Well, it’s finally over. A year that has been described as unprecedented, exhausting, and relentless, among many other things. We at Sophisticated Cerberus were fortunate to have kept our day jobs and stayed safe and healthy (for the most part), although the same can unfortunately not be said for many of our friends, family members, and fellow humans around the globe.
With vaccines starting to be distributed, there is hope on the horizon that we may return to some semblance of normality at some point in 2021. Even though 2020 was a train wreck of a year, we did our best to take advantage of our extra free time and use it to work on our business. This post will walk through some of our accomplishments this year and provide a sneak peek at what we hope to accomplish in 2021.
I suppose we should start at the very beginning, since we officially started our company in January of 2020. We had a number of discussions and working sessions before then, but nothing was official until January. We were working on a space-themed game for the first few months but then switched to The Stifling Dark in March, right around the time that COVID-19 hit our area.
What started off as a simple idea for a horror board game turned into our full-time endeavor, as we spent many weeks developing the core mechanics of the game and performing countless internal playtests to see how the game was progressing. The game looks much different than it did nine months ago, but each change we make moves us one step closer to our final design.
Perhaps our biggest achievement in all of 2020 was our last-minute decision to participate in Gen Con. We had done zero marketing and had only playtested with our friends up until that point, but we figured we’d give it a shot. After all, the worst that could happen would be that nobody would sign up to play our game. Little did we know all of our events would fill up and we’d have the busiest weekend in our company’s (short) history!
The amount of interest that was shown in a prototype game from a no-name company was quite surprising, but was certainly welcome. We had the pleasure of playing with over 30 strangers across 10 different sessions and got a lot of great feedback that we implemented in the months following the convention.
Fast forward two months to the end of October, and we released our official demo version of The Stifling Dark on the TTS Workshop. We’re still working on gaining more exposure and getting more people to play it, but we’re happy we finally got the official demo out there for anyone to play if they happen to stumble upon it.
Throughout this entire time, we’ve been working with our artists and have finalized the Adversary and Investigator artwork. We’re also getting close on the box artwork and will be starting the board artwork soon. As of now we’re planning on creating most of the cards and tokens ourselves, although we might ask for a bit of help from a graphic designer to make sure everything looks good.
As mentioned in the previous blog post, we’re also working towards creating a couple of physical prototypes to try out once it’s safe to do so. COVID-19 has made it a very unique game design process since we’ve been virtual for the entire development of The Stifling Dark, but we’re eagerly awaiting the ability to get together and playtest it in person. There’s just something about playing in-person that can’t be replicated no matter how good the digital platform is.
Looking forward to 2021, we plan on attending more conventions (whether they be physical or virtual), starting out with Con of the North in February. We’ll definitely be participating in Gen Con again, and we are also looking into a number of other conventions.
We’re also expecting to finalize the other map and Adversary in the first half of the year and are hoping to launch our Kickstarter later in the year. We have quite a bit of networking and promoting to do before then, so that will also be a major focus this year.
That about sums it up. It’s crazy to think that we’ve come this far in the past year, but the best is yet to come! We look forward to another great year of game design, and hopefully a much better year outside of work.
We wish you all a healthy, safe, and happy New Year!