Gen Con 2013- First taste

As I sit here trying desperately to get everything in place, before I make the 24hr drive to Indianapolis, Indiana, a few things come to mind that I would like to share. First, time moves faster than you can imagine! Originally I thought that I might be starting my Gen Con preparations a tad early, when I started planning this spring it seemed like a distant mountain. It turns out that my preparations were none to hasty, if anything I will start earlier next year. I find myself almost ready for this year, but not quite. We will be demonstrating our first game Space Junk in the “First Exposure Playtest Hall” which is exciting, unfortunately I ordered the prototype cards for the game just a few days too late. They are now in transit but will only be arriving on Wednesday, and I leave on Tuesday! I’m trying to get the shipment rerouted to the hotel we are staying at but I’m less than hopeful that will work. I guess it’s a lesson learned, I will have to get some lesser versions made at Staples.

On a more positive note, I can truly say that I feel blessed with the opportunity to go to Gen Con. One of the most exciting things about going is being able to meet in person many of the wonderful people that have built and shaped the gaming industry, people who I have come to admire and look to for wisdom, weather they know it or not. I would already like to thank several people who have made a positive impact on me, even though I have yet to meet in person. Michael Mindes of Tasty Minstrel Games, for sharing his experiences through his blog’s and podcasts. Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone from Stonemaier games for doing the same. Board game media outlets that keep me entertained and give wise lessons to would be publishers, The dice tower, Crits Happen, Watch it Played, The Undead Viking just to name a few. These great people are what makes this industry an amazing place to build a business in. One more person I must mention is our very first BGG fan-Joseph West or daivos on BGG, thanks for being number 1!

As I’m not sure anyone will actually read this blog I guess I will stop now, It’s just the beginning of the journey. Here some links to the pages and people I mentioned earlier:

Tasty Minstrel Games-

Stonemaier Games-

The Dice Tower-

Crits Happen-

Watch it Played-

The Undead Viking-

Lamp Light Games

Recently, as I reflected on the board game industry and my choice to build a business designing and publishing games I again asked myself the question that has been heavy on my mind of late.  Is there a vacancy in this industry, a space for another new publisher? There are already many great companies publishing some amazing games, many of which I have had the chance to play and enjoy with my family and friends.

The desire to build and run a business has been with me for as long as I can remember, with my grandfather and father both being successful entrepreneurs the desire comes naturally. Having run a few small businesses I have gleaned some excellent lessons along the way, the foremost being service and following through on promises. It’s not always easy to keep true to commitments but it can make or break a business venture. In my experience there will always be room for new companies in this industry so long as they follow some basic principles. Serve, connect, and possibly most important, be honest and open with your customers and supporters.


It has been a couple of years now that I have been working at launching Lamp Light games, although we only officially launched in March of 2013. I was working on several games in a small group but hadn’t yet found what I was looking for to push me off the edge, until I met Leif Steiestol. I was attending a local game night at the Dragons Den game store in my local city, Saskatoon. The gentleman who was teaching the game had an uncanny attention to detail and his passion for the games was clearly evident. As I got to know Leif better he let me know that he had actually designed several games already, and had been encouraged by friends and family to get them published. Leif has entered several of his games in design contests and has done quite well. He has also won a contest to have his idea added into an expansion for the game “Smallworld”  The rest is history as they say, Leif has joined the LLG team as our lead designer and I can’t wait for the public to see what he can bring. Regardless of where LLG ends up it is my firm belief that Leif Steiestol will become a household name in the game industry.

We also have several other key members on the LLG team helping in different areas such as design, graphic design and concept art, financial, administration, rules editing and shipping support.

Our first official game Space Junk is set to launch on Kickstarter as this issue of CGI releases, it is a collaboration between myself and Leif with the rest of our design team also playing a big role in the development process. We plan to launch several more games in 2014 including Leif’s first solo design.

Mike Friesen
Lamp Light Games