BEST GAMING EXPERIENCES OF 2011
In this 3 part series, I will explore some of the best of 2011. These selections are based on things I experienced in 2011, not necessarily things that came out in 2011. Please feel free to discuss my list and what you would add in the comments section.
Sorry, I’m a little late on this one…
Backing New Games on Kickstarter
To be sure, one of the highlights of my last year of gaming was discovering and backing cool projects on Kickstarter. Kickstarter, if you haven’t heard of it by now, is a crowd-funding website that allows people to post an idea for a new project, along with a funding goal, and invite interested folks to help get the idea of the ground. If people from the online community pledge enough money to reach the goal, the project moves forward and the project backer’s credit cards get charged. Otherwise, the project fails and the originator of the idea never gets a dime.
Sounds like a cool way to minimize risk for businesses that might not have a lot of capital on hand, eh?
Over the last year, Kickstarter has really become a hub for getting new boardgames to the marketplace. It’s been used by established publishers and brand-spanking-new self-publishers, as well, with varying degrees of success.
The coolest part for me is that I get to feel like I’m a valued contributor to the process of getting good ideas into the world rather than a simple consumer who picks something off the shelf. I know, I’m still a consumer but I have more control over where I direct my energies in the marketplace and that’s exciting to me.
I backed several projects last year, starting with Lorien Green’s board game documentary, Going Cardboard. This was especially cool because my contribution got my name in the credits of a movie for the second time! This is just one example of the kind of perks you get when you help launch projects using Kickstarter.
Since my initial project, I have helped back several board games that have turned out to be fantastic additions to my collection. If you’d like to check out some of the games I helped bring into the world you might want to head over to BoardGameGeek.com and check out Glory To Rome: Black Box Edition, Uncle Chesnut’s Table Gype, Get Bit!, Caveman Curling, and Flash Point: Fire Rescue.
Signing a Deal to Publish my First Game with Cambridge Games Factory
As I’ve written elsewhere, my game Over The Road got picked up by Cambridge Games Factory. CGF is responsible for a great catalog of games that come in small boxes that pack a lot of punch. They offer a wide range of selections from family games to heavier strategy games including Zombie in my Pocket, Barons, Pala, and Glory to Rome (one of the top 100 games in the world according to BoardGameGeek.com). I’m super excited to be bringing my contribution to the gaming world sometime in 2013. I’ll continue posting updates here from time to time. In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to work on some other games I’m developing and trying to find them a publishing home as well (if you are a game publisher, CALL ME!).
Origins Game Fair
Shortly after signing with Cambridge Games Factory I thought it would be a good idea to meet some of the people that work with the company to gain a sense for what I was getting into. So I figured what better way to check them out but to see them in action at one of the biggest gaming convention in the United States.
In June, I travelled to Columbus, Ohio to Origins Game Fair. I volunteered to spend some time at the CGF booth demoing and selling games. I worked a few hours a day and spent the rest of my time checking out other publishers, meeting cool people, and playing lots and lots of games.
As it turns out, CGF’s Commercial Director, Jeremiah Lee, who runs all of their convention appearances, lives about an hour away from me in the Ann Arbor area. He had brought most of his gaming group along to help peddle CGF’s wares. During some late night gaming sessions, we all hit it off rather well and have made a point to get together for more late night gaming sessions a little closer to home. I have come to consider them my very own gaming group (awww, shucks) since most of the game events my wife and I hold are a little more social and serve to introduce interested people to the world of hobby gaming. My friends in Ann Arbor are serious (ahem) gamers and have shared their passion for games with me in a very reciprocal way.
So this highlight is really more about making new friend than going to a big gaming convention, but that was super cool, too. And something I’d like to make more of a habit of.
What were your gaming highlights in 2011?