Full Belfort Comic now available!

In addition to designing games, I’ve also been trying my hand at writing comics with my writing partner, Tim Reinert. Our first story is called, Tales of Belfort: The Greatest Story in the History of Ever, and other lies I told my mother. It’s a 10 page story that is now fully available for free online – right now! For those that have played the game of Belfort before and have wondered why it takes an Elf AND a Dwarf to go to the mines to get metal…well, here’s your answer!

Check it out: www.condoofmystery.com.

Background: When Tim and I first decided we’d like to write comics together we started having brainstorming sessions on a huge opus – a gigantic epic – that would have spanned 30-40 issues. We had (and still have, I guess) some great ideas and concepts, but found ourselves drowning in our own ambition. Instead of calling it quits, we came up with a new strategy – let’s just tell a one issue story about something else!

So we worked on an idea or two and still found it to be quite a handful, since neither of us have written a comic book before – though we both have extensive, and varied, experiences in reading them. Our third plan was to write short story comics that are 5-10 pages long. As soon as we did this, the pressure was off and we were able to easily write 3 or 4 scripts.

Then came an idea. What if we wrote a story set in the world of the soon-to-be-published game of Belfort. Even suggesting it to Tim made me cringe as comics based on…anything, usually aren’t that good. Still, we gave it a fair shake and tossed some ideas around. Once I explained some of the concepts of the game to Tim, we found a really cool story idea with the pairing of and Elf and Dwarf forced to team up and go the mines to bring back some metal. With this idea in place, we wrote our story (and re-wrote and tweaked and re-wrote some more).

Once this was completed we then set out to find an artist. We knew we’d have to pay out of our own pocket for this comic, and it was an expense that we thought would be worth it. Our first thought was to reach out to anyone we knew that could draw. We didn’t know that many people apparently. Then we checked online artist resource sites and got some ideas – but before contacting anyone, I remembered I had a cousin that works in animation in Ottawa. Some discussions later, he recommended Rob Lundy who was also a big board game fan.

Rob saw some art from the game and read our script then showed us some concept sketches. Tim and I were immediately impressed and were continued to be impressed as he started to provide layouts and then completed pages – with colour! It was definitely way better than we were hoping for our first comic!

Since working with each other seemed to be mutually beneficial, we decided to team up and we formed a website called Condo of Mystery. Our plan is to release a new page every week. Since we’ve launched in late October, we’ve done just that. Now that we’re done this story you’ll be seeing our second comic start up soon. Our future comics will be different genres and even different art styles – even though all the art is done by Rob.

So, check it out, bookmark it for later and enjoy our first completed comic: Tales of Belfort.

-Jay Cormier

2011 in Review

Well, to say 2011 was a big year for the Bamboozle Brothers (that’s Sen and I, btw!!) would be quite the understatement!

Published Games

In 2011 we saw the release of our first two games!

Train of Thought

Train of Thought box artTrain of Thought was our first published game (though it was our second one signed to be published). It’s a party game that gets people thinking differently than most other party games. It has been reviewed very well so far. There are discussions with other publishers to see if there’s interest in publishing the game in different languages and different countries. We managed to get it into a National Retailer in Canada…yep – Train of Thought is available on Bestbuy.ca!

Belfort

Belfort box artBelfort was released just a few months ago and has been received extremely well by gamers everywhere, including achieving the number one game of this year’s BGG.con. It has sold out at the publisher level, and they are in discussions with other publishers to see if they want to do other language versions of the game. On the last day of 2011, Belfort was the 392nd best game of all time, according to users on boardgamegeek.com. We’ve seen it pop up on a few top ten lists of the year as well.

It has already been confirmed by the publisher, Tasty Minstrel Games, that an expansion will come out next year! Expansion you say? Yep! Sen and I have been working hard on many expansions for Belfort. Tasty Minstrel has given us carte blanche in creating it – so we thought we’d come up with a few and either have them choose – or, if they like them all, then stagger the release of expansions over the next couple years.

Unpublished Games

It was also a big year for our unpublished games! How so? Well, 8 of our unpublished games are currently out at various publishers being reviewed. My trip to Essen (detailed in many posts starting here) was key in getting most of our games out to publishers. We’re feeling some good vibes from at least two publishers about our games and we should start to hear from most of them in January. One of them, Akrotiri, made it to the finals in the Canadian Game Design Competition that was ultimately won by fellow Game Artisan of Canada’s Matt Tollman with his game, Undermining.

Sen and I took one of our almost-published games, But Wait, There’s More and posted it here on our website and gave it away for free to everyone! It has also been posted on boardgamegeek.com – so I guess it’s actually a published game now! If you’ve downloaded and tried it, we’d love to hear your feedback. Expect more free games from Sen and I in the near future!

Game Artisans of Canada

Sen and I belong to the Game Artisans of Canada (GAC), and it’s been an amazing organization and very symbiotic relationship so far. There are chapters of game designers all across Canada that get together to playtest each other’s games and help each other out with general questions and direction. The collective knowledge of the group is astounding, let alone the numerous contacts that each person brings to the table. You can read more about the group, including its annual get-together, appropriately named Cardstock here.

Comic Books!

We also released our first comic, which was set in the world of Belfort and was written by me and my comic-writing partner, Tim Reinert and illustrated by the uber-talented Rob Lundy. We’ve started a path that was very similar to the path Sen and I took on getting a board game published: we have no idea what we’re doing, but we’re taking it one step at a time and enjoying the process a lot!

The entire 10-page Tales of Belfort comic will be complete by Monday or Tuesday of this coming week, then we’re onto other stories set in other, non-board game worlds! Check it out at Condo Of Mystery.com!

 

This Website
It’s always interesting to see if people are reading what you’re writing. One way to tell if you’re connecting with your audience is if your posts start a discussion (go on, comment below!), but the other way is through analyzing the stats. It’s rewarding to me to see that people are visiting the site as often as they are.

What’s the plan for 2012 for this blog? Well, there are still a few more steps left to go to fully complete the journey we started long ago. Plus, since starting this blog, we’ve come up with many more tips and best practices along the way that we’ll have to squeeze into the step process somewhere. Not sure how we’ll do that…maybe just renumber the steps? We’ll see. Plus we’re hoping to get some experiences with different publishers under our belt this year. No problems or challenges with our current publisher – but it will be interesting to see how other publishers operate. We also have plans to put some videos together that better demonstrate some of the steps that we’ve described.

As usual, we’ll be as transparent as we can be – we have to hold back sometimes when publishers request us NOT to post about certain things – which we can understand. Usually it’s just a timing thing and not a forever thing.

Our goal, as it has been since we began: show and explain all the steps we took to get our games published, in an effort to make it easier for others to get their board games published. How altruistic! Well, in doing so, we’re hopefully raising awareness for our games as well! 🙂

Click here to see the complete report.

2012?

So what else is coming in 2012? We hope a few more games from the Bamboozle Brothers! While the publishers are assessing the games of ours that they have right now, Sen and I are still working on new games (it’s really a never ending cycle, isn’t it – no complaints here though!). We have Lion’s Share, RuneMasters, Scene of the Crime and more that haven’t made it through Beta stage yet.
I am really looking forward to April as I have been invited to the very exclusive Gathering of Friends! This is a week long event held by famed game designer, Alan Moon in which his friends (most of them are other famous game designers) and some publishers show up and play games all week! Wow! That’s going to be amazing!
Sen is planning a trip to Essen this year to celebrate completing 4 decades of living. I might go as well, but the Gathering will take a fair bit of change out of my spending this year.
The aforementioned expansion to Belfort will be released. Expect the first expansion to be one of the smaller kind of expansions – not a full boxed version. Just something to mix it up a bit!
I have to say that five years ago, I would never have thought I’d be where I am right now. It’s been a fantastic ride, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us! Thanks for joining us on this trip!
-Jay Cormier

More Belfort comic book pages!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, we’re now 6 pages into our Tales of Belfort comic. The entire story is only 10 pages long so we’re more than half way through! Head on over to Condo of Mystery to check out the lastest pages. To start from page one, just use the Belfort menu at the top.

The general concept is this: have you ever wondered why, in the game of Belfort, it takes an Elf AND a Dwarf to get metal from the mine? Well, here’s your answer!

-Jay Cormier

Tales of Belfort – the new comic book!

Board games aren’t my only passion. I am also enamoured with comic books.

So much so, that I partnered up with fellow comic book aficionado, Tim Reinert (whose blog about comics and movies is amazing, btw), and we started to write our own comic books!

Belfort ComicWe have written about half a dozen short stories so far and the first one that we wanted to pursue also had another motivation for me: it’s set in the world of Belfort! Initially, Tim and I were a bit concerned because we didn’t want to make it seem like a cheap tie-in, like so many ‘anything based on anything else’ can often be.

Once we stumbled upon the conceit, we were excited to tell this story. If you’ve played the game and wondered why it takes an Elf AND a Dwarf to get metal from the mine, well, here’s your answer!  We wrote a buddy/cop story, where neither character is a cop! Once we got the thumbs up from our publisher, Tasty Minstrel Games, we wrote what we think is a pretty solid adventure story!

Our biggest challenge was finding an artist. But like any line of work, it’s often not ‘what you know’ but ‘who you know’.  I have a cousin in the animation field who hooked us up with Rob Lundy, an illustrator from Ottawa – we were ridiculously impressed with his work. Once we got through this first comic, we realized that we all liked working with each other so the three of us started a website called the Condo of Mystery.

We plan on releasing a new page every week on the site.  The first 10 weeks will be the Tales of Belfort comic. Following that, we’ll get into some other stories that vary in genres from Noir to Western to Superhero.

Check out the site and view the Tales of Belfort comic by choosing it from the header and selecting Page 1. Please subscribe to it so you can be informed of when new pages are posted! This is an exciting venture for the three of us – Tim, Rob, and myself – even moreso for me since the premiere adventure is set in the world of Belfort!

-Jay Cormier