Or.... the second Annual report for YAY Games on the day that Frank was rolling off the press 2 years ago!
Another busy year of focus and improvement. Finding our core values and designing the games experience you want. Changing distributor. On target for one game per year.
Yaymondo is born.
So it all started to pull together around the latter half of 2015 when we started working with Nate at Wilderland Campaigns (www.wilderlandcampaigns.co.uk). We originally started talking about getting the PR and Press right for ‘Sandcastles’ but it quickly started going far deeper than that. 2 and a bit years ago -when we started getting ‘Frank’ through final development and to market - we really didn’t think that we were going to start a publishing company. Well, we called ourselves YAY Games and had a vague idea of possibly making other games, but we didn’t have a clear idea of what they would be. Back then we hadn’t thought too much about focus, or branding or very much of that future reality really. But working with Nate, we started looking at core values, swot analyses and a whole raft of other stuff which really made us think about what YAY games is all about. We looked at the feedback we are getting about our games from you and found what you really loved – the backstabbing, the ability to mess with each other, the quick and easy gameplay but with hidden depths and yes – we’ve focussed down on what makes our games ‘YAY Games’. So now – after much inner wrestling - we have an ethos! And it’s neatly summed up in our ‘brand’ message – Play Hard. Play Naughty. Live Better.
And to celebrate the joy we even redesigned to YAY Logo giving life to our collective alter ego Yaymondo! Trust us when we say you’ll be seeing a lot more of him around the place.
We were delighted that ‘Sandcastles’ was voted ‘Best Card Game 2016’ at Conpulsion in Edinburgh this April. This adds to ‘Frankenstein’s Bodies’ winning ‘Best Board Game 2015’. Conpulsion is Scotland’s longest running fantasy sci-fi and gaming convention so this really is a fantastic honour. ‘Sandcastles’ was nominated for ‘Best Family Game’ CHECK!!! At UK Games Expo and with the smashing ‘Imagination Gaming Awards’. We didn’t win but we were close and I think that this is just a reflection on how we need to keep spreading the word about YAY Games.
We had something of a scare in April when our original UK Distributor was suddenly called into administration. It came out of the blue for us (and is a little complex to go into here) but it meant that our stock of games had to find a new home quickly and much more importantly – we needed to find a new way of getting our games into shops! Fortunately the lovely people at Esdevium were happy to sign us up. So we can now get our games to games shops across UK and Europe. Of course we are still looking for the ideal US partner for us. In the meantime America and the rest of the world, you can still get our games direct from us. There will be a few copies of ‘Frankenstein’s Bodies’ and ‘Sandcastles’ available any time soon through Miniature Markets in USA – so do check those guys out.
So we’ve been working away to get our new game ‘Ominoes’ out to you all. It’s a neat dice tactics game that takes seconds to learn and plays 2-4 players in 15-20 minutes. For a game that’s so simple to play it’s been a bit of a struggle to get made. First up were the custom dice. We wanted something special to fit the Egyptian theme so we teamed up with the brilliant Plastics For Games in the UK to get these made. They are quite lovely if a bit expensive – so we decided to release a short run of ‘Ominoes’ in a Deluxe tin version. The board is a neat and low impact ‘mouse mat’ style and the tins were all hand stickered lovingly by Yaymondo and I.The aim of this is to get a true crowdfunding scheme going where this is the ‘stretch goal’ available now and this will fund the retail versionwith wooden dice and cardboard board and box coming February 2017. There were only 288 of these Deluxe Editions made and they are going fast so do order yours now while stocks last – we don’t want you to miss out. We’re almost certain the last few will be snapped up at Essen in early October. Well, just read the reviews on our website and you’ll see why.
Here is the luxury Deluxe Edition - going fast....
And here's the 'Retail Edition' which will be in stores February 2017.
EVENTS – Out and About
We’ve been getting out an about a bit more this year. Now we’ve got a range of games we can offer games for wider tastes so getting to more events makes sense – not only driving sales forward but equally importantly helping spread our gaming joy and raising our profile. So as well as the more dedicated games events we’ve been trying more mainstream events too. Here’s a quick run down…
London Toy Fair
Reading Eclecticon March
London Gaming Market April July
I TT Day St Albans April
UK Games Expo June
London Film and Comic Con July
Nottingham Riverside Festival July
As well as that we’ve been to games clubs in the surrounding area and to Designer Days run by Wotan Games Surprised Stare and Inventors Workshops. These are great opportunities to share our new games and have them checked out by our industry chums. We get great feedback from these which helps us improve our games as well as getting to help each other with design suggestions. It’s heavy brain work but truly rewarding!
So that’s a brief look at the last year. And the future’s looking very exciting. We are already looking to the next bunch of games – all having our core values deeply embedded in them. Yes, we want you to keep enjoying the backstabbing and the screwage and above all the fun. Little glimpses of what could be coming - We’re looking at future games using the ‘Ominoe’ dice, a neat ‘Frankenstein’s Bodies’ card game and a possible solo ‘Ominoes’. Of course there are other design ideas being worked on involving a variety of themes such as cats, dragons, dim sum wars and monkeys. Be assured we will be bringing more games to your tables.
But finally we just want to remind you that we couldn’t do this without your support and ongoing interest. Playing our games, buying our games and introducing other folk to our games all helps us enormously. Your enthusiasm is the fuel for our success – so please keep playing and do help spread the word about YAY Games. Thanks for Playing Hard, Playing Naughty and Living Better! YAY!