A bit more than two years ago I was registering the name NSKN Legendary Games, embarking, together with some of my friends, on an unexpected and amazing journey. I had big plans and little knowledge, but it seemed that designing and publishing board games is the right thing to do. Two years later I can confirm that I made the right decision and, even if this proves to be a much tougher journey that I could have ever expected, it is worth every moment.
Anniversaries are not only moments of joy and celebration, but also good opportunities to remember, because "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (G. Santayana).
But the history of NSKN did not start only 2 years ago. It goes back another year or so into the past, when the idea of making board games sparked in my head. That is the true beginning...
Jun 2010 - Warriors & Traders prototype, second version. Looking back at this it feels like ancient history, like it happened 500 years ago. Looking at the prototypes we are making today, it feels childish, but deep inside I know that had it not been for this one game, NSKN would not be what it is today.
It took another 14 versions if I remember correctly and one year of play-testing before Warriors & Traders was ready for printing, but hard work and good friends to exploit were the key to making it happen (there are so many people that I want to thank for their help and for believing in this project, but that is beyond the purpose of this post).
Apr 2011 - The last play-test of Warriors & Traders. Soon after we established NSKN, while our graphic designers were doing their magic, preparing the final version, ready to print.
The summer of 2011 was one full of planning and hoping, we were about to go to our first Spiel Essen, we had no idea how the distribution was working and until the very last moment we were afraid that the games might be late (it had happened to the biggest names in the industry) and we will simply be eight people in an empty booth showing people a big... smile.
Oct 2011 - Spiel Essen - In the end, everything was fine, NSKN came to Essen with Warriors & Traders, a game well received by both the public and the distribution companies.
Spiel '11 was an event I will never forget. I still get goosebumps when I go think about the amount of people we talked to, that we ran out of games several time and we had to drive back and forth from Germany to Belgium to bring more. It was indeed a magical time, one to remember every time something went so wrong that I wanted to quit and never look back.
By the end of 2011 we had already sold a significant quantity of Warriors & Traders, covering most of Europe and North America and reaching game stores as far as Thailand and Japan. What we were still missing was the direct connection with the gamin community, but we were about to take care of that aspect too.
While still busy and focused on selling Warriors & Traders, I was secretly working on another big game, Exodus: Proxima Centauri, though back then it carried a completely different name.
Jan 2012 - GobCon - This was our first contact with gamers in a local convention and it was a blast and not only because it was in Italy - the country of amazing food and wine - but because of the people I met and the friends I've made. This was also the starting point of the first expansion in the history of NSKN, Warriors & Traders: Italia, developed especially for the organizers of GobCon.
Feb 2012 - The prototype of Exodus: Proxima Centauri was ready. I had worked on it for half a year, I had learned physics and read books in the process, but all my effort was rewarded with good feedback after the first session.
And how many designers out there can honestly say that for their first test of a sci-fi game they had good feedback from an all-girl team? :)
Apr 2012 - NSKN was celebrating 1 year. We had cake, and Champagne, we recalled the good moments of the year that had passed and we made plans for the future.
By then, Exodus: Proxima Centauri and Wild Fun West were both tested, working quite well and it was just a matter of time and fixing the details before NSKN was ready to publish two new games.
And that is the first part of our little saga... The second part is coming soon.