Steam over Holland is a board game made in 2007. I had already made a 18xx game called 18IR (iron roads), just for fun. It proved popular with the people I played it with. After playing it with one of the owners of Vendetta games a plan was born to publish it as a limited edition of 1000 games. They wanted the game to be a “flag-ship” game for the company so the production costs were not much of an issue.
Vendetta was a very small company, just a few part-timers so most of the work would be done by me, while they would take care of the finances and the contacts. We found a printer in the Netherlands who help us to produce the game.
I made a new graphic design for the board and the game components. It also needed a box, so I made a design for that also. Vendetta wanted a sleeve box as an extra, just like the old Avalon Hill game boxes. We had a bit of an argument about that because it would make the game more expensive. But in the end I designed a sleeve box for the game.
Producing the game was an interesting experience. I learned a lot about printing, sourcing components, packaging and writing manuals.
Writing game manuals is very hard if you designed the game. Things that you find obvious, are not so for somebody who is new to the game. The Dutch and English versions I wrote myself. I had help from some volunteers in Belgium and Germany to translate the manual to French and German. Looking back now, more help with the manuals by people not familiar with game would have been better. The original rules could have been better.
We had a hard deadline for the production as it was to be launched at the Essen games fair of 2007. Sourcing the components and getting a company to make the boxes and game board on time proved to be difficult. In the end the first 200 games arrived on the first day of the games fair. We had no time to correct any mistakes, so that was a bit nerve wrecking. As luck would have it the games were complete with only a minor colour problem with the wooden components. One of the companies in the game has purple colour, but the station markers were pink.
The Essen games fair was a lot of fun. There were a lot of pre-orders and got to meat some of the people who helped me with the translations. In the end it was a lot of fun to do.
More information about the game is on boardgamegeek.com.