The weekend of June 2nd saw the debut of my first published board game, Scallywags from Gamewright. I debuted the game at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio in the form of a Preview Tournament. The event was a huge success and I was absolutely humbled by the positive comments and attention. After so many years of trying, I never imagined myself succeeding. I never saw myself signing autographs or being interviewed. All those things happened that day, but it all came at the tail-end of much craziness.
You see, the story really begins about 4 months prior when I scheduled the event for Origins. I contacted the publisher to see if we would have product by then and the response was that I could expect the shipment to arrive in April, which would be plenty of time to prepare. I went ahead and scheduled the event and then sent out some preliminary announcements. I purposefully held off promoting the event until I knew product would be in my hands. Sometime in April I contacted the publisher again. As it turns out, things were delayed, but early to middle May was the new target, which was fine. At around two weeks before the event, it was time to promote. I contacted the publisher again and it was going to be close. We were looking at delivery sometime the week before Origins. We should still be good.
So, I promoted the event. I started reaching out on Twitter and through various board game news sites to get the word out there. I managed to drum up a good deal of coverage and things were looking good. As time drew closer, it started looking worse. Shipment was still en-route. We are now looking at the middle of the week of Origins. I started getting nervous. It was almost too late at this point to call off the event, but I wanted to give it a chance. Thankfully, I didn’t alert anyone to the problems. I stayed in contact with the publisher the week preceding the convention and we made plans to overnight some stuff to my house. They had 1 complete game on hand and a few copies that just had cardboard coins. It was enough to run the event, but not enough to give out prizes. We could mail those at a later date if needed.
The publisher contacted the freight forwarder and we got a date of Thursday, May 31st. Not the most ideal situation, but it gave us time to get product to me. The plan was now to ship the few things that the publisher had on hand, then ship a case when it arrived. Thursday came, no shipment. Now I am nervous. Really nervous. The warehouse would receive product on Friday. It was definitely too late to call off the event now, so we had to roll with what we had. The publisher shipped the stuff they had on hand to my house, then planned to ship a case to a FedEx Business location in downtown Columbus for me to pick up Saturday morning. I decided to take Friday off to be there for the FedEx man. I also had some preparation to do with other prototypes I had planned on taking.
When Friday arrived, I was a wreck. Anxiety was keeping me from accomplishing anything, so I resorted to menial tasks to keep my mind off of things. At almost the exact same moment, sometime late afternoon, I receive an email from my publisher and FedEx shows up at my house. Do you remember the scene in Castaway in which Tom Hanks dances around a fire while shouting “look at what I have created!”? That was me with that package. Held aloft, I paraded it around my house proclaiming victory to my wife and kids. The email also revealed that a second package was on its way to downtown Columbus! The event was saved!
I cannot begin to tell you the feelings I had when I opened that box and held the game in my hands for the first time. I had not seen any production samples to this point. This was the very first time I was seeing any of it. Let me tell you, it is amazing. Gamewright did a phenomenal job. I was so overjoyed, I snapped a picture and posted it on reddit.com. I ran out, got some large format prints made up and headed to the store for some foam-core and other supplies. It was time to make pretty table decorations and teaching supplies. When I checked back on my reddit thread, I was astonished. I made the #1 spot within 3 hours of posting and I was still there when I went to bed. The evening was spent between making displays, packing, my niece’s graduation, and answering the tons of messages I was now receiving from reddit.
Saturday would prove to be another amazing chapter in this story, but I’ll leave that for later. This adventure that I’m on, it’s a chapter in my life I hope to share with my grandchildren. I am humbled that you, my readers, have returned time after time to read little bits of my life. Your emails and tweets are the fuel that keeps me going. Thank you SO MUCH for involving yourself in my story. I hope that some day our paths may cross and we may share our stories together.