About Eurydice Games
Eurydice Games is the second board games publisher founded by Jackson Pope. I previously ran Reiver Games from 2006 until 2011. Eurydice (pronounced You-rid-i-see) Games is a self-publishing company making hand-made limited edition runs of the board and card games that I design. It was founded in 2017 to publish a second edition of Zombology, which I initially designed as part of NaGa DeMon 2013 and made 30 hand-made copies of for NaGa DeMon 2015. I will be publishing small print runs of hand-made games. The games will be printed professionally and professionally laminated for greater durability, but they will be cut out and assembled (and the boxes made) by hand. My hand! I've lots of experience doing this (my first two games - 400 copies in total - were made by hand) and the quality is not what you'd expect for hand-made games. Each game will be numbered and signed - they are all unique!
What went wrong last time
I founded Reiver Games in July 2006 to self-publish a hand-made print run of 100 copies of my first game: Border Reivers. It was a simple 2-4 player wargame that I conceived after an interminable game of Mighty Empires. In hindsight, it wasn't a great game, but it was good enough for me to make and sell 100 copies around the world within a year. During that year I received another game from another designer which I published as It's Alive! a set collection game about building Frankenstein's monster from assorted body parts. With the more engaging theme and the following I had built up during my first year as a publisher, I though I could probably sell 300 of these. Again, I made them by hand and again I sold out within a year. So far, so good.
During that second year my left leg went numb for a couple of months and so I duly went to the doctor and while I was awaiting the results of my MRI, I developed double vision. The MRI results confirmed the worst: I had a fairly aggressive course of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Every cloud has a silver lining though - my wife and I had just bought a flat, and as part of that got life insurance. The critical illness cover paid out and I was in the enviable position of being able to spend my life insurance - legally!
Running the company in my spare time with active MS around a full-time job with a reasonable amount of international travel was proving quite wearing, so we invested a chunk of my life insurance into Reiver Games and I went full-time. The plan was to start making games professionally, using manufacturers and switching to selling through shops and distributors rather than my personal website and convention attendance.
In hindsight, this was a mistake. I didn't have the following to support print runs of thousands of copies and I wasn't good enough at selecting games to publish. This was before the days of Kickstarter, and my marketing skills were pretty rubbish. I didn't invest enough money, so after re-printing It's Alive! I got a bank loan to fund the publishing of my third game: Carpe Astra. Another mistake. The constant attrition of the loan payments would eventually spell the death knell for Reiver Games, eating away at my slowly accruing capital until, as with so many companies, poor cashflow killed it.
I published one final game, Sumeria. I was convinced it was awesome and would be the saviour of Reiver Games, but the general public found it too random, and it too sold pretty slowly. Time was up. I'd spent two years without earning any money, and the company was almost broke.
After five technically profitable years I sold my remaining stock to a liquidator and lost a boat-load of (insurance!) money. I went back into full-time employment rueing my flight of fancy and its lack of success. I did manage to sell nearly 8,000 games though, so despite the failure, I learnt a lot and there were many bits of running a company I enjoyed.
Why do it again?
I love board games. I love playing them, thinking about them, designing them and making them. I love hand-crafting prototypes and looking at a game I've made by hand and being proud of the final quality. Plus, I want share the fun by providing more people with a chance to play the games I've created. Sure, I could try to flog my games to a publisher, but it's actually the making and graphic designing of the games I enjoy, as much as the designing.