2016worst

Man, 2016 really was the worst, wasn’t it? It was so much the worst, that it’s become something of a cliche to even talk about how abysmally terrible the year has been. And that was even before Carrie Fisher died.

Ugh. I’ll be happy when this year is over. So many iconic deaths. So much bile and hatred rolled up into a presidential campaign that, well, that ended in a way that made me genuinely sad for the future.

In some ways I’m almost glad that Gloomhaven got delayed until next year. It will now be associated with 2017, which has to be better than 2016, right? I mean, it would be hard not to. But anyway, we’re not looking to the future yet. For now, let’s talk about the ups and downs of the past year for Cephalofair Games.

So, yes, Gloomhaven experienced a vast number of delays throughout the year, and, yes, that definitely contributed to the year’s suckiness. I expected it to be delivered in May, and then that just kept getting pushed back into ridiculousness. I remember talking to a retailer who ordered a number of copies to sell at BGG Con, and I told him confidently that there was pretty much no way the games wouldn’t be delivered by then (November), and now I am just embarrassed.

It was definitely a constant source of shame throughout the year, but it was also a source of all the good that came out of the year. And I feel the community that has grown out of the Kickstarter campaign is at the top of that good list. Sure, the community started back in 2015 with play testing and the launch of the Kickstarter, but 2016 was like the extended incubation period that will very soon create¬†something great once the game is released. Through the Kickstarter updates and this blog, along with a lot of updates on BGG as well, I feel like the Gloomhaven community is going to be a force to be reckoned with and that will go a long way towards increasing awareness about the game when it is released. It’s exciting!

And the game itself is deserving of the community’s fervor, because the game, too, has been incubating for a long time. It’s not like nothing was going on the entire year. Every day of every month was dedicated to making Gloomhaven as great as it can be, either through the development, or the eventual push into manufacturing, where a number of problems emerged, but we dealt with them all and made a better game because of it.

It’s a little sad that the year dedicated to Gloomhaven won’t actually see the product of its work, but¬†the time is quickly approaching, and the game will be better for the delay.

Another major advancement of the year was a stronger convention presence for Cephalofair Games. I took my first foray into running a booth at the GAMA Trade Show, and then went on to run booths at GenCon, Essen, and the Alliance Open House. I learned a lot from doing that, chiefly that it is a lot of work and requires a lot of help. Running a booth completely changes the convention experience from one of joy and bonding over playing games to one of crushing exhaustion and anxiety.

I know that doesn’t sound great, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? I feel like I’ve been able to work through a lot of my social anxieties this year by attending conventions. I’m never going to be a great public speaker or anything, but each time I go out there and teach Gloomhaven or talk to someone about pre-ordering it, I feel more confident, and that’s a good thing. Still, I’ve come to the conclusion that booths at conventions should be done in moderation. I’m not ready to give up the wonderful experiences of playing games for four days straight with friends at conventions like Geekway to the West, Origins, and BGG Con, so those will still be “play” cons, while conventions more geared toward retail sales – Gen Con and Essen – will be the “work” cons.

And lastly, 2016 hasn’t been all Gloomhaven, all the time. Back in June, when I submitted all the Gloomhaven files to the printer, I found myself with time to start working on my next project. Founders of Gloomhaven has changed a lot since then, but I am very happy with where it now sits. Art and graphic design have officially begun, and I’m excited to see where it takes me in the new year, as well. Obviously it’s a much smaller Euro and won’t be quite as Earth-shattering as Gloomhaven. I never want to make something that big again, so Founders should be a nice change of pace, and I am hoping it will be received well.

And somehow, the work on Gloomhaven continues to grow, as well. In addition to doing some writing and concept work for the inevitable expansion, I’ve also spent a whole lot of time working on a small pack of scenarios I’m planning on releasing as a PDF around the time Gloomhaven is delivered. I say “small,” but, like with everything Gloomhaven-related, it ended up being quite monumental, and I am proud of it. I think it will be worth the time I put into it.

So yeah, this year has been a lot of work and not a lot of fruit to bare. It has just been one tragedy after another outside my bubble, and one delay after another inside the bubble. I’m very much looking forward to putting it all behind me and moving on to 2017, but we’ll talk more about that next time.