larger ship over, and sent his other back to base to unload and then come and help. Fortunately for me, I now had a Captained ship (allowing me to move and shoot in a single turn) and my small ship to attack his nearest ship and provide cover for the big ship who managed to pick up another island's worth of treasure and drop it off at my home island winning the game. But not before I'd sunk another of Dave's ships. Ah sweet, sweet revenge.

It was even better as I'm reading a lot of the Aubrey/Maturin series of books by Patrick O'Brien at the moment, about the Napoleonic wars - it really makes the game better as I've got a really good sense of what it would be like to fight such battles.

All in all another good night of gaming, I'm enjoying Memoir '44, and it was nice to break out Pirates which I'd not played for ages. It was a shame I had to leave early, and we didn't get to play Monster, but there'll be another time...

In other news I sent a draft contract to the designer of Monster, and the haggling has begun...

Tuesday, February 6

Dave's Faves

I’ve been quite lucky recently with regards to gaming. Unfortunately I can’t make it to Beyond Monopoly! as often as I’d like due to family commitments, so my gaming opportunities have been limited. I’m also a tree-hugging hippy without a car, so travelling the country seeking out other games clubs and gaming buddies is beyond me. Fortunately, with being able to get round to Jack’s and taking games into work, the last couple of months have been good.

So what games have hit the tables and what are my current favourites? Well firstly, the big one has to be Memoir '44. After lending this to a friend at work to give him some Christmas ideas for his son it has become a lunchtime classic. My friend said he loved the game and we soon found ourselves playing a quick game over sandwiches. We keep track of victories and I’m sad to say that I’m not currently in the lead…

As mentioned in this blog a couple of days ago, I managed to introduce Jack to Memoir ‘44 last week and he seemed to enjoy it. We also had a copy of the game set up at Vapnartak over the weekend, which proved popular as it drew in wargamers young and old and even non-gamers seemed impressed by the look of the game. This is a real winner and a good investment. The only drawbacks I find with the game are that it is, primarily, a two-player, so you can end up being a bit antisocial if you bring it out at a games night. Another downside of the game is that it seems to have been superseded by Battlelore which has just been released and uses the same mechanics but in a fantasy setting and with some extra rules. Don’t let this put you off though, Memoir ’44 still remains a fun, solid game with plenty of replay value.

Next on my list of big-games is Space Hulk, Jack has reviewed our sessions of this over the last few weeks so I’d recommend reading those. I really, really enjoy this game, to me it represents the Golden Era of Games Workshop. GW seem to suffer from a lot of criticism at present for various things, but their back catalogue of games is incredible and some of them are as close to perfect as you can get. My copy of Space Hulk was bought on ebay and wasn’t cheap, but I think it was money well spent and it’s definitely something I’ll be playing for years to come.

What does the future hold? Well, there has been talk of a few games of Necromunda, which I like because of the campaing system which lets your gang grow over time. I’ll be posting some Necro related news in the next couple of weeks, so look out for that.

I’m also trading a few of my old games at the moment so I’ve got some new games in the post. I won’t tell what they are yet, but expect some session reports.

Until next time, all the best and happy gaming.

Monday, February 5

The return of me

Evening all, I'm back to this fine Blog in 2007 with intruiging news. Firstly, ny game Tour got it's 'release' with me working through the pre-order list, making the games, sticking my fingers together, cutting into my table with my craft knife and stressing out 'til the early hours. Fun fun. Still, those who have bought it so far seem to enjoy it, even if those they introduce it to have so far been less enamoured. The continuous theme is that the game is an accurate representation of the tactics of pro cycling - but if that sounds horribly boring to you, I'd imagine the game may not be as enjoyable as for people who love that kinda thing. Still, it's all good, although every negative comment about the game I love is like a knife TO MY HEART! If there are reasons for negative comments though I like to hear them! However, let's do a check. At this moment Border Reivers: 6.80...... Tour: 6.86....... 1-0 to the Hamster! *dances* No time to rest on my slightly dishevelled laurels though. My next game is currently titled "Alive & Kicking" and is based on the movie/novel/manga Battle Royale which had 40 school kids sent to an island to kill eachother until only 1 remained. As macabre as it sounds it's a delicious concept for a game. I'm approaching it in a Bang! style with up to 14 players (ugh) or as few as 6 each taking one of the characters in this 'different' version, as well as taking one of 14 weapons and moving around the island, killing and surviving until they're the last remaining. The can either go it alone, or can make alliances with eachother around the table to work together to make sure they're the last two left etc. My aim is for it to be a fun late night party game and as it's card based it'll be cheaper for me to produce (and easier! Huzzah!) Also, a friend of mine has a girlfriend who is an excellent artist, mostly manga-style based and she's agreed to do the graphics for me in exchange for a percentage of profits so that's all good. Big up to her!

Sunday, February 4

Busy Weekend Again

The Wife was away this weekend, so I've been amusing myself. I went up to Newcastle after work on Friday to hang out with my old work mates which was great, and then on Saturday morning before heading back, I played a couple of games of Codename:Monster with Linz (who really got into the spirit of the auctioning) and Mal who had played before. They both enjoyed it, and I'm still pretty keen to publish it, here's hoping I can jump through the last few hoops and get enough cash together to make a go of it.

A couple of people have recently mentioned to me that they think Reiver Games would make a good investment, and while I think I'm a bit too green to be messing around with other people's money I'm flattered that they think I'm not.

After getting back from Newcastle on Saturday afternoon, I spent lots of time on more Border Reivers construction. After the rush of sales the week before I went to San Francisco I'd fallen behind on construction, and this was coupled with receiving a couple more sales on the weekend - I had three outstanding orders and no completed stock. I spent a while making decks of cards and then went round to a friend's house to do some more tile-gluing in their garage. When I got back I did some more decks of cards until about one in the morning.

Today I've been to Vapnartak a local wargames convention. Though not selling Border Reivers sadly. After my initial attempts to sell without paying for a trader's stall were rebuffed, my later requests, with different ideas were ignored. So instead I went along to help my local games club Beyond Monopoly out. We had five tables with a mixture of displays of games and their boxes and participation games. We seemed to garner a lot of interest despite not being heavily into wargames, so that was a day well spent. On returning home I've been doing more construction: finishing off the decks of cards, labelling boxes and cutting out tiles. By the time I call it a night tonight I hope to have the three outstanding orders completed, and just the tiles to do on the remaining three copies of the six copy batch I started two or three weeks ago.

And, as if all that games-related goodness wasn't enough, Dave has had a cracking idea to help reduce the two-people-playing-two-separate-games problem I'm experiencing with Codename: Jorvik. I'm really enthused about it, and I'm now keen to make another prototype and start testing it out.

Saturday, February 3

January Report

Another mixed month. It got off to a great start, playing games with the in-laws over my extended Christmas holiday, and building up quite a stock of Border Reivers (I took a bunch of copies with me to do the tile-cutting down in Bristol). From a playing point of view it continued well, I got a trip to Beyond Monopoly in, went round to Paul's and Dave's for games, had Mal down for a weekend and hosted a games night at mine. From a creation point of view it was mixed, I've not touched Jorvik, Sennon or Artist really since the holidays, I've made some decent progress on Monster, and had an excellent week of Border Reivers sales after a slow start to the month.


I had a good month of playing games, I played loads including quite a few new ones. At Paul's games night I was introduced to Falling an utterly chaotic game in which you have to play certain cards quickly on yourself and the other players, in a bid to be the last to hit the ground. Despite the madness of it all we played six games that night, so it was a bit of a hit. I went round to Dave's for games as well, and Dave introduced me to Memoir '44 (which I'd seen played loads of times before, but I'd never played myself. This one was good fun - nice and strategic, but with a healthy dose of luck and a quick play time. I definitely enjoyed it. That night we also played Railway Rivals a game where you draw your railway routes on a wipe-off board with a felt-tip pen. It was an interesting change from the handfull of other railway games I've played, and I like the two stages - build and then race. Also new to me in January was Villa Paletti, a very colourful dexterity game with some similarities to Jenga. My favourite new game was Memoir '44 I think, I really liked the speed and balance of strategy and luck. I can see why the Battlelore spin-off is generating so much interest.

The games I played the most this month are Pitch Car again, my new game which is getting a lot of table time, and Carcassonne (an old favourite).

The final breakdown is:

And one each of: Railway Rivals and Diamant.

I still haven't managed to play Canal Mania, Space Dealer or Die Saulen Der Erde, maybe this month...


It's been a mixed month on the game creation front, some ups and downs, and some games I didn't do anything at all on. My new job at work involves a fair bit of travel, so I've had less time available.

Border Reivers

After a good start getting a load of tiles cut out in Bristol, I had a few quiet weeks of no sales and very little construction. That all changed when I offered free shipping to America for a limited number of people, racking up five sales in twelve hours - equalling my best ever week of sales at a convention! I went on to sell a few more copies that week setting a new record of eight. It's generating a bit more content on The Geek now, which is nice.


It's been a good month for Monster, I've been trying to price up components to see how much it would cost to make, and I'm strongly considering making a run of 300 copies. I've spoken to an artist about getting the artwork done, and started drafting a contract to offer the designer. I've played it now with up to five players and it still seems to work, but the designer played it with six and didn't like it, so I'm going to reduce the components and limit it to five players. Hopefully I'll have some news in a month or two...


I played Artist with Mal when he came down and I've got some ideas to improve it - I just need to find some time to make a new prototype.

Sennon & Jorvik

No progress on either of these this month.

This month I'd like to nail stuff down on Monster, and make a decision on whether or not to publish it, and I hope for another good month of sales on Border Reivers, building on January's strong sales.