International Tabletop Game Day 2017

I know this is a day late but in celebration of International Tabletop Game Day I wanted to just write an open letter to all of you that follow us and discover us.

Thank you. First and foremost, after doing this for four years and 7 games (atm) it has been a fun and wild ride. We would not be able to do all the things that we do without your love and support. We love the fan-mily and all you bring to the table.

That includes your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and support. Everything we have done we have done for you all and you have not disappointed at all in you support and drive to keep us going so thank you all!!!

I have been talking to a lot of people lately and many of you have been asking about how we got here and what is ahead for us – so this seems like a good day to share. Grab a hold of something….

The Beginning:
A buddy of mine and I had a game idea many years ago called ASSCAR (American Sterotype Supercar Action Racing). With some help from Angie we realized that would be hard to sell and market – so it became Thrash-Car in 2012. By the Kickstarter I learned soooooo much about what I did not know about creating games and production of said game. But in typical farmboy fashion muscled up and pushed through and learned from every bump, trip and bruised ego.

Thrash-Car was born in 2013 and while not a huge success – those that like playing it LOVE it (just ask Calvin Patten). While we were demoing it the process for me creating games emerged. I found that random things around me would trigger some creative burst that if I just listened to it would result in a game idea – that could possibly lead to a full design – so I started listening.

Dumpster Brawl was created in 2014 and delivered in 2015. This was the game where I started to learn and have to accept that not all games appeal to all people. Something that was conceived as a “combat rummy” has a great fan base but hard core deep game players were not those people. That was the time that I really thought about – am I making games to try to make them specifically leveraged to be a mass market success – or just make something that sounds fun and share it with people? I chose the latter. The hope is make something fun, the players will come.

The next year was spent compiling the things learned from making two games to try to optimize the process to make sure we could make them affordably for the fans and keep the process going.

For the next year worked on the creation of Nightmare Forest: Dead Run. Had a few goals – make a game that was quick, easy to learn and fun for the whole family, build a foundation we could build a connected game universe on, and bring all the things we had learned about game publishing to make something very nice and still affordable. Originally called Dead Game Hunter – that was scrapped and the Nightmare Forest universe was born.

Dead Run was successfully Kickstarted in 2016 and delivered in July 2016. The game funded faster than anything we had done before and helped learn more about the marketing side of building a Kickstarter.

The next project was Lords of Rock. Successfully Kickstarted in Aug 2016 and delivered Jan 2017. Good game, people really passionate about the art. Proud of the success and more lessons learned about the game design and publishing world. People seem to enjoy it and find it to be a great one off game within the game universe in which it exists. Mosh Pit was created at the same time as a standalone mini game but used some of the same art to great effect. For 10 cards it can deliver a nice 10 minutes of fun. This was where I learned to make sure if you are printing and using a full sheet of paper at manufacturing – make sure you do something useful with the blank part of the sheet.

In January 2017 we launched Nightmare Forest: Alien Invasion. The goal was to extend the NMF universe and it worked well. We took some parts of the Dead Run game mechanics and used them for Alien Invasion but were able to make the game have all new basis, function and play style. The game happens about a year after Dead Run and there is a connected story that ties the games in the NMF to each other. Additionally we were able to create Udder Terror, a small quick head to head game about aliens catch cows…how is that not a fun way to use up a print sheet and make some fun?

Coming up in just over a week is Archmage Origins. ( ) We wanted to make a small standalone 2-4 player game that would be an easy introduction for people to the Archmage fantasy universe. Yup launching another connected game universe that is just one dimensional hop from the NMF universe. Origins is great as it introduced people to the Archmage world, magical schools and much of the iconography and concepts that are contained in Dawn of the Archmage (a minis and configurable play area) game coming in August.

Now, out of the sheer fun of it, we have 2 parallel game universes building on themselves and building broader and deeper gaming experiences for the people who find them. If they come in late and like any of the games as a standalone, they can then explore the universe we are building.

That is the rest of this year. I get asked a lot what we have planned and how we plan to get there and what will happen with things we have done before…so I will try to answer that below:

Q: Will you ever go back to Thrash-Car?
A: There is a plan to go back and gut some of the mechanics and use them in a game that is a fantasy base hybrid of death race, fantasy chariot racing and a few other things all scrambled into something that is more fantasy combat chariot wars than Thrash-Car but the good parts people like will all me mashed in there.

Q: Do you put the jokes, puns and humor in the games on purpose?
A: Yes. If you can put a little smile on people’s faces while they are cooperating and or competing – how is that not a good thing?

Q: How far will Nightmare Forest go?
A: We have 2 more games planned. NMF: Monstrous Horde (back to the forest again a year later to fight of a invasion force from a parallel fantasy and magical based universe **hint**) – this will be cooperative PLUS tower defense (May 2018), then NMF: Darkness Rising. The game goes to a full sized box that incorporates parts of all 3 previous games in baddies, mechanics and fun and you find out who the big bad is driving the whole game line. – That is in theory the end of that line – but I am talking to someone who controls a well-known fictional universe to see if we can make a version of NMF using their characters. We will see.

Q: Are you doing any expansions or extensions of the Lords of Rock universe?
A: Maybe someday but there is a massive pile of games in the production schedule ahead of considering working on something that does not expand a universe.

Q: What is next?
A: Here is the current – planned production schedule and the in development concepts.

May 9 2017 – Archmage Origins
Aug 1 2017 – Dawn of the Archmage
Jan 2018 – The Kids vs the House
May 2018 – Nightmare Forest: Monstrous Horde
Aug 2018 – Galactic Raiders
Jan 2019 – The Kids vs the Quests
May 2019 – Nightmare Forest Darkness Rising
Aug 2019 – Dead Game Hunter (finally)

(TBD) Engines of Destruction (30%)
(TBD) The Dungeon Race Game (25%)
(TBD) Wyrmwyrld Adventures (1 & 2) (20%)
(TBD) War College: Year 1 (then 2,3 and 4) (30%)
(TBD) “Raiders” {expanding sequel to Galactic Raiders} (20%)
(TBD) Titan Wars: Coastal Defenders (75%)
(TBD) Titan Wars: Space Warriors (sequel) (10%)
(TBD) “WTH” {current code name} (75%)
(TBD) Must Eat Humans (aka MEH) (10%)
(TBD) GroundForces – Dominion (30%)

Yup lots of stuff and currently there are 3 games all having art currently being produced.

There is a lot ahead and we feel like things will continue to grow, expand and be a lot of fun. We have a few of the games will be large, deep and euroish. Many of them will be the light, fun and easy to learn style we are good at. We work to want things to be fun for family and friends and be great fillers or gateway games and we plan to “lean into that.”

Q: Do you accept ideas to consider being a publisher?
A: I am happy to have someone ask me – but ask them to not send anything until we talk first. As you can see we are pretty packed so may not have time to be your publisher… BUT

I am always happy to share what I have learned and know about game design, marketing and publishing for nearly anyone who wants to ask. This is a rising tide lifts all boats kind of community. Most people want to help each other be more and be better and I will be happy to help if I can. I can also help you understand pitfalls, what to avoid and how to protect your ideas, plan and goals.

THANK YOU! Each and every fan and supporter.We will keep working hard to make fun and exciting games for you – for as long as you want

Play many games and have a great weekend.

SolarFlare Games