I Didn’t See It Coming

I didn't see it coming

‘You made a mistake. You underestimated it,’ she said. She sees the hype growing and she knows I am not prepared for that. She knows I made a mistake. I didn’t see it coming.


I signed Cry Havoc (Battle of York back then) in 2013. It was three years ago. Since then it’s been an ongoing struggle. It meant months of work for Grant and Michał Walczak. Finally, when my disappointment with the results could not be contained any longer, I hired Michał Oracz to join the team and help with the development. More long months of testing came and went, long months of seeing the game on the table every week, and I would repeat one sentence to my team over and over again.


‘I like Kemet better. Try harder.’


There was Grant working on the game. There was Grant and Michał Walczak working on the game. There was Grant, Michał, and Michał Oracz working on the game. Weeks became months. Months became years. Finally, they finished. It was ready.


I gave it to my small personal playtesting team. The few people I trust the most.


‘It is not ready,’ they said.


So Cry Havoc was back on the table. At that point, after two years of developement I was sick of seeing this game in the office again.


Step by step, my testers pushed it to its final stages.


In November we went to the BGG.Con and presented the game. The feedback was phenomenal. Grant himself was presenting the game and people loved it. We were ready to go. A few tweaks concerning the balance and we had a smash hit.


‘Ignacy, you should play it,’ he said. This was Marek. At that time I was struggling with First Martians and Aztecs, and Angry Ocean, and Crazy Karts, and one more secret project. Playing Cry Havoc was the last thing I needed.


‘I have no time. Playtesters like it, people at the BGG.Con loved it. No need for me to play it anymore.’


‘Ignacy, you should play it,’ he said again.




‘I don’t know. Something is… I don’t know. It lacks something. You have to play it.’


I did play it.


First Martians, Crazy Karts, Aztecs, Angry Ocean, and the secret project all had to wait for their turn. Cry Havoc was not ready.




It was six months ago and I remember this particular day as if it was yesterday. It was winter. We were in Paris. My wife and daughter were going to Disneyland. I stayed in the apartment and kept working on Cry Havoc.


I wholeheartedly hated this game. I hated every single minute I spent with it that day. I blamed it for ruining my vacations. I will remember this day forever. I had all the skills, buildings, and decks spread out on the table and I was tweaking this shit while my daughter was having a blast at Disneyland.


I so badly wanted this game to be ready. So I could never watch it again.




‘You made a mistake. You understimated it,’ she said.


I look at her. She is right. I didn’t see it coming. I grew sick of this project. I hated it with my whole heart.


I didn’t see that after all these years of extremely hard wok we finally nailed it.


We are bookworms. Movie maniacs. Story addicts. We grew up reading Tolkien, Howard, Herbert, Dick, Lem… We were watching Willow, Blade Runner, Never Ending Story, Robin Hood…

And yet, we don’t write books… we don’t make movies. We don’t make those things, because we make games. We make games that tell stories.