Ryan Leininger poses with his original table top game Tiny Ninjas. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

Sylvan Lake board game creator releases new game

He simply couldn’t stop at one.

Ryan Leininger decided almost two years ago, after inventing his first board game, Tiny Ninjas, that he needed to make a second one.

Based on the same theme of his original creation, the Sylvan Lake resident invented the second installment of the Tiny Ninjas Universe: Heroes.

The Kickstarter campaign for the new game, as well as a second print run of the original, still has almost 20 days left and already has 1,100 backers and has raised $57,000.

His original, which started as a hobby, has had plenty of success. It has sold in 50 countries, with more than 2,500 copies already distributed.

“I had been a gamer my whole life and I always wanted to make a game … So I figured I could make a card game. It released in 2018, did all the manufacturing and everything myself,” he said of the original.

“It shipped all around the world. We sell it on Amazon. It’s going quite well. And I had an idea, dove into a second game and got the development through.”

The game is self-contained in a small box and uses dice and cards as two ninjas go head to head.

As the turns progress, the ninjas lose health points until one player has none left. Heroes plays off that concept, with a bit of a different spin.

“With the Tiny Ninja series, I have this magnetic box in my design, so I have to make my designs fit within that box. You start from there. I want it to be a series. The boxes need to be the same size and it all loops together,” he said.

“I did want to do something with more tactical combat, where it’s grid based, moving around like chess. Each piece had its own special abilities. Started with that and the ideas started snowballing. A lot of play-testing and development.”

He said the new game has been almost two years in the making. He play-tested it with his wife first, then moved on to conventions in Calgary and Edmonton, where he got more positive feedback.

“Everyone who has played it at a play-testing event seems to really enjoy it, so I think it’s at a place now where it’s ready to be put to production for the market,” said Leininger.

He said people are playing the game everywhere, from the living room to the tray tables on planes. He said the notes and emails have kept him motivated and are encouraging in the current economic climate.

“It’s exciting. It’s a tough industry, though; margins are very small and it’s definitely a labour of love,” he said.

“Getting those notes and those emails where people contact you, and say how much they’ve been enjoying it, that’s the biggest payoff. Knowing that your game is out there and something you’ve made is bringing people joy, is the best feeling.”

People can buy the full game on the Kickstarter campaign website or make a smaller pledge for other rewards at www.kickstarter.com/projects/2niverse/tiny-ninjas-heroes.

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