“Rising star” Mythwind publisher Open Owl Studios signs exclusive distribution deal with GTS

Open Owl Studios, the publisher of Kickstarter successes Mythwind and Stars of Akarios, has agreed an exclusive US distribution deal for its games with GTS Distribution.

The deal comes nine months after Open Owl was created by OOMM Games, after its big crowdfunding wins persuaded the publisher to launch a studio dedicated to large-scale co-operative board games.

Open Owl specialises in “immersive games with a strong emphasis on world-building” according to OOMM, which has increasingly concentrated on bigger co-op offerings since raising more than $680,000 for its Stars of Akarios crowdfunding campaign in 2020.

The strong crowdfunding showing for Stars, a narrative-driven, space-themed co-op campaign game which unfolds as a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’, persuaded OOMM to work on similarly-scaled offerings Mythwind and Stonesaga.

Mythwind, a persistent-world, asymmetrical and cooperative boardgame where you become a pioneer in a whimsical fantasy world, raised C$1.3m on Kickstarter in November 2021, while Stonesaga, a co-op, campaign-style survival crafting game set in a unique, persistent world shaped by player choices, completed a C$1.6m Kickstarter raise last month.

An updated edition of Stars of Akarios, dubbed 1.5, raised $950,000 through a Gamefound campaign last year, and the firm is also prepping to launch a Mythwind reprint campaign – although it is holding back the launch until after delays to the complete fulfillment of its first Mythwind project are complete.

The company currently expects fulfilment for EU and UK orders to be completed in “mid-March”, saying its fulfillment partner had been hit by significant delays which pushed delivery of the campaign well beyond its initial December 2022 estimate.

OOMM started off designing family-friendly titles including No Escape, Last One Standing and Battle Bears. No Escape, released in 2018, is ranked at about 10,000th place on BoardGameGeek, while Stars of Akarios sits at about 2,100 with an impressive 8.1 rating.

Brendan McCaskell, head of studio at Open Owl and the co-designer of both games, said, “We are excited to partner with GTS Distribution to bring Mythwind to entirely new audience fueled by local board game retailers.

“People love the relaxed and unique nature of Mythwind – a cooperative game without an ending inspired by ‘cozy’ video games. GTS will help Open Owl Studios make cozy-board gaming a reality.”

Patrick Day, director of business development for gaming at GTS, added, “We are thrilled to partner with a rising star in the board game publishing world like Open Owl Studios.

“Brendan McCaskell and his team have developed many stunning titles including Mythwind. GTS is partnering with Open Owl Studios to help stores get easy access to Mythwind through our distribution network.

“We are excited to find new and innovative ways to partner with crowdfunding publishers, like Open Owl Studios, and the GTS team is pleased to carry and support them as a distributor. We know there is retail demand for titles like this in local game stores of every type.”

GTS said Mythwind will be available for retailers to order from its website “in the near future”.

Last September Renegade Game Studios re-established its partnership with GTS Distribution, three years after dropping the company as one of its distributors.

The publisher of Clank! and the West Kingdom series of games had pared down its US distribution partners in January 2020 to just Alliance Game Distributors and ACD Distribution, ending its deals with GTS as well as Peachstate Hobby Distribution and Southern Hobby Supply.

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