2020: A Retrospective

white and brown abstract painting

Looking back on 2020 as we experienced it

How it started

This was going to be our year for Mathemagician’s Duel! While we were doing demos and trying to get preorders at events in 2019, we got a lot of interest, but not many people were ready to pay to have their game delivered in 6 months. Quite a few people said they really liked the game and would look for it when it came out. So when our first printing arrived in January, and we were signed up for 6 events through the spring, summer, and fall, we were excited to get Mathemagician’s Duel out to people, and having it right there to sell them! But then…

Yeah, everything got canceled due to the COVID pandemic! Bill and I are lucky to have regular jobs that we could still do to earn money while everything was locked down, and didn’t depend on selling games for our income. While there was uncertainty, we didn’t have it as bad as many others, and felt that the cancellations of the events, while disappointing, we knew it was necessary to help protect people and get us all through the crisis. (It’s unfortunate that there seem to be so many people out there who don’t agree and are making everything worse through their selfishness and carelessness.)

But despite this, we still had successes with Mathemagician’s Duel. In the gallery above are the great stores that saw the potential of our little new-business, independently-made game. They are presented in the gallery in no particular order or ranking, and links to their websites are here (in the order they appear in the gallery): LVLUP Games, Mancala Monk, Learning Tree, Lords of War Games and Hobbies, Black Knight Games, Altered States Comics, Books and Company, Face to Face Games Toronto, Grey Guardian Games, Sweet Thrills, The Guild House, Treasure Island Toys, Forbes Hobbies, Dicey Business, Dragon World, P-Market Games, Dolly’s Cards, The Dragon.
Also not pictured (because we forgot to take pictures while we were there), but still BSGames partners selling Mathemagician’s Duel are: Squirt’s Toys, XPlanet Games, Gotham Central Comics, and Nexus in Kingston.
When you need comics, games, toys, or hobby supplies, we urge you to look at these small, independently run businesses before going to Amazon or the big box store. And if they’re not local? Well, many of them will ship to you.

The internet is on computers now?

So if we can’t go out to events, what do we do? We’re excited about our new game and want to tell people about it! It turns out that there are a whole bunch of people on the internet who talk about games to tell other people about them!
Here are the people who talked about Mathemagician’s Duel: (Click on the picture for a link to the video/podcast/website.)

Brian MacDonald from Brains on Games talks about the educational value of games. This video is about the game, and he interviews me!

This couple reviews all sorts of games!
This is a podcast about game design. Both Bill and I were interviewed here.
Dustin Staats looks at using board games for educational purposes by interviewing game designers, educators, and me!
This is a family who specialize in reviewing family games that are good for the kids.
Adam and Michelle homeschool their kids using games for educational purposes. This blog has great reviews and ideas for gameschooling!

It turns out that you can also use the internet to host gatherings! Although there were no in-person conventions, some innovative people used technology to put together virtual conventions, and we attended a couple of them to play Sinoda and Say What, Now? with other people, while trying out other people’s new games and ideas as well.
You can read about our Protospiel Online experience here and Nonepub here.

And to share games at the conventions, we had to learn Tabletop Simulator, and Bill made versions of all our games to play virtually. If you have tabletop Simulator, you can play them too, for free! Find them at the links below:
Sinoda (2 players)
Sinoda (many players)
Say What, Now?
Mathemagician’s Duel

And because we like playing and talking about all sorts of games, and not just our own, we decided to do some reviews of other games we played. You can find those by scrolling back through the blog and looking for “Family Game Reviews”.

Educational Purposes

I came up with the idea of Mathemagician’s Duel to get people (mostly young people) to practice math skills without it seeming like a chore. So I was pleased when tutoring companies such as Mathnasium and Prestige Tutoring purchased copies to use with their students!
In addition, I started a Mathemagician’s Duel tournament with my own grade 8 class this year, using the Physical Distancing rules (available for free download to BSClub members). It’s a double elimination tournament with games played at lunch time, and the students are enjoying it! Some stay in to watch a game, especially if they know they’ll be playing against one of the participants next, and those who go outside at lunch recess rush to check the updated ladder when they come back in to find out who won!
If restrictions are lifted next school year, I hope to run it school-wide, with a champion from each class playing a “tournament of champions” for a school champion! And who knows, maybe another school will do the same, and we can have an inter-school championship! We are excited by the possibilities!

And next?

We certainly hope that 2021 allows us to get together again with people to share fun and games. We’re definitely going to going to visit all of those stores above (especially the game cafés!) as much as we can when it is safe to do so.
We also hope we’ll be able to share news about collaborations that might be happening soon! Keep an eye out for that.

Bill and I hope that you made it through 2020 okay, and that you’ll stay safe into 2021 and that we’ll get to see you soon!

One response to “2020: A Retrospective”

  1. I love looking back on everything that has happened in this crazy year. I was also interview at Protospiel online convention. https://protospiel.online/. The interview was great fun. Listen to my thoughts but also the other designers that were interviewed by Tank & DPS. https://soundcloud.com/user-771641186/btp-interview-bill-murphy?ref=clipboard&p=i&c=0.
    The progress because of online feedback and play testing has been amazing. What a crazy year. The work with all our games in development has been good. Love the shift that has happened with our battle game, From The Mist Battles in Between.
    – Bill –

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