Today Dennis from Bellwether Games officially announced that the print samples of Swamped had arrived from China and he was able to show off some amazing pictures of the game in all it’s glory. Wow – it’s amazing to see something that Dennis, Jonathan and I have spent so much time on actually becoming real.
Jonathan did a straight up amazing job on making this little game an entire, vibrant universe all to itself – the artwork and graphic design look absolutely amazing. Dennis was wearing many hats during this entire ride, including business owner, negotiator, game developer, and Kickstarter wrangler. Both Dennis and Jonathan also poured a great deal of time into making Swamped a $40 game packed into a $15 box.
It’s hard to believe that this whole journey started back in 2013, almost 2 years ago to the day, with a design I put together over an evening of thinking about my Grandmother’s art. From there I spun the submission wheel of fortune and happened to get extremely lucky by emailing Dennis at Bellwether. Dennis decided to do a little development work with me and then took a chance on a game that wasn’t yet called Swamped. Here’s a look at the original prototype I printed out.
We signed a contract and off we went! Or more realistically, off Dennis went! He came back to me a little later with a few ideas and a thought about perhaps making this game about taking a journey themed with a tropical swamp. From there it was a lot of development work a bit of bouncing ideas back and forth and from some basic mechanics sprang forth a semi-cooperative experience that we feel is an awful lot of game in a little box!
Dennis, Jonathan and I put in a good year and a half of our lives play testing, tweaking, and suggesting ideas. We had a ton of friends, play testers and interested readers take a look at the game and the rules – and here’s another public thank you for that! Without your help the game wouldn’t be as balanced and full of interesting (and sometimes wonderfully stressful!) choices!
From there it was off to Kickstarter! 1091 people came together with us to raise $20,504 to bring Swamped into reality. We unlocked 10 stretch goals and did a fantastic job raising the funds when you consider that a pledge for a single copy was just $14 including shipping.
Now Bellwether games is nearing their final goal – getting their copies into the states and off to backers and then retailers! The button has metaphorically been pressed and the game is moving into production in a factory located in China. From Dennis’ update: Production is expected to take between 30-45 days. Add to that another 45-60 days for shipping the game across the ocean, clearing it through customs, sending it to the fulfillment company and shipping them out to all of you, and it looks like January will be the month you will receive your copies of the game. Bellwether has also pulled the trigger on a few extra copies of Swamped so if you missed out on the Kickstarter, you can pre-order them here.
It’s about a month later than Bellwether was hoping for which I’ve already learned can happen, even to the big publishers. When you factor in holidays in China, shipping times, production issues that need to be cleared up before the game is mass produced and all the little nuances that (thankfully) Bellwether games dealt with, I think they’ve done a wonderful job! I’d much rather wait the extra month and get a product that is amazingly colorful and well produced!
This is my first game that I was lucky enough to license to a publisher and I feel a little like I’ve been on this journey with all of you who read these occasional blog posts I make. Thanks to many of you the game is going to be real! I’m happy to share this adventure with everyone and hope that other fledgling designers have been able to come away with at least a little something to help them along the way – even if it’s just the knowledge that this can be done.
I’m also super happy to say that I’ve signed my second game! Button Shy Games (who just wrapped up a really amazing Kickstarter of their own) have opted to bring Ninja: Silent but Deadly into reality! I’m also currently working on development of a third game with a third publisher – but that’s all I can really say right now about that.
Until the next Swamped update hits, which I expect will be that the games are on their way, let’s move!