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Where the heck have you been, Chris?

In a word: busy! Life comes at you fast.

This one’s going to be a bit different, since we’re coming up on the end of the year and it’s been months since we last connected here.

So, a bit of catchup via The Year In Review:

One of my games funded in January, and I bought a bike thinking it would be complementary to my new gym routine. (The gym routine stuck – still going three times a week! – but the bike barely got out of the house). I also signed my first game designed with a co-designer. We’ve since started three more…!

Nuremberg in late January / early February was a real eye opener to the broader world of mass-market games and toys. I was really inspired by a lot of the toys, because after all, a toy proves an activity is fun (and that a thing can be manufactured)… so find a way to make a game around the cool thing that toy does.

In February, I started working with a client to make a social deduction game for their audience. It’s not out yet (still in art production last I checked), but I’m really proud of the game we created. It’s always a fun feeling when players sit down talking about how they don’t play many games, then 15 minutes later they’re yelling and accusing everyone else playing of being the traitor…

March was Airecon, arguably the second biggest board game event in England, and I got to help out with a bunch of playtesting. I also started a couch-to-5k, having gotten into a pretty solid gym routine by this point.

In April and May, I spent a lot of time revamping and polishing articles on the Entro Games website and gearing up for the UK Games Expo. That was in June, and it was a blast. There are definitely parts of the running-around-like-a-chicken-with-your-head-cut-off that’s fun, though I do wish there had been some more games to connect with folks… The folks I most want to connect with, naturally, are some of the busiest at the fair…

In June, we officially registered No Box Games as an LLC – a sign that we were ready to take this whole print-and-play-games-with-no-assembly-required thing to the next level. We learned what it took to run a good campaign with Spies and took away a lot of lessons we used in Beards & Booty, which funded in November. We’re planning 3 games for 2024.

July was full of highs (received the first published copies of two of my games, now on sale!) and lows (my wife’s father passed away). This is right around when I stopped doing the weekly emails – naturally being with her and her family took first priority. We took two weeks to go to Canada and be with her family, and everything else got put on pause.

After returning back to Birmingham, I was in ‘catch-up’ mode on a number of projects while taking on a new development client and gearing up for Essen. There were more than a few late nights there in August and September.

Essen in October was amazing as always – such a rush, albeit a lot of rushing around as well. I definitely began to wonder what better ways there were to pitch people, ideally when they weren’t tired, far too busy, and/or out of their element.

After all the follow-ups and prototypes were sent off, I got back into ‘Creative Mode’ – making games and playtesting them instead of pitching. I’ll be in Creative Mode for the rest of the year, primarily working on new games or tweaking older games to get them ready for another round of pitching. I’ve also been working to develop a couple of signed games, and I’m looking forward to seeing them come out eventually.

In next week’s post I’ll talk more about what I’m doing differently in 2024…

Speaking of which…

A special offer

Looking ahead to a new year means asking yourself what you want to do differently. You’ve probably already heard the classic saying ‘If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always gotten’ (or some variation of that).

It’s time to try something different – for both me and you.

Make 2024 your year with an Accountability Coach.

  • Ever wished you had an expert you could check in and get advice from?

  • Wish you didn’t have to figure everything out yourself?

  • Want to be pushed to do your best?

Think of me like a fitness coach, just for making board games.

OK, weird example, but you probably get it.

Once a month for half an hour, we check in over a one-on-one video call. We’ll talk about where you are with your current game(s), figure out the next steps for them, brainstorm new game ideas, critique sell sheets, playtest online, practice your pitch, or pretty much anything else. $199 for 12 meetings throughout 2024.

Pay once now and set yourself up for lots of progress in 2024.

Things to know before purchasing:

  • I’m only going to be offering this for up to 10 people, so you’re part of a select crew.

  • I won’t be making your game for you – your game is yours to make your way.

  • Book before 2023 ends and I’ll throw in a bonus session sometime in December 2023.

  • Each call will be about 30 minutes, maybe a little longer. My goal is to provide honest advice, expert critiques, and specific homework for you to do before our next call.

  • Can’t make it one month? Reschedule it and double up the next month. I’ll be as flexible as I can.

  • Any unused sessions will expire December 31, 2024.

  • Get set up now ($199 for 12 meetings in 2024)

What I’ve been working on last week

  • An entry for the Button Shy contest, inspired by a sibling rivalry.

  • Sending updates for a game to a publisher I pitched at Essen.

  • Playtested our next game for No Box Games, a game about traveling.

  • Playtested a retheme of a signed game.

What’s coming up this week

  • Work with my No Box Games team to get the translations of Beards & Booty done.

  • Playtest a new game (codename ‘Color Game’)

  • Meet with a co-designer to see his take on a game we’re working on (codename ‘Runway’)


  • Button Shy’s contest for a holiday game ends December 15th, so get your entries in! More info here.

  • You’ve got more time for the ‘1 pound contest’ – make a game that physically weighs less than 1 pound (453 grams for those that speak metric). Judged by Gabe Barrett of the BGDL. Go check it out.

  • Tickets for the 2024 Nuremberg Toy Fair are now available. Learn more.

Thanks for reading!

Got a question about game design you’d like answered? Find an amazing new resource that would help fellow game designers? Reply to this email and share =)

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

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