Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NSKN Games @ 3 years

Arthur Ashe said that "success is a journey, not a destination; the doing is often more important than the outcome" and this very quote describes very well the 3-year history of NSKN Games.

We know where we came from... but where do we go?

We started in 2011 not really knowing what we're getting ourselves into and not knowing how difficult is the transition from gaming to designing and publishing. The journey used to be the means to reach a destination - making a living out of publishing board games - and now the journey has become a life style. The purpose has not changed, but the defining paradigm of why and how is no longer the same.

Playing and designing games are not all that different, but publishing is. In 2013 I have questioned my decision to do both many times, because there are many turning points in the career of a designer/publisher when one conflicts with the other.

People say that time flies when you're having fun and I must admit that it's absolutely true. The past three years have flown by and I must take a moment and look back at what we have accomplished.

I won't go through the whole history of NSKN Games again, but if you're curious you can still read about our previous anniversaries:
...but there are a few things worth mentioning about our third year of being in business. 

The summer of 2013

One year ago NSKN Games was preparing the revised edition of Exodus: Proxima Centauri. That was our only release for 2013 and, even though we had another 3 prototypes ready and play-tested, things seemed to move a little too slowly. I wasn't sure if it's something we're doing or this is just the way things go, but one thing was for sure, publishing looked like a tough business with many pitfalls and a tremendous amount of work for uncertain results.

I know it sounds grim and discouraging, but figuring out how to dig your way out of the hole when you find yourself stuck is not an easy task. The publishing business was going well, it was simply too slow to make a decent living out of it. Rushing games to the market wasn't a solution, we never wanted to cut corners for an easy living. So, we decided to go one more time full speed ahead and bring our unfinished work to Essen, getting a lot of feedback from all kinds of gamers to figure out if we were going in the right direction or not. All the effort, money and creativity went (besides Exodus) into preparing the game we would publish in 2014 and 2015.

Spiel Essen and the autumn of 2013

The key moment into our finding a direction for NSKN Games and effectively working towards a goal - to stay in the board games industry and make a living out of it - came in Essen. The amount of interest and feedback we received was overwhelming and it helped us focus our efforts in the right direction.

NSKN Games @ Spiel '13 Essen

Besides selling out Exodus: Proxima Centauri soon after Essen, we have had a lot of good feedback for Praetor, Perfect Storm and our other prototypes. The light at the end of the tunnel was not a speeding train, but a guide towards what we were supposed to do next. For the rest of the autumn we finalized Praetor and closed the deals for the 7 editions in various languages adding up to a total of 7500 copies - almost as many as our previous board games combined. I must admit that having my name on a dedicated Romanian edition of a game made me feel especially proud. 

We have also "upgraded" the way we work. Having direction and focus saves a lot of time and effort. Even though we cannot say that NSKN is a large team, we've been growing steadily. With adding people we have also gained expertise and enthusiasm and thus we were able to cover more than one project at a time.

The winter of 2013/2014

By December 2013 all the graphics for Praetor were ready and we started submitting the final files for production. With a print run as large as we had, preparing for production was no easy task. We had several meetings to check the color proofs, the die cuts for the punchboards, the size and shape for the box tray and this just the tip of the iceberg.

Due to our new workflow philosophy, we had time to develop more games for 2014 and 2015. We continued developing and play-testing Progress: Evolution of Technology which will soon become our first ever Kickstarter project and we made created the framework for the long-awaited expansion of Exodus: Proxima Centauri.

Springtime 2014

With Praetor out of production in April, our first weeks of spring were dedicated to avoid a logistics nightmare. Shipping more than 7000 game boxes to 12 different countries was no easy task but we can proudly say that the the preorders were sent out 3 weeks before the promised deadline and every copy of the game is either with our partners or en route to them.

These days we are preparing for the upcoming gaming conventions (TIG Con in Romania and UK Games Expo) and in our "spare time" we're looking after the final details of our upcoming Kickstarter for Progress: Evolution of Technology.


Designing and publishing board games is the most interesting life experience I could have ever imagined, very fulfilling and just as hard. As long as we can keep in mind that it's all about the journey, I think the future of NSKN Games looks brighter than ever.

FIND OUT MORE NSKN official website Facebook  | BGG |  ScoopIT Magazine 
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