It’s January. Jokes are over. We begin the Operation: Essen 2012. It’s been like that in Portal for years. October means the Essen fairs, in November we take a break and rest, and in December we look through ideas, prototypes and different sketches we’ve collected over past few months. Then comes January.

In January we begin working on prototypes and new ideas. We analyze and discuss them. Finally, we choose the one we think is best and has the biggest chances for success. The one we want to present during the next Essen fairs.

In 2007, before Essen, Michał Oracz showed us his newest game prototype. He worked on it for the rest of the year and in January 2008 it was all clear – we will publish a game about a wizards duel. This is how Witchcraft was born.

In 2008 I had my idea for a game about a castle siege. It’s been a couple of years but I still remember how nervous I was when in January I came to the firm with a big sheet of paper with a castle drew on it to present my prototype to the rest of the guys. We decided that the game has a big potential. We began working on Stronghold.

We closed 2010 without an idea for a new game… We closed it with a finished game. That year we published Pret-a-Porter in Poland. We didn’t plan to publish it in other countries, but as weeks went by, that idea became more and more tempting. The reviews in Poland were incredible. Everyone was asking us the same question: “Are you going to Essen with this?”.

We didn’t want to do that. Pret-a-Porter was completely different from our previous games – theme was so strange. And cards – they were full of text. We also knew, that if we sacrifice another few months to prepare international edition of the game, we won’t have anything new for the Polish market.

Tough nut to crack. You have a great game on the table and a decision to make. Do you start working on it’s new edition? Or maybe put it on the shelve and begin a new project?

Finally, we decided to give Pret-a-Porter a chance for an international career. We had a lot of time. We designed the best, most legible icons in the history of Portal’s games. We balanced the game even more. We added few new, great cards. We went to Essen 2011 with a fantastic game. Thanks to many months of hard work we polished up Pret-a-Porter in the smallest details.

What’s more, we still had a lot of time to rest, clear our heads, look for new ideas and prepare for the next year.

It’s January 2012. Again, there’s a lot of prototypes on our table. We have second 51. State’s expansion, we have a two-players card game, we have a new cooperative game, and couple of new armies for Neuroshima Hex. January is a month of playing and discussing. A month of decision making.

In a few weeks our publishing plan will be ready and approved. We’ll begin the Operation: Essen 2012.