Cutthroat Kingdoms has been on tour for four years. In that time, I have met friends I now regard as family. The journey of this game is not only one of self-discovery, but of a spiritual awakening of sorts. If the best friends in my life have come from this game, then I consider myself the luckiest man alive.
Fear. Fear is the biggest obstacle that stood in my way. When the call of a steady paycheck and security came, I chose not to listen to it. That phone rang, and rang. So many times I wanted to run and pick up that phone, and answer that call. The sleepless nights, the uncertainty, the pain of even one negative response to the game--all of it contributed to the madness of fear. But I did not, ever, even once, let fear win.
Every major convention, I was there. I was there, alone, supporting my publisher with 12 hours of demos. Through airsickness to sore throats, to poor travel diet and high financial cost of travel, I could not let go, like a dog's maw attached to an attacker. I simply, could not, let go.
And what happened? Every convention we've been to, the game has completely sold out. I cannot even begin to describe why, as there are myriad causes. Could it be the social media activism? My grassroots outreach to friends, families and convention-goers? Guerrilla marketing tactics like provocative t-shirts, keychains and hand-outs? Could it be the quality of the game itself and word-of-mouth? The positive influencer reviews? The blood, sweat and tears? It is, my friend, all of the above.
Gen Con in Indianpolis saw the pre-release of the game. My family, bless them, flew out never having ever attended a game convention, nor having any idea what they may offer. And after three days, they vowed to come to every single convention I was attending, not because of their love for me, mind you, but because they were overwhelmed with just how magical boardgame conventions can be! They saw my diehard friends supporting me in costume, running demos at AEG's BIG GAME NIGHT on Saturday evening. Saw people gush over how incredible my game was, how it impacted them, formed memories they would never forget. They even got a chance to tour the halls and see all the wonderful experiences to be had! I couldn't believe it, but they even bought games! This was proof to me that gaming can change the world.
Cutthroat Kingdoms is on the warpath yet again to Essen in Germany for Spiel 2017. What will the future hold? I have no idea, but I know one thing: that phone will ring, fear will be on the other end asking me if I've paid my debt yet, and I won't answer.