Wellerman Design Journal

November 14, 2021: Cancelling Wellerman Kickstarter

We decided to cancel the Kickstarter because it is clear we are not going to reach our funding target. We are going to explore some other ways to produce the game.

What Happens Next?

First you can still play Wellerman online on Tabletopia. We're taking it out of demo status, so you will need at least one player with a paid Tabletopia subscription. We plan to continue to update the Tabletopia version as we continue to improve the design (see below).

For producing the actual tabletop game, we are looking at a number of options, including small-run production, or print on demand. It is likely that our new path will take longer to produce the game but at least we will avoid the current extraordinary shipping crisis that used up about 60% of our Kickstarter budget. We can’t say for sure when Wellerman will be available for purchase, but please sign up at https://www.northquartergames.com/subscribe for updates.

Thoughts on the Campaign

We went with an accelerated game design cycle and Kickstarter campaign in hopes that the Wellerman sea shanty would still be fresh in people’s minds. But this also meant we had to forgo a lot of the usual pre-campaign promotional activities, including sending physical copies to reviewers, doing the board game convention circuit, and so on.

Alas, it appears that the intersection of people who like sea shanties and the people who back Kickstarter board games is not quite as broad as we hoped, or we just haven’t been able to reach that unique group through our short social media marketing campaign.

We are proud of all we accomplished in a few short months to bring this game from rough concept to fully production ready game. The end result has been an attractive, tight, fun game.

Thoughts on the Game Design

We want to keep Wellerman a game that is fast to teach, quick to play, and appealing to both new and experienced table-top gamers. So the rules are going to remain fairly streamlined and straightforward. But we are incorporating a couple of small improvements recommended by our early players.

We are also going to keep the cost and environmental impact as low as possible. We are going to stick with wood and cardboard components that fit in a nice, compact shelf-friendly box -- nothing that is going to end up floating in the ocean!

Thanks so much to those of you who backed us, and we look forward to the second verse of this adventure!

November 6, 2021: At BottosCon with latest Wellerman prototype

Before this past weekend, due of the pandemic, we've been doing all play-testing and demonstrations of Wellerman virtually using Tabletopia. But this weekend we attended our first face-to-face convention in 2 years: BottosCon in New Westminster, BC. This allowed us to bring a fairly complete physical prototype using the latest design and artwork and see if everything worked as well in person as in the virtual environment. Everyone who sat down at the table for a demo played through a full game, which was extremely encouraging.

We tried out a new square game board design, rather than rectangular we've been using to date. This offers a bit more space and allows us to incorporate spots for the deck draw and discard piles. Based on observations of players during the game we are going to shift positions a few of the items on the board, but overall it worked well.

The latest card designs likewise worked well though we may make a few additional minor changes for readability and ease of hand management. But essentially the cards are done.

Below is a carousel of close up pictures from the board and cards. You can also view a video walk-through of the convention floor by Justin Fassino, which includes a stop at the Wellerman table.

Week of October 25th: New Wind Cards

Allan has continued to work on the redesign of the wind cards for Wellerman, turning them from simple iconic representations to cards with distinctive art for each type of card. Samples of the current versions are shown in the image carouself below. THere will likely be some further tweaks related to legibility / color combinations.

These versions have been incorporated to Tabletopia version of Wellerman in case you want to try them out in gameplay.