In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to express my gratitude for various types of people who have had a positive impact on me and Stonemaier Games this year. Perhaps some of these people will be good resources for you as well.

In no particular order, I’m thankful for…

Backers, Fans, and Followers (FacebookTwittere-newsletter, YouTubeInstagram): None of this would be possible without you, and I really appreciate your patience in this year of freight shipping woes. Thank you for supporting our games, and thank you for sharing them with others. Our 2021 releases are Red Rising, the Secrets & Soirees expansion to Between Two Castles, Rolling Realms, and the Arts & Architecture expansion to Tapestry. It’s been really helpful when you’ve signed up for prelaunch notifications for new games–it helps us plan ahead, and this year’s signups resulted in Stonemaier Games donating over $12,000 to some amazing charities!
Stonemaier Champions: I’m incredibly grateful for the 6,747 Champions who support the 100+ blog entries and 150+ YouTube videos I create each year for creators and designers, and having Champions use their 20-25% discount on every order (among other perks) to buy directly from us has been a huge help in stabilizing the sustainability of Stonemaier Games.
Business Partners/Coworkers (Alan StoneMorten Monrad PedersenJoe Aubrey, and Alex Schmidt): It’s so helpful for me to always have people who know the business as well as I do to bounce ideas off of, playtest with, be accountable to, and delegate to, especially in areas where I am weak and you are strong. This is the first year that I’ve had other full-time coworkers, and both Joe and Alex have been incredible additions to the team.
Retailers and Distributors (retailers who sell our productsTop Shelf GamerMeepleSource): You are the backbone of our supply chain. Thank you for being the bridge between Stonemaier and customers.
Investors: We’re fortunate to have a few investors who believe in what we’re building at Stonemaier Games and who share excellent advice, questions, idea, and insights. I’m really grateful for our shareholders.
Independent Contractors: Other than creating beautiful visuals (notable artists for 2021 releases were Miles Bensky, Jacqui Davis, Andrew Bosley, Rom Brown, Justin Wong, Marius Petrescu, Agnieszka Dabrowiecka, Laura Bevon, and Barlomiej Kordowski), sculpts (Heriberto), videos (JC), voiceovers (Megan Selke), music composition (Joel Winbigler), graphic design (Christine), photos (Tim Chuon), and experiences for our fans, I’m so grateful that these people communicate quickly and effectively–-I highly value that.
Lawyers and Accountants (Scot DuvallJustin Marty, and Tony Aiazzi): I’m very grateful to have two great lawyers to help us create tight contracts, lock in solid trademarks, and protect our IP, as well as a great accounting and financial advisors.
International Production Partners (Feuerland, Maldito, Phalanx, Matagot, Delta Vision, Arclight, Surfin’ Meeple, Ludofy, ALBI, Ghenos, Moroz, Crowd Games, 999 Games, Rebel, and many others): Thanks to these partners, we’ve been able to reach tens of thousands of gamers who wouldn’t otherwise have access to our products. I really appreciate that these partners strive to meet deadlines for translations and payments.
Replacement Part Helpers (Helen, Mark, Devon, Christian, Joe, Eric, and Yannis): To date, we have received and responded to over 25,000 replacement parts requests. I’m incredibly grateful to have these diligent helpers positioned around the world to take care of lost, missing, and broken components from our products.
Automa: The inclusion of robust solo variants in our games thanks to Morten, David, Lines, and other members of their team has been instrumental in extending our reach to solo gamers. I’m constantly amazed by how well Automa Factory is able to capture the feeling of a sentient opponent without requiring much upkeep or rules overheard.
Dusty Craine at The Mill: I really appreciate that Dusty has maintained a YouTube channel specifically to talk about Stonemaier Games from a fan perspective. Our Facebook groups are great for those conversations, but Dusty really breathes life to our fanbase through The Mill, and we’re proud to support it.
Digital Platforms (Tabletopia, Monster Couch, The Knights of Unity, Asmodee Digital, Acram Digital, Digidiced, Board Game Arena, George and the Goat, Boardspace.net, DTDA, and TTS): The skill to take a tabletop game and translate it to the digital space for more people to discover, enjoy, and learn from is astonishing to me. I’m so impressed by and grateful for these folks.
Shipping and Fulfillment Companies (ARC Global, Spiral Galaxy, Aetherworks, Greater Than Games, and HubTrotter): While most of our games are shipped in bulk to distributors, we have offered more viable direct-shipping options this year thanks to these fulfillment companies.
Co-Designers and Game Designers (Ben Rosset, Matthew O’Malley, Hoby Chou, Kai Starck, Ryan Lopez, Elizabeth Hargrave, Morten Monrad Pedersen, David Studley, Travis Jones, Alexander Schmidt, Mike Young, and others to be revealed next year): The talent and dedication of these designers is astounding, and they’ve become integral to our success.
Manufacturers (Shannon at Panda Game Manufacturing): It’s a true blessing to work with a manufacturer like Panda. Their communication, quality, care, and willingness to work with us on things like making our games more eco-friendly makes them the only manufacturer I ever want to work with.
Proofreaders: This year we implemented a new proofreading and oversight process so that a dedicated group of proofreaders can see every step of a product’s evolution during the proofreading process. I’m incredibly grateful to the time and effort that Dana, Michael, Josh, Ian, Brian, Dusty, Inga, Justin, and others have put into our products this year.
Ambassadors: Our ambassadors have made my life so much easier by answering questions on forums, playtesting our games, and making suggestions for my top 10 lists. We currently have over 400 active ambassadors–I love that I can trust this group with ideas while they’re still being formed to get their feedback. A few ambassadors are particularly helpful on an ongoing basis are Josh Ward, Jeremey Kaemmer, Joshua Heizer, and Cody Simonsen.
Reviewers, Bloggers, Podcasters, and Video Bloggers: I can’t play every game, but thanks to the variety of perspectives from other content creators, I’m able to listen a variety of perspectives from the comfort of my office. I’m also truly grateful for all of the reviewers who create compelling content to help people decide if our games are a good fit for them.
Convention and Event Coordinators (Geekway to the West, Meeplesource at Gen Con, and any convention that uses the play-and-win system): It takes a lot of work to put together a convention. I’m so grateful for the people who create such welcoming environments for old and new gamers to commune with each other, as well as the volunteers who help us at those events. I hope we can return to in-person conventions soon (when it’s safe)!
Book Buyers and Reviewers (A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide): I’m very grateful for those who bought my crowdfunding book, as well as those who also took the time to review it on Amazon. The more people do that, the more my book can help reach other creators who probably need the help more than you do.
Blog Readers, Video Viewers, and Commenters (full KS Lesson list and game design YouTube channel): I don’t create content in a vacuum–I create it for you! I hope this blog, my weekly FB livestream, Instagram feed, and my YouTube channel add value to you, and I really appreciate when you join in the conversation.
Design Day Attendees: The creative energy and generosity of time and talent at our annual Design Day is always inspiring for me. Thank you to all of the designers and playtesters who attended, and especially to Pieces Board Game & Cafe for being awesome hosts. This year was a bit different in that we had a small virtual design day, but I had a great time learning about and discussing other designers’ games, and I appreciate everyone who participated.
Fellow Creators: I love that there are so many creative, innovative creators and game designers. You all truly inspire me to be a better creator and a more interesting game designer.
My Gaming Group: Gaming is my main social outlet, and I’m really grateful to have a consistent game group filled with people who love a wide variety of games. I like that these people try to win but focus on having fun, and it’s been fun to play every other week with local vaccinated friends in person and every off week on Board Game Arena with friends outside of St. Louis.
Charity Auction Donors: The extremely generous donors (along with other contributors like Fulfillrite, Meeplesource, and participating content creators) who placed winning bids on our annual charity auction made it the biggest yet, putting our total donation amount over all charity auctions at $92,381.
Friends and Family: I’m really fortunate this year in particular that friends and family consistently jumped at the chance to get vaccinated (while continuing to where masks in places where people might not be vaccinated), which has enabled me to actually play games and spend quality time in person (unlike last year). This has been particularly important for my ability to see my father, who is currently in his 6th round of chemo–he’s as immucompromised as it gets.

If you’re a fellow entrepreneur, for whom are you grateful this year?

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