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The Story Behind Cabalian Games

Pirate ship clipart
landscape view of Dalton United Methodist Church
Full-color logo of Cabalian Games

What do pirate ships, an old stone church, and the city of Baltimore have to do with the site now before you? We're glad you asked.

How it all began

When Lance was in his early teens, a couple from the church he attended opened their home to the local youth group for a night of board games. Little did he know what impact that night would have on the rest of his life.

What they played, you see, were not your average games that everyone and their grandmother have played. These games were different. The featured one of the evening took up an entire table, draped with a fine blue cloth that transformed it from a simple wooden surface to the open waters of the high seas. And on the high seas, there sailed an armada of pirate ships.

The hours slipped by like minutes while these ships traveled from island to island, finding buried treasure and defending their loot from treacherous neighbors. Battles were fought, ships were sunk, and gold was hoarded by the ton. When the time came to pack everything up and head home, a fire had been lit in Lance's imagination that refused to be extinguished. He and his friends spent the next several years collecting as many of those pirate ships as they could find and continuing their adventures on the seven seas. 

It wasn't enough for Lance to play the same game over and over again, though. As time went on, he would tinker with the rules, borrow components from other games, and create new variations that expanded the original game. His friends enjoyed the changes, and it was only a matter of time until he moved past simply modifying a game to creating a new one entirely. 


The Game Studio

The perfect opportunity presented itself in 2014, when the same couple from church who had hosted the youth group game night opened their own board gaming studio to the public. Every week, Lance would gather with fellow board gamers from the surrounding towns to enjoy familiar games and learn new ones. The experience he gained from this led him to try his hand at designing a board game for the very first time.

It was, of course, a flop.

But the lessons he received in accepting criticism, learning from his failures, and persisting in his efforts would serve him well in the years to follow. The owners of the game studio became good friends with him, their mentorship providing the support he needed to take his game designing to another level. In just a couple of years, Lance would be ready for a fresh test of his design skills.


The Unpub Convention

In 2016, the Unpublished Games Network held its sixth annual UNPUB Convention in Baltimore, MD. For a modest registration fee, aspiring game designers from across the country could showcase their work to willing playtesters. Lance attended with his two mentors from the game studio (who were also designing a game of their own) and brought his two most promising prototypes, titled Good Knight!  and Cabalia. Together, these games were the foundation of what would eventually become the realm of Cabalia. They were well received by playtesters, but they lacked something vital to truly set them apart from others' games: a deep, compelling backstory!

It was always a pet peeve of Lance's that modern entertainment seemed to leave only two options for a practicing Christian: either interesting storytelling mixed with objectionable material, or downright corny storytelling that was morally clean. Why couldn't someone tell a story that was both interesting and clean, he wondered. Such questions simmered quietly in the background of his mind when he entered the workforce and suddenly found himself too busy to focus on publishing his board games for a time.

The Seed Sprouts

Around the summer of 2021, Lance resumed work on his board games. The possibility of exploring and expanding the backstory of Cabalia as he did so intrigued him, and for the rest of the year, he did just that. What started as the idea for a short story grew quickly into a full-length novel, The Secrets of Shadowcrest. Based on the positive feedback to his work and his passion for developing the world of Cabalia, he decided to found his own online business:

Full-color logo of Cabalian Games with undertext

We exist to publish quality books and board games that share the story of Cabalia with the world. It's an ambitious project, but we sincerely believe that with your support, this will be the place where new worlds come to life. So what are you waiting for?

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