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  • Writer's picture Danielle Reynolds - @TokenGaymer

Starting Over in 2021

Sorry for the long absence in blog posts. A lot has happened between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. So this post will be covering what’s been going on in my life! Let’s start with Halloween day. On Halloween, I got a text from my friend Josh Kaplan, the Board Game Kaptian, that his game Slingshot Maneuver was getting signed by Nestor Games and they wanted to keep my illustrations that I did for the initial prototype! So in a whirlwind of excitement I updated the artwork for the changes they requested and signed off the rights! The game is actually currently printed and I will be receiving my copies soon! On a sad note, they were only able to do a short run of the game so Josh has received the rights back and is looking for a new publisher. We will see what ends up happening with this game but I am still excited to be an officially published Illustrator! Up until now I only had credits for Layout Design on a few Legendary Games RPGs.

In November 2020, when I was signing the rights to my artwork I also participated in the Metatopia Online Speed Pitching event. I submitted my game Innkeeper and it was accepted! While pitching I had two publishers interested in the game and I ended up scheduling playtests with each. Then….drum roll...signed with one! Talon Strikes called me the next night to offer me a deal for the game. Since then I have been working with them to further develop and test the game. I personally love the direction it is moving and am excited to see where it goes from here! Hopefully this game will be going onto Kickstarter in late 2022. So stay tuned for its progress. Like with any of my game designs I will continue to post their progress on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I am happy to say the Talon Strikes team has been amazing as far as communication with me as the designer and making sure I’m involved in every change to the game. I’m excited to continue working with them this year.

Over 2020 I had started helping organize online conventions and creating graphics for many of the panels including for Metatopia, Origins Online (cancelled), Nonepub and Nonepub Winter. Because of this, I was asked at the end of the year to join the Unpub Advisory Board as a member! In my role I will continue to assist in the graphics for the shows and help plan both the online and in-person conventions along with some other awesome people! I’m excited to eventually go to my first in-person Unpub now that I am living on the East Coast! I have only been able to attend the Unpub Minis up to this point. Plus, I got to be on two panels for the first time and both went great!

For anyone who didn’t already know, I accepted a job at GPI to be their new Project Coordinator. They’re located in Springfield, Massachusetts so I drove out from Chicago the week of New Years Eve to start the job. GPI is a game manufacturer that also offers services like design, development, art and freight logistics which is awesome! I’ve already begun to work with the Design & Development team and Marketing team this year on top of my Manufacturing duties. I’m happy to say after a month and a half of being in this job I have not regretted the move. It of course was a hard choice to leave my friends and family to move to a new part of the US where I didn’t know anyone. But career-wise it was the right move. I got my dream job and I couldn’t pass it up.

COVID has made the making friends in-person part of my move difficult so I have been diving into my game design and have been continuing work on designs as well as unshelving some past creations. Two of which I have added co-designers to add new perspectives. Steven Ungaro has been helping me bring back Curbside with some fun new mechanics and lots of reckless driving. While Josh Kaplan is helping me bring back my Abstract game Sedona Vortex, the rock stacking game. I have also unshelved my dating themed party game inspired by all the reality tv shows where one person goes out with 4 different people on the same date to see who gets the second date with a new mechanic that is testing great!

I have also started working on a new game called Tapas. Which is a dice drafting game about collecting different foods to fill your orders first with some fun food bowls and special powers. So far the game is great and has been compared to Azul and Catan. I am very hopeful that this easy to learn game with meaningful choices will be a success. My goal for 2021 is to try and playtest 1-3 times a week so I can get all these games in great shape to pitch this year. I will also be waiting to hear back from publishers on other games. Hopefully I will get a second game signed this year!

My podcast Game Design Unboxed: Inspiration to Publication will also be airing it’s 10th episode next month on the Know Direction Network! The show has been adding a lot of value to my life as a designer and hopefully helped other designers as well. We have been having issues with it having its own channel on top of being mixed with the Know Direction Site but I will be working with Ryan Costello to get the issue fixed. So far we have discussed: Expancity, Tiny Towns, Tattoo Stories, Hold That Face, Trekking the National Parks, Misdirection, Thug Life and Abandon All Artichokes on the podcast. As well as recorded episodes on the Networks, ArchRavels and Castle Panic. The podcast airs every two weeks on Wednesdays so I stay busy with recording with Ben and Denice as well as editing the episodes. I see great things for the show and am excited to continue reaching out to designers to talk about some great games.

Overall, between the new job, podcast and playtesting I have been very busy this year so far! Because of this, I hope to continue to post a blog a month at least but will no longer be doing a monthly game journal. If you want to see what games I’m playing check out my Instagram. Until next time keep gaming and designing!

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