After Game Market I returned home and things started to wrap up for the year. The holidays arrived and Renegade goes into low power mode for that last week of the year. It’s a nice time when things quiet down and I can look back and reflect on what we accomplished but also really start to shift gears towards the new year.
Looking back the greatest asset we had in 2016 was the people we work with. We accomplished a tremendous amount for such a small company and it’s really a testament to the people who make up the Renegade team.
Robyn – You don’t hear much about her but she’s our Controller, AP, AR, royalties, and everything else that has to do with money, orders, and shipments person. It’s a huge role and vital to our day-to-day success. We couldn’t do what we do without her.
If you ever design a game for us, Robyn will be one of your favorite people. She sends out the royalty checks every quarter!
Sara – I refer to Sara (in my head) as my Right Hand of Doom. I mean that absolutely in the best way possible. Her title says director of sales and marketing but she does all sorts of stuff. She develops games, helps me evaluate submissions, and is running a game project or two as producer.
I know that whatever task she takes on she’s going to totally handle it and I don’t have to worry about it at all.
Anita – Anita is one of the best graphic designers I’ve ever worked with and I’ve had the good fortune of working with some extremely talented people. I’m sure you noticed that we take presentation seriously here and she’s done a fantastic job of making sure we meet those high standards.
At the end of the year she became our Creative Director and will be working with all the designers and artists we work with on so many projects.
Jenni – Ever have a broken piece in your game or something missing? Well, Jenni is the person making things right for you and getting it done quickly and painlessly. It’s an underappreciated job for sure, but she handles customer service quickly and with a smile.
She’s also a craft and party food expert and has been writing some cool articles for us called Game & Crafts.
So, that’s the core team at Renegade but definitely not everyone. All the game designers, artist, graphic designers, and convention staff work super hard to make sure you get a great game.
So that’s the people but what worked in 2016? Here are some random thoughts in no particular order:
- Marketing is important – Our philosophy has been to support and grow our games and that strategy has paid off.
- Be different – Not every theme has to be fantasy or zombies. A game of pretty flowers might just stand out among all the same stuff. This strategy seems to have worked too.
- Cultivate our relationship with specialty game stores. We don’t launch our games on Kickstarter and tried some early release programs with specialty stores that worked really well.
I think these were the 3 big successes for us this year. We followed though and supported our game launches, released some great stuff that stood out in a crowded market, and worked on building our relationships with the specialty game stores that sell our games.
But what do we need to improve on next year. Here we go:
- Scheduling – I really want us to be working on longer lead times. We don’t have much space in our development and production schedules. My goal for 2017 is to be working on final files for 2018 releases by mid-year. We have a couple of big 2018 projects that are already in the works but I would like to see all our original games get on a 12-16 month schedule, if it needs it.
- More resources – Everyone was exhausted by December. We put out a lot of great stuff but the pace and bandwidth took its toll. This wasn’t really a surprise. We grew a lot last year and everyone knew it was going to be a marathon. But we’ve maxed out our bandwidth and will need to expand our resources to continue the growth trajectory that we’re on. Anita is already taking action to broaden our design and production resources.
- Conventions – These suck a huge amount of bandwidth away from our day-to-day. We’re working on a plan to lessen that impact but it’s not really in motion yet.
- Specialty Game Shops – We had a lot of successes with some program and a few experiments last year. We already have plans to take that to the next level and if what we are going to try works, we’ll roll it out in the second half of the year.
Well, that was 2016. It was a great year for Renegade and even though it’s a tremendous amount of work, we had a lot of fun too. We’re really looking forward to 2017 and I hope you are too!
Oh, yeah, I promised some insight into what we have coming this year. I promised Sara I wouldn’t spoil too much so here’s a list of some things I’m looking forward to this year:
- A new game from J. Alex Kevern. All I’m going to say is ROBOTS.
- Flatline was just announced but it isn’t the only game by Kane Klenko we have scheduled this year.
- Beth Sobel is illustrating a new original game for us right now.
- We are working on a new game from Daniel Solis.
- Kwanchai is illustrating a new original game for us.
- We will release 2 Aza Chen games (at least) in 2017.
- Chris Ostrowski is illustrating a new original game.
- RGS and Direwolf have more plans for Clank!
- Another Renegade game will come to ios and Android.
- A new game with our partners at Foxtrot.
- A game based on a popular pop culture license.
- I deleted half of the things I typed because I don’t want to tease you too much!
Thanks for reading folks, I hope you enjoyed all my ramblings.
Last thing I’ll say is THANK YOU for playing our games! Without all of you, there wouldn’t be a Renegade.
Have questions about this? Ask me on Twitter @scottgaeta and be sure to follow Renegade @PlayRenegade