Monday, June 10, 2013

NSKN @ 2 years (part 2)

I felt nostalgic today and it felt like a good time to tell the rest of the story of building NSKN. The first part ended with the 1-year anniversary of the company... well shortly after we went for the first time to the UK Games Expo, with high hopes yet knowing quite little about the event.

May 2012 - We still had only one published game, but we had ready-to-play prototypes of Exodus: Proxima Centauri and Wild Fun West and we had prepared one table for each, hoping to raise awareness and interest for our planned release in Essen or Nurnberg.

NSKN was among the very few publishers daring to show off prototypes during the expo, and while we were a bit afraid that they won't be well received, most people reacted quite well and some even wanted to pay us to make sure they'll get a copy of the final games. Pushed by people's interest, we decided to put the games on Indiegogo later in 2012, hoping to raise some money for the production and a spark the interest in Essen.

Jun 2012 - GobCon LAGNA and the first expansion. Right after the UK Games Expo, we took a trip to Italy to meet our friends from La Tana dei Goblin for the second time. We prepared for them an expansion of Warriors & Traders called Italia, with a cotton map and a more interactive game play. It was a small series of only 50 copies, but after the first week of preorders it was all sold out. Add this to the sun and wine from Italy and you have the perfect small gaming event!

Sep 2012 - We started our first two projects on Indiegogo, Wild Fun West and Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Most people thought we were crazy and we shared their opinion at first, but there was a good reason behind this decision. We knew that only one game will succeed, NSKN was too small to advertise and keep two projects alive, but with little experience in crowd-funding we did not know which of the two games had better chances. As soon as Exodus took off and reached a quarter of its goal in less than a week, we directed all our advertising efforts into supporting it. And it was worth it.

Oct 2012 -This was the craziest month in the history of NSKN. We had a place in Essen booked long time before and waiting from Exodus and Wild Fun West to arrive from China, go though customs and ship immediately to Germany for the big event. Two weeks before Spiel Essen, the ship carrying the games was delayed in Istanbul, we later found out that the games were not packed on pallets and the truck we had booked to carry the games backed out of the deal. 

I will spare you the details and get to the conclusion. The games made it on time, but just 5 days before Essen. We had to rent a van and drive all the way to Germany, with 1.5 metric tons of games and furniture for the booth. While part of the team was enjoying Essen, the rest were packing games and shipping to our Indiegogo backers.

For NSKN it was the first fair with more than one published games, so we attracted some attention, had about 30 business meeting and around 10 interviews with reviewers, so all the effort paid off in the end. Our distribution network expanded quite a lot and our games ended up in store in 31 countries.

Nov 2012 - While most publishers are late with delivering their crowd-funded games, we managed to beat the deadline. By half of November all the pledges were shipped out and about 1/3 of them had already reached their new owners. 

Every success story has its shadows. By December 2012 we started receiving complaints about the quality of the components in some of the Exodus boxes. We looked into it and asked the help of the manufacturing company to replace the defects. To this day they have refused to support us in any way. So, we sacrificed some of the game boxes and sent out replacement to every owner of a flawed games who has reached out to us. It has been a giant amount of work, but we need to make sure that everyone gets what they pay for.

Jan 2012 - We released the second expansion of Warriors & Traders, called Middle Ages, again in Italian for La Tana dei Goblin. It was our third presence in GobCon and we were already feeling like part of the community. We also showed the prototypes of Praetor and W - The Board Game and got quite a positive reaction.

Feb 2012 - We had another premiere, we had a booth in the Nurnberg Toy Fair, a quite expensive and exclusive trade fair where the big names in the industry show they latest inventions. It was out first corporate event and even though we were a bit lost in the beginning, we managed to get the most of the fair, establishing a few long term partnerships and selling out whatever was left of our stock of Exodus: Proxima Centauri.

Mar 2012 - We took out all the upcoming games and went on a play-testing spree, trying to see which of the four games (W, Praetor, Perfect Storm and Evolution) will take priority for the rest of the year. Praetor and W were the two games that stood out and made it past the finish line and even though we don't have clear deadlines yet, we are trying to make them available as soon as possible.

In 2013 we did not have a formal celebration of two year of NSKN, but we plan to do that in Essen. Being still quite an international team, we don't have that many chances to be all together in the same place, but there's always one big event that gathers all of us and that is obviously Spiel Essen.

Find out more on the NSKN official website Facebook  | BGG |  ScoopIT Magazine 
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