Never Board Games' story
My name is Tim, I’m one of the owners of Never Board Games and this is the quick version of how we came to be.
Never Board Games began as a passion project after a failed Dungeons & Dragons homebrew campaign. I had designed my own standalone system for a naval combat for a multitude of ships that would have been utilized in the climatic finish of the campaign that never came to be. It was going to be epic. But as most D&D campaigns tend to go, players got busy, and bailed out.
After testing the naval system with a few friends, I was encouraged to continue developing it and see where it could go. Sure, how long could it take to see where it could go?
After some time had passed, I had a working prototype of Old Salt, which was called “Fleet Commander” at the time. I brought the prototype to the local game store in Austin, Texas where I lived at the time and worked up the courage to ask a few gamers if they’d like to play my game.
This was a terrifying experience in my mind, I’m sure the gamers could hear my heartbeat as I approached. They obliged my request and played my game despite being surrounded by published board games from wall to wall.
The gamers were incredibly kind and had a lot of great ideas to offer. The difficult part was not hearing their feedback, the difficult part was recognizing that I was no where near completed with this game. If anything I had merely taken the first step of a marathon.
After taking the next right step and failing forward many, many times for about 4 years, I am ramping up for Kickstarter. At some point in that time I had created the LLC in case the worst case scenario occurred, lots of people suggested getting an LLC because of X, Y, or Z but it kept me on the path and made things a bit more official.
Leading up to the Kickstarter I had the opportunity to work with ATD partners for my advertising efforts. This was the same company my wife worked for (still does). During a meeting to go over Ad strategies, the CEO, Moses paused the meeting to ask me if I would be interested in going full time with the company. It was an incredible offer that accelerated my professional career path into the world of game design.
I happily accepted and went full time into ramping up Old Salt for the Kickstarter campaign.
The Kickstarter was a massive undertaking and we ended up successfully funding the campaign. Woot! No time to celebrate though because we now had to make the game a reality.
After a few months, the final game files were sent over to the manufacturer and Old Salt was out of my hands. Finally. What a journey that was!
This is where current day NBG starts to take shape. Moses asked me to brainstorm what the next project should be. Up to this point I had only seen board game publishers make more board games. I wasn’t ready for that journey just yet and tried to come up with other ideas.
We ended up running with a hybrid idea from my two favorite jobs. I used to teach group piano lessons to elementary aged kids with iPianolabs.com. It was an incredible job and I thoroughly appreciated it. I also loved game design and the creativity and problem solving it provided.
The idea formed into “Little Creators Club.” A program that teaches groups of kids how to create their own board game.
Eventually, parents who had their kids participate in the club joked with us how much fun it would be if the parents could design games at their local brewery. So we designed Drinks and Designs and took it to breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
That essentially brings us up to today. We are excited to bring more program offerings to Never Board Games but that is a ways off yet. For now, we are proud to offer Old Salt and board game design for all ages. We also work with companies from time to time to create board games to enhance their products or expand on their lore.