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.
Malum Hortus – all the final elements for getting Malum Hortus ready for Kickstarting later this year are progressing well. I’ve lined up blind play testing for mid-July, then I can make sure the rulebook is as perfect as possible before I send it off with the preview copies. Also, I’ll need the time to start work on making as many preview copies as I can. I’m still not sure how many will be reasonable to make by hand, I’m hoping for 5-10.
If you’re not already following the Kickstarter preview page please follow the below link and click the pretty green button that says “Notify me on launch”. It’ll be a big help if there’s as much buzz around the game as possible on launch day.
The art for Malum Hortus is what has taken the most time, I’ve prioritised the art pieces in order of what will look best for the previews for now.
Then once they’re sent out I’ll focus on what will look best for the Kickstarter, then everything else including the back of the box and rulebook art. Speaking of the art I’m very happy with how the evil foxglove has turned out so I thought I’d share it here.
For the time being while some big pieces of art are still in progress I’m planning to make a silhouette version of each with MH in the centre to avoid any confusion about what art in the preview copies is there to stay and what is pending.
The Board Game Survival Kit 2.0 – I fulfilled all the June pledges quite quickly and I’ve almost finished all of the pre orders I’ve had for custom kits that were scheduled for July. By mid-July all the pre orders I’ve had so far will have been despatched and I’ll be longing for more to work on.
It will take quite a while to get all of the new colour options and the Ultimate kits up on my website with some lovely photography to match, so, for the time being I’m keeping the GameFound pledge manager open as a store for those.
Our worksheets are free to download from the below link. Each is two sides of A4, with historical information, writing exercises, and questions for group discussion. More worksheets will be added in the coming month or so, so check back later!
You can also buy a copy of Library Labyrinth in our shop — again, just go to:
What was particularly lovely is how many people came up to us that we met last year and told us how much they still loved Zuuli and that it was a favourite in their household. This was one of my hopes when designing Zuuli and starting Unfringed so it’s particularly heartwarming to see we’re making baby steps towards the goal of making games that you grow up with.
Also, a huge thank you to my amazing wife Sophie who without her continuous support, help and belief in me and Zuuli, none of this would have been possible!
The picture attached is only a fraction of the lovely people we met, both old and new, and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting every single one. The boardgame community has to be the nicest bunch of people I think we’ve ever met and I’m already excited to do it all again next year.
Fear is there, but so are the Mermaids! Seek help from the Atlanteans by paying them in Sand Dollars. The deeper you can get in a number column, the more powerful the Mermaids are. Seek the depths to defeat the Kraken and send it back to Davey Jones’ Locker.
Each turn players roll 3 six sided dice and assign them to ships in the fleet or if you have hired Mermaids you can assign the dice to them for their game breaking powers! The rounds will pass with the Kraken attacking each time with a requirement that must be met or the player will face the Kraken’s attack. Gain Gems which increase your ability to keep going in spite of the Kraken’s devastating blows.
The players will have opportunities to save all of the other players at times when they exceed the Kraken’s tridents by 2 when played cooperatively. Players can also play competitively.
Partners: The Lost Files is a digital only companion for the original game. In it you’ll find dozens of new ways to play, including six new modules. Take your Pardner out west in the Western file. Get brutal and bloody with the Serial file. Take your partner into the dungeon with the Dungeon Crawl file. Fight crime with a Pow! and a Zap! in the Superhero file! Pursue romance in the Rom-Com file or pursue your enemy across time and space in the Portal To Los Angeles file. With all of this you’ll have enough ways to play Partners you’ll never run out, and you’ll never need any other RPGs! Simply open up these tables and start drawing cards and find out what the world has in store for you and your buddy!
As always, Partners can be played with trios or more and has more than just its two player nature to make it different. It’s entirely unique plot-development mechanics isn’t like any roleplaying game you know: it generates the actions of your characters so that you get to be audience as well as author, finding out the truth of who you are – and who killed whom – only as the game progresses. Shuffle the deck and get on the trail with Partners!
I can warmly recommend the Meetup community in Tokyo, for a minimal fee you can play the full day with nice folks who bring their games. These are “gamers’ games”, Dune, Nemesis, Revive, Twilight Imperium, you know. Tested some of my prototypes as well with friendly groups to collect feedback.
You might notice that most Meetup event attendees are non-Japanese. I also participated in a purely Japanese group – access via fiancé, it’s a closed group – and the vibe is completely different! Groups are allocated randomly (via Dixit counters!) to play with 4-5 players for about an hour.
Then new groups are formed. It’s a bit of a network activity as well, but mainly to just have fun. In this time frame, you naturally stick to lighter games. I had great success with suggesting Cat Lady, a difficult struggle with Roar & Write and again good times with Draftosaurus. When the evening ages, groups merge together and we ended with Fake Artist, we loved it. But it was striking how West and East cultures play different games and for different reasons. And with most Japanese homes being so small, small card games are a natural fit, not the huge Kickstarter ones.
In Taiwan, I went to a board game café. It was extremely hard to find, I was surprised how well they hid it. You take off your shoes when you enter. And it’s really nice! Cool wall art, good selection to play and some to buy as well. When I arrived, I met a group of 7 students who had fun with kid games and pool noodles (no really, it was a vigorous battle). Uncertain if the white old man fits in, I still asked if they’d be cool with me joining. After two weeks of backpacking, I was desperate to play, you know. And it was FUN-tastic! For seven hours straight we played, lightweight or party games only, but that only makes sense. The clerk recommended and explained well. I think I learned more about Taiwanese culture on this day than in the rest of my trip. Game content can be quite different, e.g. in Guess Club, where we have to find answers on questions. What has a triangle shape? Why, of course, the rice Onigiri from 7-11, even the German knows that. What can you have in your pocket? Well, an egg, of course, as one of the students promptly proved! And as a German, “pangolin” was not exactly top of my list when it came to things that have a shell. It was marvellous.
To my surprise, it was fine to order food and drinks (Drinks? Ah, milk tea, of course!). Games were stowed away while eating and drinks were to be placed in trolleys near the table. Nice solution and very friendly to us customers who spent such a long and valuable time in the store.
Again, a beautiful proof of how gaming connects cultures, generations, humans.
In other news, since we’ve hit convention season, Hobgoblin, Pukeapocalypse and even Boarders and Black Flags have been having their first presentations to the general public, and they’ve been getting great responses. I’m putting the last finishing touches to the manuscript for Pukeapocalypse now in anticipation of it going off to the publishers and I’ve gotten the last of the Boarders and Black Flags artwork back, so its all very exciting!
“A game about auctioning cubes after winning an auction to become the auctioneer.” was a highlight – so many folk playing, laughing, and even sometimes declaring it their favourite ever auction game! It represents a new style of Bezzy Bargain Bag – folk bought the cards, but would have to supply their own cubes. Most gamers have cubes. And for those who didn’t, there were a few bags to buy. I hope to bring it to more folk at some point in the not too distant future.
“A game about words that rhyme with terrible rules on a line” is more of a creative tool, with a few games attached.
Some are speed games about language/rhyming, some are ways to communally create a story or a rhyme. Again, I was overjoyed that people accepted it for what it is.
“A game about seriously surreal creatures and trying to identify them after someone makes noises” was the inevitable follow up to AGAWWCATTITASMN and AGACCCATTITASMN. I’m not sure if I personally prefer the cute comical creatures or the seriously surreal ones, but I’m proud of them all.
Most excitingly, I had the reprint of the ELL deck, with ORIGINELL and CATEGORICKELL. Whilst Categorickell wasn’t available for sale, I was finally starting to fulfil KS pledges after the delays from Covid/Brexit/general depression. I hope to bring more styles of typography and properly relaunch the deck within a year.
I basically loved every moment. The press preview, constantly busy. The crowds. Showing new games. Giving games to KS backers. Amazing 2pm events with an excited crowd – 15 on Friday – and Sarah-Jane coming back after coming 2nd in 2022, managing to win 1st place for “A game about quickly grabbing creatures that are totally different and counting your [vegetables]”
I appreciate and love all my helpers, but also all the folk who came over to say hello, and all the folk who tried my games, and everyone who continues to support me over the years.
Honestly, the meal on Sunday night and the wind-down gathering I hosted on Monday was a personal highlight, as were the debriefs that gave me some emotional closure each day.
Although I won’t be living in the UK next year I’m hoping to be back next year. I’ll print my new games earlier, so my helpers have more time with them. Do the stickers earlier so I can get a better price and quality. And make a few other tweaks.
But if I just repeated UKGE 2023 in a year’s time, I’d be very happy with that.
We’ve been quiet for a while getting everything in place but now things are really coming together. We’ve been working on the game overview video, our army of monkeys with typewriters have been typing away on all the different sections for the Kickstarter page. Our rogue agents are checking shipping solutions and me…I’ve mainly been drinking my tea and making sure everyone sticks to their tasks.
We’ve not only been working we’ve also made time to meet people at conventions and let more people play the game. The response is still good and we’re so excited to be able to get the game out to a larger audience soon! There’s still work to do but we’re getting closer to launch every day!
Hmm, what’s that? you’re wondering if you can do anything to help? We’d love if you’d follow the project on Kickstarter and of course tell your friends about the coolest push-your-luck / tactical action programming game about frogs in town!
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