2018 in Review

The great wheel turns, champagne corks are popped, fireworks explode, and we lay 2018 to rest.

Welcome to 2019!

I’m very happy with what we got up to in 2018. Here are the highlights:

Legacy Arrives

2018 was the year we fulfilled the Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2nd Edition Kickstarter. After the crowdfunding campaign was a runaway success beyond our wildest predictions, we found ourselves with a lot to do – 6 books to complete, a bunch of accessories to make including card decks, acrylic tokens and posters, and a huge backer base to keep happy!

We ran into a few issues on the way: American shipping was a lot more of a headache than expected, we over-promised on free add-ons like posters and postcards, and a few of our authors had to duck out or drop back thanks to health or other commitments. I’m happy to say that the game and all stretch goals are now done, and we’ve already sold out of the first printing of 2000 books. The second printing, with a few fixed typos, should be arriving at the warehouse in a week.

We also released six other books for Legacy: the Wasteland Almanac, and the five Worlds of Legacy. I’m really excited with the opportunity these five books gave us to broaden the voice of the line, and give new authors their chance to get their work published.

New Ventures

2018 was also the year I started working for UFO Press full-time. As such, we stepped up the rate of our releases. The UFO Press Patreon produced 9 one-page RPGs, ranging from forgotten gods and the one child who can still hear them to OAPs revealing the occult secrets of their past.

One of the games written for this Patreon went far beyond one page, and was kickstarted as Harder They Fall – a 20-page game of world-shaking battles, played using dominoes. This campaign was in part a test of the limits of kickstarter – could I successfully kickstart a small game, in a limited time frame, with a low financial goal? The answer to that was a definite yes, but I still managed to stumble in fulfilment. Isn’t that always the way?

In particular, the decision to provide dominoes and playing cards as addons was rather foolish, and presented major logistical headaches. Indeed, the game is yet to go out to backers, which I view as a major failure for a campaign that was sold as quick and simple. If you were a backer, my apologies – and I hope it’s some comfort that I’ve learned many lessons from this in the future.

Near the end of the year, we also kickstarted Legacy: The Next World. This campaign funded three hardback books, including two expansions for Legacy – End Game and The Engine of Life – and Free From the Yoke, a standalone hack of Legacy to convert it to Game of Thrones-style political fantasy. This campaign was also remarkably successful, and the games are very close to completion – I expect Kickstarter fulfilment to be finished by May, and the games should go on sale at that time.

The Failed Guardians

It’s been particularly pleasing to see how these books have grown as backers at the higher tiers have contributed their own ideas. Thanks to the ingenuity of our backers, the playbook selection has been rounded out with:

  • The Foundling, raised among monsters.
  • The Martyr, who draws power from injury.
  • The Aerie, which attracts a legendary beast to live among you.
  • The Failed Guardians, security forces who failed to prevent the apocalypse, now waging a shadow war against the force that brought the Fall).
  • And many more!

A League of our Own

Just over a year ago I founded the UK Indie RPG League alongside Rowan Rook and Decard, Certain Death and Black Armada. Our goal was to help UK indie game publishers get a collective presence at conventions and to help us network and form useful connections. This was remarkably successful: at the UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet we had record sales, and had a booth presence comparable with industry giants like Chaosium and Cubicle 7!

Going into the next year we’re considering going international and bringing a UKIRPGL presence to non-UK cons like Essen and GenCon – keep your eyes open for news!

New Projects

Finally, looking out at 2019, what’s exciting for UFO Press?

We’re launching a kickstarter for the Mysthea RPG in March. This game draws on the wonderful world created by Tabula Games – a world of singing crystals, telekinetic magic, and strange, mutated monsters. Douglas Santana Mota is taking the lead on this project, and is rewriting the core Legacy system to fit the demands of this setting and premise. Look out over the next few weeks for more about why Mysthea should excite you!

Embrace darkness with Voidheart Symphony. For me, Rhapsody of Blood was an incredibly enjoyable game to design, and I’ve been looking for opportunities to return to that system. While that game was mainly inspired by Castlevania, eagle-eyed readers can probably guess I drew a lot of inspiration for the game’s look from Atlus’ Persona 5. That game – a story of modern-day students moonlighting as psychonaut thieves and butting heads against the forces corrupting their city – was one of my favourite games of the past decade, and was a natural fit for a modernn-day sequel to Rhapsody. I’ve already put together a draft of its core mechanics and a few playbooks; check out its page to take a look, and join our mailing list to be the first to hear more news!

That’ll do for me. What were you happy about in 2018? What are you looking forward to in the year to come?