Thoughts on the New Year 2020

January 07, 2020

Thoughts on the New Year 2020

Ugh, we're only a week into 2020 and I am already feeling behind! Slowly suffocating under the weight of all the Big Plans. But I'm sure it will get better.

Big Plans are good, and suffocation is an effective motivating force, I suppose. It's like the first few months of this year are the culmination of much of the work that has gone into the past 3 years, so let's talk about all of that first.

The first big thing is happening in less than a week with the launch of the Return to Dark Tower Kickstarter. Just being on the design side of this has reduced stress significantly. Design is still ongoing, with stretch goals and add-ons and whatnot, so there is still work to do, but I am hoping the launch will be more of a fun, laid-back experience for me, where I can just hang out and interact with people without having to worry about what the next stretch goal is and how much it is going to cost.

And it needs to be less of a work load because there is so much Gloomhaven stuff to get done! For starters, January is being consumed by my new master, Jaws of the Lion. We've gotta get these files to the printer some time around the end of January, so it is major crunch time. I think the main rule book is getting very close to at least being out of my hands and into the hands of graphic design, but I still need to write the text for about half the scenarios, make higher level ability cards for the Voidwarden, write the rules glossary, and, well, there's lots of other stuff too.

But then Jaws of the Lion will come out (in the July-August) time frame, and that will be very cool, especially if we can finalize this Target deal and have it show up there. I'm just very, very stoked about seeing Gloomhaven reach an even wider audience - all those people who have heard of Gloomhaven and are curious about it, but are too intimidated by the main game. I think Jaws of the Lion will really hit that sweet spot of being accessible, but also staying true to what makes Gloomhaven great.

And all the while, we are also getting our customer service off life support and launching the web store, which should happen around the end of February. I've teased this stuff enough - pins, solo scenarios, pint glasses, T-shirts, etc. At launch, we may not have great shipping prices to Europe, but that is in the works as well and will come later down the road in 2020. Having our own e-commerce platform is definitely something that should have happened a lot earlier, but before Price, there just wasn't the bandwidth, both for its creation and making sure the customer service was in place, as well. I am very happy that it will finally be coming.

And then, of course, another Kickstarter is coming. The Kickstarter. We're still working out a lot of the specifics, but I can give you a date: March 24.

It's a little nerve-wracking, having such a huge thing on the horizon, and also having so much other stuff still in front of it, obscuring my view. But we set the date because I am confident we can have it prepared in time. I'm just still a little way's out from knowing what all that preparation will be.

So what else can I tell you about it? Well, one of the significant things we are not doing is stretch goals. Obviously stretch goals have a lot of advantages with community engagement and making the game better through economy of scale, but, in the case of Frosthaven, it just felt too dishonest for us. We know that the campaign will be successful and that we'll hit the order quantities we need to reduce the production costs as much as possible, so going through the whole song and dance of hiding things behind arbitrary numerical values just didn't feel genuine.

Which is not to say that we don't have a lot of other great ideas for community engagement, and that things won't be revealed over time. Cool stuff is in the works, but we just didn't feel that, in this case, stretch goals should be part of it. And one advantage of that is that even day 1 backers will know for certain they are getting the best game that we can possibly make.

So then, what will happen with Cephalofair Games after April? After the Frosthaven Kickstarter has rampaged around, ravaging the landscape? Haha, I don't know. I'll probably take a vacation. And then I'll go to some conventions. And then we'll work on that Jaws of the Lion release. And all that time, I'll also be working on getting Frosthaven actually finished and sent off to the printers.

Maybe that vacation is wishful thinking. We'll see.

But, sure, let's talk about conventions. As always, I will be trying to go to fewer conventions this year, but we will see how that goes. I'll still be attending Piranha Pig Con in the first half of March, before the Kickstarter, because Piranha Pig Con is the best, especially now that Robb Con seems to be on hiatus. I'm going to have to miss Leiria Con, which would be, like, right before the Kickstarter, but then all the rest of my normal conventions will be post-Kickstarter.

So there's Geekway to the West, then we're planning on going back to UK Games Expo, this time with a booth, and then Heavy Con, Origins, Dice Tower Con, Gen Con, and Spiel. I'm not sure about PAX West, Grand Con, or SHUX at this point, and then I guess BGG.Con and PAXU are going to be on the same weekend once again for some silly reason, so I am forced to cut one of them out. I'd like to have a booth at PAXU, but then I might just let Price fully handle that while I go to BGG.Con. Not quite sure about that one yet. And doing another Gloom Cabin certainly isn't off the table either.

So that's, like, 8 conventions confirmed, with another 4 or so possible. It's less than last year, but the year is still young. Who knows what will happen?

All I know is there is a lot of work to be done, so I'm going to end the post here and get back to it!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog


April 30, 2024

Join us in today's Designer Diaries where Danielle gives us an insider look into the Merchant's Guild, Factions, and Reputation Tiers in Gloomhaven RPG.

Read More


April 02, 2024

Danielle talks about more updates on the Gloomhaven RPG, featuring revelations and fun from our recent Gloomcabin (Cephalofair Games' annual retreat) trip.

Read More


March 07, 2024

On today's Designer Diaries - Nikki Valens talks about what they have learned while co- designing Buttons & Bugs,  why listening to players is crucial for creating great games and how much they enjoy the process of taking games apart and rebuilding them.

Read More