Lesson #11 – A look back at an amazing 2016

Dan reflects on 2016 and looks to the future.

2016 has been a big year of firsts. It was the first year we had product in hand, it was the first year we published a game by another designer, and it was the first year we had a game signed by another publisher. Having so many great things happen in one year felt like it warranted a review of all the cool things that happened in 2016 as well as a look forward at what’s to come in 2017. Without further ado, here are some of our highlights from 2016:

Dino Dude Ranch is sold out ^

We received Dino Dude Ranch in January of 2016. This was an amazing feeling as it was the first time we had physical product in hand. The best part of the whole process has been to receive feedback and truly see the effect the game is having on people. We have heard from families who have used the game to introduce their young ones to gaming and we even received an amazing email from a teacher who used the game to make progress with students that have learning disabilities. We are very proud that this was our first major title to release as it has meant so many things to so many people. We are also very proud to announce that as of the end of November, we are completely sold out of Dino Dude Ranch.  We are now in the process of making the tough decision of whether we should do a second printing of the game or invest in one of our future releases. We have already received multiple requests for Dino Dude Ranch since selling out, so it is probably safe to say that we will be doing a second print at some point in the future (even if it does not happen immediately). The only question will be the timing of when it will happen. Either way, we set our expectations low for the game as it was our first release and we are truly humbled (and saddened) that we are already all sold out!

 

Dirigible Disaster is also out in the world now! ^

We fulfilled not one but two Kickstarter campaigns this year. The second one being Dirigible Disaster. We funded this campaign in January of 2016 and this was quite a milestone for us because it was the first game that we published that was designed by someone other than myself. We chose to publish it because the gameplay was unlike anything I had ever played before and it appears that many of our backers have agreed with this sentiment. The games shipped out in August of 2016 and we have received some great feedback on this one as well. It is a great feeling to not only work on making our own dreams come true but to also help a newer designer to reach his dreams as well. This game was Daniel Grek’s first game published and we hope for him that it will not be his last. We are so happy to be able to provide this opportunity to young designers and hope to work with many more over the next few years. We are always on the lookout for our next new big release (we cannot wait for 2017!) and we hope to work with many great people in the industry during the process.

Gadgeteers funded on Kickstarter! ^

We funded two games on Kickstarter this year. Dirigible Disaster in January 2016 and Gadgeteers in September 2016. The most amazing part of this whole process was to see our backer numbers increase with each project. Going from Dino Dude Ranch to Dirigible Disaster to Gadgeteers, we saw an increase in backers for each project. Knowing that we were increasing our backer count and thus growing our fan base was enough to tell us that we are on the right path and that we should continue doing what we are doing.  Producing this game was an amazing process as it was a collaborative co-design between myself and Michael Cofer. I had worked with him before on multiple projects (he did the graphic design/layout on all of our previous projects) but this was the first time we worked on a board game design together. We learned a lot from working together and were extremely happy with the outcome of this process. Again, I am so delighted to have provided this opportunity to another newer designer and look forward to working with Michael on future projects as well. The Gadgeteers proof copy should be in my hands by the time this article publishes and we hope to have the game in hand by February of 2017.

Mint Julep was signed by Buttonshy! ^

Mint Julep is a horse racing micro game that I designed for the Buttonshy wallet contest. Although I did not win the contest, I was lucky enough to receive a contract from them with the hope of seeing it come to Kickstarter some time in 2017.  This is the first game I have submitted to another publisher and thus my first experience working with someone else to publish one of my games. I look forward to being on the other end of the process and working with Jason and his amazing team to finish development on this game.  I hope to take my experiences of working with another publisher and using them to develop myself as a publisher. We look for learning experiences in every opportunity that we get in order to help us continue to grow and always do better.

Extra-Curricular Activities galore! ^

I am guessing that if you have made it this far, you figure that we could not have had any more time this year to accomplish anything else. I am happy to say that you are wrong!  On top of the game designing and publishing, we have been very busy in other board game related activities!  We were fortunate enough to host and judge a contest for the Game Crafter. This experience was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who might be interested. We saw a lot of cool new mechanisms and game ideas and were happy to provide some recognition and feedback to the designers who worked so hard on those great designs. I hope that the designers can take the feedback we provided in order to further develop those games.

Aside from the game design contest, I also started writing a blog about my experiences as a publisher using Kickstarter. The blog started on the Letiman Games company site and was later moved to The Indie Game Report (TIGR). On top of the blog, I also started a feature for TIGR in which I interview Kickstarter creators while their projects are live in order to gain insight into decisions they made in creating their campaigns. The goal of both the blog and the interviews is to provide helpful information to other creators who are also looking to publish games using Kickstarter. I have learned a lot in the 4 campaigns that I have funded and hope to help others avoid making the same mistakes that I have made. I am happy knowing that I can potentially help other creators succeed a little more and stay on the right track for fulfillment. Getting more games into the world seems like a great thing to me.

 

What’s coming in 2017? ^

So the big question is, what’s next. We have a few games in development right now with one specific worker placement game that is moving along quite nicely. We expect to push forward with it and have more to say about it in the coming months! I have also reached out to a few other designers and hope that we can get at least two, maybe three games published in 2017.  I am very excited to create new relationships and work with more new designers, artists, and other people in the industry.  I also look forward to getting Gadgeteers out in the world in the first quarter of 2017, so keep on the lookout for that!

Lastly, I hope to continue writing for the Indie Game Report (TIGR) through 2017. Kickstarter has had a few slow months during the holiday season but I hope to get more interviews out in early 2017. I also plan to write more of my Kickstarter Lessons blogs in 2017.  Working with the TIGR team has been a great experience and I plan to keep hanging with these cool chaps for as long as they’re willing to put up with me.

If you have made it this far, THANK YOU for reading this and staying connected through 2016, we would not have been able to accomplish any of this without your support. I love talking games, designing, publishing and anything else board game related, so please be sure to connect with me on social media and don’t be shy. I am happy to answer questions or just shoot the breeze.

Thanks for a great year and happy gaming in the year to come!

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