2022? We’ve got you ready for 2023! 🪓

A very f!@#%ng year. So what? Do we need to look back? Should we, like many, put on a brave face? Or should we put our foot in it? I think I'll put my foot in it a little bit :). Not to complain, far from it, but for the pleasure of saying, shouting, that 2023 is coming.  And damn, I can't wait!

Lecture 5 min

In the closing hours of 2022, when many publishers are or will be posting their annual review, we wondered if it was relevant because this year, for the lumberjacks, has not been memorable at all, at least not in the way we expected.

Looking back at 2022…

Whether it’s the drop in sales (I’ll come back to this below), very (too) demanding personal concerns that have kept me away from the studio a little too often, or the feeling of going in circles without renewing ourselves enough, this year marks an outpouring that has been difficult for us, in every way.
When a company relies on very few things [person(s)?], one realizes that this delicate house of cards can be sensitive to a gust of wind…. 

We “only” released 2 games in 2022: One Finger (Le Jeu du Doigt) and Space Aztecs. That’s not much. 

  • One Finger – Le Jeu du Doigt👇 was a gamble. We launched it grandly early this year and unfortunately it didn’t work out the way we hoped. Let’s say it, it’s a failure… Big Kiss to Florian and Benoit, I’m still loving this game. I’m proud of the work we accomplished, of it’s marketing plan, of the French production, of everything. It didn’t work out but I just regret NOTHING. I also sincerely think that this is a starting point for future projects! 
  • Space Aztecs 🛸 has just been launched, at the end of November, 3 weeks before the holiday season and given the context of numerous releases, we are very pleased with the sale results over this mini-short period! We keep our fingers crossed that players will adopt it and that 2023 will see saucers flying everywhere 😊. A big thank you to Romaric and Maxime for the work done. A real breath of fresh air! 

All in all, 2022 was affected by a clear and widespread sale halt in the first half of the year, which scared many stores… and not only them. For us it is a pillar, Trek 12, which remains our best seller but which has nevertheless suffered from this particular context. 2022 can in no way be compared with the Covid period which marked an exceptional year for the #j2s but is only a half-tone compared to Christmas 21′ which was meant to be a foreshadowing. This year ends with inventories higher than expected, “good but not so great”! We had expected and hoped that 2021 would look like 2020… Ahem! Wrong. Added to that the global economic context (let’s skip the details, we all know what I’m talking about), we were not the only ones having a hard time. We were all affected: I am talking about the world, you, me…

Well, 2022 was crap…

BUT…

… as grandma said “stumbling without falling, is taking a big step”.

What to remember about 2022?

People. 
Tough job as an author!

In June we did a session at Père Igor’s house. I spent one of the best playful moments of the year. A simple moment, a human moment. A new complicity that made projects progress incredibly well and that will give nice outcomes in the future on other beautiful games. I thank again Jules, Romaric, Benoit and Anthony and most of all: let’s do it again next February, same place, same people (with one exception!). 

The Chalet ! We had such a great time at the Chalet with the Un Monde de Jeu team. It is always such a joy to go there. Thanks again Aline, Martin and Sylvain for the warm welcome you give us. The Chalet, we go there almost more for the human than for the games… (but we work a little in between). I think we’ll see you very soon 🤭. 

We would like, as every year, to thank all the Blackrock team for their support and the work done! More specifically, thanks to Vincent for our long discussions, thanks to Thibaut for your trust, thanks to Clément for your patience 😇 and thanks to Yoann for a bit of everything… plus the rest.

What about the team?

Yes, the team. The foundation. Not only the team has grown, but more importantly it hasn’t shrunk! And thank goodness they were there (Thank you 🙏).

  • Xavier was already half time and is still half time… What? It’s so simple put like that but we almost lost him 🤯 ! Now he’s half Lumberjack, half Blue dog! Whew. What am I saying? Woof! 
  • Caro‘s arrival in the team. The first lumberjack lady! Slowly, without pressing me too much, she pushed me to delegate… not easy but she manages to do it, sometimes! (Well, it’s two against one now) Caro helped me with our international partners working directly with them and the Blackrock Export team that she knows well :). Thank you for all that you bring to us! 
  • Cécil worked (among other things) in the shadow for a big part of the year, to offer you a brand new website, cleaner, closer to the image we want to show. The views are there. Thanks to you all. With Xavier, we have planned to regularly enrich the website with many things, publishing journals, posts that will stay! Of course, our social network pages will remain, but this year we realized that we could no longer stand the “ephemeral” aspect of the one-day post. We do not make games to sell them for only 3 months as well as our news should not be posts that will be seen for only 3 hours!

AND, as a team, we all took advantage of this long road to exchange and reorganize ourselves in order to approach the future from a different angle… 

       …in 2022 we also talked a lot about 2023 (and beyond)! And it was nice. Very nice! 

2023 (FINALLY!): 3 major projects to come! 

Disons que depuis 6 ans que les bûcherons sont debout, je n’ai pas souvenir d’une année aussi dense, du moins par l’ampleur des projets planifiés !

Dates approximatives… Oui parce que voilà, un virus chelou se répand en Chine en ce moment…
  • LUMEN of Bruno CATHALA and Corentin LEBRAT, we do it again (🤗), to be released in March/April. And we’re glad to welcome Vincent DUTRAIT at the pencils. LUMEN is a project that took a long time to mature, we’ve been working on it for a while. It was born from a 2-player version of TREK 12 and became a project of its own. There were some ups and downs. Even if we did not always agree during its development (Trek 12 was milk to Editor!) the game is eventually faithful to as we expected 😍! Thanks a lot to the authors and especially to Bruno for our rich exchanges through our 5-min phone calls ending up mostly being 1-hour phone calls to discuss about various topics… To be discovered very soon on BGA! 
  • Goddam Dilemma – Fucking DILEM. The Goddam game from Corentin LEBRAT (again? ☺️) and Théo RIVIÈRE, to be released at Spring. This game also took us a long time, with “hard word” phases and necessary resting phases. We had to mature a lot of things and learn about the “adult fun” games sector to come up with a really neat game. An original proposal in a well attended segment. We can’t wait to receive your feedback!
  • The A.R.T. Project from Florian SIRIEIX and Benoit TURPIN, illustrated par Vincent DUTRAIT. Cooperation, immersion, tension… THE perfect cocktail for your evenings with friends, bread and delicious cheese (Normand ones that stinks)! This game has already been announced to our internationnal partners and will be presented for the first time in FIJ 23’, at Cannes. I’m unveiling the cover today! Worldwide exclusivity! It’s so great to work on this project.

2023 will see a lot of work about games to come that we can’t wait to tell you about. 2023 will see Xavier as a project manager for the first time! 2023 will see a “Lumberjack’s Diary” with monthly posts to keep you updated about the progress of our projects. We planned a stunning FIJ 23’ in Cannes with a redesigned booth, lots of autograph sessions, previews and a team always at the top. And more meetings at PEL, FLIP, Vichy, Essen… etc etc etc!

In a few words

We stumbled. We’re getting back up. And we look forward to seeing you in the next 365 days for a lot of exciting news!  

Our team joins me in wishing you the most wonderful year of 2023! 

See you next year! 

Antoine – Bûcheron

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