It’s the first anniversary edition! The Indie Tabletop Newsletter is a whole one year old! Help us celebrate by reading our news, supporting our Kickstarters and following us on social media.
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.
Designers & Their Games
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Playful Pets: 3 games in 1 box launches on Kickstarter on July 13th! – I can’t wait for launch; I’ve been full of nerves and excitement which will only build as launch day nears. Please follow the campaign link below and click ‘notify me on launch’ so you can be among the first to know when I click the big scary launch button!
This month I worked on crafting the preview copies and sending them out to reviewers. I made 25 games!!! I know it sounds like a lot, there are two very good reasons for it. The first is that I am making these games from home, which means I needed a baseline of how long it takes me to make a game in order to work out my fulfilment schedule. The second is that I wanted to use some smaller board game reviewers I’ve gotten to know and having more games to send out gives me a good range of responses and feedback to draw from.
I sent out 10 of each of Feline Felonies and Canine Capers in their stand-alone mint tin versions and 5 sets of ‘Playful Pets: 3 games in 1 box’ which has those two games with the addition of Animal Alliance where each player controls both a cat and a dog working together as a team.
Previews have started coming in and there has been real love for Feline Felonies and Canine Capers, I really couldn’t be happier. I’m especially happy that people seem to like the artwork for the game. I wanted it to be cute and fun but not to seem childish and I think I’ve just about struck the right balance. There hasn’t been anything for Animal Alliance yet as it will take those reviewers longer as they have 3 games to learn and play!
For the mint tin versions of Feline Felonies and Canine Capers the board comes in 6 parts that are put together with magnets. I was very happy when I developed that board as a way to have a real board game in such a small mint tin but I had worried that some people may find it fiddly. So far so good! Reviewers have seemed to like the ingenuity behind it.
There’s been very good feedback about the handmade resin cat and dog pieces I’ve made for the game, which is amazing considering they’re still very much prototypes and I’m gradually improving my moulds so that they can be perfect by the time production rolls around. The cats are little cat heads and the dogs are dog paws.
Just one last plea – please follow the campaign page and help these cute and fun pet themed games get a good start on Kickstarter, it can be so hard to get any attention on there as a small designer and even a £1 pledge can be incredibly helpful.
Turing will be launching on Kickstarter on the 19th of July. We’ve been working on Turing for a while so its great to finally be putting it out into the world since we’ve put its date back as to not overlap the fulfilment of Rage of Montalbano. It’s a pocket-sized image interpretation game with limited communication playable as co-op or competitive mode for 2 to 6 players.
We’ll be following up Turing quite closely with a campaign for a re-print and expansion of SSO took take advantage of shipping Turing and SSO together, so that should be launching in late August.
SSO is a 1-6 player sci-fi survival horror game and we’ve sharpened up the presentation and again clarified the rulebook for this second edition, it will be launching with the challenge deck expansion “Wonder of Wubs” where the SSO is beset by masses of small, furry, fast breeding creatures.
Otherwise, our You-Tube channel and podcast Rule Of Carnage is going strong, if you have any interest in designing skirmish miniatures games, or just seeing two designers talking about a hobby they love look it up. New episodes drop every Saturday on the You-Tube channel and every other Saturday on the podcast.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already less than four weeks away from Rucksack’s Kickstarter launch on July 20. I’ve had a lot more time to work on the campaign page this time around – which is great – but I still feel like it’s a huge mess! Hopefully, the pieces will all start coming together soon, though.
One of the big lessons we learned from our first Kickstarter campaign was that we needed more reviewers, specifically video reviewers. This time around – in addition to our previous reviews – we have a How to Play video, two video reviews, four written reviews, and even a social media shoutout or two! We were also recently presented with the opportunity for an interview-style blog post of sorts. That one’s still only a possibility at the moment, but it should be interesting if it all comes together.
Our preparation is not without snags, however. We have a few international reviewers who still haven’t received their copies even weeks after they’ve been sent. And with international tracking as poor as it is sometimes, we’re now faced with a difficult decision.
Do we postpone the launch and hope that the packages arrive before the next millennium, or do we stick with the original timeline and accept that some reviews just won’t come in during the Kickstarter campaign? It’s a tough call, but one that will have to be made soon, as we’re quickly running out of time!
At 12.00 GMT on Thursday 29th July we are going to be going live on Kickstarter. There will be multiple reward tiers, some of which come with a wonderful play mat. There will be many great stretch goals to unlock which will enhance the game in a variety of ways. There’s also early bird rewards for initial backers, so if you want to be in with a chance of grabbing one of these be sure to click the Notify button on the Kickstarter preview page!
For the three days following launch day, I’ll be at the UK Games Expo, the UK’s biggest tabletop games convention which is taking place at the NEC, Birmingham. We will be at Stand 2-1057 giving attendees the opportunity of trying out the game, after which there will of course be the chance to back it directly! You’ll also get the chance to meet our alien mascot Bob which will make for some great photo opportunities!
For the last year I’ve done all I can to promote the game to both the gaming community and the UFO community. Once launch date arrives it’s up to you. Come join the UFO Wave and help make it a reality!
We are super excited by our launch of 20 Dreams on Amazon in the USA and the sales reach that this offers from across the pond. We will also be launching on Amazon UK in July, just in time for the summer holiday season. There has been a tremendous amount of preparation involved with our launch into the world of Amazon and we enter this marketplace with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
And with other news its full steam ahead with preparation for UK Games Expo as we order all the kit and literature for our stand. We are really looking forward to being part of this event, so do come and say hello at our stand 2-330. We would love to meet you all.
We will also be releasing Karen’s audio in July on understanding teenagers as part of our supporting resources available with 20 Dreams. So do look out for that on our social media platforms.
Free UK Delivery continues!
Due to its popularity, we’ve decided to continue to offer free delivery for all UK orders on our site in July! Because who doesn’t love a good drop dead fun deal?
In other news, we attended our first physical market in June, and it was great! It was the Estate of the Arts Fair in Bristol, and it was so much fun being around fellow Bristolians in person again (ok, I know both my husband and I are South African, but we’re happily adopted by Bristol).
The fair also opened our eyes to the different places we can sell Murder on the Cards, so if you are local to Bristol, keep an eye out for us at markets in the future – we can’t wait to show off the game in person. Who knows, maybe some markets will even let us take The Murderer out of his box and play a few rounds with the public.
Happy new newsletter year!
We’re still slowly catching up with old news! July’s news is Bushido Duels! Our cool card game that can be purchased in stores or from our website! Bushido duels is a quick game where planning, memory and a little luck are needed to be victorious. Play cards and roll dice to unleash your fighter’s attacks, all while trying to out-think your opponent and keeping track of previously played cards.
Choose one of eight fighters and get ready to challenge your friends to a duel, Samurai style! Each fighter has their own techniques, personality and agenda. The strength and speed values of a fighter’s attack card determines the damage and if it’s fast enough to connect with full force. The Mon wheel card decides the interactions of the different attack cards, letting you know if your attack is offensive or defensive.
Let’s look at one of the fighters, the Thrillseeker. This fighter is a creature of chaos, neither good nor evil. He is always looking for the thrill of battle and is seemingly impervious to pain, or perhaps he’s even thriving on it? (Who are we kidding, of course he does!)
In the game, the Thrillseeker likes taking damage. His Special attack cards all revolve around the concept of taking damage, and in so doing, fueling his attack cards’ damage potential. The closer he gets to being knocked out, the more dangerous he becomes.
An interesting example of his Special attack cards is : You think you’ve bested me? Think again! You’ll roll two speed dice (d3) to determine your speed value (the lower the value, the faster the technique) giving you a speed value of 2-6. This gives you a great chance to be faster than your opponent regardless whether your attack card is offensive or defensive.
Should your card be the offensive one, you’ll most likely ping your opponent for 2 damage but the real flavor and fun of the card happens when you’re defensive. Now, should you be faster than your opponent (ties do not count) you’ll only block 2 points of damage. But, it is all a means to an end. The Thrillseeker is letting himself get stabbed so that he can get close to the opponent and return the favor with his blade.
He’ll be striking back with as much force as he got hit, making your opponent receive the same damage as you just took… This means the harder you’re hit the more damage your opponent will receive.
This is a sneaky way of knocking out your opponent or making it so that you’ll take him down with you*. It can also be used to ensure you lose some initial health as your other two special attack cards revolve around how much damage the Thrillseeker has taken.
The game is on, will your opponent be able to finish him off before you are able to retaliate with The Thrillseekers his most devastating attacks?
Yorkshire-based Paper Boat Games was folded into existence when three board game fanatics teamed up to share their games with the wider world. The trio were already avid designers in their own right, but by coming together they were able to offer each other support and encouragement and to polish their designs to a new level of quality. Their first game, Snapshot, was a genuine team effort and will be appearing on Kickstarter soon.
Snapshot is a fast and fun push-your-luck game of wildlife photography. Explore exotic habitats, photograph prestigious animals and fulfil secret assignments to be crowned photographer-of-the-year! Take a look at paperboatgames.com for videos, rules and news.
Want to try Snapshot for yourself? Paper Boat Games would love for you to join them at the UK Games Expo for games and demonstrations. Can’t make the Expo this year? You can play Snapshot for free on Tabletopia – a link is on the Paper Boat Games website at paperboatgames.com/snapshot.
Talita RheinAfter Dogo Dash, Talita started working on her second card game. The working name is “Rios e Mar”, “Rivers and Sea” in free translation. It has nothing to do with Dogo Dash, since it is a solo game that will have a coop version. It has a resources management mechanic, where players have to make choices in order to move on and expand their settlements. The theme is the pre-colonial native Brazilian people.
The game is available for testing on Tabletopia only in Portuguese. The idea is to have an expandable game, with many possibilities and different stories, all using cards. In the game, you draw your map by resolving challenges and moving on expanding the area that you know. You don’t own things, you share them, and this connection between people and nature is what guides the game. You move by the waters until you reach the ocean.
Meanwhile, Dogo Dash is going to be released by publisher TGM in Brazil! The release date is not confirmed yet, but it will be still 2021.
The game will be fully in Portuguese, targeting the most engaged audience the game has. And for the other countries, there are still 700 copies of Dogo Dash! They can either be sold individually or in a greater amount for retailers! If you want a Dogo Dash copy, contact Talita on email@example.com.
UnfringedFirstly, thank you Nikita for featuring us as part of your newsletter and hello to everyone reading! I’m Chris, the founder of Unfringed and creator of our first game Zuuli: The fierce and friendly card game.
As it’s our first post I should tell you a little bit about me. I’ve had a varied career up to this point primarily working as a Software Engineer but also as a Visual Effects artist on films such as Man of Steel, Jupiter Ascending and Fast and the Furious 6. I’m a big nature fan and have enjoyed keeping unusual pets such as Frank the jumping spider and Kane the Ghost Mantis. And of course, playing all forms of games with some of my favourites being Little Nightmares on PC and Magic the Gathering and Sushi Go! on paper.
During lockdown I decided to try my hand at designing and creating my own board game and the end result is Zuuli. It’s been a year of learning everything from CE marks and safety testing to reaching out to the wonderful community for previews. And speaking of which, we’ve had a couple come through and couldn’t be happier with how people are responding so far.
The other big news of the month is that we finally got our Zuuli Pre-launch page up for kickstarter! Check out the link. It would make my month if we can reach at least 100 followers before the next newsletter!
Zuuli’s simple premise is based around building your own zoo by rescuing animals and scoring the highest satisfaction score over 3 rounds (or Years). There is a drafting phase where you pick and pass which animals you would like to rescue but at the same time you are also drafting the enclosures in which to house them. After this there is a dynamic set collection phase (develop phase), where you place enclosure cards in your zoo and then fill them with the animals you rescued.
What makes Zuuli strategic and tricky is that you are limited to which animals can be placed in which enclosures because of three things:
– Habitat requirement
– Space requirement
– The fierce and friendly trait of the animal
And lastly, you may be asking why Unfringed? Even though 2020 was a year for terrible hair/beard decisions, or the fisherman look as some friends described me, the name Unfringed is actually inspired by the desire to create games that are simple, social and addictively fun, whilst introducing mechanics and strategies that even experienced game players would enjoy. Making fringe gaming accessible. Or Unfringed.
If you’re interested in hearing more/following along I try to post at least one ‘behind the scenes’ or self publishing tips and tricks blog post once a week over at our official website, and linked to on our socials. And feel free to reach out with any questions, comments you might have. Always happy to chat with other enthusiastic designers or gamers.
Over a dozen games and activities are currently listed on our website. Most are math-centric like “Probability Battleship”, “Pirates vs. Skeletons”, “Hotel Escape”, “Target Zer0”, and “The Royal Three”. Some are science-focused like “The Bone Game” and “Extinction Event”. Others are meant to encourage strategic thinking or prompt discussion like “Chess Attack” and “SNORT!”
Most recently, we published “Pirate Pursuit – The Spanish Treasure Fleet” (have fun chasing the sneaky pirate while learning about infamous people, historical events, world geography, and naval vocabulary) via The Game Crafter.
And since releasing our historical novel for middle-grade readers, “The Day the Pirates Went Mad”, we’ve been working on a new print-and-play, “Elemental Minions”. The first of three related games, “Elemental Minions: Dominion” is ready and available for playtesting at playgames2learn.com/games/elemental-minions/ Give it a try! Or any of our other games! Let us know if you find them to be useful to #MakeLearningFun!
We look forward to reading and contributing to another year of #TheIndieTabletopNewsletter, and checking out all the cool projects everyone is working on. Most of all, we hope our games might inspire your children or classroom to design games of their own! 🙂
Let your true colours fly by creating a rainbow #Pride flag in your games of Swatch with this custom colour scheme! This promo pack can be added on to new and current Gamefound pledges. A Print & Play PDF is also available at a reduced cost.
Swatch is a tabletop game for 1-4 players. Players place artists to draft cards that collect and trade colours, making swatch (colour) cards and creating their colour scheme. The first player to complete their scheme with the least colour tokens left is the winner!
Yub Nub GamesThe first production copy of Top Tale: The O.G. Volume 1 is here! It turned out great with the added UV spot treatment, which really helps the box stand out on the shelf! With the final approval of this copy, Meijia is now working to assemble the rest of the 2,000 copies. I have had a bit of a hiccup with freight arrangements, as the contact I have been dealing with to ship Top Tale has left the company. Thankfully, the GM of the company assigned other resources to expedite my shipping needs. Hopefully, this will lead to the games shipping from China by the first or second week of July, and hopefully arriving in late August.
In other exciting news, I’ve released the 2.0 version of the Top Tale Mobile App. There are tons of improvements since the 1.6 release, now including tutorials, user accounts, and the ability to unlock more content in the app with unlock codes! Each physical copy of Top Tale comes with a one-time-use unlock code, to unlock the same cards you purchased physically in the mobile app.
The point where I’ll be able to finally fulfill backer orders and start growing the business is close at hand! I’m excited for all the potential that lies before me. Soon, very soon, Top Tale will have the opportunity to start spreading around the globe, and I hope all who play find joy and develop deeper human connections by playing it.
Castleshire: We got the white samples from the factory and how excited we are about it. Most components are exactly as we want them to be, yet there is still a load of improvements to make. The insert tray has not been done as we wanted it, and our guild books need an improvement as the die cut was done wrong. Game-wise, the rulebook got massive improvements, some to simplify the wording, some to rearrange the introduction of our mini-expansions. There are 14 of them built-in: we add the necessary extra components in the game box right from the start. Our artist has started on the box art. We will share progress in the next newsletter and on our social media channels.
Kickstarter: We settled on a date. Castleshire will launch on March 10, 2022.
Events: We attended Wellycon in early June and were pleased to show off Castleshire alongside a dozen other designers. Alayn from Gametime Again was our booth buddy and thanks to him, we could even make it to the event. Watch out for his upcoming space game Perpetuity.
We also attended BGBTB in mid-June. We used both events to play-test Castleshire, balance different game setups, and experiment with the fun factor of some of the until now only lightly tested asymmetries. People who played and won the game took a custom Castleshire trophy home. Most play testers left their email address to be informed about our Kickstarter launch. We wonder how much our new design of the wooden game box had an impact on that. It has now a detachable compartment, and people reacted with ohs and wows.