February 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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Playful Pets – Playful Pets: Cats & Dogs is now available on Etsy! You can find the mint tin versions of Canine Capers and Feline Felonies as well as the box of all three games which includes those two plus Animal Alliance in my online store link below. If you haven’t come across the Playful Pets games before they are cat and dog themed board games, all with a similar gameplay that’s easy to learn but with some changes between games to reflect the characteristics of our furry friends.

In Feline Felonies you play as sneaky cats, stealing toys and other items cats believe to be toys from around the neighbourhood and from other cats, bringing them home to add to your very own toy hoard. In Canine Capers you work co-operatively (or solo) with the other dogs in your village to hunt down clues to solve the case at Canine P.D. In Animal Alliance you take control of a cat and dog team, the cats are still stealing toys but the dogs are taking them to the lost and found, your team have a very different moral code from each other but a combined score.

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Valentine’s Day – I’ve wanted to have something in my store that would make a nice Valentine’s Day gift for a board gamer, obviously as Christmas proved just about anything on there would make a lovely gift but I wanted something specifically heart themed and mushy. To that end I’ve been working on some Valentine’s meeple keyrings and earrings. They are made from pastel pink hand painted meeples with little hearts, I think they’re very sweet and I hope they will be a big hit for board gamers this Valentine’s Day.

The Board Game Survival Kit – I really enjoyed painting up those little meeples, some of you might remember that I had always hoped to hand paint some components to expand the available colours for The Board Game Survival Kits. Well, now I have! I now have turquoise, brown, grey and pastel pink available. Aside from the pink the custom versions don’t have ‘I play [colour]’ as a label on the tin and instead have a rainbow label that says ‘I play as me’. I had these labels printed up at the same time as the originals with the hope that it meant I could try my hand at just about any colour or shade a customer might want.

Malum Hortus – Not a lot of game design has been happening recently, building up stock of all three Playful Pets offerings has been a full-time job and I’m in no way complaining. Once I have a comfortable stock level for these games, I’ll be getting back underway with perfecting Malum Hortus, I still hope to do a Halloween campaign for it this year so there’s a lot to get on with to have it ready in time. I’d love to have a demo-able version of it ready for UKGE if I can, wish me luck!

The Atikin Games Etsy shop

Preorders are finally open for Rucksack and shipping to backers should start in late March! With each new milestone being hit, we’re getting more and more excited to see these games out in the wild. In just a few weeks, we’ll begin to see the results of our work over the last 3 years, and that’s a pretty good feeling!

As Rucksack’s publishing is coming to a close, however, I can feel the pull of our next game getting stronger. Right now, we have two different games vying for that spot, and I can’t quite tell which one will get there first. I’m really excited about both of them, though, so I’m sure I’ll be happy no matter which one wins out.

The first is a game that we’re currently calling Project: Monkey Fruit. It’s a light, quick, card-drafting game full of secrets and international intrigue. In it, you play the part of a world-class monkey spy who’s trying to collect as much of your target fruit as possible without having your cover blown. If you’re sneaky enough, you’ll be able to walk away with the most fruit and no one will know it was you.

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But if you get too greedy, the other players may be able to guess your target and your entire mission could be compromised! Honestly, it’s such a fun, simple game that both adults, kids, and anyone in between can enjoy together!

The next game is really unique compared to the other games in the Grumpy Spider lineup. This one is a solo-only, campaign-based, dungeon crawler that can be played with nothing but the book it comes in and a pencil. The book is small enough to fit in your pocket, and brings almost a calmness as you move from one dungeon to the next, with a few puzzly levels thrown in for good measure. What I really like about this game, though, is its combat system which is both simple, challenging, and not quite like anything else I’ve seen before. I’ll say more about it in the coming months, but I’m very excited about Pocket Book Adventures!

Follow our progress on Twitter!

Hi, there you are! Well come in, don’t just stand there. Everyone is waiting. How have you been? A pandemic you say? Huh, well that sounds terrible. Let’s see if we can cheer you up with this nice PowerPoint presentation! Have a seat and we’ll begin.

*Click* Ahem. Welcome to this presentation on the development status of “Perilous Pond”. I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting an update and finally, it’s here.

*Click* As you know Frozen Maze Games has been working hard on this new game. This first slide shows the box art of the game, it’s yet another gorgeous illustration by Emily Ryan. The frog and lily-pad theme really comes across nicely. The a…Yes it’s the same artist as for Bushido Duels, but please hold your questions ’til the end of the presentation. As I was saying: The art has been finished and we are super happy with the look of the game!

*Click* Now this is interesting: the diagrams on the left illustrate the progress on the rules.

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As you can see the text of the first draft has been completed and a first pass of fixups has been applied. Though the images are only at 10% progress is strong and the pace is fast. The core of the game is quite simple but we strive to make the rules crystal clear, so in the coming months we’ll try to do some blind rule tests. The test games so far have mainly had a rules explanation by someone from the Frozen Maze Games team.

*Click* The preliminary play-tests we’ve been doing at conventions have been great, people enjoy the game and we’ve gotten some excellent feedback as seen here. This pie graph shows an 85% positives, 10% said it was nice and 5% thought the frog meeples were chickens.

*Click* This shows a more detailed plan for the year. As Bushido Duels is ready and is shipping to stores and customers a big chunk of our focus is on promoting and getting it into stores. The rest of the time we’re working on finalizing the game components for Perilous Pond, getting all the images into the rules and later this year we will look at assembling the components needed for producing prototype boxes if all goes to plan.

*Click* That’s all we had to present at the moment, any questions? Aha, so for you who didn’t hear the question was “Where can I see the game”? We have a couple of copies of the game and will be taking them where-ever we go, so if you see us somewhere, like if there started being conventions again, feel free to come and test it.

Nothing else? Okay then, thank you for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Frozen Maze Games on Instagram

It’s a New Year of Creativity! Last year was a pretty productive year of creativity! We released:

• Our 1st historical novel – “The Day the Pirates Went Mad”, an adventure for middle-grade readers set at the turn of the 18th century. Cover and illustrations by @JonMerchant21
• The 2nd Pirate Pursuit – “The King’s Pardon”, available as a standalone card game or as a no-box expansion to “Pirate Pursuit – The Spanish Treasure Fleet”
• A new print-and-play – “Elemental Minions”, includes 4 distinct games where players must master the elemental forces of Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water

We also enjoyed our artistic collaborations with @TunaCetiV and @WitchwayGames! Now, in 2022, we expect to devote a majority of our time to writing book 2 of Emma Sharpe’s adventures and adding more STEM activities to the Teachers Guide for book 1.

We have some games in mind as well – a couple new science-based games that have been waiting for some attention and some ideas leftover from 2020 for expanding “Pirates vs. Skeletons” and “The Bone Game”. We also hope to pull together the gameplay for our 3rd Pirate Pursuit game. 🙂

We look forward to seeing what your own creativity brings into being during 2022! #MakeLearningFun

Read with links…

Yub Nub Games

First off, the picture is one of me dropping off 50 copies of Top Tale at a local Marine Corps recruiter office for the Toys for Tots donated copies. Backers generously donated 41 copies of Top Tale: The O.G. Volume 1, and I chose to round up to 50. Games were received in time to be distributed for Christmas!

All backer orders have been fulfilled from my first successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2020! I was fulfilling orders between 10 and 13 months from the Kickstarter ending (most of which at the front end of that period). I’m now set up to sell through Fulfillment by Amazon through the US, Canada, and the UK. With the UK fulfillment, I also have a way for orders to go to the majority of the EU with affordable shipping rates. This enabled me to place orders for remaining backer orders to be delivered through Amazon.

Now that I’ve fulfilled 100% of my first campaign, I now focus on the future, and I’ve got a lot planned for Yub Nub Games. The major milestone in 2022 will be running another Kickstarter campaign for “Top Tale: The O.G. Volume 2” and “Top Tale: Tall Tale”.

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The Kickstarter campaign will likely happen in the Fall of this year, but there’s a ton that I need to accomplish before I get there.

More short term, I’m finally investing in a real company logo. You may have noticed that I’ve been using the Top Tale logo for just about anything I need to submit a logo for. This has served well to reinforce the Top Tale brand, but it’s a bit odd using a game logo when a company logo is more appropriate. I’ve therefore hired my go-to graphic designer to create a company logo for Yub Nub Games. I was hoping to have it done by the February newsletter, but alas I’ll just have to give you a teaser of what it’ll look like. It’ll contain elements of patriotism, Ewoks, and a tribute to my late brother. Vague enough for you?

In February I plan to attend my first tabletop game convention as a vendor! I’ll be at GenghisCon 2022, which will be in Aurora, Colorado. I’ve gone to this convention once in the past to play test Top Tale, and it’s one of the biggest conventions in Colorado. I’ll be both selling copies of Top Tale, as well as promoting the upcoming Kickstarter. I’ll be attending another conference as a vendor in April, up in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

2022 will have some significant life events if all goes well. My day job is really taxing my time and ability to work on Top Tale development, so this year’s challenge will be to still find time to grow the business while balancing my day job and my home life. It’s going to be difficult to say the least, but with such a supportive community that the tabletop industry provides, I don’t see how I can possibly fail!

Yub Nub Games homepage

While we work on the 3-4 player standalone expansion for FlickFleet: Xeno Wars, we’ve been working to make FlickFleet more accessible.

I’ve spent the last month or so creating 3D printing STL files for all of the FlickFleet content. All of it. Which means the print and play for FlickFleet, FlickFleet: Scenery and Scenario Pack, FlickFleet: Box of Flicks 1 and FlickFleet: Box of Flicks 2 all now support both laser-cutting and 3D printing. And all four are available for only £17 in total. As before, if you buy the print and play files and later want to buy a full copy from us, we’ll discount the corresponding print and play price so you don’t end up paying for it twice.

It’s also a great way to get around the crazy shipping prices and Brexit-induced import and VAT fees in Europe.

Print your own fleet!

We have just opened the pledge manager for SSO: Second Edition. We’re using GameFound this time, having used CrowdOx on our previous Kickstarter. So far GameFound is proving harder to use, both for ourselves and our backers, but we’re just about keeping on top of everything. We’re also finalizing intermodal shipping, that’s shipping from LongPack in China to our fulfilment centre in the UK. Despite everything else going on the freight shipping doesn’t seem to bad from our first quotes.

Otherwise things are reasonably quiet at the moment. We have the artwork for our next big release, Song of Tales, nearly finished finally after a long development due to Covid I’m hopeful this will take off when we Kickstart it later in the year. Artwork for the upcoming batch of SSO expansions is all completed so they can also launch later this year.

January is always a hard time on Kickstarter, our weekly tabletop miniatures round up on YouTube this week was the shortest we’ve yet made. If you are brave enough to launch this month good luck to you and I hope everything goes well.

SSO: Second Edition pledge manager


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