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Copper Frog Games – 2019 Roundup

2019 was a year of huge victories, troubled production timelines, and many, many games played for Copper Frog Games. We finished fulfilling The Meeple Machine Kickstarter, ran a Kickstarter for Chiseled which did not succeed, and did work on several major game and convention projects that will extend through to the end of 2020, and beyond.

The Meeple Machine debuted at PAX East 2019 this Spring to much aplomb. Over the weekend, hundreds of meeples left in the hands of excited gamers of all ages, and this process was repeated at Boston FIG Fest and PAX Unplugged later in the year. One of the most common questions I got was “Can I get my own machine?” The answer is, “Yes, eventually.” Eric Badger is working on a new base design that will allow for improved transit and recovery of recycled capsules, and once that’s done, we’re happy to share this product with conventions, game cafes, and stores. Plus, we debuted some GIANT meeples for 9th Level Games’ great cooperative game Meeple Party at PAX Unplugged; we’ll have those for sale at our booth soon, too! More meeples for all!

One of the surprise hits of Meeple Machine Meepledom was the microgame “MeepFrog”. While we delivered many copies to backers from The Meeple Machine Kickstarter, we officially sold it for the first time at PAX Unplugged in December. We brought about 30 copies, plus a neoprene version of the board for demos, and it ultimately sold out! Emboldened by this success, we’re going to be bringing many more to the next conventions we attend, and will likely run a second Kickstarter for our next in-development meeple game, “Meeples and Spaghetti” in mid-to-late 2020. This game sprang from everyone mishearing me when I pronounce “meeple” and thinking “meatball”, so hey, why not? Puns are fun, and little games in bags are always great at conventions. We may even start offering sales of this game via the website, but that is up in the air and dependent on continued customer interest.

Pigment continued to be the big success of 2019. After delivering to backers in May 2018, we attempted to get retail distribution interested in Pigment over the next few months, leading into Gen Con 2018. While that ultimately proved unviable, we DID manage to sell out of almost ALL of that initial print run at conventions and through local Massachusetts retailers since then. With many Boston-area game and comic shops stocking Pigment, we are down to 2 cases of 54 games remaining. One of those is earmarked to the Chiseled Kickstarter relaunch, where backers can get Chiseled AND Pigment AND some Meeple Machine meeples for their pledge, but once the last case is gone, it’s gone. As of writing, we have 19 copies available via the Copper Frog Games website, and I assume they’ll be gone by February.

As a result of the popularity of Pigment, and relying on feedback from playtesters, retailers, and distributors, we are aiming to do some new things with the Pigment mechanics and theme in the coming year, assuming Chiseled gets funded. We’re excited to share more tales out of The Grand Bazaar as we get closer to the summer…

Chiseled was an unsung trooper for us this year. We launched a Kickstarter in August for it, with the aim of shipping by PAX East 2020, but that proved unsuccessful due to the cost of trying to do 2 different versions. The Deluxe version would have far outsold the base game, though, and as such, we’re moving towards a February 2020 relaunch with one version (containing the Deluxe contents), and a more streamlined page with more how-to-play content. We’re extremely grateful for all the press contacts who loved and appreciated Chiseled the first go-around, and are excited to debut new and improved art, graphic design, and scoring patterns as we get closer to February. It’s looking great, and we hope you’ll back.

Looking ahead to 2020, here are some of the major events to watch out for:

  • Chiseled Kickstarter relaunch: February 2020
  • PAX East 2020 appearance with Knight Moves Cafe: March 2020
  • Meeples and Spaghetti Kickstarter: Summer 2020
  • Pigment: The Grand Bazaar updates: Summer 2020
  • PAX Unplugged 2020: December 2020, (ideally with Chiseled delivered by then!)

There are so many people I’d like to thank for supporting us this year: from the media side, Lizzy and Derek Funkhouser of Board Game Spotlight, Daniel Zayas, Bebo and Tatiana Quigley of Tabletop Backer Party, Jeremy Howard of Man vs Meeple, Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower (we’ll get you a Meeple Machine soon, don’t worry!), JW Cornelius of Pirate’s Parley Gaming, and many more.

From production, convention demos, and playtesting, thank you to Eric Badger of Badger Crafts, (who got married to his lovely wife Rachel in November, yet still managed to get many, many, many meeples made for PAX Unplugged, including giant ones!), Jason Martin, John Anderson, Mark Murdough, Dan Polansky, Will Spreadbury, The Boston Game Maker’s Guild, and Jason Martin AGAIN.

Finally, thanks to all the customers who have supported Copper Frog Games at stores around the Boston area (plus all the stores who took a chance on us and stock Pigment!), or demoed games with us at conventions, or have bought a game for the art lover in your life, for yourself, or just to support local small business. You are the reason we can keep making games day-in and day-out.

Until next update, I hope you have a beautiful transition to the new year, and that you’re as excited as I am for the future of Copper Frog Games LLC.

Sincerely,

Michael Epstein
Director, Lead Designer
Copper Frog Games LLC

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Pigment: A Retrospective

Pigment Box

For those who have been keeping an eye on our Facebook and Twitter, you’ll have noticed that Copper Frog Games is proud to be selling Pigment both online and in various stores around the country. We aim to be in wider distribution by the end of 2018, and will ideally even be doing a second printing of Pigment late this year.

The Good

Looking back, it was a wild ride. From a 150+ percent Kickstarter campaign in October-November, to debuting at PAX East 2018 in the Indie Megabooth, to shipping out hundreds of games to backers all over the world, Pigment was a resounding success in our books. We’ve received great feedback on the Kickstarter page comments, and are planning on incorporating feedback into future print runs of the game (especially for the stretch goal-unlocked solo mode). People are playing and sharing this game with their friends, families, and gaming groups, and that alone makes it worth the work.

The Not-So-Good

Some things could definitely have gone better, but we are taking what we learned in this campaign forward into our future game projects. For instance, I totally forgot Chinese New Year shuts down the factories in China for a good two weeks in February, though we still shipped on time; the looming trade issues between the US and China led to last-minute shipping rate increases that in turn led to a delay on acquiring art for our next project; PAX East cost us far more than anticipated due to a lack of a sponsored booth, though it was still a treat to meet lots of new fans of Pigment and be able to sell at the show. Despite these setbacks, Pigment shipped both on-time and approximately on-budget. For a first-time project creator, that’s hugely important, and we have our fans to thank.

The Mysterious Art Director

In addition, I wanted to put out a special thank-you to an uncredited asset to Pigment. As members of the Massachusetts game design community, I first met Breeze Grigas when we were both still college students, and he was looking for feedback on his combining robot strategy game, A.E.G.I.S. While he has moved on from Massachusetts to greener pastures on the west coast, he has been an integral part of getting Pigment released. In fact, he was the first person I called when I realized that the mechanics and components felt like a game about a color bazaar; it was in that phone call that the name “Pigment” was first uttered.

Most importantly, when I was injured in a bad car accident last summer, putting my other game projects’ timelines in jeopardy, Breeze is the one who suggested I launch the Pigment campaign first once I healed up, as it was small, light, and accessible to a wide audience. He offered art direction services to Emily Hancock, our fantastic illustrator, and his name also graces the rulebook as a Patron of the Arts. We shared a booth at PAX Unplugged 2017, where Breeze and the rest of Zephyr Workshop showed AEGIS, and Copper Frog Games demoed Pigment mid-Kickstarter, and it was a fantastic experience for both of us. He even had a promotional “Painted Ainer” commander card drawn by Emily at that show, as a joint advertisement for both AEGIS and Pigment. In short, without Breeze Grigas, Pigment would still be hand-cut cards in old sleeves in my design box. I know he’ll try to underplay his importance, but he is a truly great designer and collaborator, and I hope to release a full project alongside Zephyr Workshop in the future.

Until then, keep an eye out on CopperFrogGames.com for information on our newest title, coming to Kickstarter Summer 2018.

Pigment is coming to a close, but it’s not the end. For now, long live Chiseled!

Sincerely and with thanks,

Michael Epstein
Designer, Director
Copper Frog Games LLC