Over the past few months and, in fact, since releasing the first edition of Medieval Mastery back in June 2011 at the UK Games Expo, we’ve constantly been learning and re-evaluating our role within the industry and have gained so much experience about games design, publishing and the industry. We have met so many fantastic people along the way. It’s been absolutely incredible to see the growth of the industry over the past few years and to be a part of the golden age of gaming that we see today.
We released the 2nd Edition of Medieval Mastery at Essen 2012, the support we received was phenomenal although we very much realised that we still had so much to learn. Since then, weI’ve been pretty much buried in books, playing games, meeting people, asking questions and working on new game designs that we could later bring to market. After all the researching into what truly makes a great game for us, we arrived at our next game, one that we could truly be proud of…Brave the Elements. We put so many hours into the game’s development, there’s no way we could count it all. We definitely took our time and had the mechanics of game just about finalised by February 2014. Because of this, we knew we had something special we could take to print so we started preparing the artwork, graphic design, rule book, backstory, etc.
There was one problem however, we didn’t have all the money we needed to take the game into production. Still, we had been following Kickstarter for along time so made plans to setup a Kickstarter project for the game as soon as we had it ready, with enough artwork to show. Things were looking up although, as I had been focusing so much on the game itself and the appearance of the final product, taking on all graphic design responsibilities and art direction, there was not enough time I devoted into interacting with you (our audience) or marketing the project. By the time we had the project page prepared, the graphic design done and the first pieces of art underway, we believed we were ready to launch May 2014. We had prototype copies in the hands of reviewers, press releases being sent, updates regularly being posted on our social media. Everything seemed to be looking good…
The Kickstarter project page turned out well, we received a great deal of fantastic feedback for Brave the Elements and the art was looking amazing. The first couple of days were really exciting as our backers came flooding in from around the world. Looking at the numbers though, we knew almost straightaway how the campaign would turn out. Still we kept positive. More amazing reviews came in priding the game’s design and playability, confirming our belief in the game but still, at around the halfway point into the campaign while preparing for the UK Games Expo, we decided it was best to think about ending the Kickstarter campaign. What has stayed with us however was how much people enjoyed playing Brave the Elements. We know Brave the Elements is a game worth releasing, the feedback we’ve received confirms that so we will be re-launching but this time with the art and design complete and a massive marketing campaign. Keep an eye out for more news on that as it develops.
Now, fast-forwarding to the present, we’ve had another quiet period where we’ve been reflecting on the future of Chaos Publishing and our plans going forward. With this post, I wish to reignite our spark and nurture it into a large, bright burning flame. We have a message that “we are here to stay and are here to create our mark within this incredible industry and this thriving community”. This is not about us, this about you and we are nothing without your support. So what are our plans? How do we aim to bring value to the hobby?
We will nurture the game design community! Our role going forward will be as a fully-fledged games publisher. Our goal is to bring great games to market that can create a lasting impression. However, we are not the only publisher/designers in the world so we wish to offer our support to others by creating and encouraging fantastic opportunities for designers to get their games published, whether it be by us or another publisher. We will help game designers from around the world develop their games and their game design ability so that their games are the very best they can be. Here are just a few things we will do to help:
The Chaos Vanguard: We are opening signups for any groups that are interested in playtesting unpublished prototypes. How does it work? There will be two sign-up forms (coming soon), one for playtest groups and one for game submissions from designers. If you are signing up as playtest group, we’ll ask you for your contact details and preferences for games that you would like to playtest. You can set your preferences by game mechanics, playing time, audience, complexity, number of players, etc. When we get a game submission from a designer that matches your preferences (and think it’ll interest your group), we’ll send you a message. It’s as simple as that. If you are submitting one (or more) of your games as designer, we’ll ask you for that same criteria and will get you in touch with quality playtesters that will play your game and offer you genuine feedback to help improve it for the future. All games submissions will be checked and will only be sent to matching playtest groups if all the information is complete. Your contact details will not be passed on or used for any other purposes outside of the Chaos Vanguard.
Chaos Unpub: An event we hope to run on a quarterly basis here in the UK, in Chippenham area. We invite game designers, publishers, and playtesters from across the country to attend and playtest each others unpublished prototypes. These events are completely FREE and we hope get as many as 80 people to attend, the venue has plenty of parking spaces and food will be made available throughout the day. These will be one day events run on a Saturday from 11am to 7pm although, if there is enough demand, we may extend the hours and/or make these full weekend events.
Chaos Design Contest: Although all of our games so far have been ones of our own design, we very much want to focus our attention on being a publisher and, as such, welcome game submissions from designers around the world. Please see our updated submissions policy here. Then again, that does not mean we don’t still have ideas for games that we would like to produce (…in fact, we have too many to keep track of). This is where the Chaos Design Contest comes in. We’ll set a brief and pitch it to the game design community, there will be specific deadlines and after receiving all the submissions we’ll evaluate which design we think is the best. As long as we believe the chosen game has promise and the designer agrees, we will then work to produce a fully developed version of the game with the intent to publish. We are really excited about this and hope to eventually have the contest up and running on a quarterly basis…
…wait…running on a quarterly basis…does that mean we’ll be publishing 4 or more new games each year? The short answer here is “Yes!” or at least we certainly hope so. From 2016, we will aim to follow a release schedule that has us producing at least one new game each quarter. This will of course depend on a lot but, to establish ourselves in this industry, we need to keep bringing out fantastic games that will engage and inspire. We will only be able to do this with your support.
Ok, that already seems like quite a lot to be thinking about but I can assure you there’s more:
We are going to be extremely proactive online, regularly engaging with social media. We will continue to keep you (our audience) up-to-date with all our happenings on a weekly basis through our website, which will all be summarised in our monthly newsletter. I shall instigate a number of discussion groups, forums and other projects to try and promote design and game development as well as invigorate the gaming community itself. Here are a few ways how:
Gaming News (Mondays): There’s a lot of great website out there devoted to the latest and greatest news in the gaming industry so, here, I don’t want to elaborate too much. As such, my goal here is to call attention to a few games, articles, events, etc. that really catch my attention that week and think you would like to hear about.
Designers’ Talk (Wednesdays): We truly believe in the game design community and making games better. In this segment, we’ll be inviting game designers to write out their thoughts on a particular aspect of game design and share it with the community. Here we encourage a lot of open communication between game designers. Our hope and our goal here is to bring the game design community closer together, sharing advice and experiences so others can learn and be inspired.
Chaos Blog, Announcements and Press Releases (Fridays): If you believe in what we do and the games we produce, you’ll definitely want to keep up-to-date with our project releases. In this segment, we’ll also update you with anything that’s happened here at Chaos Publishing the past week; ideas we’ve had, events we’ve been to, games played recently and our thoughts for the future. Our goal here is to create and maintain a constant channel of communication between you and us, providing you the best opportunity to help shape our future.
Chaos Publishing Podcast (Saturdays, Bi-weekly): For this podcast, I’ll be inviting an industry guest to join me on the show to talk about how they look at games, the design/development process, selection for publication, publication process, what they find sells and what doesn’t, and more. I’ve bee wanting to get this up and running for a while and am really excited about finally getting this series going.
Ok, that’s it for now. As you can see this will all be a lot work to keep up but we’re hoping to take Chaos Publishing to the next level and I’m utterly thrilled about what we have in store for the future, I really hope you decide to join us on our journey.
Thanks for reading, have a great day and keep on gaming!