This is the first article in a series of 4 where I will share our experience about what went right and what went wrong on the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice (ACBoV) project.
Each post will focus on one topic that went right or one topic that didn't. I will sometimes remain deliberately vague on some topics because the goal here is not to point the finger at the culprits, but to share our experience hoping that it can benefit others. These postmortems will also allow those who follow us to discover a little more behind the scenes of board game publishing.
Thibaud de la Touanne, lead Game Designer and founder of Triton Noir.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: 1. GAME DEVELOPMENT
ACBoV is one of the biggest board games ever produced. However, it was developed by a small core team of only 4 people (2 of whom were hired after the Kickstarter campaign!). This type of project is generally developed by much larger teams. We want to remain an independent and small studio. After having worked in startups and for companies with several thousand employees, Fabrice and I want Triton Noir to remain independent, which allows us to remain agile, creative, operate in a more human way and stay focussed on creating high quality games without trying to maximize profits. It is certainly atypical in today's world, but I sincerely believe that operating autonomously (without the help of investors) is a healthy way of operating: we pay our salaries and the manufacturing of our games with the money we earn from our work. It is sometimes difficult to live financially speaking, but in these moments, we just have to think back to our past experiences to keep our spirits up.
We are a very versatile team as is the case with most small businesses. Fabrice and I have a "jack of all trades" profile and each of us has more than 25 years of experience in game development in a variety of positions, which helps us a lot everyday. We both manage game design and development, logistics, website and online store, communication with players on Kickstarter / Gamefound, the forums and the newsletters, the project management, monitoring the manufacturing of our games, some administrative tasks, the relations with external partners (Ubisoft, translators, illustrators, sculptors...), the artistic direction, the management of crowdfunding campaigns (before, during and after), ...
Laurence takes care of after-sales service, liaising with our accountant, responding to messages sent to Triton Noir, direct sales to stores, managing order shipments (store and Kickstarter) and relations with partners that store and ship our games around the world. She is also good advice to improve the quality of our games and rules!
Shannon is our graphic designer, she has the most defined job: she takes care of the layout of our games and creates the visuals for our advertisements, our online store, social networks, ...
Two other people are helping us or helped us for this project: Marine has been managing most of our social networks, media relations and advertising since the beginning of Triton Noir. Manuel Sanchez, from the Scorpion Masqué team, the talented publisher with whom we shared an office during the development of the game, helped us with the artistic direction and for the follow-up with the many artists who collaborated on this project.
I am very proud and happy to work with them, I think we form a solid team capable of accomplishing things that are beyond us!