FryxGames Story

The story of how 4 ordinary brothers pursued their dream.
April 18, 2023
8 min read

A short summary of FryxGames story, from its forming in 2011 to today.

Jacob, Enoch, Daniel, and Jonathan grew up in Karlstad, Sweden, in one of the largest families of the country: 10 brothers and 6 sisters squeezed into a large apartment with no TV. With no shortage of players, and a common interest in creativity, we often gathered around our large kitchen table to play and create games. Our father, being a math and physics teacher, already made his own games with a heavy emphasis on realism and simulation. Jacob, being one of the oldest of the the kids, soon took the lead in creating new games, inspired by classical Trading Card Games.

The first decades, it was mainly a hobby project kept for ourselves and our friends (yes, we could fit a lot of friends into that apartment too). As a large gymnasium project, Thomas and Daniel, #7 and #8 (yes, sometimes we refer to each other by birth order), developed one of our father’s survival simulation games from the 70s into a more modern game named Wilderness. This was the first step taken where we would aim to get the game out on the world market. Unfortunately, the design was turned down by several publishers. However, Daniel didn’t give up, but kept working on it for almost a decade more after that.

As most of us grew up and moved out, started our own families and getting kids of our own, meeting up with all the brothers and sisters became rare. But you could always count on another brother or sister getting married, bringing us all together for a grand celebration. And it was in one of those occasions, the day after our sister’s wedding, that Enoch (#6) suggested we start our own board game company, taking the fate of our own games into our own hands. Instead of depending on other publishers, we would publish our own games, contacting factories and manage all the print files, setting up logistics, warehousing, everything. “Who’s with me?” was the basic question Enoch asked. Although many of us love board games, not everyone was convinced about taking it to the next level. FryxGames was formed by Jacob (#2), Enoch (#6), Daniel (#8), and Jonathan (#14) in 2011.

Jonathan, Enoch, Jacob, and Daniel in the beginning of FryxGames history, working on a prototype of Wilderness.

The first mission was to finalize Wilderness and Space Station and bring them to Essen Spiel, the largest game fair in Europe. Daniel got going, making 16 copies of Wilderness by hand. Printing cards on his home printer, cutting chipboard map pieces, modelling characters in clay, making his own molds, then molded tin figures for the game. And then, of course, painting them by hand to create 16 luxury copies of our first game. Jacob, Daniel, and Jonathan worked together to design the cards for Space Station and sent them to a printer for a low quantity print of 100 copies of Space Station. It was a labour of love, which definitely felt like mass production for us, although the quantities were moderate.

In Essen, people flocked to our booth to see the games. I believe they had to see what crazy project could possibly cost 160€! That had to be good! It was of course the hand made Wilderness. We sold out the copies we brought in just 2 days. We got the feedback we needed to aim for the stars. The next year, we published our first 3 mass produced games: Wilderness (by Thomas and Daniel), Space Station (by Jacob), and Brawling Barons (by Benjamin and Jonathan). And from there, we carried on. From the start, all of us had other jobs. FryxGames was a hobby we worked on in our spare time.

In 2014, we released Fleets, Daniel’s next game, a game of space dominion. But behind the curtains, something greater was boiling. Jacob had already spent a couple of years developing a game about transforming the planet Mars into a habitable new Earth. We noticed an immense surge of interest in the Mars theme at that time. The Martian became popular as a book and then also as a movie starring Matt Damon. Elon Musk started talking about Mars colonization. Mars One was preparing for a manned mission to Mars. Every science magazine has at least one article related to Mars. The culture was screaming for a game about Mars, and we were not the only ones who noticed this, although we had the head start since we had been working on it since 2011, after that first Essen visit.

In 2015 we made the hardest decision we ever made. We had to decide whether or not to publish Terraforming Mars in its current form, or wait 1 more year to develop it further. We ended up postponing the project 1 year, and instead releasing an expansion for Fleets. But it was definitely the good decision to make. During that year, we made some significant changes to the game, gathered support and publishing partners to join the first print run, and improved the graphics a lot.

2016 was a crazy year. The market previously had very few games referring to Mars at all, but this year would see the release of several Mars-themed games from various publishers. Our game was sent to reviewers and pre-released at Gen Con, where it sold out completely. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive and the first print of 10 000 copies sold out before it was released in retail. We proceeded to print 20 000 copies more, and they sold out just as quickly. Then we printed 40 000 games, and they sold out. By this time, we had already found publishing partners for many new languages, expanding the reach of the game even further. For those who are interested, 10 000 games as an original print volume is huge. Most games produce 5000 or less for their first print. This great volume was made possibly by the then-CEO of Stronghold Games Stephen Buonocore, who believed in us and in our game idea, and pushed up the volume by ordering most of the first print run.

Jonathan, Jacob, Daniel, Enoch, and Isaac showing the brand new published Terraforming Mars.

The game climbed rating lists and ended up rated as the world’s 3rd best game ever, only surpassed by the popular legacy games Gloomhaven and Pandemic Legacy. At the time of writing this, 7 years later, it holds the rank of the 6th best game through all times.

Subsequent years were mainly focused on bringing expansions for Terraforming Mars. But we also released our 6th game, After the Virus (by Jacob), a cooperative zombie apocalypse game. In 2022, we released Daniel’s third game, Angel Fury, an epic board game where 100 angels clash with 100 demons in the battle over a human soul. This was a dream come true for us, and especially for Daniel who had always dreamed of making a miniature game. 2023 has been a year of working on many different projects, but we managed to release our first game for kids, Isaac’s (#9) own design GET.

All 4 of us are now working full time with FryxGames, and we have also hired 4 more siblings to join in our efforts to bring great games to the market. Kezia and Thomas are working with us on the web shop and internal play testing. Isaac is working as illustrator and graphic designer for our projects, and Nina works as business manager.

Now here we are in 2023, and we’re looking forward to next year, which will be our greatest publishing year ever, with these titles aimed to be released:

  • Terraforming Mars: Prelude 2
  • Terraforming Mars: Automa
  • Terraforming Mars: Vastitas & Amazonis
  • Terraforming Mars: Utopia & Cimmeria
  • Terraforming Mars: Milestones and Awards
  • Fate – Defenders of Grimheim
  • Kingdom Legacy
  • Wilderness (2nd edition)
  • Castle Builder

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