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.
Library Labyrinth is on the lookout for teachers and parents of teenagers! Is this you?
One of the organizations helping us is the Mary Seacole Trust, a UK charity. Six teenagers from their youth council are helping us to playtest and market Library Labyrinth — and one of their brilliant suggestions was that we could think about how the game could be used in schools. We would like to make an educational pack to go alongside Library Labyrinth, but we’re not quite sure what to put in it. So, if you’re a teacher, or a youth worker, or you parent teenagers, then please do get in touch.
Players will also be treated to a second game, Argyle, a game of making colourful Argyle style patterns earn points for the same values of colours used as well as strategic placement of those colours.
Both games feature graphic design by our dear friend, @KnowbyPrints on BGG at KnowbysCabin. Two games, one low price!
Frozen Maze Games, the story so far. Once upon a time there were two boys in the dark forests of Sweden. (There were a lot of other people there as well but they aren’t really important to the story…except perhaps the significant others of these boys, we’ll see I haven’t written so far yet. OK time to end this parenthesis).
They loved to play board games with their friends until one day Per (one of said boys) said to Åke (the other boy of our story) wouldn’t it be cool to design a board game? Åke calm and cool, never too excited, answered “yeah! That would be frickin’ Awesome!” (but more calm and cool).
And so they created the company “Frozen Maze Games” and started their first project, it had it all! It had hexagons of different landscape types. It had meeples, lots and lots of meeples. It had hidden roles and it had a quite heavy housekeeping phase, aaaand it didn’t quite work.
“So let’s go simple!” they shouted at each other. In a frenzy they finished and produced Per’s idea Bushido Duels. This took, like, 3 years, I think we all can agree that it was lightning fast! Bushido Duels turned out good. People playing the game like it. The box is small, and the artwork is (really) pretty.
In October a shipment of over 1000 boxes arrived and slowly, sloooowly we’re starting to sell them, through shops and our own webshop. The story doesn’t end here, Bushido Duels exists and the journey of getting a box into every home continues. But more importantly more ideas exist and one of them is slowly taking shape into a game.
Big thanks to Nikita for welcoming us to this newsletter for indie board game developers and (hopefully) including this silly presentation of us. We’re looking forward to presenting more about both Bushido Duels and any and all upcoming projects.
One of the campaign pledge levels was for a BuzzleBox. A BuzzleBox is a themed board game and puzzle box. This latest BuzzleBox is our third and the theme is Astronauts and Asteroids. As well as Uranus! the BuzzleBox includes Countdown Confusion – a speed card drafting game with intentionally confusing graphics, Alien Farm – a Coaster Game about housing and breeding alien creatures, 3 ‘game cards’ – featuring games you can play with cards and dominoes and 3 mind-frazzling puzzles – created by great friend of The Dark Imp, David Brain (designer of Key Market & SimpliCity).
The Pledge Manager will go live at the start of May, so head to The Dark Imp website for more information.
Plus… you can now register for our next Kickstarter campaign, which at the moment is top secret. It’s going to be pretty special though – and it will be fulfilled in time for Christmas. So click the link to register your interest.
I’ll be reading a few excerpts from Emma Sharpe’s adventures and then answering your questions; including a “Spoiler Warning” Q&A segment at the end for those who have already read the early release of the ebook and want to know more about the characters, their motivations, what’s next, and other behind the scenes tidbits. 😉
If you see this in time, come see me on Zoom:
Date/Time: May 1st at 2:00pm *PST*
Meeting ID: 821 7945 5128
Finishing the book and getting it published has consumed the last few months and we’re so happy to see it released for everyone to read!
This is actually the fourth and last of the four big projects that prompted us to create PlayGames2Learn.com and Silverpath Publishing almost two-and-a-half years ago. The first was my daughter’s educational card game about the human skeleton, “The Bone Game”, and the second was a comedy adventure we co-wrote as a 3-act play, “The King and Queen’s Banquet”.
These two projects were guinea pigs in a way; done specifically to demonstrate to my daughter that one could have an idea for a creative project, make it, and then share it with the world. We did everything ourselves and we learned a lot along the way, especially what it takes to publish a game on TheGameCrafter.com and a book on AmazonKDP.
With that experience in hand, we more confidently pursued two larger projects; a bigger game and a bigger book. For me, pirates have always been an entertaining setting for games, story telling, and education. So, even as we rolled out a number of smaller print-and-play games and activities, we were working on the board game, “Pirate Pursuit – The Spanish Treasure Fleet”, and on the historical novel, “The Day the Pirates Went Mad”. Happily, the research for each largely overlapped with the other! 🙂
A special thanks for these two projects must go to Jon Merchant for making both of them look so much more professional with his lovely artwork!
Pirate Pursuit – The Spanish Treasure Fleet: This full-sized board game was conceived of at the same time as “The Bone Game” but it had to wait until we got a number of math-centric print-and-plays done; like “Pirates vs Skeletons”, “Cube-or-ACK!”, “Probability Battleship”, and a bunch of others. [See the description & pics on TheGameCrafter.com]
The Day the Pirates Went Mad: 4.5 years in the making, this tale was intended to be a…
We’re picking up steam here at Grumpy Spider Games! Rucksack’s artwork is now complete for all cards and even the box! We’ve got several reviewers lined up and, by the time you read this, we’ll have already ordered the next round of review copies. The Kickstarter relaunch is now slated for the second half of July. We’re not set on the exact day yet, but we’ll have that soon too. It’s all coming together. Now we have a full 2 and a half months to obsess over our Kickstarter page! Yay!
We’re also ordering a few extra copies of Rucksack, so if you’re a board game reviewer and interested in covering what is quite possibly the best party game capable of being imagined, don’t hesitate to reach out to @Grumpy_Spider on Twitter, or message us on Facebook at facebook.com/GrumpySpider!
All kidding aside, the whole reason I offered to publish Rucksack with my brother was that I knew it was different from the first time he showed it to me.
It certainly has a similar feel to Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, but the way you choose your items helps to guide your creativity; it’s not just fill-in-the-blank humor. And the reviewers that have played it so far seem to agree. A common thread we’ve heard many times already is that someone wasn’t really expecting to care for it much, but then they actually did, and wanted to play it again! It’s almost like it’s a party game for people that don’t typically like party games, which is a weird thing to say, but I like it!
If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, we’ll send you a free promo print and play for signing up to our newsletter. The link is below!
We are super excited about our upcoming Sci-fi game, which has been renamed slightly to “Perpetuity: Grave Descent”. The game has taken on a whole new level for us as we have been finalizing the artwork, the name and many of the game features. Our final prototype version of the game has a rotating Solar system for the main game board, a rotating ring to help manage the changing game conditions and a very unique and fun board presence. We have also finished the initial Proof of Concept for one of a kind mobile application that will be available for the “Digital Hybrid” edition of the game. To help keep track of all the changes and development, we have put together a dedicated landing page. You can follow our landing page by clicking the link below.
We will be show casing “Perpetuity: Grave Descent” at WellyCon in June. We hope you will join us in person or online for the first live peek at this incredible game coming later this year to Kickstarter.
We can’t believe that it’s somehow already May!
At Drop Dead Fun HQ we’re working on what we work on best – making more fun 😄 We’re busy developing expansions for our card game, Murder on the Cards, which are equal parts exciting and brain frying to work on! At the same time, we feel like The Murderer would like some company in our games collection, so we are also developing another, completely different game – but that’s still very much under wraps.
As things are opening up more in the UK, and people are able to spend more time with family and friends, we’d like to help add even more fun into the time together with a devious little discount on Murder on the Cards. Use the code INDIEFREE for free delivery on any UK order!
The Board Game Survival Kit is 95% fulfilled! With the last few going out in the next week or two. That means that 8 out of the 10 colours are now up on my Etsy store waiting to go out to new homes. I hope it will be as well received on Etsy as it was on Kickstarter. I’m also working towards getting more ‘I play [colour]’ products up on the store to compliment The Board Game Survival Kit.
Etsy: I’m working on more gaming accessories and board game themed crafts for my Etsy store. I’ve been starting to work with resin and I’m looking forward to seeing if these new products will be well received. You can also now get the mini 7-piece dice sets from The Board Games Survival Kit campaign in their own teeny tiny crocheted dice bags.
Playful Pets: is coming along nicely. Feline Felonies recently had some great blind play test feedback which has led to some good little improvements here and there and Canine Capers should be going out to play testers very soon.
If you’d like to play test the Canine Capers print and play, I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch either through Twitter or you can email me: email@example.com.
I’m planning the Playful Pets Kickstarter launch for July 13th and working away on the cute cartoony art for the boards. Through the Kickstarter you’ll be able to get Canine Capers and Feline Felonies as individual mint tin games or you can get both games plus the third ‘Cats Vs Dogs’ (working title) in one bigger box.
During play tests and discussions, the ideas for Feline Festivities and Canine Christmas came up. I would love to do these little mint tin games as stretch goals for the campaign, I aim to fulfil just in time for the festive season so they would make wonderful little stocking fillers.
I’m looking forward to Playful Pets being my first boxed (rather than mint tin) game that’s crafted by me in my home office rather than out sourced like Tri To Win was. Making the prototypes next month will be good practice and will help me to determine how many copies I’ll be able to make by my planned fulfilment date.
The Malum Hortus Kickstarter is now planned for March 2022. It suits my schedule better and gives me time to focus on Playful Pets fulfilment before getting too deep in to Malum Hortus’ Kickstarter preparations.
#BoardGamersLift ‘s are getting an awful lot of traffic on Twitter now. It’s very exciting and each week it takes me longer and longer to get around to all the related notifications. I see relationships as well as new games build each week and I could not be happier with the online board gaming community that gets involved and shares their news each week.
Production for Top Tale: The O.G. Volume 1 is well underway with all materials currently in queue for printing. I am hoping that next month I will have a picture of the pre-assembled product to share. If all goes according to play, I will have the first production copy in my hands to review in June, and by the end of June the games will all be assembled and on their way to me for distribution!
Over the last month I had the pleasure of recording an interview with the Board Gaming With Education stream. We talked about some of the specific elements of Top Tale that make it a great tool to get kids to open up, develop more respect for one another, and as an ice breaker. We discussed how the game’s balance between light and heavy topics helps to make the game overall very casual and light-hearted, but it allows users to get to know each other on a deeper level. I am really excited for the episode to air next month.
I’ve also been busy with the Top Tale mobile app. The next version will have more bug fixes (thanks to all that have been trying it out and reporting issues!), as well as a tutorial feature, which quickly gets a new player familiar with how to play Top Tale using the app. More development around user profiles and content unlocks are just around the corner.
Something else happened this month, which I am super excited about. I had an offer to be in a book with a chapter dedicated to me talking about Yub Nub Games, the journey of starting the business, and some key learnings I took away from it. The person that is arranging the book’s creation has dozens of best-selling books to her name and has guaranteed that this title would be another best seller! More to come on that topic!
April has been another busy month as we work on refreshing all of our sales platforms and build our online reputation. We have updated our website with improved content, new photos and created new images of our game. We are also working on new content for our other sales channels, so that each platform has its own unique look and feel.
Our focus now will be continuing to build our sales channels and distribution of 20 Dreams, by building up our online and high street presence as well as building our brand reputation.
We have been creating new content for Pinterest, with new boards and pins and we are about to start creating Tiktok videos. As we add content to these platforms in addition to our main social platforms – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we continue to build brand awareness for 20 Dreams across a more diverse range of audiences.
We are really chuffed with the reviews we have received for 20 Dreams, so if you have played our game, please do leave us a review. And if you haven’t as yet, please do take a look at our website.
We have a freebie hidden in this newsletter, so read on! Also, we have signed the manufacturing contract for Castleshire and are crazily excited. 🙂
Castleshire: Our digital files for manufacturing are done in principle. We have used the past month to finalize meeple shapes and work on the player colors. Thanks to a local play-tester and online communities and, we have settled on colors optimized for people with colorblindness. If you are new to this topic and want initial guidance, we are happy to help. Just reach out!
Manufacturing: We are only days away from sending our digital material to the factory. They will work on a so-called white sample even though they already print most components and color the meeples. Therefore, we try to get all files in a ready state. It turns out that the book-shaped game box is one of the hardest to design due to required adjustments to the die-cuts and therefore constant rework.
Kickstarter: With the white samples on their way soon, we now also action our Kickstarter tasks. Pledges are set, add-ons are decided, stretch goals are defined, and the campaign page is structured. We spoke with Gamerati, a distribution company, and have secured them for current stock. We will potentially partner with them to fulfil our Castleshire campaign worldwide.
Crimopolis: Two years on, we are working more intensively on the first expansion “Personalities” for our gangster-themed game Crimopolis. While fully focused on Castleshire right now, we have set aside an entire weekend in May to work on non-Castleshire topics including getting the content sorted that will come with Personalities. We aim to publish it in 2022.
Distribution: With Gamerati, we have a third option to ship Crimopolis to customers in the US and for the first time, also directly to Canada. We also secured a new retailer here in New Zealand.
Events: We attend BGBTB in Dunedin in May. There will be lots of giveaways including Crimopolis games and trophies for people who beat the designer of Castleshire in his own game. All event participants have an opportunity to get a unique voucher code for a free fan component for Castleshire, likely to be a unique and rare guild book. As we only attend events in New Zealand, but like the idea of sharing the excitement with anyone from anywhere, get in touch with us and you will get the same opportunity.
We now have a planned Kickstarter launch date of Friday 30th July! The campaign will run for 30 days. We chose this date to fit in with the UK Games Expo, the largest UK based tabletop gaming convention. I am very pleased to announce that we have managed to secure a stand at the Expo, so will be launching the game to coincide with this! We are going to be at stand number 2-1057. There will be a table set up with the game, so come on down and try it for yourself before you back! We’ll also be running giveaways daily, and there’ll of course be other freebies available.
Now that the Kickstarter preview page is live, be sure to click the Notify button to be kept informed of launch. We are planning early bird rewards for backers so it pays to get in fast!
We are now entering the next stage of promotion for the game. Numerous prototypes are about to be sent out to reviewers across the UK, USA and Canada. Expect to see videos and articles pouring in between now and launch. You’ll be able to check them out by subscribing to the website, following us on Instagram, or joining our new Facebook Community page.
UFO Wave is now also available free to play on Tabletop Simulator. It has been added to gather feedback in the run up to launch, so if you have TTS (available on Steam), do a search for it and try it out with friends or random players. If you’d like a session with myself directly please get in touch, I’ll be more than happy to take you through it!
Whether you’ve got an interest in the UFO subject or not, be sure to check out UFO Wave, it’s been designed from the off to be as fun and accessible as possible!
FlickFleet has an average rating of 8.2 on BGG and continues to be very popular, and we’re really excited by the new possibilities for awesome space battles created with the new content.