International TableTop Day 2016

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International TableTop Day is almost upon us! Quick! Grab some friends and a couple of games and plan a day around it!

We will be visiting a few local game stores in Austin, TX on the day (April 30th this year) and invite you to join us. Anne-Marie and Justin will be at Wonko’s Toys & Games from 12–2:30 PM CT and then from 4–6 they will be at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy-Austin. They will be playing Here, Kitty, Kitty! and showing off an early copy of Dastardly Dirigibles (releases in July)!

If you aren’t in the Austin, TX area but want to find a local place to meet some new gamers and hang out for the day’s festivities, check out the list of participating retailers on the official Geek & Sundry International TableTop Day page to find one near you.

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We have also partnered with Geek & Sundry on the official retailer event kits and there will be special, exclusive Castle Panic promo towers at 300 stores around the country. Check with individual game stores to see if they will have a kit and how they will be distributing the goodies, it will vary by location.

Hosting an event with your friends at your house or neighborhood hang out? Be sure to use the official #tabletopday hashtag to connect with people near and far! You can watch the 24-hour live stream on Twitch and see what gamers all over the world are doing to celebrate gaming this year.

How to Play The Village Crone – Videos!

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The Village Crone releases next week (September 30) in Friendly Local Game Stores (FLGS) everywhere in the US. We invite you to immerse yourself in the medieval town of Wickersby and learn about the gameplay with our Official How to Play videos!

Not only do we have a general gameplay overview video, but we also have some break-out videos on casting Spells, moving Familiars, and Witch’s Schemes. Check them all out on our YouTube Channel. You can share the entire playlist for The Village Crone, or just video you think your friends will find useful.

Want to know what different Spells you’ll be casting in The Village Crone? Check out this video that teaches you what the Spells do, what you need in Ingredients to Cast them, and the special incantations you need to give voice to your witchy desires!

What happens when too many Familiars congregate in one place? Watch the video on Movement & Scattering, to see what happens to Villagers and Familiars when the party gets too big! You can even use Scattering to your advantage if you are clever.

Check out our Something Wicked Tour in the New England area if you want to learn to play from the designer, Anne-Marie De Witt. And be sure to visit the game’s webpage for the FREE 3D Printer Files for all the components if you want to add minis to the game!

If you order directly through our website you get the exclusive Silver coaster promo you can use in the game, or ask at your FLGS, they may have snagged a few of this promo at a recent show!

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As you prepare to get your very own copy of The Village Crone, be sure to download the Book of Spells patch for the Unbinding Spell error in the first printing.

Happy Spell-Casting!!

Special Tour Schemes for Justin & Anne-Marie!

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Join Justin & Anne-Marie on the Something Wicked Tour, and immerse yourself in the spirit of the tour with a little meta-game.

Follow along as they try to complete their own set of Tour Schemes over the next few weeks. Similar to your goals in The Village Crone, they will have to achieve the objectives on the Scheme Cards to score those points. Will they be able to score a total of 13 points before the last tour date? Stay tuned and see as we share these little extras with you!

The first set of Schemes Justin & Anne-Marie need to complete while they are in the Boston area!
The first set of Schemes Justin & Anne-Marie need to complete while they are in the Boston area!

Up first is a series of schemes in the Boston area. If you see them out and about, say hi, but don’t distract them from their purpose, they want to WIN this tour!

Schemes on Deck:

1 Point: RIDE WITH THE DAMNED – Take the “Trolley of the Doomed” Ghost Tour

1 Point: CONJURE A FAMILIAR – Spot a Familiar in the Cambridge Village Green

2 Points: PAY RESPECTS TO THE ACCUSED – Visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial & Visit the Salem Witch Museum

3 Points: MARRY MAGIC & MAYHEM – View Phineas Gage’s Skull, Cross Harvard Bridge, & Visit Boston Neck Gallows

They will be providing proof of their Schemes on social media with photos and videos, so watch our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page, and Twitter & Instagram accounts for details.

(For bonus points, you can play along… share your experiences with any of the events/situations on their scheme cards – or make up your own! – through social media. Tag your posts using #SomethingWicked!)

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Something Wicked Tour for The Village Crone

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There is a crispness in the air and something whispers on the wind. Fall approaches, as does the witching hour. We invite you to join us as we bring The Village Crone to game stores across New England with the Something Wicked Tour!

Our newest game is full of spell-casting and witchy fun, and releases in September. We are hitting the road to traverse the Northeast United States, teaching new witches how to play and visiting some spooky places along the way.

Anne-Marie De Witt (designer of The Village Crone) and Justin De Witt (co-owner of Fireside Games) will be making the following stops to demo The Village Crone, talk about game design, share promos for the game, and generally be enchanting! We hope to see you along the way.

something-wicked-tour-mapSept 19    5:30-6:30PM
Eureka Puzzles & More
Brookline, MA
Signing Event Q&A

Sept 19    7-11PM
Knight Moves Cafe
Brookline, Ma
Demo night

Sept 20    6-10PM
Pandemonium Books & Games
Cambridge, MA

Sept 22    4-8PM
Compleat Strategist
Boston, MA

Sept 25    6-10PM
Sarge’s Comics & Games
New London, CT

Sept 26    2-6PM
Compleat Strategist
New York, NY

Sept 27    12-4PM
Time Machine/The Portal
Manchester, CT

Sept 30    7-11PM
The UnCommons NYC
New York, NY

the-village-crone-box-3D-left-webOct 1 & 2    2-6PM
Brooklyn Game Lab
Brooklyn, NY

Oct 3        2-6PM
Dragon’s Den
Poughkeepsie, NY

Oct 4        12-3PM
Gamer’s Gambit
Danbury, CT

Oct 6        6-10PM
Quarterstaff Games
Burlington, VT

Oct 11        1-5PM
Crossroad Games
Standish, ME

Oct 13        5-9PM
Diversions Puzzles & Games
Portsmouth, NH

Bears! Trail Mix’d Available Now!

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Bears! Trail Mix'd game contents

The latest threat to your woodland fun isn’t marching toward the Castle, it’s invading your campsite, and game stores everywhere, today. The brand new expansion to Bears! is now available!

Bears! Trail Mix’d is a single die expansion to our fast-paced, dice-pairing game Bears! and changes up the game play by introducing 6 new rules to shake up your strategy and keep you on your toes.

This expansion easily fits into the base game box and is fully transportable to your next summer picnic or bonfire. Be sure to pick up your copy before the July 4th family reunion and get the whole family involved in the frantic, fun, and addictive experience of gaming.

Bears! Trail Mix’d is rated for ages 7 and up, retails for $4.95, and requires Bears! to play. Ask about it at your Friendly Local Game Store.

Want to have a little extra fun? Write your own product announcement with our silly fill-in-the-blank word game, or download and print your own score sheets for the game!

Write the Product Announcement – Word Game
Download & print your own score sheets!

Ask Fireside: How Long Does a Game Take to Design?

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In this article, Anne-Marie De Witt, CEO of Fireside Games and designer of a hefty percentage of our products, shares some insights on the product development cycle and compares the design processes for Bears! Trail Mix’d (releasing June 24) and The Village Crone (due out this fall).

How long does a game take to design from initial idea to publication?

Quick Answer: It varies widely.

Real, In-Depth Answer: When planning a game, we try to keep to a one-year development cycle. The longer a game takes, the higher the expenses and the higher the sales need to be. However, a game that hits all of the right deadlines and turns out to be no fun won’t sell or cover its costs either. The best course is to pursue the game design diligently, know when it’s working, and be willing to kill it when it’s not. A game isn’t worth publishing if it isn’t strong. There are too many great games on the market to invest money in a mediocre idea.

The shortest development cycle we have had was 8 months, which was for Bears! The concept came rapidly and was refined almost to its end state as I wrote it out for the first time. The whole game design process took just 2 weeks. Art development, graphic design, and layout took about 4 weeks. The remainder of the time was spent in manufacturing, shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment.

It actually took longer (10 months) to develop Trail Mix’d, the expansion to Bears!, because the game design was harder to nail down. If I had trusted my instincts, it would have taken a shorter amount of time, but I spent some time chasing down other solutions that didn’t pan out. In the end, though, the assurance I have in my final design was probably worth the time spent even though I could have gotten it to market more quickly.

Knowing what constitutes your initial idea can be tricky as well. After working on different approaches to a witch game for a couple of years, I couldn’t get it feeling right. I hadn’t worked on it for several months when the inspiration for The Village Crone hit me while training a volunteer for GenCon 2014. I excused myself and asked Justin to take over so that I could write it down before I forgot it. The game design evolved tremendously from that flash of insight and required the sacrifice of almost all of the guiding mechanics.

Although I look to that day of inspiration as the beginning, you could argue that it started years before and required substantial stewing before it was ready or that its start date was closer to its current incarnation. By the time the manufacturing and fulfillment are complete, getting that game to market will have taken 13 months (ironic for a game in which the winner is the first person to score 13).

Because of the uncertainty in the game design stage and the necessity of it being as solid as possible, most publishers prefer to license games. The designer sinks all of the time in that phase and is compensated based on a percentage, tying his or her return to the strength of the sales. Not only does that help the publisher control costs but it also helps to create a more predictable product development cycle. Of course, unforeseen problems in the publication process (such as strikes by dock workers) can and do occur. But having a plan in place allows you to steer through the obstacles and hit the right time from initial idea to publication to ensure the highest degree of success.

– Anne-Marie De Witt

Do you like articles like this? Want more insider information? Let us know! Email us your “Ask Fireside” submissions and you might be featured in a future blog or newsletter.

Bears! Trail Mix’d Now Open for Pre-Order

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Summer is approaching, and with it family gatherings and camping trips. What better way to add some extra fun to your outdoor adventures than with a portable, fun, family game?

Our popular fast-paced, dice-pairing game Bears! is getting a brand new expansion in June and it is now available for pre-order!

Bears! Trail Mix’d introduces a new die with six new faces, each triggering a new scoring rule/strategy for each round of the game. Add this to your existing copy of Bears! to really shake things up and test your speed and decision-making in the heat of the moment.

Bears! and Bears! Trail Mix’d are easy to teach your non-gaming friends and family. Fast play time keeps everyone engaged and gets even the shyest member of the family shouting “Bears!” at the end of a round.

For more information on Bears! Trail Mix’d visit our information page and watch the How to Play video.

Ask at your local game store or you can pre-order on our website. It officially releases in store June 24, but we will have a limited number of advance copies for sale at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH on June 4–7. Visit us in booth #839 to pick up a copy and a special new promo for Bears!

Anne-Marie Talks the Business Side of Games on The Gaming Careers Podcast

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ROI and the Business of Gaming on the Gaming Careers Podcast

Steve Ruduski over at The Company Bard recently interviewed Anne-Marie for his Gaming Careers Podcast. They covered origins stories for Fireside Games and how we grew from a part-time, when-we-have-time venture into a thriving and quickly-growing small company.

They also get into the nitty gritty of what it means to be a designer/publisher of boardgames and how the business side of things works. It isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes you have to knuckle down and do the boring (but very necessary) tasks required to run the business. You have to weigh your decisions carefully and balance your goals with your cash flow. And, yes, sometimes you have to take that leap and hope you will sprout wings. Continue reading Anne-Marie Talks the Business Side of Games on The Gaming Careers Podcast