Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The best thing about publishing games... is all the great people you meet.

I planned to do a report on how well Spearpoint 1943 did at Origins 2010 this past June at its launch, which I may still write up, but right now I'm going to focus on something more important- something that is crucial to success as a publisher... meeting and working with others.  Many of the people I've met "in the industry" are extremely nice and helpful.  Many I'd call good friends.

People like Mark H. Walker and his family (of Lock N' Load Publishing).  I first met Mark as we were both exhibiting games in Gettysburg, PA in 2008.  Since then I'd say we've become pretty good friends.  At Origins this year, he, his family, and I shared meals, games, and had a lot of fun together.  Mark is an accomplished author, game designer, and publisher.  His games are great and he's one of the few publishers I know who can do this full time.

People like Lt. Col. Robert "Smitty" Smith and his wife, Katie, two of the friendliest people I've ever met- both of them full of personality and charm.  Smitty reviewed my first game in Panzer Digest (good magazine btw).  At Origins, the Smiths exhibited for Panzer Digest Magazine in a booth right next to mine.  We offered to cover for each other during the rare breaks (though they mostly covered my area for me...).  I had a blast with them at Origins.

People like Uwe Eickert of Academy Games.  If there is one guy I'd call my "mentor" in this business of publishing, it's Uwe (pronounced OOOO VAAAH, not YOU EEE, OOO EEE, or OOO WAY- I know, it's tough ;)).  He has so much positive energy and excitement about everything he does he actually scares me.  I don't know how he keeps up, but he's a brilliant businessman, engineer, and game designer, and always a pleasure to work and hang out with.  This year at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, Uwe, his son, and I all shared a room at Bally's.  Every night he was up responding to e-mails and catching up- I literally don't think he slept- except after that one buffet at the Paris...

People like Greg Silberman, a New York lawyer who is a "hardcore casual gamer" and longtime supporter.  He was one of the first guys to preorder one of my games at Historicon (Or was it WBC?).  Greg is a super guy who's just fun to be around- in Las Vegas, he introduced several of us to a great "local" oldschool steakhouse called the Golden Steer.  I thought we'd be shot in the parking lot, but once we walked in, the place was immaculate.  The food was amazing, but the company was better.  At Origins, I had the pleasure to learn how to play Fires of Midway with Greg as my teammate in a 4-player game hosted by the designer, Steven Cunliffe (another cool guy).  Greg and I eeked our way to a slim victory as the Japanese...

People like Marcelo Figueroa of the Greater Games Industry catalog.  Marcelo is crazy and I'll leave it at that.

People like Davide Galloni from Italy.  He and his group playtested two of my games and even demonstrated my latest one at a convention called PLAY in Italy earlier this year using a demo version.  He's even translated some of the rules of the first game into Italian for his group.  I've known Davide for several years now and he's always a pleasure to chat with and work with.  I know I can depend on Davide for some excellent constructive feedback.

People like John DiPonio.  If you know or get to know John, you'll quickly be glad to call him a friend.  John is the kind of guy you dream of having as a playtester.  He always follows through with what he's working on and helps me keep my priorities straight.  An all around great (and funny) guy.

People like Ken Whitehurst of the This Week In Wargaming podcast.  Ken and I had lunch the other day to catch up.  I gave him a review copy and prize copy of Spearpoint 1943 for his podcast and we had a nice conversation about games and design in general.  He interviewed me for his podcast back in February (Episode AT-7) at the Williamsburg Muster, which was a lot of fun.  I look forward to collaborating with Ken on a work-in-progress sci-fi game.

People like Lance Richardson of http://www.gettingboard.com/.  Lance's first video review was of Spearpoint 1943 - and he even added sound effects!  He's a super nice guy who is just getting started with his review site, so be sure to check it out.  He talked the owner of his FLGS into buying a few copies of SP43 for their store - they're now re-ordering having sold out!

People like Chuck Turnitsa of my local game group, ODMS.  Chuck regularly hosts great miniatures games and boardgames at our local spot in Hampton, VA called "The Hangar".  He's the "glue" that holds the club together and does a great job as a convention director- recently leading a team of ODMS guys in the concept and execution of Williamsburg Muster and Guns of August, both located in Williamsburg, VA spaced 6 months apart.  Chuck is a great guy and he is passionate about all things gaming, yet he keeps his focus on his family, always balancing out work, family, and time with friends.  Chuck has been a supporter for a long time and a real advocate for Spearpoint 1943, and he's always full of encouragement and good constructive feedback.  I'm glad to know him.

There are many others and I could go on and on.  I'm very thankful to have met these wonderful people - they've made (and continue to make) quite an impact on me personally and professionally as a game designer and a publisher.  I've learned so many things I would not have learned had I kept my questions and ideas all to myself.  People like those I've mentioned make this industry great.  They, and all of our customers, make it worthwhile to invest so much time into something as complex as designing and publishing games.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Collins Epic Wargames at Origins Game Fair

Last-minute prep for Origins 2010 is underway and I'll be on the road tomorrow heading to Ohio.  If you're attending Origins, please join me in the exhibitor hall or in our demo-area after the hall is closed.  I'll be launching Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 there at the show. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing gamers enjoy the production version of Spearpoint 1943 at Origins and I'll be sure to post some pictures from the show.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Collins Epic Wargames Releases Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943

It is my great pleasure to release Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 by Collins Epic Wargames. After many months developing and playtesting the design with the help of playtesters as far away from us as Italy, I’m confident you will enjoy this fast, tense, and FUN WWII-based card wargame. If you haven’t already ordered, please order through your FLGS, online retailer, or direct from CEW to begin enjoying the action in Spearpoint 1943 right away (MSRP $29.95)!

Please join me at Origins Game Fair 2010 to demo the game and take home a copy of your own! I’ll have plenty on hand next week at the show in Columbus, OH.

If you are one of the many new owners of Spearpoint 1943 in the coming weeks, you’ll want to download all 8 initial Situations from the Spearpoint 1943 downloads section of www.frontlinegeneral.com or the files section of the game's Boardgamegeek page. I recommend playing a few Standard Games before trying the Situations in order to become familiar with the game. If you have any questions on anything, please let me know directly.

As you play, I encourage you to develop and submit your own Situations to CEW. The first 8 are exciting and challenging and I hope they spark some design ideas of your own! With your permission, I’d love to share selected Situations of yours with others through our website or newsletter. More Situations are also on the way.

For those of you who preordered Spearpoint 1943, I thank you very much for your support in advance of production. Without your preorders, production of this game would not have been possible. Your preorder should ship by this coming Tuesday. Also, I want to thank Uwe Eickert (Academy Games) and Mark H. Walker (Lock N’ Load Publishing) for their design insights early in the development of Spearpoint 1943.

The battle for the Frontline begins!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Great Spearpoint 1943 Review Posted on Mataka.org

I recently asked Richard Mataka of Mataka.org to take a look at a pre-release version of Spearpoint 1943.  Richard reviews a countless number of games and products in the wargaming hobby and he's always a pleasure to speak with at conventions and on the phone.  I'm very pleased with what he had to say about Spearpoint 1943.  Here are a few quotes from his review, which now appears online here.

"I’m a typical grognard. I like my maps, cardboard counters and CRT’s. So imagine my surprise and enormous delight when I was asked to take a look at “Spearpoint 1943”, a historical based card game that I immediately enjoyed. This is a game steeped in historical accuracy, research, playability and months and months of playtesting. What’s great to see is that all of this work has truly paid off to provide the gamer with a unique and extremely enjoyable experience with tremendous replay value."
"You can learn this game in 30 minutes or less but mastering it will take a considerable longer time as the tactics are subtle and there are many fine nuances in the game that makes each game different and keeps you coming back for more"
"I feel that the impact of Spearpoint 1943 will be to historical card gaming what Magic the Gathering was to fantasy gaming. I feel it will breath new life into historical card gaming by introducing neophytes into a new world with a historical background based on sound historical research that is challenging yet most important of all, fun to play. Sometimes simple is better! Get Spearpoint 1943, I highly recommend it."
-Richard Mataka, Mataka.org
I'm really glad Richard enjoys the game and it's great to see such a positive review posted online just before the game's release (ETA Mid-June 2010)!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Does your FLGS carry our line of games?

Do you have a favorite local game store that carries boardgames / wargames?  Since we're new to distribution, I would really like you to refer me to the store's owner. I'd like to personally call the owner and ask him/her to carry our line of games and also send the store some promo items and info about us!

Please let me know their location, website, and the owner's name in a comment to this post and I'll do the rest!


Friday, April 9, 2010

It's just cool to order 8800 dice...

Production of Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 is officially underway. I'm in pre-press on the artwork files and busy prepping them for print- even modifying the "final artwork" a bit based on some feedback- adding some Mark Mahaffey-supplied textures to the backgrounds of the various cards. One fairly easy component to take care of is the single non-custom component in the game- dice.

Most people probably don't put much thought into dice, but they're as important as the artwork, game mechanics, and box. The cost of the dice can really vary among suppliers based on what is available, what is popular, and other factors. I went with "good" dice for Spearpoint- a bit of a polished touch for the game- by "good" I mean a 'non-opaque' color, a standard size, and something that matches the card colors in the game.

In the game, the German cards are a (surprise) textured German gray color, and the US cards are a textured blue color. So for selecting dice, I wanted two D10 gray dice for the German player and two D10 blue dice for the US player. Talk about choices- there are hundreds of D10 dice out there in all styles and colors and a few different sizes.

I chose dice supplied by Chessex for this game (http://www.chessex.com/), one of the industry suppliers. Quite simply I got a better price from Chessex than other suppliers, and as a publisher, I have to shop around for good prices on components or I'm not doing my job. The savings get passed on in the form of a lower MSRP for customers.

I don't personally like opaque dice. Maybe I'm picky, but I wanted something a bit more stylish for the game. Opaques are certainly functional and would have done the job - maybe for a few pennies less - but I went with speckled dice instead. For the gray dice, I chose Chessex's Ninja style. The blue dice are also in the speckled line and are called Stealth. Both are pictured below:

Dice, like any component, are cheaper in quantity. To support the planned initial print run of the game, I had to order 8800 total dice - 4400 of each color. This supports the print run as well as potential overages.

They arrived at the printer the other day and I couldn't help but think, "It's just cool to order 8800 dice..."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Distribution in Germany + a second US distributor

Collins Epic Wargames is pleased to announce that Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943, Frontline General: San Pietro Infine, and other future games will now be distributed in Germany through UGG (http://www.ugg.de/).

In addition, our games were picked up by another US distributor, ACD Distribution ( http://www.acdd.com/) after discussions at the recent GAMA Trade Show 2010 in Las Vegas, NV. This is in addition to our current US distributor (Alliance Games) and our current Spanish distributor.

We're very excited to have our games carried by more retail stores across the globe and we greatly appreciate your demand for Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 at your FLGS which is partially driving these accomplishments as a publisher. We hope that you look forward to seeing Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 on the shelf in your FLGS and also hope that you will consider picking it up if you haven't already preordered! Release date is planned for sometime in May 2010!