The greatest thing about attending KublaCon last year was connecting with so many fellow board game enthusiasts, sharing ideas, and getting new inspiration.
One part of my Catan boards that doesn’t get enough attention is the backing. The backing is almost invisible during play, and it is obviously critical to keeping the frame together, but there’s one feature of the backing I haven’t highlighted before.
Between games, when players need to remove or re-arrange the tiles, you’ve got to pick them up from the frame. Since the backing is soft, a player can lightly press up behind a tile to pop up an edge to grab on to.
Right now, I provide backings made from vegetable-tanned leather, a softer brown leather, and recycled PET felt.
Last week, I launched Boardcrafting on Amazon. It was a bit of a challenge jumping through all their hoops – particularly for a small company like mine, as I don’t have any UPC codes or any pictures with a white background ready to go. But I know from my own behavior, when I’m looking to buy a gift or an accessory Amazon is the first place I go.
Right now the listing is an experiment. Besides the hoops that one has to jump through, it’s something like $40 per month to list products on Amazon. So I’ll be watching it closely and evaluating whether it’s worth it. Also to that end, I’ve discounted the Amazon price by 10%.
If you have time, I’d love for readers to have a look at the Amazon listing page and let me know if there are any ways I could improve it. Also, I know Amazon gives different search results to different people. If you could go to the Amazon homepage and search for “catan” and let me know how many pages deep in the search results you have to go before my product shows up, that would be helpful too!
At the Stern Grove Music Festival this year I decided to encourage insect invaders on the picnic blanket. These are my personal set of Hive tiles, laser-cut and etched, with my own insect designs.
So this is cool…
Filipe Lopez has started an Indiegogo campaign to make hybrid 3D-printed / sculpted player pieces for playing Settlers of Catan. The campaign is already funded but has some “stretch goals” to achieve.
I think the pieces look great and would be a fun compliment to the boards I make.
The Bajosocial Blog has some more detailed photos of the pieces.
Koji Matsumoto has created a beautiful take on a Settlers of Catan board. Entitled “Settlers of the Iron Throne”, it takes thematic guidance from the Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin (aka “Game of Thrones” for people like me who have only seen the TV show). His media are acrylic and silkscreen which deliver some great bold colors.
I especially like how Koji made detailed pieces like the roads and cities.
A couple weeks ago I brought Boardcrafting to Kubla Con, and it was a weekend of learning and connecting.
I’ve been devoting a lot of consideration and time to the marketing of my products this year. I had been thinking for a while of doing trade shows / conventions, and Kubla Con was the perfect first foray, due to its proximity (Burlingame, California) and reasonable price.
The most rewarding thing from going to the show were the “wow”s. Frequently, people would come by and have some great reaction, a double-take, a jaw-drop, a “wow” or an “oooh”, or be compelled to reach out and touch the boards and the pieces. These people get it – we instantly shared an appreciation for what a board game could be, what the experience of playing could be.
The environment was very entrepreneur-rich and supportive. Across from my booth was Emoteez who just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their customizable kids’ apparel. (As someone whose entire business was created via Kickstarter, I strongly encourage you to check it out and share the link around!)
Down the aisle from me was Geek Chic, creators of stunning gaming furniture. I got a lot of good advice from Amanda, and was really inspired to see the passion and quality evident in their products. It buttressed my belief that there is a market out there of people willing to make an investment to get a great experience.
One thing I noticed was, in the large open gaming room, nobody was playing Puerto Rico, and a lot of people were playing Agricola. I wonder if Agricola has supplanted Puerto Rico as the popular, heavy-strategy board game nowadays. If you have any insights on the matter, please comment below or send me an email.
I just saw this Kickstarter campaign pop up, and I really appreciate the elegance of these Settlers accessories. They’d be a fine match to go along with one of my boards. I think I may get some for myself…
- separate the price and quarry effect information from the actual building component. Once a player buys a building, they no longer need this information, it just unnecessarily occupies space on their mat. Also, this lets players easily set up the board for the popular switched University / Factory variant
- add an indented place for the Colonist, so that it stays nice looking
- make the effect of the building an icon rather than text