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Subject: An Awesome Moment of......Awe (in my Designer/Publisher Career) rss

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Peter Struijf
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Dear friends,

first of all, let me briefly intrduce myself. I am Peter Struijf, born and currently living in Holland, although my real life (working in humanitarian aid) has taken me all over the world in the past 12 years. I am also the game designer and self-publisher of "Kraków 1325 AD", which you can find here on Boargamegeek and on its own website, www.krakowgame.com

I just wanted to share a small moment of joy and awe in the life of a game designer/self-publisher. After more than two years of game development (as a pastime outside normal life), I got serious and have spent the last six months fully devoted to publishing the game through my own company, Geode Games. These six months have been full of stress, worries, excitement, turmoil and especially the hard grind of real work.

This week I have been able to view the website, where the printer in Poland has placed the complete print files for the 64 Intrigue Cards, which are the engine of the game. There are two language versions (Dutch and English) and each will be printed in an initial run of 1,000 copies. Since the game also includes a mapboard, lots of wooden and plastic pieces, some special components and a beautiful game box, you can imagine this gamble represents most of our life savings right now gulp.

To open that file and to see all these colourful cards lined up for a print run, each with its own picture hand-drawn and painted by my friend Melchior van Rijn - is an awesome moment of awe. I know and love each of these pictures (and the stories behind them) so dearly and remember every hour and day we put into making them. The idea that someone in Poland only has to push a button and these 2,000 card games roll out at the other end of a large machine is strange and amazing.

I can also tell you that the last four weeks of the process, after we had sent the complete files to the printers, have been some of the most difficult. Deeply frustrating has been our uncertainty about the quality of files we made (we have of course never done this before), about the final date of delivery (which of course shifts in only one direction, away from the viewer) and the possible reaction of "the market" to our wild gamble.

But sitting in front of that screen, filled with 8*8 amazing pieces of art, and knowing whatever comes next, WE MADE IT THIS FAR.....has been a real thrill.

To all my fellow game designers and self-publishers, I can only say: I wish you determination, resolve and a reward like this at the end of it!

Cheers

Peter Struijf
Geode Games
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Nick Bah Doo
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Awesome story, thanks for sharing and good luck!

Note that some stores in NL allow you to sell self-published games. I only know of one (The Joker, Utrecht), but there may be more.
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Russ Williams
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It's a game about Kraków, Poland, being printed in Poland, with versions in 2 languages (English and Dutch), but there's not a Polish version?

"You forgot Poland!"

Anyway, congratulations, sounds like an exciting experience!
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Rod Batten
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Thanks for sharing the story and good luck for the rest of your adventure in game publishing!
 
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Peter Struijf
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Hi Nikku,

with regards to distribution, I actually managed to reach an agreement with a pretty large Dutch boardgames distributor - they will buy 120 copies and should be able to get them into well over 100 (specialised) shops selling games.

This is really great, because several people told me this would not be possible or viable for a self-published game (at quite high unit costs). My returns will be really low on this distribution channel, of course, but the opportunity to get the game "out there" in front of the public (rather than in my cellar!) is magnificent!

Will keep you posted...

Cheers,

Peter
Geode Games
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Peter Struijf
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Hi Russ,

believe it or not - a Polish version is under discussion!

There was a great preview & interview published on the Polish Games Fanatic blog (in August and the game really generated some buzz in that country. I hope we will be able to agree and produce a Polish version of the game...which is still beyond my wildest hopes, anyway.

Cheers,

Peter
Geode Games
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Nick Bah Doo
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That's a very nice deal ... it'll get you some nice exposure in the market. Best of luck to you Peter!
 
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Suzan
Netherlands
Enschede
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Congratulations!

I'm really intrested in seeing your game, will you be showing it at Essen?
 
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Sean
United States
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Good luck and fingers crossed
 
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Peter Struijf
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Hi Suzan,

yes, I have made an arrangement with Reiver Games (an independent English boardgame producer) for sales and demo actions of my game at Essen. I will be there throughout to meet my "customers" (a real scary word you can imagine!) and see if there's an interest in foreign distribution for the game - and just experience the event of course.

The details of Reiver games' stand at Essen are on my website, under News - I will make sure to bring a few Dutch copies there as well !

Cheers,

Peter
Geode Games
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Randy Dickens II
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Canton
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The game looks very interesting - I am definately going to have to take a look at the rules. Until this thread, I had not heard of the game.

Good luck on your release!
 
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Luke Morris
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I've been to Krakow. It's a beautiful place.
The game looks good and Jack (Reiver Games) is a top bloke.
I wish you all the success you can get with this venture and of course there should be a Polish translation!
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Mark Farr
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It's fascinating to hear a story like this. Thank you for posting it here.

I wish you all the best!

Edit: I took a look at the website and saw one of the Intrigue (correct?) cards from the game. I love the artwork! The text is interesting too.
 
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Peter Struijf
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Hi Randy,

thanks a lot for your encouragement! I cannot blame you for not yet having heard of the game Kraków 1325 AD, because as you can imagine, my "marketing budget" is sort of shakegulpblush

But the editor of Boardgamenews did spot the BGG thread on the game and wrote a small article announcing it, which was really nice. They promised to do another small piece on the game soon, for which I also answered some interview questions - good stuff.

I must say I have been really positively shocked and encouraged by the number of people who have already downloaded the game rules from BGG since I posted them a few weeks ago - more than 200 now!

(And don't worry, I DO have better things to do than downloading the rules of my own game to boost the numbers, BGG style !!)

Anyway, I hope you like the rules and will visit by the krakowgame.com website some time soon - oh actually now that I think about it - that's where the whole marketing budget went !!!

Cheerio,

Peter
Geode Games
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Confusion Under Fire
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Peter,
If this is your first game then I cannot wait for more. The graphics on the cards are one of the nicest I have seen on BGG. The theme makes you wonder why no one else has tried this before. If you keep producing top notch games like this I am sure you will be a well known name in a few years.

One small, and it is very small, is the Title of the game "Krakow 1325 AD" I thought it was going to be a wargame and anyone perusing a list of games may dismiss this as such.

But it is really heart warming to see new games like this being produced, for someone who makes this as their first game has to be given a hefty pat on the back.

Long Live Geode Games!!
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Phil Thron
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How exciting for you, Peter. And I'll add my thanks for sharing your joy here...it's always inspiring to hear firsthand from someone who has persevered through sheer love of a project, especially when the moment of fruition is imminent. It's an intoxicating experience to realize a dream and your enthusiasm comes through in your post.

The artwork looks terrific! The designwork on the cards is beautiful to my eyes and I also love the game board. What are the dimensions of that board, btw?

I am definitely interested in this game now and wish you great success wherever you distribute. Best of luck.
 
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Peter Struijf
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Hi Guys,

thanks so much for the encouragement and appreciation ! I am also very proud of the product, especially the fantastic artwork and graphics which my friend Melchior has made for the game. He has been able to create "a world" out of my ideas - since I can only draw stick men and smilies, this whole project would have gone nowhere without him.

The sheer coincidence still strikes me as providential: just at the time I was starting to consider self-producing and publishing this game, I met the husband of a colleague at my work, who was keen to set himself up as an illustrator. After dinner one night at their place, I told him about this project and he showed me some of his work - after which we both became so excited to develop the game together. That is more than 2 years ago!

I understand why you said Krakow 1325AD reminds you of a wargame (as it could be the place of some battle). The original name of the game was "A Play of Shadows" - subtitled "in Krakow 1325 AD" - to indicate both the atmosphere of secrets and trickery, as well as the place and timeframe. However, this would mean different names in different languages, which I saw as a disadvantage. My playtest group consistently called the game simply "Krakow" (as the map also shows the city) and over time, I got used to the shorter title. Then I decided to add the year for the purpose of recognition as a "Medieval" game...and that's how it ended up.

We will try to live long - and we will fully enjoy every breath we take along the way (when not in stress over the deadlines, the VAT, the pricing strategy and the shipping costs - all of which are part of the "joy" of self-publishing !)

Cheerio,

Peter
Geode Games
 
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Peter Struijf
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Hi Philip,

also many thanks for your great encouragement! I can tell you there have been many times of doubt and insecurity about this project, of course. Born and raised in Calvinist Holland, risking your savings in a venture like this regularly switches the brain to OMyGodWhatDiddIJustDo Mode, of course.

One hilarious but frightening experience I have had a number of times here is - I tell a friend or family member I have designed a game, found an artist, decided to publish myself, found a printer, started a company and will be producing 2,000 copies soon. That gets you the sort of smiles and well-meant looks you get as a child when you tell an adult about a hobby of yours. Then they ask quite innocently how much money is involved....and then I multiply the 2,000 by the rough unit cost of this game....and most of them shakeshake then barely manage to control the urge to scream "WHAT ????"

The dimensions of the mapboard are 50*50 cm - not sure how to convert that to inches....

Thanks a lot for your support,

Peter
Geode Games
 
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Dokter Ekwilibreum
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Congratulations! I hope your game plays smoothly and your run sells quickly.
 
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Phil Thron
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peterstruijf wrote:

One hilarious but frightening experience I have had a number of times here is - I tell a friend or family member I have designed a game, found an artist, decided to publish myself, found a printer, started a company and will be producing 2,000 copies soon. That gets you the sort of smiles and well-meant looks you get as a child when you tell an adult about a hobby of yours.

Not sure if you're familiar with "Seinfeld" but this reminds me of something George once said, "She gave me the same look my father gave me when I told him I wanted to be a ventriloquist."

There are many of us who "get it", though, obviously. And no one can remove your personal sense of accomplishment.
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Peter Struijf
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In making the decision to independently publish Kraków 1325AD, I had a helpful brainwave when I tried to project the consequences of this decision on my life 20 years down the line...and I felt the proverbial cartoon angel and devil talking in my ears:

From the left ear: "Don't be silly, don't take such a risk, who do you think you are, put that game in the lower desk drawer and forget about it, be a good citizen, work hard and pay your taxes, and in twenty years time I promise you a SLIGHTLY BIGGER CAR and THREE EXTRA SQUARE METRES of FLOORSPACE in your house!"

From the right ear:"Just do it, take the risk, believe in yourself, don't take your dream with you to the grave, it will be a fantastic new experience even if it fails by everyone else's standards and in twenty years time I promise you A CELLAR FULL OF GAMES but all with YOUR NAME ON IT!"

It made the choice easier....
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K F
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Peter

I stumbled on this through Boardgamenews. Don't worry about the title either, as someone with immediate Polish family connections it's what drew me to it. So your marketing strategy worked on me

Will certainly be adding this to my collection, and it would make a good gift for other extended family members too. So that's a few copies already accounted for if I can get my hands on them

Are any UK distributors interested ?

I wish you all the very best of success for this and the future.


PS Like the true to story Wawel dragon card
 
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Peter Struijf
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[q="Lupus65"]
Quote:
Peter

I stumbled on this through Boardgamenews. Don't worry about the title either, as someone with immediate Polish family connections it's what drew me to it. So your marketing strategy worked on me

Ha ha ha, this marketing thing is much less complicated than they tried to teach me in college!

Quote:
Will certainly be adding this to my collection, and it would make a good gift for other extended family members too. So that's a few copies already accounted for if I can get my hands on them

Are any UK distributors interested ?

I have not yet identified UK distributors - but I will be working hard on the distribution part at Essen (and I hope Paul from Reiver games might give me some good tips as well). That is of course much easier if you have the real game in hand.

Quote:
I wish you all the very best of success for this and the future.


PS Like the true to story Wawel dragon card

Thanks a lot and happy you liked our Smok Wawelski - as you can see, this card "Internal Combustion" is actually a Block Card against the "Wawel Dragon", an Underworld card. In our perversion of history, the Wawel Dragon apparently was the discarded pet of a Crime Lord....
 
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Dave Barnes
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Peter, your bravery is much admired by a fellow self publisher...
Namely Myself..!

Having endured everything you have and probably a little more even, from initial idea to final design, designing and creating all required artwork, writing and re-writing game rules, packaging design, then finding a manufacturer who you can trust will make a really good job of your project, designing mold tools, prototyping, proofing of prototypes, manufacturing, importing, website creation for the sale of your finished unique piece of work, and not forgetting of course, the heaps of expence involved and the dread of possible failure...

Oh yes, I know exactly what you've gone, and are still going through, having done it all myself with my 'Triagonal' board game, also listed on the geek and my own website...

But what a great feeling you'll have when 'people you don't even know' are happy to pay you money for this amazing thing you've dreamed up in your own mind... It's just incredible and makes it all worthwhile.

I wish you all the best with your effort and your new game

Good Luck
Dave
Acumen Board Games, York.meeple
 
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Russ Williams
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peterstruijf wrote:
The dimensions of the mapboard are 50*50 cm - not sure how to convert that to inches....
Google knows:
http://www.google.com/search?q=50+cm+to+inches

(BTW, the conversion factor is 2.54, or simply remember 2 and a half.)
 
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