August 2020

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.

Self-Published Games
Kickstarter Calendar
Free Print n Plays


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Top Tale is a casual, family-friendly card game that is designed for 2-10 players, 30+ minutes, ages 10+, and takes less than two minutes to learn. The cards are all family friendly, and with adults as part of the game, kids as young as 5 can enjoy playing, however kids younger than 10 playing amongst themselves tend to lose focus on playing the game.

The concept for Top Tale started over two and a half years ago while shovelling manure. The basis of the game was simple, everyone tells tales and everyone votes on the top tale. The game has evolved to where the cards are all carefully balanced between light-hearted topics, and deeper topics. Through playing the game, players get to hear stories about the other players that they may have never heard without the prompt of the topic cards.

Yub Nub Games, is bringing the Top Tale series to life with the very first volume in the series, “Top Tale: The O.G. Vol 1”. The Original Game (“O.G.”) series is meant to be a family friendly series, where the topics are all designed to be everyday topics.

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There will be several volumes in the O.G. series if the game is as well received as it has been so far. Aside from the O.G. series, there are several other themed expansions in the series planned, such as Top Tale: Tall Tale, where players are encouraged to embellish the truth. Topics in Tall Tale will still be mostly relatable, but they will all have a twist to them that encourages you to perhaps introduce a dragon to your tale, supernatural events, or perhaps superhero-like powers. All decks in the Top Tale series will be playable together, with the same basic storytelling and voting mechanics.

Top Tale is not meant to be the sexiest of games, and there aren’t awesome 3D-printed miniatures, but there’s plenty of that out there anyway. Top Tale is truly meant to be a game well suited for just about everyone, everywhere (pending future translations and localizations). If you’re reading this between July 14th and August 18th, then act now! You can help bring the Top Tale series to life on Kickstarter!

Top Tale live on Kickstarter

Deck of Wonders is a solo (and co-op) legacy expandable card game where Fate herself has stacked the deck against you. It captures the feel of playing games like Hearthstone or MTG, but in a solitaire format that evolves as you play.

Coming August 25th to Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for Mission to Planet Hexx launched on July 29, 2020 and will run for thirty days, throughout the month of August. Don’t miss your chance to grab a copy of this retro-style, space-adventure, board-and-card-game-in-one for 2-4 players, ages 10 & up, plus all the otherworldly perks that go along with it!

In the game, you explore a unique map of space/planets and race against opponents to complete your mission.

Mission to Planet Hexx is the perfect gateway game for your new gamer friends or as your “in between” game, for when you need a break from longer, more hardcore sessions.

Using a deck of 120 Hex shaped cards, players cooperatively build a unique Board of space and planets every game, then roll a die to travel around the galaxy, collecting Data, the resource of the game, in order to “pay” to upload different types of cards to their Mission File. The first player to complete his/her Mission File wins the game.

With elements of take that and the literal discovery of your shared universe one Planet at a time, the game simulates your adventure as a newly minted space cadet.

Our Kickstarter campaign page

Swatch launching on Kickstarter August 4th!

Swatch, the colour creation game by Minerva Tabletop Games, is coming to Kickstarter on the 4th of August. 1-4 players take the role of artists, drafting cards and trading resources to mix colours and create a unique colour scheme before anyone else! Play time 20-60 mins, age 11+.

Click here to sign up

Introductions are awkward aren’t they? Do I try to be funny? What kind of first impression do I want to make?

Truth is, the only thing that matters is that you all know who you are dealing with and what to expect from me.

I am Steve, Welshman, idiot, overly affectionate doofus. Any and all pronouns are welcome – I honestly don’t mind. I design games under the CCGames name. Celtic Connection Games (CCGames) is so named as a nod to a friend who helped me get started and supports me unconditionally. Because I am Welsh I am also of Celtic descent. My BFF who has helped me in innumerable ways is Irish and thus also of Celtic descent. It seemed a fitting name.

In the coming months you will see content from me talking about my designs, reflections on the journey of a new designer, creators who inspire me, Kickstarters I am excited for and the issues of the day.

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I also have a monthly check in on Twitter (20th of every month) where I reach out to everyone I can just so they know someone cares and is ready to listen if they need it, if you want to be a part of that please follow me there. It’s the only social media I actively use.

So let’s be clear about some current issues. Black Lives Matter. Trans women are women. Wear your masks. Vaccinate your kids. The Earth is round. Bacon sandwiches are the GOAT of the sandwich world.

This month I want to give a shout out to Nikita for organizing this newsletter and inviting me to be a part of it. Thank you Cheesebeard the Magnificent, you are, well, magnificent.

See y’all on the 20th!

Follow me here!

Our brand-new website is up so it can be ready as we head ever closer the launch of Cult of the Deep. Plus, we have added a few blogs about board game markets, target marketing as well as a discussion about board game length. Come check it out!

New website is here!

Digital play-testing in the post-COVID world is an ordeal, but a rewarding one at that.

Last year I imagined that at this point in the development of The Interregnum I would have been touring the country with the prototype in the back of the car, looking for board game café’s and play-testers. Like countless other grand plans for 2020, our planned tour would actually be replaced by many hours sitting in front of a computer; sometimes having fun with friends all over the world, other times unsuccessfully connecting to a digital play-zone for 40 minutes.

I initially resisted the idea of digital play-testing – it didn’t sit right with me. Board games for me are first and foremost a kind of cultural resistance to the increasing digitalization of everything around us. As such, I thought of filming a live-stream of myself playing the game. Then I found out that if you want it done right, it requires a pretty complex set-up with multiple camera angles, very good audio recording, and many other things that I probably didn’t even consider. Needless to say, it didn’t go through.

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Eventually I buckled and started working on a Tabletop Simulator mod for The Interregnum. A couple of weeks later, I posted the request for play-testers on twitter and was blown away by the response I got! I was happy, but also very terrified.

Here’s a list of what I have learned so far: Scheduling over multiple timezones is hard and there is no ready-made tool (that I know of) to make it easier. I’m especially referring to finding the right time and date for multiple people across timezones. I’ve made my own mad scientist version of an excel time-table and am willing to share it.

Teaching games over the internet is a lot more difficult. Here are a few things that I didn’t consider before trying to teach The Interregnum over discord and Tabletop Simulator: there is no non-verbal feedback from playtesters, you can’t see what they’re looking at, you can’t tell if they are paying attention to you and you can’t see their expression. You also lack most of your non-verbal cues as well; you can’t easily point at something, you can’t gesticulate. (by the way, please give a pay-raise to all teachers over the world)

My first couple of games were more or less a fiasco because my previous method of teaching the game utterly failed.

For the next few tests, I had devised a script to follow, that included what I should be doing with my pointer. I am happy to report that everything went much better.

That being said, online play-testing is awesome: you get to play with people all over the world, not just in your immediate vicinity (this sometimes involves getting up at 3 am, but that’s just part of the fun); you get to bond over the inevitable TTS and Tabletopia glitches; you can easily update rules and components from one test to the other; if the online version is smooth, you can bet that the real-life version will be buttery.

All in all, I may never go back to regular play-testing.

Development blog for The Interregnum

Lots of exciting things happening at Man O’ Kent towers this month. Moonflight, the deck un-builder, our second successful Kickstarter has completed fulfilment and is now landing at locations around the world. Its up for order now on our website.

SSO: Rage of Montalbano, the deluxe expansion for the sci-fi survival game SSO with a Wrath of Khan theme is well on its way to a Kickstarter launch, the artwork is all complete and we’re having our Graphic Designers put it together ready for a print sample.

We’ve also got most of the artwork for our next full game Kickstarter, Song of Tales, a collaborative competitive story telling game hitting Kickstarter early next year, so we should have a playtest print and play together for you all in the next few months. Until then, check out the stunning artwork from our artists Liga Klavina, Dawn Williams, Sean Donnan and Obaseun Ogunkeye on our website.

The Man O’ Kent website

After funding over 800% on Kickstarter, the acclaimed narrative tabletop puzzle game, The Emerald Flame, is now available for pre-order!

Embark on a quest to piece together the recipe for a mysterious elixir by deciphering an array of letters, maps, alchemical diagrams, and strange objects left behind by a legendary alchemist.

Like a blend of board game, escape room, and interactive fiction, The Emerald Flame will take you on a narrative adventure told over three chapters, each packed with hand-drawn illustrations, unique components, and original puzzles of varying difficulty, challenging and engaging players of all experience levels. Each of the three chapters takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete, and can be played solo or in a small group. Downloadable PDF translations of all the game text will also be available in German, Spanish, and French.

To try some free online puzzles visit the PostCurious archive at

Pre-order now

Once upon a time two friends grew apart, separated by time and space. Then one day, they talked on the phone and decided to re-kindle their friendship through a common passion: games. Thus, Half Monster Games was born in 2016. Despite the global pandemic the Half-Monster Hoard continues to grow, from board games, card games, and RPGs to digital game nights on Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator, our passion for play is constantly finding new venues. Of course, at our core we are game makers and we are stoked we have been able to launch our biggest game of the year on Kickstarter last Saturday July 25th – Animal World War!

Animal World War takes place centuries after “Animal Empire,” our headline game from 2019. It is a squad-level combat game for 2-8 players set in a World War II-esque Earth where Animalkind has supplanted humans. Herbivores and Carnivores battle it out to accomplish multiple goals and missions on a modular tile board consisting of various tile sets with destructible terrain and variable goals and rewards, allowing for diverse strategies and maximum replayability. Players can challenge each other in individual skirmishes or take on the replayable campaign mode.

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2020 has been a challenging year for us, as it has been for most people, which is why we are so happy to be able to launch a major game this year. We believe in the power of games to bring people together, build community, and teach all kinds of skills from critical thinking to marine biology to epidemiology. We collaborate with Queensland University of Technology to design educational games like “Virtual Reef Diver”. Our co-Captain Jack is even doing a Master’s in game design, who knew you could do that?!

In the time before COVID-19 we organised mega-games at conventions and locations around Brisbane city, such as the Queensland Museum and the riverfront. We hope to get back into these large events when possible.

We also thoroughly enjoy taking our work-in-progress games to cafes and pubs for fun afternoons of play-testing and meeting game enthusiasts. We recently had our first live event since February.

So, if you’re in Brisbane keep an eye on social media for our events, both digital and in person. If you’re not, we hope you can strengthen your friendships through our games.

Play on, players.

Animal World War Game Kickstarter

Last month, we gave a bit of background as to ‘who is’ and highlighted a few of our educational games.

This month, we want to share what we’re working on right now! We have circled back to finalizing our largest board game yet – a pirate-themed cat-and-mouse game for 3-5 players – scheduled to release this Fall.

In this game, most players are on the hunt for the one who chose to be the pirate… Teamwork, luck, and a good knowledge of pirate facts will all aid in the capture of the scurvy scallywag!

Next month, we plan to do a name reveal for this game and share some of the new artwork, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you need to scratch the pirate game itch, you can always give “Pirates vs. Skeletons” a try, or build a “Pirate Ship Paper Craft”!

Check out these and other educational games and activities on our website…

Visit us

Being from New Zealand, all board game-related things seem a little smaller compared to the US or Europe, and extremely personal. My name is Sven Obermaier and I run Cheap Sheep Games, founded in 2018 to publish the intense strategy Euro-Ameri-game Crimopolis. Going through the process of self-publishing a game resulted in much insight into the industry, so other Indies started approaching me.

I am in all of this to not only do my own games, but also to help others such as Alayn (NZ) from Game Time Again who just funded his game Upkeep successful, or Kiefer (US) from Reflective Tree Games who helped me last year when I was in need, and who now himself needs some like-minded designers giving him a little boost to get his game out into the world.

Another fellow Indie is Till. He designed a game called Royal Chambers and is play testing it for over two years. His publishing hurdle is the fear of losing money. I started helping a while ago and was compelled by some of the game concepts. I offered him to publish his game and he accepted.

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The game is set in an alternative medieval-renaissance world and lives from mechanics that adjust to people’s favourite types of gameplay. If you like coop, you play coop, or competitive if you prefer that. The optional AI can take over the role of single or multiple opponents, and you can choose to play the game symmetrically or asymmetrically. The 0-player spices it all up. More details will be in the September newsletter.

Crimopolis official website

Following the huge success of our ‘mini’ FlickFleet extra Kickstarter we’re now frantically working on getting all the rewards, starting with the Print & Play files to our backers on time. The FlickFleet pledge manager is open until 3rd August and lets you get the base game, 1st expansion and/or a load of extra ships with discounts and heavily subsidised shipping.

FlickFleet Pledge Manager

We’re Grumpy Spider Games, a small designer & publisher of tabletop games based in Chattanooga, TN, and we launched our first game, Rucksack, on Kickstarter on July 27!

Rucksack is a hilarious, lighthearted party game that throws you into some seriously crazy scenarios! But don’t worry, you get to collect 5 (maybe not so useful) items to help you survive. It’s up to you to figure out how to use them and convince the other players that you’d make it out alive!

Each round, a scenario card is drawn that describes an extreme situation, like “Brave the Antarctic winter for 3 days” or “Defeat a seasoned gladiator in combat”. That is the scenario all players must survive. Before the scenario starts, however, you get to draw five items cards to help you in your survival. You could draw a valuable item, like a crossbow or flashlight, or a not-so-valuable item, like a beach ball or bag of marbles.

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If you do draw a not-so-valuable item, you can choose to discard it, but you’ll have to draw and keep the next one, even if it ends up being worse! Whatever the items are that you end up with, you’ll have to use all of them as you reveal your plan and convince the other players that you are the ultimate survivalist!

The idea of Rucksack came to my brother (Joel) over 18 months ago. It was only a small, rough prototype when he first showed it to me (David), but I immediately knew it was a game worth developing more. The two of us enjoyed that process so much that we decided to found Grumpy Spider Games together, and we now have several other games in various stages of development.

Check us out on Kickstarter!

Here at Big Girl Games my motto is: Play. Dream. Create. I invite all kinds of people to the table to do those things with me every day.

I want every gamer to be able to find themselves in my games, or, better yet, to lose themselves there!

I’m all about amplifying the voices of people who may not have felt welcome at every gaming table. My characters are always going to be diverse, whether that means gender, race, queerness, disability, size, age, or any other factor. If I’m ever successful enough to be a publisher in my own right, those are the games and game developers I will produce.

The first game coming up for publication from Big Girl Games (through Kickstarter) is Diamonds for Water, a water-themed cooperative deck builder. I just finished a PhD in Water Policy, and to get through the boredom and stress of writing a dissertation, I started designing a game. I’m not reinventing the wheel—I love cooperative deck builders and this is my homage to the things I love about the best of the genre—but I do think this game does some interesting things with the most popular (and unpopular!) mechanics.

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While Diamonds for Water has an educational aspect, I wouldn’t call it an edu-game. It has been designed to be fun first, a bit snarky with lots of water and economics “inside jokes”, and educational as a feature—not THE feature. I hope you will support the Diamonds for Water Kickstarter and put this game in rotation with all of YOUR favorite cooperative games!

Big Girl Games

I am currently designing a game for the BGG print and play solitaire contest. It’s a great community there, lots of feedback, support, and a look into the design world to see just what is possible with cardboard and plastic. Being a participant (and now running some community events) has greatly improved my confidence as a designer and I recommend it to everyone!

Boardgamegeek solitaire PnP contest

It’s exciting times here at Atikin Games, Tri To Win will be arriving this month and I’ll have the exciting job of packing and sending the games out to their wonderful Kickstarter backers and those who have pre ordered it, speaking of which there’s still a couple of weeks left to pre order it following the link below. Pre ordering means you’ll get it slightly cheaper and with less postage cost than once it’s here and you’ll also be one of the first people to get the game!

Play testing and artwork is going well for Malum Hortus, you can see the logo and card back designs in this articles image and it now has its introduction ready to set the scene and theme of the game:

“You wake to the sweet smell of flowers. Aches run through your body as you try to move. You’ve been asleep on the cold and unforgiving ground. Trying not to panic, you take stock; you aren’t injured, but you can’t remember where you are or why you chose to sleep here. Was it your choice to sleep here? No, you wouldn’t, you know yourself, you would have found shelter and comfort.

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You wrack your brain for your last memory and finally you remember, the beautiful flowers, the alluring smell. During the day this place seemed like heaven, so inviting, you never wanted to leave and a chill of dread takes hold of you as you realise that maybe you never will, because now you remember it all. As the sun went down this wonderful garden with its peaceful sights and sounds began to change. All that seemed right was then wrong. You saw cruel eyes, gnashing teeth, hungry smiles, and all from the flowers you so adored. The lashing vines, the razor-sharp thorns. They knocked you out, they’ve been feeding on your energy, you can feel it, your magic is drained. How will you fight back if you can’t even…? You take a deep breath and pull yourself together, you know you need to get out of here and there’s precious little daylight left. Move during the day, hide away at night and do all you can to break out of this nightmare, to escape Malum Hortus.”

If you enjoyed that introduction to Malum Hortus and you’d like to know more please follow @AtikinGames on social media and get in touch if you’d like to be added to the Kickstarter reminder list for when it goes live.

And of course, there’s this newsletter, this is the second edition and it’s already grown with 11 new designers and a total of 26 designers contributing (not every designer will share news every month so there’s 21 this month).

I’m also regularly running the #boardgamerslift on Twitter every Sunday which is going great, it’s for those who love board games and I welcome anyone with a passion for board games to use it and share what you’re playing whilst supporting others in our wonderful community.

Pre order Tri To Win!

Greetings! I’m Matt Williams, the Chief Cat Herder of Steam Kitty Games. We’re a small design & publishing house in Columbus, OH, USA, making games which aim to be fun and a little bit sassy. We consist of myself, the Feline Overlords (Smokie, Mr. Kitten, Goblin, and Duchess (in chronological order)) who supervise and help, and Kidzilla, who drew the ottercat picture.

Currently, we’ve got several games in the works and have released some print-n-play games, two of which are linked in the newsletter.

Our current projects include:

• #GamesWeDontWantToPlay – a recurring twitter showcase of boardgames we don’t want to play. However, the funny thing is, as I have worked on them, I’ve realized that some of them might actually be fun to play!

An example is: “Chez Déchets — Play as a trash panda entrepreneur who is starting a restaurant for the most discriminating of palates. Search out the best local sources, build your menu, hire the best staff, and more! Be the first to earn a Michelin Tire!”

You can find them by searching twitter for #GamesWeDontWantToPlay.

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It started out as something of a stress relief in the Age of Covid, but it’s turned into an unintentional examination of what sort of games people might want to play.

For those who might want to play along, there are a few simple rules:

1. The tweets need to have the #Boardgames and #WeDontWantToPlay tags, followed by #XXX where XXX is some number which may or may not have any relationship to the game.
2. A title and a description of the game.
3. It must all fit within a single tweet.

I like them because they are useful for me, as a designer, to be able to distil the essence (or odeur (or even ordure as the case might be)) of a game into a single tweet; I think this is really useful practice for developing elevator pitches. It stimulates creativity and last, but perhaps not least, lets me broadcast allusionary puns to the Twitterverse!

• Otter Park – You work at an Otter Park, building Otter Slides, to maximize Otter Satisfaction. A teaser video may be found at:

• Oh, R’lyeh? – A Lovecraft inspired card game, with a twist; you are not a Cultist, nor an Investigator. Rather you are an Elder Being collecting cultists for “When the Stars are Right”. It’s been described as the Cute C’thulhu Cultist Collecting Cardgame. There is a Tabletop Simulator demo version available. Final artwork is in progress, with a limited print run coming shortly after. Information about the game may be found at

Steam Kitty Website

Janice from Wren games has been working on a blog series called ‘Little Things Add Up’ in part one she discusses Kickstarter campaign costs. Here’s an excerpt, it’s well worth following the link below to read the full articles.

“There are a host of costs you’ll encounter pre-Kickstarter, most of which you probably won’t have kept track of but if you plan to do this properly, keep track of them as you can offset them against your profits. The most common costs you will incur are discussed below.

Prototyping: You need to prototype to make a game (obviously!) and most of these costs will be hidden as, for most of us, game design is a hobby and who isn’t willing to spend a bit of money on their hobby?

Marketing: This cost is a little more obvious when it hits the wallet. In order to succeed you need an audience which required marketing. Yes, you can do lots of free things like being actively engaged on social media however you also need to consider:

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• Review Copies/Prototypes: At a minimum, you need to get copies of your game into the hands of reviewers and previewers so you’re going to have the cost associated with making these. You can reduce this cost by doing a lot yourself but printing isn’t cheap.

• Preview Fees: It may also be wise to note that more of the previewers with larger channels are starting to charge for Kickstarter related videos ($100-$800) as there are just so many of them and videos take time to plan, shoot and edit. At the very least you should budget to send them a free copy of your game at one of the higher pledge levels.

• Conventions: You may also want to consider attending conventions to help build your audience. If you would not normally be going to these and/or you are going to additional expos/cons, hiring demo tables and/or a stand then you’ve got some extra costs there.

• Ads: Another possibility you may consider is using Facebook ads or similar to help build brand awareness and your mailing list prior to the launch of your campaign.

In terms of which of these you include is entirely up to you but I’d recommend you write these costs off and not include them in your Kickstarter goal. If your Kickstarter doesn’t fund, you get nothing, if it funds you may be able to recoup some of these costs but if you can’t then you are in no worse a position than if it didn’t fund at all. As a first-time creator you want your goal to be as low as possible but I do think it should be entirely realistic as hiding costs makes things look unrealistic to backers in terms of what a project actually costs, but this is more of a personal opinion – I like to be as transparent as possible.”

Read the full articles

State of Mind Games is a small Australian game design studio focusing on tabletop game experiences but also dabbling in the world of digital game design. The lead designer is Sean, who was recently with Savage Yeti Games where he designed “PatchWord” – the hardest word game on the internet – which was released onto the app stores, and “The Stars Align” board game published by Breaking Games.

Originally focusing on strategic 2-player experiences State of Mind Games has recently begun expanding into new thematic areas with varying player counts. A number of games are with various publishers for consideration but “Dealing Blows”, a 2-player fighting game of light strategy & bluffing in a mint tin is currently available for sale through the game crafter and a hand-made copy of “Of Stone & Wood” – another 2-player light strategy game – is available in a mint tin for $15AUD plus postage by contacting us directly via social media or email.

Buy “Dealing Blows” now

Can you save yourself against a crazy Murderer who is using every situation he can to kill you off?

Our Kickstarter for Murder on the Cards has just wrapped up at over 500% funded!

This drop dead fun and quick game is for 2 to 6 players with a dark sense of humour. There’s a Murderer ready to attack you at every turn and all you have to Save Yourself are the cards in your hand, your wits and the goodwill of the other players.

A quick round of Murder on the Cards will have you chuckling deviously at all the weird ways your friends are dying – but be careful about siding with The Murderer too much, as when he turns his attention to you, the other players might just leave you to your fate.

Missed out on our Kickstarter? No worries, we are now open for late pledges!

Get Murder on the Cards


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