Happy New Year everyone! 2021 was quite the year for us here at HGG, with certain projects running late, and some fascinating new ones in the works. With so much going on, we thought it was time to give you all a rundown of what’s been happening at Holy Grail Games over the past year, as well as what you can expect from us for 2022! Let’s get stuck in.
A new arrival
Our biggest internal news for 2021 was hiring a new team member: Jérémie Prugneaux! Jérémie joined us in April 2021 as a graphic designer and illustrator. His arrival brings our team up to five people. Jérémie has already done some amazing work for us on our future projects (including our upcoming release Encyclopedia), which we can’t wait to show you!
2021 also brought our first ever straight-to-retail release: Caesar’s Empire! As a small publisher, this was a huge and very exciting step for us. It was also our first time working with a licensed IP, and no small one at that. Caesar’s Empire is set in the world of the bestselling Asterix and Obelix comic books. It was released in France and Belgium in November 2021, and Germany, North America and the UK in mid-december. You can find out more about the game here, but if you want a copy you’d better hurry as they’re flying off the shelves!
Our current projects
As many of you will know, we experienced long delays for several of our Kickstarter projects and retail releases. Over the past 18 months, the whole board game industry has been left reeling from the fallout of Covid19. We’ve encountered many difficulties with getting our games finalized, manufactured, shipped and delivered.
The issues began during the 3-month lockdown we had here in France in March 2020, which had a strong effect on our production schedule and our team. Working from home proved to be very challenging for us, making working together on things like play testing and rules finalization much more difficult and time-consuming than usual. Many of our projects ground to a halt as we struggled to adapt to these new conditions without putting anyone’s mental or physical health at risk. It has taken us many, many months to catch up on that lost time.
We did eventually catch up of course! Once all of our late projects were finalized, we hit a new obstacle when trying to take them to production. The global shutdown meant that factories struggled with a very backed up workload, which has at least doubled the time required for sampling and prototyping. The time it takes to print and ship a game has tripled. Container shortages mean costs have quadrupled, and individual shipping costs are still much, much higher than they were two years ago.
All of the factors above have snowballed into substantial delays for the projects we crowdfunded just before or during the peak of the Covid crisis. We’re now managing to fight our way back to normality as several of our projects have started delivering, but many of you are still waiting on games you backed with us.
We’re really grateful for your continued support and patience. While we continue to provide regular updates and answer all of your questions on our different campaign pages, here is a quick overview of each of our current projects:
Titan, our expert network-building game, financed in November 2019. With an incredibly ambitious 3D board and beautifully sculpted components, it was our most technically challenging project ever. Due to an extremely long prototyping process, Titan is a year late, but shipping is now underway! Delivery to our European backers will begin this week. Our North American backers will unfortunately receive it a little later due to container shortages, but our shipping partners have reassured us that the situation should resolve itself quickly.
We can’t wait to start seeing it on your tables! Titan is a Kickstarter exclusive game that won’t be available in retail. If you would like to obtain a copy, we will have a limited number available on our website once delivery to our Kickstarter backers is complete. Feel free to sign up to our newsletter to be notified when it is available!
Museum: Deluxe financed in December 2019 and should have been delivered in December 2020, but is currently running a year late as well. Production is now underway, and although the factory continues to struggle with their workload, we’re relieved that the project is now in its final stages. A huge thank you to all of our backers for their patience! Museum: Deluxe will not be available in stores, but similarly to Titan, we’ll have a limited number for sale on our website once it delivers.
Museum: Pictura, our standalone sequel to Museum on the theme of art curation, financed in March 2020 and should have delivered in March 2021. As a comparatively small and simple project, it suffered fewer delays than its two predecessors, and has now been delivered to all of our backers! Museum: Pictura will be available in game stores this month.
Rallyman: DIRT, the standalone sequel to Rallyman: GT, financed in July 2020 and should have been delivered in July 2021. Rallyman: DIRT is a huge project, as it contains the Rallyman: DIRT core game, 5 expansions and a full reprint of the entire Rallyman: GT line, including translations into several new languages. This project is currently running six months late due to the extended prototyping and sampling process, but we’ve been working hard to push through the pre-production phase as quickly as we can. Rallyman: DIRT will be delivered to our backers for Q2 2022, and will arrive in retail for Essen 2022.
Dominations: Deluxe was one of the three crowdfunding projects we did in 2021, composed of a reprint and Deluxe box for our award-winning, expert civilization building game – Dominations: Road to Civilization. We were absolutely delighted at how many of you jumped on board! The project financed in May 2021 and finalization has been going really well. We ran into some issues with the box insert, which we designed ourselves. The prototyping process was predictably slow, but we are now moving into pre-production. As we were careful to ensure that all other files got finalized very quickly, this project is already very advanced and should deliver on time.
The Rallyman Car Collection was our second crowdfunding project in 2021, and our very first project on Gamefound! These highly detailed metal cars were in high demand from our community of Rallyman players, and we were happy to oblige. Produced in Spain in partnership with the wonderful team at Corvus Belli, this project has already been produced and is currently delivering to our backers.
Tiles of the Arabian Nights was our final crowdfunding project in 2021. This tile collection game about telling fabulous stories to your friends was a true passion project for us. It’s probably the most fun we’ve ever had with promoting one of our games! This project was funded on Gamefound in October 2021, and pre-production is already underway. The pledge manager will be opening very soon, so stay tuned if you would like to find out more!
Changing the way we work
We are happy to admit that we were completely caught off guard by just how badly we would be affected by the fallout of Covid19. Up until now, we’ve always worked with a crowdfunding-centric model, meaning that games we present on Kickstarter or Gamefound are unfinished projects.
Once they’ve been financed and we know that people are interested, the lion’s share of the work begins, with rules finalization, translation and searching for distribution support still needing to be done. However, working this way leaves us vulnerable to fluctuations of the market such as those that resulted from the Covid19 crisis.
To avoid any repeat of the considerable delays we’ve been experiencing, we’ve completely overhauled the way we work here at HGG. Each project we present for crowdfunding will now be far more advanced than in the past, if not fully finished. This means that we will be able to take games to production far more quickly once funding is complete. This is more of a risk for us, as it means investing heavily into projects that might fail. However, we have faith in our games, and we also have far more support from our distribution partners than ever before, so it’s a risk we’re willing to take in order to deliver our projects faster.
So far, this new system has worked wonders for all of the projects we financed in 2021, as they are all currently already in the pre-production phase or delivering!
This gives us high hopes for this year’s projects, and boy, have we got some stuff in store for you…
Coming this year
We’ve got some exciting games coming up in 2022, whether you’re an expert player or looking for a more quirky experience!
Encyclopedia will be our first project of 2022, coming this March. This dice-based worker placement game was designed by Eric Dubus and Olivier Melison, the authors of Dominations: Road to Civilization and Museum.
Encyclopedia is a challenging yet accessible game that brings some exciting new twists to the worker placement genre. It is gorgeously illustrated by Ronan Toulhoat, Joëlle Drans and Jérémie Prugneaux, with 75 different mammals, birds and reptiles from all over the world. You can find out more on the official game page right here on our website, or the Encyclopedia Board Game Geek page.
If you would like to try the game before it launches, Encyclopedia is also available for digital play on Tabletopia!
Other games in the works
Of course, that’s not all we’re working on. We have some other exciting projects coming up too! We don’t have too much to show you just yet as the illustration work for these games is still underway, but here’s a little sneak peek at what you can expect to see from us over the coming months!
Copan is a gritty, expert worker placement game in which you play as a noble family in the ancient mayan city of Copan. You’ll be battling it out for supremacy as the city falls into decadence and destruction.
Railroad Madness is a fast and furious a train-themed dexterity game.
The League 1936 will be our first ever narrative adventure game! You’ll be stepping into the shoes of adventurers solving mysteries in a pulp, comic book setting.
Of course, these project names are subject to change. We’ll have more information about all of these upcoming games to share with you very soon. We’ll also be sharing our production calendar with you all on a regular basis.
Here’s what it looks like at the moment:
If you made it this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article, which turned out to be quite the novel.
We’ll be back soon with more news!