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.
It’s time to buy Christmas cards! And what’s the best card to buy? Why, one with a game on the front, of course! We have a very short Kickstarter live right now — and it’s for Christmas cards featuring a solo Roll & Colour game. Easy to play, it’s a fun colouring-in game for adults and children. One reviewer called it “mindful”, while another said their child had loved it. Another reviewer decided to play competitively (rather than solo) and they each coloured in their own copy with the same rolls!
The cards come in packs of two, five, or ten — or a box of 40! There’s also a PDF available for those who want to print and laminate to play multiple times. However, this is first and foremost a greetings card. It’s printed on 300gsm textured art card with the picture on the front and the rules on the back. Come and have a look!
Design: The game design is done. Till and I worked on the variable player powers in the past months, balanced them and selected our top 10 game guilds that shall be part of the final game. The components are also designed. We took advice from the factory regarding our cardboard insert tray. It was too complicated with its 64 folding lines … the labor to fit them into thousands of game boxes would have been intense. So, we designed a new version that only needed 20 folding lines, but still provided accurate containers to hold all components in place; see photo. Cards can be sleeved too. Given this is a medieval fantasy game, avoiding any form of plastic makes us not only feel good, but also fits thematically better. We even chose a cotton play cloth over a neoprene play mat.
Artwork: Castleshire progressed massively in the past 2 months. The artwork is in a good-enough state to show off the game to reviewers. Illustrations are done to set the scene how the game will feel even though they need some serious improvements. The next months will be interesting to watch the development for an even better immersion when playing Castleshire.
Manufactutring: We have sent all files to the factory for pre-manufacturing. If everything goes to plan, we should see our review copies been done by the end of November, and if shipping is as fast as it always has been, we could be able to show off the game from December.
Reviews: November will be the time when we contact reviewers. We have a long list accumulated over the past 12 months, all of them somehow interesting to us and the way they do reviews: fast and funny, in-depth, or subjective, etc. We’ll reach out to many of them and see who is keen on doing a review of Castleshire.
Kickstarter: We are about 4 to 6 weeks away from launching our Kickstarter preview page. Content is mainly done, some of the illustrations are too. Shipping costs have been inquired and the taxation for most.
Languages: Even though Castleshire will come in English only, we will work on multiple digital language packs. These include a rulebook of course, but also two sets translations for the few cards with text. They can either be printed as stickers that go onto the cards, or as full cards printed on paper that goes into the sleeved card.
We’re well into the thick of it with Rucksack this month! All of the backer-created cards are complete. I really enjoyed working with these backers and the cards they came up with were great. Our illustrator did a fantastic job and it was a lot of fun to see the responses from the backers who sponsored the cards.
We also finished the rulebook and made a few minor adjustments to some of the “standard” cards. In fact, I sent off all the print files to our manufacturer just a few minutes ago! With any luck, the files are in the right format and we’ll be moving forward with a physical sample soon. I’m very excited, but also nervous that things will continue to go smoothly.
On top of all of the above, I also recently finished the official print & play files for Rucksack. I’m really excited about this as well, because, for the first time, backers have the chance to play the full game. I know some of them have been waiting for this. A few have already played the promo print & play version and had a lot of fun with it. So I can’t wait to start seeing people enjoy the full game!
I was pretty worried about SSO: Second Edition campaign since it was, after all, a re-print. Since we were always planning on shipping it with Turing it only needed to cover its basic printing price so we didn’t invest directly in advertising. That means that it raised that amount by just organic word of mouth advertising, returning fans and the attraction of its own merits, which is fantastic. It also made it our fastest funding project so far, which made it the least stressful one, which was nice for me personally.
We’re now setting up our pledge manager and going through the process of getting a print preview of the second edition prior to official printing, which is all of the necessary if not particularly exciting bits of a Kickstarter, but that’s what we sign up for. On a more exciting end of things we’re currently completing art for the last three Challenge Deck expansions for SSO which will be released via a Kickstarter next year, hopefully along with our collaborative storytelling game A Song Of Tales, which has been stuck in development due to the recent Pandemic. We’ll keep you all updated on where that’s going in the months to come, for now, we’re just basking in a bit of solid success before the hard work really hits…
Game play – The dealer (Draftmaster) draws a card from the top of the deck and chooses from 3 topics. That person then decides how many picks each player will make. The other players take turns drafting items related to the topic. It is encouraged for the players to explain their picks to persuade the Draftmaster of their choice. Once an item is drafted, the other players cannot pick it, so you must choose wisely. The Draftmaster then picks who they think has the winning board. That player keeps the drawn card. The Draftmaster moves to the player to the left. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins!
What’s in the starter box? – The Starter Box comes with 255 draft topics on 90 standard poker size cards, 6 dry-erase boards, 6 dry-erase markers with eraser caps, and an instruction booklet.
Extras – We have two separate expansion packs for purchase with 150 additional draft topics each. One is a standard expansion pack with more of the hilarious starter box draft topics and the other is an After Dark adults only version.
As seen on – Fully funded Kickstarter with over $10,000 raised in November of 2020. Games in stock for purchase with free shipping in the US.
After submitting The King’s Pardon to the Small Box Challenge contest, community voting began. There were over 150 entries and many interesting games. In fact, all of them highlighted very creative ideas and, even though it took two days, we couldn’t stop until we had reviewed them all! See pictures & rules at: thegamecrafter.com/games/pirate-pursuit-the-king-s-pardon
To move on to the contest semi-finals, participants needed sufficient votes from other game designers and the TGC community at large (eg: previous purchasers of TGC-made games) in order to rank in the top 20. This required both a well-presented game with broad appeal and also success in marketing during the voting period – eg: converting a call to vote into actual votes. You can see the results at thegamecrafter.com/contests/small-box-challenge
Unfortunately for us, we ended up just 10 votes away from the top 20! BUT we did get very nice comments:
• The lore and history you’ve built in to this game is great, and definitely the first thing that stands out to me.
• I’m starting to get into maritime tabletop games and I think we need to see more of them about. The art is also top notch.
• Looks amazing. The shop page is appealing and all the historical content is intriguing. I love pirate settings and certainly think this game deserves my vote! Well done!
• Love the look and theme of the game, especially the inky artwork on the pirates themselves. I do wonder though if the divider is necessary for the packaging. Guess I’ll have to pick up a copy and see!
• I really like the theme and the artwork is good and compliments the theme well. The rulebook is concise and well thought out. It is a game I would be interested in playing with my family.
• “Learn real pirate lore while you play!” and “Knowledge is wealth! Push-yer-luck to collect the most!” are great ways to take a popular theme of pirates and actually make every single future pirate thing more enjoyable.
• Looks like fun! My nephew would love this game and would probably crush me with his superior knowledge of all things pirate.
• The King’s Pardon is gorgeously presented, especially the packaging. Very professional.
It may be cliché to say, but this is what we were hoping for. It truly warms the heart for our next effort!
This contest motivated us to hurry up and deliver “Pirate Pursuit – The King’s Pardon”, and it strengthened our resolve to complete the trilogy. And of course, we got to experience the contest process along with this lovely positive feedback. It was a fun experience and we learned a lot. #MakeLearningFun 🙂
I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween weekend! November for Atikin Games is going to be all about finishing games off and fulfilling the Playful Pets: Cats & Dogs Kickstarter campaign. If you’re looking for some fun new family friendly games for Christmas, please check them out on the GameFound pre order page linked below. I’m on track to have all Kickstarter rewards and pre orders sent out by the end of November.
There are some last printed pieces to arrive and in the meantime, I’m crafting boxes, resin playing pieces, tokens, getting magnets on the boards for the mint tin versions of the games. It’s been very exciting and I’m enjoying it all so much. Making my games into a reality is such a rewarding experience and I really hope all my Kickstarter backers will love their games when they receive them.
After fulfilment it’ll be full steam ahead focusing on getting as many Atikin Games games and gaming accessories to people for Christmas! I’ll be attending at least one local Christmas market with all my games and handmade gaming wares!
Speaking of the festive season, it looks like there will be an awful lot of Board Game Survival Kits wrapped up as gifts this year, every time someone tells me they’re buying one as a gift I can’t help the massive smile that finds its way on to my face.
Following the success of The Board Game Survival Kit which funded as a make 100 on Kickstarter this year, there’s a make 100 I’d quite like to do in January 2022 for another handmade gaming accessory. I have no spoilers for you yet but keep watching this space for news as I have it for you.
Talita RheinChristmas is around the corner, so Dogo Dash’s website was updated with a Webshop! Now everyone interested in having a Dogo Dash copy (or more) can order directly on the website. There are even options with free shipping! The update is still ongoing, the game team will add more photos and special illustrations for Christmas! Playing Dogo Dash with the family is one of the pillars of the product, so we are glad that this Christmas you can order Dogo Dash to get it on time to put it under your Christmas Tree.
One of the perks of the shop is that you can buy using your bank account or credit card. The integration was made using WooCommerce and the fees are similar to Kickstarter fees. Also, the solution is compatible with WordPress, so you don’t need to be a developer to do the integration, there is a plug-in you can add to your website and activate.
We are still waiting for customers to start using the shop. The change happened this month, before it, people could buy Dogo Dash using PayPal.
One of the biggest challenges for a Kickstarter project is the post-Kickstarter commercialization and we are still looking for the best solutions regarding marketing and sales. Even having some folks posting about Dogo Dash, the effect until now was really minimal, we are still waiting for our game to go viral. We hope this can happen soon and we can run a campaign for a second print for Dogo Dash, with more characters and extended content!
After taking a week of rest off I am now fully back into the swing of Zuuli life and am working closely with our manufacturer to finalise the production copy. So far I’m really happy with how the colours and cards have come out, and the textured finish really adds a level of quality that makes the game feel special. There’s a few bits of art that I need to update on my side too and a couple of tweaks to the rulesheet but once that’s done we should be able to kick off the production copies.
After that I will be finalising our pledge manager and sending off a handful of copies for UKCA testing.
For now that’s about it from my side. Have a great November all and see you next month!
This last month I have been finishing up on my latest contest game: Defective. The BGG Solitaire Print and Play Contest has been running for over 10 years, and is a great community of designers working together to create new solo-able games, exchange feedback and share knowledge and expertise.
My entry, Defective is an open-world narrative investigation game. It has puzzles to solve and clues to gather, as you explore a dark cybernetic future. You have limited resources for the different investigative actions you can take, and have to pick which leads to follow with consideration.
In total I’ve written over 7000 words in the choose-you-own-adventure style text, and produced a range of cryptic puzzles to solve as you hack your way towards extra information and access.
If you like puzzle / mystery games it’s available as a free print and play or on Tabletop Simulator. You can read a bit about the game’s progress and find more information on BGG: