Last year around this time we were traveling on airplanes and eating in restaurants and choosing to be willingly packed into crowds at Red Rocks enjoying our favorite music. In retrospect it feels weird that we were ever okay with strangers breathing on us, but time has a funny way of changing things. It would be remiss to not acknowledge the pain and suffering that 2020 brought. It was a tough year for everyone, but especially for small businesses like ours. We feel so grateful and humble to have survived the year, and have gone into 2021 with tons of support and fuel to create from the humans and organizations that support us – humans like you. We love you!
We’re optimistic 2021 will be better, and this morning we’re thinking back to the parts of 2020 that didn’t completely suck, with a 2020 Stellar Factory highlight reel.
2020 was the year our pizza puzzle dreams came true. When we set out to make a jigsaw puzzle, people could still go outside and play. That being said, our favorite Friday night was frequently spent devouring a slice of Cosmo’s (extra spicy ranch, IYKYK) and assembling a jigsaw puzzle. It was on one of these random introverted Friday nights that the idea hit us – let’s make a puzzle shaped like a pizza. With some retro inspiration Toy Story’s Pizza Planet as well as with the perfect designs from the humans over at Helm’s Workshop, Pizza Puzzles shipped to hungry puzzlers in February 2020 after a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over 17K. Choices for pizza flavor included Veggie, Meat Lovers, and Pepperoni, with some unexpected mystery toppings thrown in there too. Rad! If you missed the Kickstarter, fear not, you can still get your greasy fingers on a pie over here.
We’re really excited about Card Assassins, a project that we took over in 2020 that should be in your hands later this year. Card Assassins is a different kind of game than what you’re used to – you can play it anywhere, anytime. Even when playing a different game! In Card Assassins, you’ll assassinate your targets by getting them to say one of your Kill Words, any way you can. The last person standing wins. We put the the final touches on this over the past few months, and filmed the game trailer and how-to with our favorite team at Human Design back October 2020, with all the masks and hand sani. It's currently in production and we’re hoping it will hit the literal and virtual shelves within the next few months! We can’t wait for you to play. You can sign up to be notified when it's available here.
Our lead designer, Matt, grew up in Massachusetts and spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house. Some of Matt’s favorite childhood memories are of the endless strawberries patches that she would maintain on her property during the summer. This game is dedicated to her, and is one of our favorite highlights of 2020. The game’s art is something we’re really proud of, and we’re working on a version for a solo player. We can’t wait for summer strawberries, but until then, you’ll find us playing Strawberry Sunset all winter. We recently restocked this after selling out during the holidays, and it's now available again.
Buzzfeed Gift Guides
Werewolf is one of our very first products, and has been a fan favorite from the beginning. We were so excited to see this product get some big attention in 2020, when it was given shout-outs in several Buzzfeed Gift Guides. Buzzfeed has always been one of our favorite sites for content on the internet, and we feel so honored that our small indie game shop was mentioned, not just once but several times. Grab Werewolf here.
Stellar Factory Website
We’ve been making games and selling them online since 2012. Werewolf used to ship out of our apartment living room, and is now stocked in Amazon warehouses literally all over the world. We’re so grateful to have grown, but with the increased production, we knew we needed a new website. With all the extra time at home, 2020 was the year to do it. In 2020, the Stellar Factory website got a makeover, with better product photos, more payment options and reviews included on products. We try to stay humble, but this new page is something we’re really proud of.
Blank Playing Cards
We believe that games bring people together, and that anyone can make a game. With a little imagination and a lot of motivation and hard work, anyone can design and execute. We really believe it and this product released in 2020 was designed to support the amateur game makers of the world. Blank Playing Cards are perfect for prototyping a new game, studying vocab words, or passing love notes. The cards are made with casino quality paper, are easy to shuffle and hold, and absorb ink quickly. Grab a few decks for a creative session here.
Guest Evaluator at CU
We’re inspired by our friends who teach Game Design at the University of Colorado. Danny Rankin and Matt Bethancourt were our partners in creating our game Ravine, and we’re constantly motivated by their creative and cooperative grind. In 2020, despite classes being held virtually, Danny and Matt pushed their students to get creative with designs, and encouraged them to make games through the lens of 2020, including on Zoom and virtual platforms. We were so grateful for the invitation to observe classes and serve as a guest evaluator/commentator to give feedback on the unique games that students came up with in 2020. We can’t wait to see where some of those games end up in 2021.
2020 was a tough year, but even in the rough, there were a few diamonds. We know we couldn’t have done it without the support of you, and we’re hoping this year is (a lot) better for everyone.