How “Space Mission” Happened

posted in: Jump Gate, Space Mission | 0

Space MissionWhen Schmidt Spiele first released Space Mission in Europe, I made an offhand comment on a BGG thread that there was a story about the process of getting from Jump Gate to Space Mission that I would share some day. And even with a few of the BGGers prompting me on it, I haven’t done that yet.

So, here it is. 🙂 It all started …… during the summer of 2010, a handful of months before the GAMES 100 that had Jump Gate listed at the top. (Have I mentioned before that Jump Gate was named the 2011 Traditional Game of the Year? Oh, I have? A few dozen times, you say? Okay, I’ll stop. [no I won’t :P])

Jump Gate, 1st Edition Art
My Jump Gate “art” … compare it to …

In July, shortly after the initial review in GAMES, a tester in one of the groups that played Jump Gate sent me an e-mail. She had a friend that worked at an American game publisher and she wondered if I would be interested in sending a copy of the game to her. And, of course I was interested!

In turn, that publisher friend e-mailed me a few months later with the news that while her company would not be looking to license the game (no room left in their catalog), she wondered if I would be interested in her taking it with her to Essen to show off to some of her German publisher friends. And, yes, of course I was interested!!

Space Mission Artwork Examples by Anne Pätzke (2011)
… Anne Pätzke’s art for Space Mission

Shortly after Essen was done, I received e-mails from 3 different German publishers about the game, one of them being Schmidt-Spiele. After doing a bit of research and seeking council from some published designer friends, I formally signed the contract with Schmidt-Spiele in December of 2010. Then, outside of a few house-keeping items, such as tax forms, proof of that I was U.S.-based, etc., I didn’t hear much of anything for a while.

On one hand, that was the time period where my father-in-law and my father both passed away. So, not hearing anything was probably just fine — not sure how “creative” I was feeling at that time. On the other hand, it had really been a while since any contact happened, and I started thinking that maybe they had shelved the game until the next year, or maybe had chosen to not publish it at all.

Space Mission Artwork Examples by Anne Pätzke (2011)And then suddenly, in August 2011, I got a series of e-mails from the project manager for the game with details around how testing had gone, the changes made to the rules, pictures of the artwork, and plans to get things ready for an Essen launch. I got to proof the English rules (and found a couple things to fix), vote on which edit to the trailer video should be used, and traded e-mails with the artist (mainly to thank her for the wonderful work). It was very much like the scene in an action movie where everything goes silent just before the door flies open with a bang and an overwhelming flow of stuff comes flying through the opening.

Space Mission Display at Essen 2011The game was their primary title at Essen that year. From folks I know that attended, I heard the movie-style posters were prominent and that a good number of folks were seen playing it throughout the con. This was good to hear, because I know that space-themed games have been something of a risk in the European market.

So, it was a pretty amazing ride going from an indie POD title to a large Essen launch in about a year-and-a-half. I am so full of gratitude! As you can see from my recap, this sort of thing doesn’t happen without good people giving you a hand along the way … and plenty of help was given in this case.

Space Mission's 3D Space Ship Model

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