April 2022

Welcome to the Indie Tabletop Newsletter, hear from independent tabletop games designers about their current and upcoming projects. Take a look at the games we’ve already self-published and our upcoming Kickstarters, maybe even get yourself a free print n play game. Learn more about this newsletter here.

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Lots of updates this month from PostCurious! Our epic narrative puzzle adventure, The Emerald Flame, has finally started delivering worldwide, and our newest release, The Light in the Mist: A Tarot Puzzletale, is now available for pre-order through our website. We’ve also been involved in a very exciting collaborative charitable project called The Book of Dreams: A Puzzle Anthology. Comprised of 12 chapters, each designed by a different creator from around the globe, The Book of Dreams is now live on Indiegogo. 100% of the profits will benefit Doctors Without Borders, so you can puzzle while also knowing you’ve contributed to a great cause!

Book of Dreams on Indiegogo

Malum Hortus – The biggest, most important news is that Malum Hortus has a preview page! Please click the link below and follow the page to be the first to know when it goes live! I’m planning on a spooky Halloween themed campaign in October but I worked out I’ll need at least 500 followers on the page by then so I’ll need to keep pushing the page, please forgive me if it gets annoying. I’ve been nervous for this games campaign for over a year already as although it’ll be my 5th campaign it’s my biggest by far, both in funding goal and the games size and complexity.

The artwork is coming along nicely, if slowly. I’ve refocused my attention on to getting the elements needed for the box art done first. This way I can hopefully get promotional material completed in time to print some Malum Hortus specific flyers and banners for the UK Games Expo at the beginning of June. Wish me luck!

Atikin Games Shop – There’s finally going to be a store! On my website! I’m so excited! Etsy will still be my main source of sales for a good long while yet…

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…but I’m hoping those that know me will use the Atikin Games website soon to get their games, gaming accessories and gamer gifts. Then I can start to grow and move away from Etsy’s fees.

At the moment you’ll notice some store related bits around the website, there’s a cart and a product search; for now, those elements are just pretty little forecasts of the future. Everything is 90% there, I just want to do some thorough testing and finishing touches before I make any of the products live and buyable. I’m very excited, hopefully it’ll be up and running within the week but certainly by the next Indie Tabletop Newsletter edition, so watch this space!

Malum Hortus Kickstarter

Development on Pocket Book Adventures is coming along nicely. We’ve closed our first round of play testing and started implementing changes based on the feedback we received.

One of my favorite improvements that’s come out of this round has been the addition of “goal tracks”. Each new map will now have three goals that you can measure your performance by. The first is “bad guys killed”; the more you defeat, the better your score will be. Of course, as you fight those enemies, you’ll most likely take some damage. So the second goal track is “damage taken”. There’s a good tension there, as it’s difficult to maximize both of those tracks.

The third track has been a little more difficult to decide on. Originally, I was going to use “turns taken”. In other words, the longer you stay on a map the lower your score is. It’s great for creating another avenue of tension as you try to collect as much loot and defeat as many enemies as efficiently as possible. The problem is that tracking your turns is, I think, too tedious.

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Now, I plan on making the third track “loot collected”. It doesn’t create quite as much tension as “turns taken” does, but there’s still some there, since you’ll want to collect loot that’s sometimes guarded by enemies, which could cause you to take more damage. It’s also much easier to track. As a bonus, it also creates even more incentive to solve some of the more puzzly levels to get rewarded with more gold.

Follow along on Twitter!

Each year, we’ve donated a percentage of any monies received from our creative works to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCH). This year, we’re re-committing to donating ALL of it.

When you buy one of our games or books via a print-on-demand platform, we receive a royalty payment. Any such payments collected in 2022 will be donated to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. This includes our games on The Game Crafter (like “Pirate Pursuit – The Spanish Treasure Fleet”) and our historical novel, “The Day the Pirates Went Mad”!

Release Anniversary: Speaking of Emma’s first adventure in “The Day the Pirates Went Mad” – this month is the anniversary of its release! And to celebrate, the eBook is free on Amazon from March 31st to April 4th!

The Day The Pirates Went Mad is an entertaining ‘cozy’ historical fiction that also conveys a ‘boatload’ of learning about the life and times of those sailing the seas 300 years ago, during the Age of Sail. Follow the adventures of eleven-year-old Emma Sharpe as she learns to sail the sea, bonds with her shipmates, and then must save them all from a cursed pirate treasure before it’s too late!

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Though intended for ages 10-12, older readers can also enjoy this story and it is suitable for sharing with younger readers when supported by an adult. You know your kids best!

More Than Just a Story: “THE DAY THE PIRATES WENT MAD was written for my daughter, designed as an entertaining tale of adventure while sharing many nuggets of knowledge about real-life during the Age of Sail and the Golden Age of Piracy in particular. Now, I hope it can also help make learning fun for other young readers!” –Trevor Atkins, author.

Check out the bonus educational resources and behind-the-scenes on our website.

*** No Kindle Device? No worries! There’s a Kindle App for your tablet or phone. Or you can use Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader to read your eBooks right in your browser. ***

Free eBook – #TDTPiratesWentMad!

Well, freight loading has meant that our load of games which should have cleared customs by now otherwise is still at sea, a week from port at the moment. We’re still on track to fulfil Turing on time and SSO well ahead of time, but its always a nerve wracking situation when delays happen. Playmats and art books have arrived and are waiting, so everything is going extremely smoothly on that front.

Short run custom meeples are not the easiest thing in the world to obtain, the amazing Meeple Studio created a set for us to be able to put together some reviewer samples of Song of Tales (once I get into gear and re-write the rules for it again) and they look amazing, I strongly recommend Meeple Studio for any short run meeples for samples or prototypes.

On the less recommended end of things, we chose to use GameFound as our pledge manager for our most recent campaign, having used CrowdOx previously. Despite the fact that CrowdOx costs $500 or more, depending on the size of your campaign and GameFound is free I can honestly say I will never be using GameFound again.

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The UI is difficult to use and it lacks useful tools to manage backer flow and pledge levels as well as having very awkward methods of importing and alerting backers.

With a Kickstarter coming in to fulfilment and design in full flow it’s a busy time right now, our YouTube channel is picking up subscribers every day.

Man O Kent Games’ homepage

Move Rate 20 Games is beginning a full year of live conventions at last, starting with PAX East in April! We are finally hitting the road big time, showing our flagship game, Mission to Planet Hexx, published in June of 2021, now available for purchase. We’ll be offering exclusive extras at each of the seven live conventions we are attending this year, such as custom made rocket pawns and the popular Kickstarter exclusive Mission Play Mat, (the seven remaining mats will be available at PAXE, first come, first served). Look for us later in the year at Kids Con, ThyGeekdomCon, Origins Game Fair, Gen Con, TooManyGames, and finally, PAX Unplugged. Stay tuned for our best year of gaming ever, space cadets!

Mission to Planet Hexx official game page

Reviews: We’re getting more reviewer feedback on Castleshire including this one from a local here in New Zealand: “As seasoned gamers, we found the base game quite simple, but it really came into its own with the first one or two expansions and just got better and better as we added more.” (full post: lnkd.in/gx38vsXJ). Till and Sven are thrilled that our experiment with an evolutional rulebook worked out: you can adjust depth and complexity which means a wider audience can play Castleshire.

Crowdfunding: We decided to launch in May, and are now working on a teaser video. The campaign page content is mostly ready. The most exciting thing for us will become the stretch goals. We will make them all social and not dependent on budget. That means, we might reach them even before the funding goal is reached. We’ve got lots of extra content that we can add to the game and if people spread the word, we will thank everyone by adding extras into the boxes.

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Manufacturing: We continue fixing the manufacturing flaws of the pre-production copy. We are working with the factory through those issues and arrange preparation for quality upgrades via stretch goals in case our crowdfunding campaign jumps far above our funding goal.

Helping Indies: It’s now the second time that Sven decided to help another Indie getting their rulebook translated to German. After Regicide, he’s helping Bez from the UK. Sven will translate her game “Whimsical creatures, frantic gameplay, and root vegetables”.

Follow on Kickstarter

Back in February, I attended the Genghis Con 2022 in Aurora, CO. The conference was my first attending as a vendor. I sold enough games to about break even over the three days of the conference, but the more exciting opportunities came out of the networking that I was able to do there.

I met one of the lead developers of a platform called, Gameboard. The Gameboard platform is a digital boardgame platform that is essentially a giant square tablet that allows you to load different tabletop games that are ported to the platform. They sell the platform and a subscription, where if you maintain the subscription, you gain access to an expanding library of popular game titles. They have received a ton of funding and have a lot of big-name influencers and partners fostering the development of the platform, which is now in Beta.

While at the conference, the Gameboard folks expressed interest in partnering with Yub Nub Games on porting Top Tale to the Gameboard platform to add a family-friendly casual card game.

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Top Tale on Gameboard would be a great gateway game for non-gamers, a filler between long campaign-driven games, and a casual party game for when you just want something to hang out and relax with. A business meeting was scheduled about a week later, and since then I’ve signed some paperwork to start the collaboration process of getting Top Tale ported to Gameboard!

I can’t go into much more detail currently but am excited for what’s to come. Top Tale has been a mobile app, since prior to my first Kickstarter campaign for Top Tale in 2020. The mobile app has since been released on both Google Play and Apple iOS, and new features and enhancements have been released as I’ve had funding to improve the app. Going forward, the same mobile app will be available on the Gameboard, with some awesome user experience and user interface improvements that can be exploited on such a large touchscreen.

The amazing part of it all, will be that Top Tale will be right alongside games already ported to the platform, such as Terraforming Mars, Viticulture, The Red Opera, Foundry VTT, Cat Lady, and many more top titles and publishers. This will get Top Tale unprecedented exposure to grow the brand, and it comes on the eve of the series growing alongside it all! Onwards and upwards!

Yub Nub Games homepage

Library Labyrinth has funded on Kickstarter! Huge thank you to all our backers! We’re very excited about getting this game made.

As many of you know already, Library Labyrinth is a light, family-weight game about a cursed library. Literary terrors have escaped from the books! There’s Dracula behind you, a kraken round the corner, the Big Bad Wolf in the distance… Can you build a team of amazing fictional and historical women to capture these monsters and put them back where they belong?

Our next task on this journey will be to finalise the quotes from manufacturers, complete the artwork, and work out all the logistics! We’ll also be going into schools to run workshops, so if you know a school, library, or community centre which would like a workshop, please do let us know via our website.

Find us here!

The 20 Dreams team have been busy promoting 20 Dreams in both the UK and the US. With all the terrible news of War, economic disaster and high inflation our stress levels have rocketed! We need to play games more than ever, especially ones which help us laugh, use our imaginations and build relationships. Table top games are perfect! Karen, the creator of 20 Dreams has been really busy in her therapy practice and the 20 Dreams team have been busy promoting 20 Dreams as a game which can help on lots of different levels.

Our children, only just beginning to recover from the pandemic, are learning that the world continues to be an unsafe place. Anxiety amongst teens is higher than ever. Our mental health services are overwhelmed alongside worried parents and teachers. Those of us who love playing games know that it is an activity that really helps relax and focus our minds on something different than the world news

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How can we help our children and help ourselves regulate and reflect about the different world events? One way is by talking about how we feel. We often voice opinions about what we think, but we find it hard to stay with the feelings. Understanding and expressing underlying feelings enables reflective practice, a whole-brained activity that helps us feel safer in the world.

20 Dreams is a fun game, yet underneath the hilarity and absurdity is a fundamental truth; feelings matter. They are probably the most important thing to attend to if we want to live in peace with one another. 20 Dreams encourages us to listen to a story. Instead of problem-solving, it asks that we get in touch with how we feel about the story; and we realise we are all different in how we express our feelings.

To hear more from Karen check out this recent podcast made by Amanda Seyderhelm: Helping Children smile again.

Remember, play regulates the nervous system and helps us feel safer in the world. Dreams stimulate our imaginations, process our emotions and allow for the hope of new possibilities even in difficult times.

So keep on dreaming and playing!

Amanda Seyderhelm: Helping Children Smile Again

Tin Star Games is proud to announce the release of our new game ‘The Rent’ by Steve Dee. Experience what it’s like to fight against the poverty line and gain a new appreciation for those who poverty touches on a daily basis. What would you sacrifice to stay above the depths? Your health? Your friends? Dive headfirst into this new title and see if you can emerge the same.

‘The Rent’ models the month to month struggle of staying above the poverty line and questions your every choice as you find the strength to make your next payment. With the passing of each month, juggle your mental and physical health as you continue to question yourself if you’re still making the right choices.

The Rent has also been chosen to be displayed at the upcoming Game Based Learning Conference held this year April 22 to 24. Virtual attendance is the chief mode and tickets are on sale now.

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‘The Rent’ is currently available as a print and play on itch.io and can also be played on Tabletop Simulator. Using just 18 cards it is perfect for easy print and play and allows for ease when taking anywhere. Physical copies will soon be available through The Game Crafter as well. Check out tinstargames.itch.io for more, and the Tabletop Simulator mod at the link below.

The Rent on Tabletop Simulator


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