As the year 2015 is approaching it’s end, we at Playmore Games decided to take a little stroll down the memory lane and recap all the awesome things that happened to us this year. We’ll start off with a list of highlights of 2015!
Highlights of the year:
- Meeting some really awesome people such as Eric Lang, Wil Wheaton, all the funny people from NSKN, Mike Barnes, David Lowry, James Mathe, Paco Garcia, Brian Fargo, Ilja & Alina from Würfel, Southern Hobby crew .. the list goes on!
- Releasing our first game Race to the North Pole with awesome reviews!
- Traveling all around the world in conventions: UK, Germany, United States (twice), Austria.
Hard work pays off – Playmore Games in 2015
Our year began with one clear goal in mind: we were going to get our first game released before Spiel 2015. We were already knee-deep in the development of Race to the North Pole but in January we were still far away from the game being finished and polished.
During the first couple of months we made the last design decisions with the game. We streamlined several aspects a lot and for example the original card concept of 4 cards of which 2 are wind and 2 are ice (move & attack cards) were completely redone. We spent a lot of time balancing the cracks in the ice and the placement of the actual holes.
At the same time we were hammering down the graphical outlook of the game. Our main artist Markus worked long days and managed to construct our vision of the game really well – although it did take a long time, a lot of takes, coffee, beer and nerves!
Nearing the spring of 2015 we were sure that we had a hit game on our hands. Everything was going really well and Tomi quit his day job as a chef at the end of February and hopped in to work for Playmore Games full time. We wanted to give the company and the game the best possible chances of success and it really required 100 % from both of us.
By April 2015 we had locked down all the content and rules for Race to the North Pole. We had a good quality prototype that we were ready to show in conventions to people and press. We were still far away from getting the game to print, as we hadn’t even begun the real work for the manual and some of the final graphics, but the game itself was ready and playing as solid as a rock.
At this point we also chose our current manufacturer Granna from Poland. We picked them due to their location and the fast schedule they were able to print the games. We were already past deadlines to get our game to Spiel from any Chinese manufacturer so we were really lucky to find an European partner that could manufacture our game – which I’m sure you know isn’t a walk in the park for the factory! (And after a 100 or so emails, we did receive a really solid product!)
After the really intensive and hardworking spring we were heading in to convention season! Starting with the Ropecon (Roleplaying convention) in Finland in May, we continued to the Arctic Startup to find some investors and from there flew straight to UK Games Expo.
It was our first UKGE and the experience was fantastic. We met tons of great people and made a lot of connections. We were running around the expo ground with our Race to the North Pole prototype and showing it to everyone and everything: publishers, media, retailers – you name it!
The expo itself started with a low note as we realized early on when we were setting up for the press event that Tomi had forgotten to pack the North Pole disc with. After a hectic 30 minute image crawling from Google drive, cutting and pasting in windows paint, finding a huge color printer in the hotel, converting images from .jpg to .pdf to .doc and messing up that huge color printer we got a replacement North Pole. Not as shiny as the original but it did it’s job.
Interview with Who Dares Rolls‘ Mike Barnes at UK Games Expo
After the UK Games Expo we were filled with energy as the feedback for Race to North Pole was stunning. During June and most of July we pretty much crunched the game print ready. In June we also started the work on the final iteration of our manual – the comic book form. Starting the work we had no idea that the actual work would take three months of intensive work, but in the end, it was worth every hour.
In July we started to sell the game in Pielisen Messut -event in Finland. After that Jouni packed his bags and prototypes and flew to United States as Gen Con was about to begin.
The absolute highlight of the event was of course meeting Wil Wheaton. The man that pretty much inspired us to design board games (and of course you can see it our company name) was present and Jouni didn’t miss his chance to say hello and greet the man properly.
GenCon preview by Game Vine‘s David Earls
The huge event left us hungry for more.The audience wanted the game and we were ready to send the files to the factory. August was working with the last 1 % of the game and polishing the graphics and the manual. The last of the files were sent to print and then the nerve gripping wait to get the games began. Not that we had time worry about it, as we were already hard at work preparing for Spiel 2015 – our main event of the year!
Spiel 2015 was a huge success for us. We got Race to the North Pole a day before the doors opened, sold out and everything went perfect. You can read more about Spiel here.
After Spiel we still had a couple of hectic months ahead of us: Lautapelaamaan in Kaapelitehdas, Slush in Helsinki, Southern Hobby Retail Expo in Nashville and Spielefest in Austria. We divided our resources as Jouni took on the events in Helsinki and Tomi gathered the frequent flier miles and attended the events in US and Austria.
The Southern Hobby expo was especially a fantastic experience, as Playmore Games was the only European party to attend the event. The hospitality was mind boggling and a great big thanks goes to the whole SH-team and to David, who helped a lot during the weekend!
Rest of the year we’ve been selling Race to the North Pole as soon as we’ve gotten more from the factory. The reviews we’ve been seeing have been hugely positive and we’re striving to make the game a huge success story next year. We’ll keep adding content to Dized and promote the game, not forgetting of course the most important aspect: designing even more amazing games and having fun while doing it!
Thanks to everyone of an awesome 2015 and see you in a spectacular 2016!
Tomi & Jouni
ps. here’s our Christmas present for those who missed it earlier, time to help Ginginway home!