While for many people, Spiel Essen is completely over and they’ve moved on to the next thing in their agenda. For us at Gay Sauna HQ, we’re still very much feeling the impact this event has had on the campaign, the game and our lives.
Going into the event we were sitting nicely on around 11k, with a steady stream of backers adding around €300-400 per day. Once we started to get some attention during and after the event this tripled, pushing the daily pledges to around €1k! That’s phenominal to us, we still can’t quite believe we’re keeping up this pace and we owe a huge part of this to all the incredible people we met during the event and all the support they’ve given us!
We weren’t really expecting to get any attention from the big K, but on day 1 we faced an incredibly friendly greeting from @jonritter and the Kickstarter team! We saw Jon several times over the next few days, and he even gave me the fantastic opportunity to demo Gay Sauna the Board Game at the Kickstarter booth! It was lots of fun taking the Gay Sauna on a little trip and meeting some folks who we’d likely never have run into. He even found a moment to impart some very useful crowdfunding advice. Thank you for making us all feel welcome!
We were lucky enough to get Daniele Silva’s attention at Essen and he was very kind enough to give us a little more of his time with an Interview. He also brokered the opinions of his team about the game – check out the review from Essen here. They review Gay Sauna the Board Game from 20:50, but I recommend checking out the entire video for their views on a whole bunch of other cool games!
I’ve mentioned Johno before, but I need to repeat myself as the whole BarPig team was fantastic! They were our anchor during the first days as the whole experience was a bit overwhelming, so knowing there were some folks in the next hall who knew our names gave us enough of the Cheers feeling to settle our nerves. Thank you Johno, Sander, Mikhail and the rest of the team!
There were people with Dragon Legion t-shirts at our booth often enough we started getting questions about it 😀 It was a blast to meet a whole bunch of the team and demo the game. A couple of the cheeky boys also convinced us to get a little more into the sauna mood – leading to some hilarious moments and some great pictures! We look forward to getting close to these guys again! 😉
On Thursday morning as I was making the final preparations I heard a very happy exclamation about being next to the Gay Sauna from our friends next door at The Speechless Bard. Such a nice greeting with a smile, it set the mood for the entire convention. Great to get a moment to talk on Sunday and very happy with my awesome pink dice bag!
In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Warhammer fan and slightly unbelievable we were within eyesight of the Games Workshop Warhammer booth! So when they gave our team a very reassuring message about our booth and game, it really hit home. Now I know we’re looking at a different target audience, but it’s awesome to know there’s a guy who works for Games Workshop going around in a Gay Sauna the Board Game T-shirt <3
We created a quickplay version of the rules to help make faster demos during the event, and we were pretty amazed that it worked so well we’re going to include this as a “Party Version” in the core rulebook.
There’s still a bit more playtesting to do on this version, but we’ve got several demos and games events coming up where we’ll give it a good run for its money and iron out all the kinks. Well…maybe not ALL the kinks 😉
We also received a lot of feedback regarding the graphic design and visual impact of the game as a whole. Jose’s illustrations are clearly much loved by fans and the wider board gaming community. Though there’s still a lot to do for the rooms and cards to provide the right balance. Luckily these were on our list already to improve (the current cruising areas in particular are very much a prototype and need some artistic love). We’re still on time for planning, there’s just an increase in pressure around this part of the game to ensure we get it right and meet everyone’s expectations.
One of the highlights of the experience was the way the narrative of the game stood out to everyone who played with us. The gameplay is driven through the story of visiting a gay sauna, and as all the mechanics and gameplay decisions are based around this premise, the game holds up really well as a narrative experience. For sure we know that the game isn’t going to compete with the likes of Warhammer for those after a truly deep mechanical challenge, but we feel we’ve hit the right balance between theme and gameplay that we’re giving the world what they’re looking for when they think of Gay Sauna the Board Game.
In the long term, the most impactful thing about Spiel was the acceptance by the board gaming community. We had fully prepared to be shunned or ignored by everyone given the theme of the game is something folks haven’t seen before.
Not only was everyone we interacted with overwhelmingly positive, but we were able to validate the game (and other future games we’re thinking of) have a place in the industry. This is really helping to define the future of Gay Sauna the Board Game and ReRoll Works and that future is looking bright!
It’s also delightful to see we’re building a team that can support the game and help to bring it up to the next level. Not only adding Craig to the core team, but also having some awesome friends and an unbelievably patient husband means the world to me and I’m so grateful for their support!