Subject: ION:SMG’s Member’s Backstage Information 2019 #2

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Ion Game Design & Sierra Madre Games
Members Backstage Information June 2019
Hi all,
The summer has just started here in Sweden! The Mass production have just started in China! Panda and LongPack now estimates that the games will be sent from them to our warehouses in August. I hope this estimation will hold, but since actual manufacturing have started I really hope so. Mass production start also means the end of pre-order discounts on our webshop  on June 16 so make sure to order before this if you want to make use of the discount.

We continue to visit fairs to meet with you who play and enjoy our games, we attended Table Top Game Expo 2019 which was held in Stockholm, Sweden. This is an image from there when me and Jon gave a speech on the main stage about boardgame manufacturing processes. And we will be attending Origins 2019 in Columbus, OH, next week. If you would like to set up a meeting then please email me. Of course we will also be at Essen SPIEL 2019 in October
Apart from getting ready for Origins game fair, High Frontier 4 All is our main focus and it is in full speed ahead and at the moment working on alpha testing. We are looking forward to High Frontier’s Kickstarter launch on October 24th.
All the best from a hot Stockholm, Sweden!   
ION:SMG will be attending Origins 2019 in Columbus, OH,
between June 12 - 16, 2019
Five games are in the manufacturing stage. The manufacturing of Bios: Genesis and Bios: Megafauna has started at LongPack. The manufacturing of Bios: Origins, Pax Transhumanity and Pax Porfiriana will hopefully start within 10 days at Panda. The final samples are being delivered to just now and we are going to bring them to Origins for anybody who is there to see. Both Panda and LongPack says that they will send the games to our fulfillment centers in August. If this information turns out correct shipping to all backers and pre-order customers will start in September. We do hope that all parties involved will be able to keep this timeline.
Full thrust on High Frontier Four All! The design process of the highly anticipated High Frontier 4 is moving full speed ahead with Neal Sofge keeping the project on track. The Kickstarter campaign set to launch on October 24th, 2019 and we will soon start creating the campaign page and share with you to get feedback. We have now also created a page for Hight Frontier 4 All on Boardgamegeek.
Heavy Cardboard play-throughs starts to roll out. A rough order have been set for our games to be featured in Heavy Carborad’s live-stream Teach & Play-Through on youtube. This is very preliminary but the order will probably be
·       Expedition Zetta
·       Pax Emancipation
·       Pax Transhumanity
·       Bios:Origins
·       High Frontier
·       Bois:Genesis
·       HIRÞ
·       Greenland
·       Neanderthal
·       Pax Porfiriana
So, first out is Expedition Zetta on June 29th at noon Eastern US Time (EDT). Here you can see what time this is where you are:,3c0
Jon will be watching and maybe answering questions through the chat.
The fact that manufacturing now starts means that pre-order discount prices will be removed. You will have until June 16 to order at the discounted price at
After that they will still be available but at standard price.
If you are a retailer or a distributor: you can benefit from the pre-order discount in addition to standard retail- and distributor discounts.. If you do not already have an account on our website then please create an account and inform us so we can add you to the correct customer group and you will get the correct discount level on all purchases. If you have any questions the please contact Pål Keller to get the pre-order prices and information about how to place an order.
High Frontier 4 All

The 4th edition of High Frontier will be  a complete overhaul of the rules, without many changes in the games mechanic or content. It is mostly an effort to make the game as accessible as possible. The ambition is also to open it for enthusiasts from the great community around High Frontier to contribute content to the game. We will continuously look at submitted suggestions for and potentially print and publish such contributions. As such the game will be modular, and some of the earlier expansions will be transformed into modules. We are in the middle of alpha playtesting and the lineup of modules may change when all space dust have settled but at this point the initial release, on kickstarter, have the following items, along with the names of people involved in the design work for each of them:
·       High Frontier 4 All: Core Game (Basic and Advanced Game) - Dom Rougier + Phil and Jon
·       Module 0: Politics (probably incl. in the Core box for KS) - Justin Grey + Phil
·       Module I: Commerce: Freighters & GW Thrusters - Jeff Chamberlain + Phil
·       Module II: Colonists: Colonization & Bernals - Jeff Chamberlain + Phil
·       [MAYBE] Module III: Space Diamonds - Jon + Phil
·       [MAYBE] Module IV: - A module by Pawel Garycki + Phi
Module III and IV may come now or in the next wave of modules. We will probably release modules once a year. Apart from these there are a number of suggested modules in earlier stage of development. Among them one for Combat may be worth mentioning. If you have a play group and are interested in playtesting, send an email to with a short description of your group, location HF experience and general game experience and we’ll get back to you if we have room to include you.
The authors Joan Moriarity and Jonathan Kay asked Phil Eklund to write an intro for the book "Your Move, What Board Games Teach Us About Life", 2019, and his text is reproduced below:
“What can one learn in a cloistered face-to-face micro-universe, in which everyone shares the same playing field? A field where culture, gender, class and nationality are irrelevant? What is the proper balance of competition versus cooperation? What do victory conditions say about value judgments? What do game roles say about identity and collectivism? Do kibitzing alpha-players destroy an unwritten play contract and suck the fun out of a game? Does the pursuit of a goal engender wounded egos, spite, and damaged marriages or friendships? Are winners and losers part of a fulfilled life, or does happiness lie instead in fairness, altruism, or Robin Hood justice? These tough questions are tackled by a pair of Canadians, one (Joan Moriarity) associated with the first board game cafe in North America, and the other (Jonathan Kay) a writer and gaming aficionado.
The book explores the history of board games as life simulations, beginning when American board games were free of their gambling stigma in the mid-19th century. Game designer Milton Bradley squarely faced issues of free will versus determinism, and produced the first victory conditions that were business-secular rather than religious-moral.  Today's resurgence of this tradition has reached roles beyond the family. As entertainment, persons are finding dynamic interactions superior to the passivity of video. In role-playing, Walter Mittys explore personalities vastly distant from their actualities. On the campus, card games such as Cards Against Humanity challenge politically correct taboos and censorship. Political simulations put various economic theories to the test and encourage discussion and debate. Businesses use games to promote learn-by-doing,  self-improvement, group dynamics, and sportsmanship.
Drawing parallels between a game and reality is contentious. The largest online forum for board gaming hobbyists, BoardGameGeek, has a policy to censor posts that pertain to a game's simulation value. "Our intention is for game forums to be strictly about the game itself.  Broader discussions of topics related to a game should be posted in an appropriate forum outside of the game forums.", according to Matthew Monin, Community Manager for BoardGameGeek.
When playing a game, one is constantly aware of one of life's greatest truths, that we all ultimately play by the same rules of life, rules that must be learned rather than created.  This is true regardless if the rules cover Darwinian evolution, survival under extreme conditions, or Scrabble virtuosity. Simulational games pit our subjective consciousness against objective reality.  Even where game rules differ drastically from the real rules of nature, the reminder that we all play under the same rules set has immense didactic value in this game called life.”
Phil Eklund,
Designer of High Frontier, Pax Porfiriana, Greenland, and Bios:Megafauna
Wishing you great game sessions until next time!
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