Ryan Leininger, after the success of Tiny Ninjas, has come out with a second installment, Tiny Ninja: Heroes. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Leininger)

Sylvan Lake board game creator releases new game

Ryan Leininger decided after inventing his first board game, Tiny Ninjas, he needed to make a second

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.

Based on the same tabletop board game of his original creation, he 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 $57k so far.

His original, which started as a side-hobby, has had plenty of success. It has sold in 50 countries around the world, 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, it’s in over 50 countries. 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 is out of health points. Heroes plays off that concept, with a bit 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 playtesting and development.”

He said the new game has been almost two years in the making. He playtested 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 playtesting 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, who along with his wife, owns and operates One Wolf Creative in Sylvan Lake, a company that offers photography, video, audio, graphic design and printing.

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