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Rising like a phoenix

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Some might recognize AstroNavigators from another project. After a stormy experience with that other project called LunaTix, it was clear the board game was unique and needed to shine with the help of some professionals in the board game industry.

During that previous campaign, I found myself isolated in an environment that was quite unfamiliar with the board game community. After some persuasion, I got one shot with a Kickstarter campaign. Such a campaign is a bit like hell, especially if all the weight is on one person. What I did learn was the enormous support from people who saw the rough diamond that was hidden from the spotlight. In the end a turbulent experience is more worth than a list of do's and don't. What surprised me the most is that a backer can really be a big support no matter the outcome. This way I might say, the experience was exhilarating. I was so caught up with the production of the game, that I couldn't put enough effort into campaigning and aesthetics within the given deadlines and budget. This experience felt more as a kickstarter hazing. You want to get this first bad experience if you have to, but with the hope that it would be over as soon as possible, while getting the most out of this experience as possible. After the hazing, drunk by mixed emotions, I needed some time to burn down the old version in order to let a new one rise like a phoenix.

One of the most important lessons is be your own boss, take your time, invest in professional quality and build up a community, and most importantly, do this in the right environment. No matter how good your pioneering idea is, the endeavor is to confront the unknown specializations, and this is best done in the right community. Board Game Geek has the ideal environment to fall and rise again. During the LunaTix campaign, the project has been laughed at, but advise did follow the moment they see you are serious about getting it right. The platform brings not only gamers, but designers and publishers together. It's there where I found my professional designers who can let a rough diamond shine.

Being your own boss sounds nice, but calls upon a lot of determination, planning and experience. Determination followed from a bad experience, but in such a way that standing up after falling is being encouraged by people who support you, especially if it is not because they love you like family, but because the potential in your project has been recognized by outsiders. I was shocked that my work environment was quite apathetic towards the project, but surprised by the support from the backers and other designers. This experience also resulted in a shift of work environment for the project, while I am listening to advice of the backers and discard all strict burdens like school environment, age difficulty mitigations, deadlines, budgets, accountability, waiting for approval or worse... disapproval, etc. I am not planning to go commercial, but I am planning to go more professional with more support.

Astronomer João Luna
Brazilian astronomer João Luna with a brass armillary sphere from 1800 by Diego Sanchez

A good idea needs a good story. People love good stories and playing a board game shouldn't feel like homework, so in that regard I decided to take the time to let the graphic designer and illustrator being soaked into my world of knowledge and season it with cultural, technological and artistic backgrounds of exotic astronomical instruments that define our human nature. Such stories trigger a sort of mystery waiting to be unraveled. In the meantime while taking your time, a community needs to grow around your newly created universe. Taking your time helps to spread your financial investments as well as a small publisher, while working in your spare time on the project ;-). This is where this adventure starts, with blogging and unveiling characters in the game, functioning like cultural ambassadors.

During my first Kickstarter campaign, I met backers from all corners of the world, from New Zealand and Japan to the US and Brazil. In that regard I want to provide the game with some more cultural insight while making it look less educational, and more adventurous.

I will still be popularizing astronomy and space flight, but outside its environment, and I am taking the project on its odyssey into the board game community.

Welcome to AstroNavigators, join me on a journey of human discovery of space and time... Help me to get it right this time and follow the new stories, gameplays and artwork!

Vincent V.

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