Bewitching GenCon 2015 – Booth 1949

GenCon Indy 2015 is fast-approaching and we’re busy getting ready to offer some really fun stuff in our booth (#1949) this year!

First & foremost, we will have The Village Crone out on tables for demos all weekend, as well as Castle Panic with The Dark Titan, Dead Panic, and Bears! with Bears! Trail Mix’d.

We will also have a limited number of advance copies of The Village Crone available each day for purchase. You can get a copy SIX WEEKS in advance of it’s release in mid-September! Come to our booth (#1949) in the morning, as we will only release 100 copies each day.

As if that’s not enough reason to come by the booth, we will have promos for The Dark Titan, Bears! Trail Mix’d, and The Village Crone, so stop by and ask our booth staff. You are definitely going to want to see what we have lined up for The Village Crone!

To read more about our GenCon plans and see what show pricing and demos we will be hosting, visit our GenCon Page on our website.

We’re really excited to see you all in Indianapolis in just a few weeks! Please come by to say hi, play a game, pick up a promo, and meet some of our great volunteers in the new Torch Program!

 

Bears! Trail Mix’d Available Now!

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?

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.

Origins Game Fair ReCap

What a way to start the summer! We returned to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH after a few years away and were greeted with warm smiles from eager gamers.

The quiet before the rush.

When the hall opened on Thursday morning there was a steady stream of attendees getting their first look around the hall and we even had a few beeline straight to make their Bears! Trail Mix’d purchase. This expansion to our fast-paced, dice-pairing game Bears! doesn’t officially release until June 24, but we had a stash of advance copies and people weren’t shy about snagging one of their very own.

We had a lot of interest in The Dark Titan expansion to Castle Panic and kept that demo table running regularly most of the weekend. There were many Castle Panic first-timers sitting down so they got to experience the true panic the expansion brings to the game. The ratio of wins to losses was pretty evenly matched and everyone seemed to actually enjoy the anxiety brought by the new Monsters and Agranok.

Edgar taught a 6-player group how to fend off Agranok in this Castle Panic and The Dark Titan demo.

There was a heightened interest in Dead Panic so we cracked open a copy for the second demo table and that one stayed full most of the weekend as well. We had a fantastic play through with a young gamer and her dad. She was a boss at taking out zombies with her chain saw and there were a lot of smiles in that apocalypse.

Our favorite zombie apocalypse survival team of the weekend.

The best thing about doing game conventions is all the familiar faces and the new friends we make, and this year’s Origins Game Fair was no exception. We want to thank everyone who came by the booth to say hi, pick up the latest promos, and take a copy of a game home with them.

New game promos included a 6th Level Agranok card for The Dark Titan and an Alarm Clock for Bears!

If you missed out on the 6th Level Agranok promo or the Bears! Alarm Clock, don’t worry, we’ll have them at other shows this year. Check out our Calendar for future appearances.

We hope to see many of you in July at GenCon in Indy. (We’ll have The Village Crone on the table there, as well as a special promo you’ll want to be sure to pick up.) We’ll be in booth #1949.

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

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!

Titans, and Witches, and Bears! Oh My!

This week we’re at the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Trade Show in Las Vegas. We’re really excited to take this opportunity to officially announce our 2015 product releases!

We have three new products scheduled to hit store shelves this year.

Castle Panic: The Dark Titan Box CoverOur first release this year is The Dark Titan, the second expansion to our popular cooperative game Castle Panic. The Dark Titan features new Monsters, new cards, and new support tokens. The main threat is Agranok, the Dark Titan who has escaped exile and returned to exact his revenge on your Castle. The Dark Titan requires Castle Panic (2009) to play and takes approximately 1 hour. The game supports 1 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, and retails for $14.95. It is also compatible with The Wizard’s Tower (2011) for an even greater challenge. The Dark Titan releases April 1 and is currently available for pre-order.

Keep calm and roll on this summer when our fast and furious dice game Bears! (2011) gets its own expansion. Bears!: Trail Mix’d gives you 6 new rules for the original game to really mix things up. This expansion features a die that is rolled before each round, changing up the rules that affect pairing and scoring for even more versatility and unexpected results. It accommodates 2 or more players, is recommended for ages 7 and up, and retails for $4.95. Bears!: Trail Mix’d is available in June 2015.

This autumn you’ll fall under the spell of our brand new game, The Village Crone. Immerse yourself in the medieval village of Wickersby as you vie with other witches for the venerable title of Village Crone. Worker placement and resource management are key as you use your familiars to gather ingredients and cast spells on the villagers to achieve goals and score victory points. The Village Crone features a modular game board for a new experience every time. It retails for $49.95, accommodates up to 6 players, ages 13 and up, and features a solo play option as well.

We hope you’re as excited about these titles as we are. We’ll be updating the product information pages as we get closer to release dates for each. Stay tuned for more gameplay information, including component images, unboxing and how to play videos, and more!

Share our Press Release and tell us which game you are most excited about in the comments.