We are having a really great year. For the sake of tradition I should have written this in January, but we have just been plum busy since the start of the New Year. Thankfully, we were all able to take a few days off after the end of the Kickstarter, and now I’m in the office having a moment to pause and reflect while Nick and Cole hammer on the Underworld.
I wanted to write this letter to take a moment to celebrate the past year and talk plainly about the things we are moving towards.
Vast: The Crystal Caverns and Vast: The Fearsome Foes
Vast continues to sell well. We did a small reprint of Vast: The Crystal Caverns and we are fairly deep into that run. Vast: The Fearsome Foes is getting towards the end of its inventory. As sales have slackened, we will probably end Vast: The Fearsome Foes here and may bring it back into print if we do a new edition of Crystal Caverns in the future.
Root and Root: The Riverfolk
Root is by far our strongest seller. To date we have sold 50,000 Root core sets and 22,500 Riverfolk Expansions. The third print run was done in conjunction with the language partners and our small portion of that run is making its way over the Pacific right now. We are getting ready to send the fourth print run to the printer in May. This run will be considerably larger and will be used to fulfill the recent Kickstarter as well as give us a supply to put into distribution.
Direwolf Digital is working on the digital port of Root. We are excited by the progress they have shown us. I can’t wait to show you more.
Magpie Games is working on the RPG right now also. They will be showing us an early version at Origins. I am very excited.
Vast: The Mysterious Manor
Vast: TMM is currently at the printer and should be shipping to everyone within a few months. Though this release date is a little later than planned, we are all really happy with how this game turned out. I don’t think anyone will argue with the delay once they see the final production and get a chance to play the design.
Root: The Underworld
What can I say? I am completely floored by the response to the campaign. It was an opportunity for new people to get into Root but the rate we brought people back to buy the expansion was amazing. The expansion campaign’s dollar total did better than all of our other Kickstarters combined with almost more backers. It was a blast to design with Nick and Cole. We are going to get it out to the printer in the next few months.
So far this year we have attended SXSW, Con on the North, and PAX: East. We are planning on attending Origins, Gen Con, and PAX: Unplugged.
We also had or will have representation at GDC, BGG Con, and PAX: West.
We are still trying to figure out if we will be going to Essen. A small team scouted it out last year and had a great time. I imagine that we’ll be attending the show if we have stock to sell.
I was reticent to write about future development so close to another campaign but a lot of people have been curious about what we are working on and I just want to get out of theorycrafting.
On Cole’s Desk
Cole has been working on a new game with the working title of Saga. Whereas Root is a game about geopolitics and insurgency, Saga takes a wider view and is more about history itself--what stories get told and which get forgotten. At its heart, it's a political and economic legacy game, meant to be played over several matches. However, unlike most campaign and legacy games, there are no pre-scripted events; each game’s narrative is entirely emergent. Like Root, the game is very interactive, with lots of sharp edges. He'll have a lot more to share about the design in the later summer and fall.
On Patrick’s Desk
I am currently juggling a few things. I really want to go back to dungeon crawling someday but in the meantime I am working on a couple titles:
Path (again a working title)
Back when David Somerville and I met, he was mentoring me on the design of an asymmetric game of my own. Slowly that evolved into a more open world game with alternate victory conditions. While talking about it with Kyle he presented the adventurers as animals instead of as the fantasy tropes. Kyle loves animal adventurers and eventually we incorporated that into Root.
Path now will be a game about Vagabonds exploring a new frontier. As the Vagabonds gain fame in the world, they will be able to turn that into influence in the factions of the Root world which will give them additional privileges in the game and ways to score. I am slowing down on my design time right now so I will probably not show anything until 2020, though I will be playtesting it at my desk in the meantime. If nothing else, this ensures that the solo mode will be robust!
Lone (again a working title)
I am working on a solo game that is built around the theme of having to repeat the same day. I want to build it so that there are multiple modules that each feature a unique adventure. The first will involve a person in a cabin in a desperate battle with a creature lurking in the woods around the cabin. This project isn’t taking studio time; instead it’s what I do to unwind.
Profit Sharing / Equity
In the past we have done bonuses for employees haphazardly. We are exploring formalizing performance based compensation so that everyone at the company can reap the benefits of our success.
We will add additional positions throughout the summer. This will give us a chance to realign our operations team and to build capacity for additional creative projects I want to pursue.
We are happy with our current quarters but it is one giant open room and communication is becoming difficult. In addition we are running out of places to put desks, so we are looking into relocating within the Twin Cities.
Again, thanks for your support everyone! I look forward to working with you all in the coming year.