Monday, October 18

Cadence

As I mentioned last week, I’ve hardly done any playtesting since the pandemic began.

A little with Daughter the First at the beginning.

A couple of times with Paul when we were able to meet up.

To get a game ready in a sensible amount of time you need a decent cadence through this cycle:
Make stuff!

Before the pandemic I had monthly playtesting meetups and ad-hoc playtesting at lunchtime at work.

So at least once a month through the cycle.

During the last eighteen months it's sometimes been 6-9 months. 

And other things have just languished at the ideas stage.

That's too slow.

We're on the clock now.

Last week I tested three new designs with a couple of mates.

They need work.

I've got some decent ideas.

I'm making those changes now.

We're going to reconvene in 2-3 weeks.

I'm speeding up...

Monday, October 11

Mojo

I’ve struggled during the pandemic.

With games design.

I hate playing games solo.

And solo playtesting.

My games aren’t a good fit for Tabletop Simulator.

I lost my mojo.

My game design almost ground to a halt. Barely ticking over.

We’re starting to see the other side.

I’m vaccinated, careful, regularly masked and regularly test myself.

So I’m starting to do things again.

And with it, my mojo is returning.

I’ve made progress on three different designs in the last couple of weeks.

The pencils are to make changes!

To the playtesting table!

Monday, October 4

Three!

Eurydice Games Ltd. was incorporated three years ago.

I ran it on my own for a year before that.

It’s going well.


Need to fill in those outstanding orders!

It would have been better if it wasn’t for Brexit derailing the Kickstarter fulfilment.

But the orders we’ve still got to fulfill are enough to make next year better still.

Many of you will know this ain’t my first rodeo.

Reiver Games was my first publishing company.

That started well too.

Then went rapidly downhill.

Doing better than green!

We’re doing better this time.

Thanks Paul!

Monday, September 27

Manifestation

A heat haze forms. Yet it is not that warm on this late September afternoon in Germany.

The air begins to bubble. Then boil.

An eldritch scream. The air is rent asunder. A Lost One manifests in this reality.

Normality returns.

Photo by Brandable Box @brandablebox Unsplash

It appears an unassuming box. It’s cardboard exterior looks ordinary. Pedestrian even.

Within, it seethes. Phenomenal cosmic power. Waiting to wreak destruction on an interplanetary scale.

It moves. Slowly at first. Then gathering pace. It takes off. Speeding through the sky as it approaches the nexus.

The nexus: North Yorkshire, UK. Calm. Peaceful. 

The box approaches. Soon it will burst. Spewing conflict and interstellar war across the globe.

The box has arrived at our supplier in Germany and is on its way back to us again.

Kickstarter fulfilment is near.

Monday, September 20

Frustration

The box that’s stopping us fulfilling the Kickstarter has spent two weeks in a depot in Germany.

Why?

I guess returns aren’t a priority.

The supplier has chased it with DHL.

Still no movement.

This is all so galling.

Before Brexit this would have just been delivered.

In a couple of days.

Job done.

It all went wrong when we didn’t receive a letter telling us there were customs due.

So we didn’t know it was waiting for us.

Now we’re waiting for it.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

At least Paul’s now finished cutting the deluxe rewards.

So things will move quickly when it gets here.

For now, the wait is on.

When will it get here?

Soon I hope.

Monday, September 13

Development

I’m still chasing the package we’re trying to get redelivered. 

It’s currently in a depot in Germany.

I’m also still automating things.

There’s a joy in watching a task that would have taken you hours get completed in seconds.

There’s a few more things I’d like it to do:
  • import a Kickstarter spreadsheet, 
  • import and match up a Gamefound spreadsheet,
  • build a fulfilment spreadsheet from those,
  • import the latest fulfilment spreadsheet,
  • update the accounts.

Some of those are more urgent than others.

Once this is done it should free up a lot of my limited time.

Time I can spend on game design. Website improvements. Preparing for our next Kickstarter.

I’m looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, Paul is still running the laser-cutter into the ground. Cutting the deluxe rewards. 

That’s a big fleet!

Bagging what he can with the wooden bits we now have. 

But almost nothing can be shipped until that third parcel comes back…

Monday, September 6

Family

Didn’t get a huge amount done this week.

Some progress on automating things.

A lot of fighting to find out where the last two packages we need for fulfilment are.

We’ve got one of them now, the other has gone back to Germany!

We’ll hopefully get it back soon.

We also had my sister-in-law and her husband visiting for the weekend.

Was great to see them.

And play some games.

New cards!
Even did a little playtesting :)

Monday, August 30

Cross-Check


They took about two minutes to generate almost 250.

They would have taken me about five minutes each to do manually. 

So 12 hours saved. Or 6-12 evenings. Or two to six weeks.

The program took a few days to write, but will continue to pay dividends for years to come I hope.

I also used it as an opportunity to check things. Got the program to double check everything added up right.

Found a couple of transcription errors.

Things that backers wouldn’t have got. Then had to be corrected. At our expense. 

Would have been a crap customer experience too.

Very glad I wrote the program.

Monday, August 23

Repetition

I’m trained as a Software Engineer. 

It was my day job until 2015 and then part of my day job 2019-2020.

It means I have the skills (though rusty!) to write computer programs. To automate tasks I spend months on.

There’s a saying that if you repeat a task you should automate it.

Every time we go to Kickstarter I spent months massaging data from one spreadsheet to another. 

Kickstarter backers and Gamefound orders together. Into the format Paul prefers for fulfilment.

Then from there into invoices.

I’m automating the invoice creation at the moment.

Should have done this years ago.

Would have saved a boat-load of time.

Time I could have spent on game design, graphic design or something else worthwhile.

I’m an idiot.

Monday, August 16

Four

I started Eurydice Games four years ago.

To self-publish hand-made games.

Specifically not to go to Kickstarter.

Or mess up like I did last time. To learn from my mistakes.

Things have changed!

Paul joined and we formed a limited company a year later.

We’ve been to Kickstarter four times, each more successful than the last.

This year is already our most successful ever, and we’ve a lot of games we hope to ship in the next six weeks.

Things are changing further.

Paul is going to be employed by Eurydice Games from September.

And earn a salary.

I never managed that with Reiver Games.

I really hope we can continue to be successful enough to support Paul.

Here’s hoping year 5 is a good one!

Monday, August 9

Return

Today we’re driving back to the North.

I’ve a bunch of housekeeping tasks to do on my return.

And then the invoices. Still thinking if I can somehow automate that process to save time in the long run.

Next up after that is Xeno Wars. And Coalescence.

And we need a better web shop setup. Our current one is pants.

We’re starting to pay Paul from next month. We need the website to support sales between Kickstarters - not to hinder them.

We also need to get the next Kickstarters lined up ready to go.

Monday, August 2

Absent

I’m away.

Relaxing.

Seeing some family for the first time in 18 months.

Seeing my 9 month old niece for the first time.

See you in a bit!

Monday, July 26

Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about time.

How I spend my time after a Kickstarter.

Working out material quantities, ordering and chasing orders.

Then months of spreadsheets.

Combining the Kickstarter export with the Gamefound export.

Cross-reference with the accounts.

Double-checking everything.

Then writing the invoices. Using that collated information.

There’s got to be a better way.

My time would be better spent designing games and doing graphic design.

I’m thinking about databases.

Maybe I can spend a bunch of time now setting something up which will save me a lot of time in the future?

Monday, July 19

Relief

And breathe.

It’s been a stressful couple of weeks.

There’s only two outstanding orders for the Kickstarter fulfilment: boxes and wooden bits.

The boxes are pootling on, we’ve received proofs approved them and the full order arrives on Wednesday.

The wooden bits were all that was left.

They were due this week, so a couple of weeks ago I sent them and email checking it was all ok.

“We’re having difficulty getting time on the machines”, I was told - it would be late.

“How late?”, I enquired.

A different question was answered.

We’ve got 200-odd rewards to ship by the end of September. Paul’s planning a two-week holiday. There’s loads to cut, bag and box.

Are we delayed a week (no problem), a month (tight) or a quarter (deadlines missed) I wondered?

It took two weeks to get an answer to the questions.

I worried.

Our unusual business model means we’re insulated from the shipping chaos that’s stressing out every other publisher. It means we’re often able to hit our deadlines.

Nearly 400 people have entrusted us with tens of thousands of pounds of their hard earned cash.

I didn’t want to break that trust.

Fail them.

I found out on Wednesday they are delayed a couple of weeks.

Not a problem.

And relax.

Breathe.

A weight lifted.


Monday, July 12

Personal

This has been a week of two halves.

Like a football match.

During the weekday evenings I was populating the fulfilment spreadsheet.

It’s slow work.

Especially for the deluxe backers because I email them to see if they want their boxes personalised.

It’s worth it.

Some of their choices are very entertaining.

On the weekend I put that to one side.

Paul and his family visited for the weekend.

First time since Feb 2020.

We hung out. Played games. Playtested Coalescence and schemed about Xeno Wars.

It was great.

Oh, and there was some football on too.


Monday, July 5

Opportunities

It’s been an interesting week.

Thanks to the amazing success of our last Kickstarter, we might be able to employ Paul now that his day job contract is coming to an end.

Money will be tight though.

We came up with an idea to help with that.


Can we generate enough extra pledges to pay Paul and fund the next Kickstarter?

Can we get the next Kickstarter ready in time - before we run out of money?

We’ve also been offered some potential free business support.

Experienced entrepreneurs giving us free advice.

We just need to make an interesting pitch.

And see if we get any interest from people we like.

Monday, June 28

Words

This week is a week of words.

We do a Kickstarter update at the end of each month.

And it’s quarterly email newsletter time.

Those last two ought to be different.

And I’m on to filling out the fulfilment spreadsheet, so lots of emails to deluxe backers asking if they’d like their copies personalised. 244 orders left to add to the spreadsheet.

Time to break out the pen and ink. 

Monday, June 21

Change Gear

I've spent the last month or more doing graphic design and placing orders.

The Box of Flicks 2 rules. And then dashboards.

Both much bigger jobs than I had expected.

A new box.

I've even re-done the Box of Flicks 1 rules (just added a components section and some ship rules that were in the Expansion, but not included in Box of Flicks 1).

It's been time consuming.

I'm placing the final order for materials today. Then everything is in flight.

There's only four orders outstanding, and I'm expecting two of those to arrive within a week.

The next thing for me is completing the fulfilment spreadsheet so Paul can ship stuff and then catching up on the bookkeeping.

Paul has been doing the cutting files and getting his tools together for fulfilment.

We've also had to order a replacement tube for the laser-cutter, which an engineer is fitting as part of a service this week.

Then Paul can start cutting in earnest (he can't do any fulfilment until the boxes and wooden bits arrive next month). 

Busy, busy...

Monday, June 14

Tired

It’s been an intense week.

I started a new job on Monday. The first in ten years where I didn’t know most of the staff on arrival.

Mum and Dad have been here all week for the first time in 21 months.

I’ve been staying up late chatting to Mum in the evenings.

It was my birthday too.

Around all of that I managed to send out the Print and Play rewards on Monday (a week late).

And place the last two acrylic orders.

And the penultimate print order.

And check the proofs for that and find yet more things that needed fixing (it had been proofed three times before!).

Next up is a little bit of graphic design tweaking the last print order. Placing and checking that.

Then the next big task is filling in the fulfilment spreadsheet that Paul works from and writing the 220 invoices I need to do from May and June.

There is no peace!

Monday, June 7

The Cusp

The last week has mostly been spent relaxing.

Three days in the woods and then a couple of days at home.

Recharging my batteries.

I needed it.

I’d been burning the candle at both ends for a few weeks.

The Box of Flicks 2 rules are done now and with the editor.

My almost three weeks off work are done now.

New job started today.

I can slow down a bit now - I’ve just got a few last orders to place and then everything is in flight.

Monday, May 31

Feelings

This week has been one of emotional highs and lows.

I’m in the middle of almost three weeks between day jobs so I’ve had lots of ‘free’ time.

I’ve spent that time with my family, doing household jobs, and a lot of Eurydice stuff.

Monday and Friday last week I met up with Paul (and also Alex on Friday) and we playtested new FlickFleet ideas, Coalescence, The Uprising Saga and Alex’s game: Aliens Ate My Planet.

It felt great to feel like a game designer again.

On Thursday I got to watch Daughter the Second (now four!) during her swimming lesson (I usually work during them) and it was awesome to see her so confident in the water.

I also spent a lot of time very stressed about today’s  Print and Play Kickstarter deadline.

I’ve been working late almost every night plus, where I can, during the days.

It was a way bigger job than expected and today I’m off on holiday for a few days and my parents are visiting next week. I missed the deadline and due to the next couple of weeks’ activities I’ve missed it by a lot.

Stressful.

Highs and lows!

Monday, May 24

Weird Week

A month ago my day job went sideways.

It was a pre-revenue start-up, so I knew it was a risk.

Still, it was unexpected. 

And inconvenient. At the peak of post-Kickstarter I found myself urgently looking for a job and interviewing.

I’ve been lucky (again!).

I’ve got another job lined up to start in early June.

Last Wednesday was to be my last day, but I was made redundant on Monday.

My 2.5 weeks of between jobs became almost three.

This was better timing - I’ve got the rulebook for Box of Flicks 2 to do. And the dashboards. And the Print and Play packs.

Plus there’s loads of house jobs to do.

It’s been a weird week!

Monday, May 17

In Flight

I’ve spent the last week ordering bits for the Kickstarter fulfilment.

We’ve got the dice. The grey, red and blue acrylic and the printing for the game and expansion 1 reprints arriving this week.

Boxes have been ordered, but won’t arrive until late June.

We’ve also started shipping rewards - for people who’ve order a game and/or expansion 1 only.

My job finishes on Wednesday then I have 2.5 weeks off before I start the next one.

Need to order the remaining stuff and do the Print and Play rewards next.

Busy, busy!

Monday, May 10

And Breathe

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. 

Pledge Manager to get live. Pledges to record in the accounts.

Playtesting and finalising rules for new bits.

Starting to work out what we have to deliver and ordering what we can now.

And on top of all of that, my day job went sideways and I needed to find a new one.

So lots of interviews and additional stress.

Thankfully I’ve now got an offer so that’s one less thing to worry about.

Going to take a couple of weeks off in between roles to relax (and finish the P&P pack and the rules and dashboard layout).

And breathe...

Monday, May 3

Accounts

We’re a small company. Just Paul and me.

So we wear a lot of hats. 

Hats that would be worn by trained professionals in a bigger company.

One of my hats says ‘Accountant’ on it. But I’m not an accountant.

Still I do all the bookkeeping.

When I ran Reiver Games I did cash accounting. 

I hated it and often left it to the last minute. Months later I would be going through bank statements trying to work out where I’d gone wrong.

For Eurydice I do double entry. It’s more work. But so much better. There’s some error correction built in. You can easily see where everything is.

I quite enjoy it now.

Our books are usually up to date every day. I can check account balances at any point to make sure I’ve not made mistakes. Everything tallies.

The only time that isn’t true is now. During a Kickstarter we only get one payment (from KS), so it’s easy to record. During a big pledge manager we get over a hundred. And lots of those arrive the same day.

The books are slowly catching up. But they aren’t there yet. So I can’t check that they’re correct. Check I’ve not made any mistakes.

It’s weighing on me.

Monday, April 26

Distraction

Paul and I work in shifts.

I do the Kickstarter page.

Then run the Kickstarter.

Then the pledge manager.

Then the graphic design and Print and Play files.

Then catch up on all the accounts and fill in the fulfilment spreadsheet.

Then the real work begins - Paul has hundreds of games and expansions to laser-cut, bag, box and post.

We’re still in the ‘Jack is very busy’ phase.

And now I need to find a new day job, pronto.

It’s been a distraction. Things have slipped.

Only by a few days, but I need to get back on track.

Hoping to have the Pledge Manager go live this week...

It’s mostly done.

Monday, April 19

Grind

Crafting a Kickstarter page is about design.

Make it look great.

Get the words right.

Hone everything.

Will it grab people’s attention?

Launch!

Then wait and watch it work. Or not. Or only just.

We’re now setting up the Pledge Manager.

It’s very different. A chore.

Setting up a web shop really.

Populating your store with wares.

And we have a lot of wares.

It takes an age, but I’m hoping to finish before the end of the week...


Monday, April 12

The Eye

All is quiet.


We sit in the eye of the storm.


Kickstarter is a crazy time, comments to respond to. Ad reactions. Messages. Changes to the campaign.


It’s hard work. Even without the worry of funding or not, it’s stressful.


Evenings away from the family trying to keep up.


In a couple of weeks the Pledge Manager should be live on Gamefound.


It’ll be crazy again - loads of bookkeeping to do. Constantly evolving reward totals. Chasing the people who don’t complete it.


For now it’s all quiet. Just plugging away at the Gamefound page. Getting things ready.


A chance to recharge.

Monday, April 5

Landing

Our fourth Kickstarter finishes in just over 30 hours.

It’s been amazing.

Highest total by a country mile.

Highest backer count too.

We’ve unlocked six of the original eight Stretch Goals.

The seventh is very close.

At one point my (as it turns out wildly inaccurate) predictions spreadsheet had us nearing the point where we would have to register for VAT.

Kickstarters are a rollercoaster.

Less stressful than the first - where we very nearly failed.

But still, we’re small enough that we feel the joy of every new backer and the disappointment of every cancellation.

It’s nearly over.

A chance to relax and breathe.

The Pledge Manager will be right behind it though.

Busy, busy.


Monday, March 29

Lift Off!

The Kickstarter is going really well.

On course to be our best ever again.

Strong start!

Things are shifting though.

Our plans are changing. Adapting. Responding to backer demand.

We hadn’t intended to reprint Expansion 1 or Box of Flicks 1.

But people want them.

So we’re changing our minds.

It’s keeping us busy.

But we made the decision for the right reasons.

And people seem to like that.

Monday, March 22

All Systems Go!

Our fourth Kickstarter launches tomorrow. Another mini one like last time.

In some ways this is the most prepared we’ve ever been.

Pre-launch ads. Well over 100 project followers before we begin. Facebook group and launch events. Shared with channels ahead of time. A landing page on our website.

Ready to go!

I’m confident we’ll fund this time. Last time we weren’t confident. Even with a £500 target.

In other ways we’re unprepared.

Our Kickstarter project was initially rejected. Paul and I haven’t met in person for months.

Tomorrow we find out if we’re right to be confident...

Monday, March 15

First Time!

In the Lego Batman sense.

We submitted our latest Kickstarter for review a couple of weeks ago.

Nice and early so we would have a pre-launch page to share.

And to see if we got more sign-ups to that than our mailing list on the landing page.

Kickstarter rejected it.

Nothing new they said.

It’s a whole box full of brand new stuff.

We can appeal. Exactly once.

It was half-done anyway.

So we’ve made a load of changes.

Hopefully it’ll pass this time - we’re hoping to go live a week tomorrow...


Monday, March 8

Community

The designer of our new logo asked Paul and I for words that described the company to us.

Community was one of the ones we chose. 

So the hands in our new logo represent our community - cheering us on, supporting us and hopefully excited for what we’re working on.

This week has really brought home to me how important that community is to us.

Paul and I are working on the next Kickstarter, featuring a load of new ships and scenery items. Many have been proposed by fans of the game.

Matt Yeager, designer of the gunboats in our last campaign, has started a meta-game tracking multiple players' games blending the results into a map that shows The Uprising’s attempt to claim a sector.

The battle for Phoenix Sector has begun!

And we’ve formed a FlickFleet Facebook group at the request of some fans. 

It’s pretty small and quiet at the moment, but hopefully it’ll grow as more people get into the game.

Monday, March 1

Designing

We’re almost two months into our third COVID-19 lockdown.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Vaccinations are going well.

Kids go back to school in a week.

It’s been tough. But lots of people have had it worse.

I’ve got a family in the house with me. Weekly online Games Nights. Zoom calls with my extended family.

Could be a lot worse.

My mental health has seemed ok. 

My mood is usually good, I’m not drinking too much or sleeping worse than usual.

But I’ve not had the headspace for designing.

Not helped by the lack of playtesting opportunities.

I’m finally back at it though. Making progress on a design. Enthused again.

Something new.

Feels good.

Iterated it twice this weekend!


Monday, February 22

Learning

I've mentioned before that my graphic design skills are weak.

They are.

Our first Kickstarter looked terrible.

The second looked bad.

The third looked poor.

I'm working on number four now. 

Coming next month.

It's an improvement. 

Not earth-shattering, but better.

Baby steps.

Small steps forward compound over time.

Or so I hope...



Monday, February 15

Meaning

I’ve spent most of this week trawling the web, updating all instances of our logo with the new one:

Much more professional!

After back and forth with the designer, we settled on “Fast, fun Craft Games” as what we do. 

It sums us up perfectly: Craft Games, like Craft Beer is indie, small runs, made by hand.

The logo captures the fun nature of our games and the support of our community.

It can be white or dark.

And the community hands can be swapped out for other things, allowing us to tweak it for particular themes, holidays or other reasons.

While keeping something recognisable.

It also leans in to the way most people pronounce Eurydice (Eury-Dice).

When it was suggested here as a name long ago I liked that it incorporated Dice and something a bit like Euro. 

Both strong gaming words.

Paul and I are really happy with it.

Monday, February 8

First Time

Marketing is not my forte.

I’m still learning a lot.

Doing things for the first time.

Badly.

But I learn.

And slowly, I hope to get better.

We’re running ads ahead of our next Kickstarter for the first time.

Pointing to our first ever dedicated landing page.

Needs work

It’s not very good.

So I’ll improve it.

Expectations are low for this Kickstarter again.

So we can use it as a learning opportunity.

And hopefully get better.

For the next one...

Monday, February 1

Brand

We're looking to get our website overhauled.

It needs some love. I've kludged it together using raw HTML (and a little Javascript).

It's weak.

We found a designer we liked. 

Can't afford him yet, but he wanted to rebrand us first.

New logo. New colour scheme. New look.

We need it. 

Homemade. And it shows.

I kludged our logo together too. With help from my dad.

The colour scheme is essentially the same as Reiver Games. 

He presented his ideas to us this week. 

Paul and I have been thinking about them, tweaking a couple of things.

I've also mocked up a quick re-brand of the website.

Looks much better already  - though it still needs a chunk of work.

Monday, January 25

Trello

Towards the end of last year I lost my way.

Went off the boil a bit.

Slowed down.

Missed things.

I used to use Trello and Evernote to organise myself. Then I switched to Notion. Then I kind of gave up on that.

I need to get organised

I’ve gone back to Trello.

I’m tracking things I need to do.

To move Eurydice forwards. To better things.

I’m making good progress again.


Monday, January 18

Brexit

If you follow me on twitter you'll know I loathe everything about Brexit.

A monumental act of self-harm

From the nationalist lies that sold it to the voters to the terrible effect it's had on my European friends in the UK.

It'll make us culturally and financially poorer as a country.

It limits my daughters' rights to experience other countries.

And now it's biting Eurydice Games.

We buy our wooden pieces from a supplier in Germany. 

They are no longer shipping to the UK.

Will they in future? I hope so. I don't know of an equivalent in the UK.

It's also harder for us to ship to European customers. They may end up getting charged VAT or import fees.

Everything about it sucks.

I only hope that we get to rejoin before too much damage is done.

I fear I'm hopelessly optimistic.

Monday, January 11

Overheads

I worry about overheads.

There's something hanging over me.

Those costs you pay every month regardless of sales.

They sank my first company, Reiver Games, as the bank loan repayments and warehousing costs were bigger than sales most months.

So I worry about them.

Ours have increased.

We're lucky that we don't pay salary or rent. 

So ours are very low.

But still.

If we're not actively fulfilling a Kickstarter, our overheads are now often larger than profits, and sometimes even sales. 

There are two types, those that affect profits only (like depreciation and homeworking allowances) and those that affect profits and cash (like bank account fees and software subscriptions).

The latter are the worst.

We need to keep them down.

Or increase sales.

Monday, January 4

Happy New Year!

We sincerely wish you all a far better 2021 than 2020, and hope you get to return to something like normal fairly soon.

I'm taking a couple of weeks off to relax with my family, normal service will return next week!