The Fog - Escape from Paradise is a board game that the independent author Robert Müller-Reinwarth wants to bring to the market via his label Xollox Games. It's about an escape from a paradise island, whose inhabitants have to flee from a smoke screen. What sounds like a board game based on a familiar template does not have its roots where one would initially assume.


The artwork is far from final, but the independent author Robert Müller-Reinwarth has already had the mechanics extensively tested. And the feedback from the players is positive, the author himself even says it's "great". Most test players would remain as fans afterwards, sometimes they don't want to give up the prototypes of The Fog - Escape from Paradise that were made available to them, but at least they want to keep them longer than originally planned. "As a game developer, that makes you happy, of course," says Robert Müller-Reinwarth, who would like to finance his project via crowdfunding via Kickstarter in the coming year and thus realize it.

The Fog: A board game based on a "fog of horror"

The Fog - Escape from Paradise is a board game that makes use of a fog of horror, but not one. The game by Robert Müller-Reinwarth has nothing to do with the popular film template, but the setting was not chosen entirely by chance either. The author dares to approach the topic from the other side: Instead of starting with a good story, Müller-Reinwarth has taken on its mechanics and determined which topic fits the planned "island escape". A dangerous smokescreen was the result: "I simply saw The Fog as a sensible and mysterious reason why people had to flee this island," explains the author of his board game.

Players push their islanders towards the rescue boats. Photo: Xollo Games

Players push their islanders towards the rescue boats. Photo: Xollo Games

The idea - and that fits the rock-solid mystery theme - came to him in two nights. Actually, he had originally developed another game, which is now mostly finished in the closet. First of all, The Fog is to be realized, for which Müller-Reinwarth wants to go the way of "swarm financing". The campaign is expected to start in spring 2021, "if there are no delays in the illustration," he says. The planning is already underway, as are talks with manufacturers and logisticians - this ultimately determines the yet unknown target amount for the crowdfunding campaign.

At its core, The Fog is a competitive board game: Everyone flees with their residents from the island, from the neighboring, to the rescue boats. There are points for this and ideally you are better at escaping than your opponents. There are also semi-cooperative ideas based on team variants, the balancing is probably not there yet: there was simply not enough semi-cooperative play in the test games. However, the joint rescue operation is not off the table: "If I find a good and exciting solution for a cooperative variant, I'll be happy to add it," says the author. "So far, however, this has not been my focus, as there are already many variants available." The Fog lasts between 40 and 90 minutes per game and is aimed at up to six players, and there is also a solo mode.

Nobody could explain the rules of The Fog better than the author himself:

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Having a passion for board games is an important motivator for an author. This is also the case for Müller-Reinwarth, who has been “a passionate board gamer since early childhood” and appreciates above all the “laughing together, the silence together, the 'rattling' of heads when thinking” about the analogue game. For him, board games are also a way of relaxing. In addition to passion, persistence and frustration tolerance are important if you want to convert an idea into a board game that isn't just there, but also gets to the players, or even better, it gets to the shops. The combined role of author and self-publisher is particularly demanding, according to Robert Müller-Reinwarth "very difficult": You have to realize beforehand that self-publisher and author are two completely different things. Developing a game largely ends when you 'sell' it to the publisher. As a self-publisher, the construction of the publishing house only begins during and after the game development.”

It doesn't take long to realize that there isn't much time left for game development. "But I made a conscious decision to do it this way and I'm sure I'll be able to finish the other games that are in the pipeline. But I can also say clearly that it is a lot and very exhausting – but also a unique and great adventure.” From the beginning, his plan was to found his own publishing house and then not only publish The Fog, but also other games .

The biggest challenge for the author was the complete restart. He had to start from scratch, without having had any contact with "board game greats", without being familiar with social media - and even being noticed by the players was also a hurdle. "Every single interested party is a success and balm for the soul," says Robert Müller-Reinwarth, who has gradually learned what is important. He benefited from the fact that "fortunately there are always some players who are looking for outsider games and prototypes". In this way, he has already made great acquaintances - and, quite incidentally, also driven his board game project. Based on the test games, he has already identified some of the strengths of The Fog – Escape from Paradise: players like the variable structure and the accessible set of rules, the tactical depth and the puzzle and trouble factor. Müller-Reinwarth is quite self-critical and aware that the look of his board game still depends heavily on the prototype status. With professional support, he wants to tackle exactly these construction sites.

The Fog is to be realized in the coming year via crowdfunding. Photo: Xollox Games

The Fog is to be realized in the coming year via crowdfunding. Photo: Xollox Games

A first aha experience - one with a wow effect - was the first public appearance at SPIEL19 last year. “Incredible” is his feeling about it. And he began, as many independent writers do: “. As a newcomer, I was given a stand in the furthest corner of a niche facing the wall. My expectations were low. And yet all four tables were occupied at the same time more than 50 percent of the time. In the last two days several people have already come on recommendation. It was much better than anything I had expected.” However, not everything went smoothly: “But I also made mistakes with the flyers or with making sure that prospects were retained in some way. Some wanted to buy the game right away and I don't know if they even hear about The Fog today."

Now Robert Müller-Reinwarth is again represented at the international match days with The Fog - Escape from Paradise, this time not in the farthest corner of a niche facing the wall, but online at SPIEL.digital, but with the hope of support with it his game is also noticed among the 1.400 new products. A plus point: You will be able to try out The Fog via tabletopia, and there will even be a solo tournament via live board games.

"I just hope that there are players who are interested in trying something new and let The Fog convince them by trying it out," says the author, "and then also cheering on which of their islanders will make it onto a life-saving boat .” Further information on the board game is also available at: xollox.com/de/fog.


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Last updated on 27.01.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API