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.

Monday, April 19

Crowdsourcing Support

Since I announced the sad news that I'm going to have to go back into IT to pay the bills (Reiver Games hasn't reached that point yet, and doesn't look like it will any time soon), I've had lots of contact from gamers, friends and customers wishing me well and even offering support/help.

This got me thinking. If there's people out there who are interested in helping what could they do that would actually help Reiver Games get off the ground? The obvious answer is to buy one of my games, either from a local or web retailer (which will probably be cheaper for you and encourage them to buy more stock from their distributor) or take advantage of free shipping and a bundle deal when buying from my website. However, money is tight in the current economic climate, and many of the people offering support already own my games, so here are a few more ideas I came up with:

Already got my games and want to help?

  • Play them with friends you think might like them
  • Take them to conventions/games nights and get them to the table
  • Offer to demo them in a local shop
  • Get one as a Christmas/birthday present for a friend or family member you think would like it
  • Write a review or a session report of one of my games on BoardGameGeek

Don't yet have any of my games?

  • Ask a friend to bring a copy to games night/a convention
  • Ask your local store to carry my games
  • Read the rules to It's Alive!, Carpe Astra or Sumeria on my website - anything take your fancy?
  • Recommend one of my games to a friend who you think might like it

Once again, thanks to everyone who has supported Reiver Games over the last three and a half years, and for your recent messages of support - they help!

If you've got any more ideas please let me know in the comments.