Publisher Perspectives on 2020: An Interview with Mike Young of Plan B Games

A Note from The Opinionated Gamers: In lieu of our normal convention coverage, we’re doing publisher interviews about upcoming releases, asking their thoughts on the events of 2020 and other topics. Today’s interviewee is Mike Young of the Plan B / Next Move / eggertspiele family of game companies. Mike is an extraordinarily kind person — one of the greats in the hobby — who has done fantastic work on social media and BGG for Plan B. You can read more about him at his BGG profile.

It is sad that we won’t get to meet at Gen Con or Essen this year, which is normally how I notice upcoming product lines.  What games does the Plan B / Next Move / eggertspiele family have coming out this year?  What are the release timelines?

Alma Mater debuts in August on the Eggertspiele imprint – A spiritual successor to Coimbra, Alma Mater has players serving as the heads of a university competing to be the most prestigious university in the land.  To do that, players will need to recruit the best professors, chancellors, and students while also publishing books to share your school’s research.  It’s a clever engine building game that harkens back to the designers previous titles – Coimbra, Lorenzo il Magnifico, and others. 

Era: Medieval Age expansion (Rivers and Roads) debuts this fall on Eggertspiele – a great expansion to the world’s first “Roll & Build”.  This offers players new structures, rivers, roads, and more!  

Next Move is prepping the release for 5211: Azul Special Edition. We all love 5211 and are happy with it’s success, but think the Azul aesthetic will help draw even more eyes to this fast playing, smart card game!

Beez is expected to release in the Fall. By Dan Halstad, Beez is a charming and beautiful game that has players navigating around a bed of flowers to collect nectar…I mean score points.  The cleverness in the design is with the movement dial – it serves to orient the bee, decide how far to travel, and how to store the nectar (and score points).

Plan B Games is debuting the final chapter in the Century: Golem trilogy and is expected to release in late summer/early fall. Keep your eyes peeled, because this game will also be mixable with Century Golem titles to create a variety of unique games.

For the record, I’m most excited for the expansion for Era: Medieval Age!

Without the opportunity to connect at conventions, how are you reaching out to gamers over the next few months?  What is the best way for them to keep up with the new games coming out?  

We are pretty active on Facebook, but I often engage fans on BGG and the board games subreddit.

For the aspiring game designers, are you still accepting submissions, and how can they get in touch?

We aren’t seeking submissions at this time. To credit our designers, we our product slate prepped for the next few years. If the design is genuinely exceptional, reach out – but just have expectations managed. 

Do you think things will mostly return to normal in 2021 (or whenever the dust settles), or do you see any big changes to how we play and buy games? 

2021 is going to be interesting. I think all of us are watching how Covid is impacting our physical spaces.  With conventions cancelled this year, we look forward to the future.  I think there is a lot of hesitation still (and others who don’t seem to mind it), but we don’t have any interest in creating anxiety amongst fans. If it feels safe, then I suspect the hobby game market will see a return of conventions.  However, whenever (if that even happens) we will see less foot traffic and less desire to. With some economic indicators pointing towards a recession, I do think we’ll see a rise in hobby game sales – people cancel trips to Disney during recessions and reinvest in various entertainments (games, dvd, music, books, etc). Without dispute it will be an interesting year and one that has a lot of potential and opportunity, but very likely will be hanging under the gray cloud of covid.  

This entry was posted in Commentary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply