I made it to the base number four!

The most important is the last base, and I would very much like to be there already, to check it off, and breathe a sigh of relief, but it’s not that easy. It’s a long, many months process and a lot of bases to run to. It all starts with the prototype.

You get a prototype, it’s awesome, and you’re as fired up as Stannis’s fleet because you’ve just got your hands on a project that will turn into an awesome board game. You play it at the company’s offices, then with a few friendly focus groups, it’s good, everyone congratulates you on your luck, that someone sent you a really cool game. That’s base number one.

Then the development team sits down for some fun, they tinker a bit with the rules, balance things a bit, commission illustrations, commission the entire layout, and debate with the production department about what individual components should look like, how many cards, what tokens, what wooden pieces, whether figures – several months later you have the pnp sample on your desk. The graphics designers gave it their all, the prototype, this ugly duckling from Andersen’s fairy tale, has turned into a totally awesome swan. Base number two was captured.

A few weeks later, you receive a sample from the printer. Boom, the box lands on the table, a digital print, not yet final, but as close to final as possible. You look at it from all sides, touch it and see that it’s amazing, that you didn’t expect it to come out this well. The box is packed with components to the max, the graphics on the cards came out insane, the crystals look like real ones, and the wooden carts add a nice touch to the whole thing. At this moment, you start to believe. At that moment, you raise your head a bit and allow yourself a quiet, borderline whisper: „Damn, this might be a hit.” Base number three captured.

And finally, it’s time to leave the bubble, go outside, and brutally confront the opinions of someone from the outside. Time for the first closed demos for the press and media. Intimate meetings, face to face, you present the game and then talk about the game, try to assess whether and how much they liked it. Last weekend, during the UK Games Expo, I captured base number four. All Friday and Saturday, I played with reviewers at secret demos of Imperial Miners. Conclusions? They really liked it. The feedback I received was super positive. Base number four is the moment when you allow yourself to be hopeful. It’s not confidence yet, you’ll never be certain about the success, but you can hope, you can add one to one, add the fact that the prototype was great in the first place, that dev did a great job, that the production department produced it in the form of a beautiful box and finally, that the first reviewers really had smiles on their faces with each following round of the game.

What’s ahead of me? Base five, which is open demos at conventions – the closest at the Dice Tower East. Then base six, which is shipping review copies. Base seven, which is shipping copies ordered by our fans as part of the pre-order campaign. Base eight, a pre-release at Essen in the first days of October. Base nine, a premiere in stores, ratings on BGG, fans playing in every corner of the globe, and the dream base, base number ten – a reprint if the game is successful!

I’m not even halfway there yet, I’m at base four. I’m not confident yet. But I really am hopeful.

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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.