What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Cthulhu: Death May Die

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018... Halfway Done

It's been a few months since the last update and I'm happy to say that almost everything so far has come to pass with the exception of one thing (more on that later).

The first fair we talked about that happened around Valentine's Day was not all that great of an event for us. While we enjoyed meeting the people that were there, horrible weather conditions, and a poor choice of venue worked very much against us. The silver lining was that we really lose any money -- just precious time.

The Beltaine fair at the beginning of May was a great success. While very small in scale, Arcana Element's release of Quebec's Distinct Paganism was a great success and we ended up selling much of our initial print run of the book. The group that sets up the fair does a couple of these each year and, so far, we've always exceeded expectations and we're looking forward to participating in the next one they set up planned closer to the end of the year.

While we attended those two conventions, we opted against doing the Festival Draconis gaming convention that happened earlier this Spring in Montreal. I was interested but as I made various enquiries about it, I learned how disorganized it really was with little to no support for anyone actually interested in vending at the convention. It did not feel like it was worth the time and energy to participate. That isn't to say that I wouldn't be interested in doing it next year but, my whole approach would have to be different.

And then came the 2018 edition of the Montreal Comic Con.

This was something of a gamble for us. Unlike other conventions Arcana Creations appeared at in the past, the price of participation as a full-fledge vendor dwarfed table costs of other shows. However, the size of the potential audience did as well. For what it was, it's almost *too* big. Add to that the fact that we were showing a few new things -- the success of which could have gone either way. Leading up to the convention, I confess I lost many hours of sleep and I feel like I'm still recovering a bit.

I went in with low expectations and set a 'minimum' threshold needed to consider doing it again the following year. I was very pleased to see that, halfway through the three-day event, we managed to cross it. What we took in paid for the booth, the deposit for next year's booth, and even paid for our additional expenses and costs incurred that weekend. It wasn't quite a break even when factoring everything in but, it was close enough given the visibility factor to both Arcana Creations, and the new things we brought to the table so-to-speak such as our new Ballista line.

The Montreal Comic Con is where I decided to do a 'soft-launch' of the new gaming line and, while sales were a bit low -- not unexpected at this show, the reactions were very positive. I was initially hoping to have 5 or 6 releases ready for it but three of those remain in production and should be finished up in next 4 to 6 weeks. We did have three titles ready for it and Arcana Creation's original launch titles have been updated for the new Ballista line. These are, The Secret of Ronan Skerry, the Ruins of Ramat, and A Trick on the Tain.

The line's OFFICIAL launch is happening soon and will be made possible through Kickstarter. But before that happens, the remaining titles will be finished and proofs will be IN HAND before the campaign even launches. For those who followed our previous Kickstarter, Mother of Mortals, you know that we release when the final project is just about completed in order to deliver EVERYTHING promised ON TIME if not EARLIER.  There will be NO EXCEPTIONS with this new crowd funding campaign being planned.

So... the only thing that has been pushed back a bit further was the C&C release of Shaman of the Mire. Best intentions only take you so far but the lead up to Comic Con as well as the lead up to the release of Quebec's Distinct Paganism before it demanded much of my attention and overrided plans for this C&C release.  It's still coming... along with a Ballista version of it as well.  However, I won't be predicting any release date for it at this time as I am still sorting out the rest of the planned releases I had.

The other big bit of news contributing to our Comic Con success came in the form of a geniune Prusa i3 Mk3 3D printer. This tool was a veritable workhorse in preparation for the convention. In the weeks leading up to the con, the printer was printing up all hours of the day. Alongside with our affordable dice we sell, we started selling what I've called 'Dungeon Essentials' -- 3D printed objects which are inexpensively priced for use in your game alongside other 28-30mm miniatures. We started of with simple packs of barrels and crates and will be expanding this to other packs in the near future. We also became an authorized/licensed printer for Fat Dragon Game products and sold two particular models at the show. One of these sold out too!

The plan is to eventually offer a handful of printed goods online on arcanacreations.com as we step up to do an online store revamp to accommodate the various new additions in the coming weeks.

In the coming days, I will be writing a fair bit more here since Comic Con is behind me and I plan on giving a lot of info on what the new Ballista line consists of exactly before the Kickstarter launches. It's been a good 6 months so far this year and I'm hoping for even better in the months ahead.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Arcana Creations 2018: The Year Ahead

 A bunch of things happened in 2017 and more is planned for 2018!

First off, lets talk about the shows.  Not everything has been confirmed yet but we things are taking shape and are as follows:

Our first event of the year will be in Ottawa, Canada at the small Goddess of Love Valentine Psychic Fair Fundraiser for Animals.  Ok... I didn't come up with the name and it's seems pretty far removed from the typical venue you might expect to find us.  However, it's small enough, not hard to get to, and ultimately it's for a good cause.  I can pretty much guarantee our table with be the ONLY table selling anything remotely gaming related and the rest of the fair will have all sorts of things.  This fair is NEXT WEEK on Sunday, February 11th, 2018 at the Bronson Community center and runs from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

Our second event that we still need to confirm is Festival Draconis in Montreal.  Festival Draconis is best described as a gaming 'meet-up' as opposed to a convention.  It seems less formal than a typical convention but people can sign up to run and play in a variety of table-top RPGs.  Unlike a typical gaming convention, there isn't much vending but there are a handful that will.  It is a 3 day convention starting on the evening of March 2nd, 2018 and runs all day Saturday and Sunday held at the Cegep du Vieux Montreal.  If we do go, we may end up only going on the Saturday of the convention.  Details to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

Our third event is at the Montreal Beltaine Fair on Sunday, April 29th, 2018 which starts at 10:00am. It runs to 5:00pm and is located at West Island Curing Club. It's a smaller craft fair and the focus is 'storytelling' for this year's event.  Arcana Creations will be launching a new title through the Arcana Elements imprint at the fair entitled: Quebec's Distinct Paganism which is an ethnography on the Montreal Pagan community.

Our fourth event and our biggest will be at the Montreal Comic Con being held at the Palais des Congres during the weekend of July 6th - 8th, 2018.  We are planning to have the official launch of the Ballista gaming line at this event.

Our final confirmed event for the 2018 is slated to be Can-Con in Ottawa. The convention is held at the Sheraton located downtown during the October 12th - 14th weekend. If you are a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and great Canadian literature in general, stopping by is a must! Arcana Creations will be one of the sponsors for this years' convention.

Beyond the October date, we are planning to do an additional fair or two just before the holidays as we did in 2017 but those dates for the events have yet to be finalized.

For everything else, as already mentioned, we have some releases that are finally seeing the light of day. Via the Arcana Elements imprint, we will have Quebec's Distinct Paganism as well another (unconfirmed) title for Can-Con. For Arcana Creations proper, the launch of Ballista is something that had many false starts and changes over the years but we are excited to finally see it come to fruition.  But before any of that happens, Shaman of the Mire for Castles & Crusades will be available in the next few weeks.

With all of these projects, no firm decision has been made whether or not we will be using a crowd funding platform to help with the production with any of these. Since the beginning, anything we did decide to crowdfund was developed to the point of being practically ready for production.  Star Rover, our second, but failed Kickstarter, still ended up being produced and will be made available for purchase on Amazon in the coming weeks and we have had advance copies for sale direct since the last show we did at the end of 2017. It is likely that the planned Ballista line will be crowdfunded via Kickstarter or Indiegogo due to the scope of the project.

We still have many plans but it won't be till much later this year before we are able to determine what we will pursue next and what we may drop. With all things, we thank you all for your continued support.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Arcana Creations 2017: A Year In Review

 The year of 2017 was an interesting and busy time for Arcana Creations.  Did I meet all the personal objectives set for it?  No... we did fall short of a couple but nothing got dropped.  Things are just taking longer to come out.  So, where did we meet or surpass expectations and goals and where did we fall short.

In 2017, there were a couple of releases and a successful Kickstarter which helped us shift gears.  Earlier in the year, we released our first fiction novel under our non-gaming imprint, 'Arcana Elements'.  The title of the book is 'Mother of Mortals' and this was successfully Kickstarted to bring in the funds necessary to produce rewards for backers as well as a small print run to sell directly at shows and events.  The Kickstarter success was attributed by the simple fact that it had a modest goal and the first proofs of the book were already in our hand.  We also delivered EARLY on our commitments.

With new product and things finally moving for Arcana Creations, we also began to do smaller shows and conventions.  Sales of 'Mother of Mortals' at the shows were good and the books has gotten positive reviews.  Between the shows and other projects, we decided to keep the momentum going with a second novel, Jack London's 'The Star Rover'.  While not a new title, being in the public domain and not as well known as his other works, we felt it a good match for the stuff we wanted to produce. Like our first novel release, we went to Kickstarter to secure funding and, again, we launched in the proofing stage of the book. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter failed (more on that later) but despite this setback, we still brought in advance copies of the book to sell in December.

On the gaming front, we re-embraced our love of Castles & Crusades and committed to deliver 'The Shaman of the Mire'.  For the benefit of the shows and conventions we were doing, we brought in some stock from Troll Lord Games as well as some other gaming odds and ends and some inexpensive dice (because everyone needs more dice). Gaming sales have not been as strong at the shows we have done but these were not focused on gaming so much as other things.

Of course, the primary reason for all of this is to branch out and get a bit more exposure and possibly lay a more solid foundation to build from.  We have continued making some contacts and despite things still being a bit touch and go from project to project and show to show, it's making a positive difference.

But we also stumbled.  The focus on the Arcana Elements imprint and various shows (while working a full time job) meant some projects got pushed back and set aside and this blog was updated way less than I hoped to.

'Shaman of the Mire' was the first casualty of this followed by the (re)launch of our own gaming line.  A sizeable book which I originally hoped to be out in the last quarter of 2017 was instrumental in these delays and, in the end, it had to be pushed till 2018.  We are back on to finishing 'Shaman of the Mire' and other pressing gaming releases.  As for that second Kickstarter... why did it fail if the first one did well enough?  The biggest problem was timing.  I wanted to have a short campaign and I wanted to close the campaign by the end of November.  Being Canadian, I somehow forgot about Thanksgiving and Black Friday that happened within a week of a campaign that was little more than a couple weeks in length.  That hurt the campaign as much as recent changes to advertising and promoting things on social media (notably Facebook).  It ended up being something of a disaster which took away time from other pressing projects.

As for the blog... at the end of the day, I don't have the time or energy to be very active on the blog so I don't expect that 2018 will be terribly different on that front.  It will still be a place for news with updates for Arcana Creations but less musings, thoughts, and reviews.  Hopefully, when I caught up sufficiently with the backlog of work in my production queue, I can get back to it as well as some of my other hobbies like painting miniatures.

Up next... What's planned for 2018!