22 July 2019 | 63 Comments
Something special happened today at Stonemaier Games, and I’d like to share it in a way that hopefully relates to you (and may help me).
First, some context: A long time ago in the year 2015, a game I designed and published did really well on Kickstarter. It was called Scythe, and at the time, it ended the campaign as the highest funded strategy game ever (over $1.8 million).
This is cause to celebrate, yes? And in a way, we did. There were emails exchanged between Jakub (the artist and worldbuilder), the Automa team, my co-founder, my graphic designer, and others. I posted the good news on social media. I was proud of our efforts and appreciative towards our backers.
Then I went to bed, woke up, and got back to work.
I don’t regret the work ethic. But looking back at that time–and looking back again when Scythe received a bunch of awards the next year–I wish I had found a distinct, tangible, and memorable way to celebrate. It just didn’t occur to me, or maybe it did and I didn’t know what to do. It isn’t in my nature to intentionally celebrate myself.
Flash forward to today.
This morning I woke up to learn that Wingspan won the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres, one of the more acclaimed and impactful gaming awards. I’ve known about the nomination for a while and was very happy for Elizabeth Hargrave (designer), but I was genuinely surprised by my reaction: I rushed over to my girlfriend, told her the news, and cried happy tears for a few minutes.
I truly wasn’t expecting that. I don’t make games for awards–my motivation for publishing games is to bring joy to people. But it just felt really good. I felt happy and proud and validated and honored and so much more. While I’m not the designer of Wingspan, I put a lot of time, energy, love, and resources into this game.
After a few minutes, my girlfriend asked, “How are we going to celebrate?”
Just like with Scythe, I hadn’t thought about that. So I replied, “Dinner?”
And maybe dinner tonight is the answer. Dinner is good. But I’m sure there’s a whole world of ways to celebrate that have never even occurred to me.
So I’d love to hear your thoughts. In your life, when you’ve achieved something important and meaningful, how have you celebrated?
Also read: Your Post-Campaign Survival Kit
Also, in case you’re curious about what the Kennerspiel means for a game and how we’ve planned for it, there are two answers: One side of the equation is that Feuerland, our German partner, has prepared for the possibility of winning by working with us to produce a bunch of non-printed components for a potential big German print run. A number of our other localization partners had me initiate additional print runs a few months ago even though they hadn’t even received the current print run.
The other side are the English-language games that Stonemaier Games makes and coordinates. We have a huge print run shipping to distributors in the very near future (as well as a small number currently on our webstore), along with another 55,000 currently in production (most of which were funded from our cash reserves; some were prepaid for by distributors). Hopefully that will cover demand through the holiday season!
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