Sen and I just got back from 10 days of gaming goodness and we have a lot of amazing news and stories to tell! What’s the Gathering you ask? Well it’s an invite-only event organized by Alan Moon (designer of numerous games including the very popular Ticket to Ride) and it’s attended by tons of other game designers and many publishers as well. The atmosphere was super relaxed and very friendly. Everyone has a name badge and based on the colour of the badge you know if the person is from a publisher or not. Fortunately this was my third time at the Gathering (read about my previous Gathering experiences for 2012 and 2013) so I already knew most of the publishers already.
Sen and I got to meet with pretty much every publisher and show them our new games. I’ll review how each pitch session went in this post and a few more posts to follow!
Z-Man / Filosofia
Our first meeting was with JF and Zev from Filosofia and Z-Man Games. They had our game Rock, Paper, Wizards (co-designed by Josh Cappel too!) and had given us some feedback via email about some changes they wanted. This is an interesting story actually. Sen, Josh and myself had gotten Rock, Paper, Wizards to a place where we thought it was the best that it could be. So when we received the feedback via email about the changes they wanted, we all got pretty defensive. Not to the publisher – just between ourselves. We couldn’t understand why they wanted the changes they requested. But we decided to go into the meeting open minded – and even play the game with their new ideas – so they could see how it wouldn’t work!
Well, we were pretty wrong! Once they were able to communicate the reasons behind their ideas in person, we realized what they were trying to do. So we tried it with almost all of their suggestions…and guess what? It really worked! The game – which we thought was as good as it could get – was improved with these new ideas. The game played so well! We brainstormed how a few of the cards would be changed because of the new ideas and we said we would work on it while at the Gathering and show it to them again later on.
After this, Zev left for another meeting and we pitched our new game, Zombie Slam to JF. He enjoyed it but didn’t think it was a Z-Man kind of game. Makes sense.
We spent more time with JF and Zev eating dinner and even continuing our tradition of seeing a horror movie at a local theatre together (this year’s movie: Oculus!).
We also got to sit down with Sophie from Filosofia because she had a contract for us! We had pitched our wood block balancing game, Junkyard to her awhile ago and she’s been trying to figure out how to produce the game. We had emailed her prior to the Gathering asking for the prototype back so we could pitch it to other publishers – even though we would be happy if Filosofia would publish it. She countered by offering us a contract! Well ok then!
Nearer to the end of the Gathering, we made an appointment with Zev to try Rock, Paper, Wizards again. When we met up, he was finishing up a game with some other people and he asked us to come over and play Rock Paper Wizards with everyone at his table. Who was at his table? Well – Nikki from Queen Games, Aldie and Lincoln from Boardgamegeek and Steven from Stronghold Games. Wowza! No pressure! Well, we played the game and everything worked perfectly. Everyone was laughing and having a great time with it. So much so that Steven from Stronghold said out loud after finishing the game that if Zev didn’t want to publish the game that he would publish it! How cool is that? We have high hopes for this one!
Next up we’ll review our pitches to Days of Wonder, Ystari, Abacusspiele and R&R Games!
I’ll just add some more pictures to this post. You know. Because pictures. These ones are Z-man related and, as such, are relevant to this post!
Jay signs his royalties over to me (he just doesn’t know it!)
Jay’s first look at the back of the Akrotiri box, forthcoming from Z-man.
Jay teaches Akrotiri to our friends Ed Bryan (ToyVault) and Daryl Andrews (Londonderry)
And then he teaches it to fellow Game Artisans, Michael Xeureb and Gavan Brown (Jab).
In other Z-man news, the Battle of Kemble’s Cascade is also coming out from them soon. Our good friends, Sean Jacquemain, Adam Marostica, and I played the pre-release copy of this homage to 80s arcade games at the Gathering.