This post has been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled that things are settled to the point that I can talk about them publicly.
The big message: Two of my unpublished game designs, Everest and Alchemy Bazaar, have been picked up for publication by Grey Fox Games. Woo hoo!
Now, things are a long way from the end point right now, and there can be a lot of changes between today and the day that you can buy these games in a store. The contracts aren’t signed yet (though they’re pretty close to being done), and Grey Fox Games will be doing some development work on both games, which could mean different names, different themes, etc. But they have agreed that they want to publish both of these games in the next few years!
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m excited about this. Let me tell you how I got here.
From Foxtrot to Grey Fox
The story of my connection to Grey Fox Games goes back to Gen Con 2013 and a different publisher entirely, Foxtrot Games. Specifically, the man behind Foxtrot Games, Randy Hoyt.
Randy was one of the publishers who attended the first Publisher Speed Dating event at Gen Con 2013. I was there for two separate one-hour sessions: One of them showing off Everest and the other showing off Alchemy Bazaar. Randy had apparently seen me talking about Alchemy Bazaar online and was specifically interested in checking it out at Speed Dating.
I wrote in detail about this event on my old Online Dungeon Master blog last year. The part about Foxtrot Games is what I referred to in that post as “Meeting 3: Micro publisher follow-up.” Randy is a great guy, and he and I have become friends over the past year. He and his son had a lot of fun with Everest, and he was strongly considering publishing the game, even to the point of having some nice prototypes made up and sent out to playtesters. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t quite the right fit to be his company’s second game, so he decided to pass. However, because Randy liked Everest so much, he decided to help me find a publisher. He was doing some demos of the game at BoardGameGeek Con 2013 (last November), and he got a couple of people from Grey Fox Games to sit down for a demo. They were really interested in the game, and Randy and I ultimately worked together to develop the game further for Grey Fox.
Gen Con 2014
By the time I was preparing for Gen Con this year, I had already had extensive discussions with Shane at Grey Fox, and he had already agreed that he wanted to publish Everest, though it would likely come a bit later in their production schedule. Since he and I were both going to be at Gen Con, I set up some time for us to meet Saturday afternoon to nail down the details about Everest.
First, though, I had some other publisher meetings.
Thursday morning of Gen Con I met with another publisher friend of mine who had expressed interest in Alchemy Bazaar at Gen Con 2013. We went through a demo with the updated rules, and while he liked the improvements from last year, he ultimately decided to pass on Alchemy Bazaar.
Friday evening at Gen Con I went to Publisher Speed Dating again. This time it was two hours on a single game, Alchemy Bazaar. I talked to about a dozen publishers about Alchemy Bazaar, four of whom seemed to be very interested in the game. None of them got back to me before my Saturday meeting with Grey Fox, though.
So, Saturday afternoon I met with Shane at the Grey Fox booth, and we found a table in a slightly quieter area to talk about Everest. I pulled out the prototype copy of Everest I had made for him, explained the rules, and we played through the game (which takes about 15-20 minutes). It’s a cooperative game, and we just barely lost, but it was a close call. Shane was happy with it, and we talked about further development plans (getting it in the hands of Grey Fox playtesters and such).
As we were talking, I decided that I should at least mention Alchemy Bazaar. I described the game briefly, and Shane told me that he’d like to see it. I had a prototype with me (naturally), so I brought it out and went through things in a little more detail. Shane was very intrigued, so I offered to let him take the Alchemy Bazaar prototype (I still had another one), which he eagerly did. (I also gave him a copy of Otters, because he has kids in the right age range.)
Fast forward a few weeks to Labor Day weekend, when out of the blue I get an email from Shane saying that he and his friends had played Alchemy Bazaar, they really liked it, and Grey Fox Games wants to publish it!
As I mentioned above, there are still a lot of details to work out. It seems likely that Alchemy Bazaar will be published first and Everest second (which is fine with me). As publisher-level playtesting moves along, we will likely try out some changes to both games. It’s entirely possible the themes might change (which is also fine with me). But if all goes according to plan, you will eventually see two of my games published by Grey Fox!
By the way, for those of you who are not yet familiar with Grey Fox Games, they’re the publishing offshoot of CoolStuffInc. They are publishing two games that have already had success on Kickstarter, Draco Magi and Conquest of Speros, with Run, Fight or Die and other games coming in the future. I’m excited to have my games in their future lineup.
I’ll keep you posted when there’s news to report (Kickstarter campaign, etc.). It will probably be a while, so be patient! 🙂
Michael Iachini, Clay Crucible Games
@ClayCrucible on Twitter