John Company: Second Edition

Created by Cole Wehrle

John Company late pledges have closed. John Company will have limited availability in Q3 2022. Sign up for our mailing list if you want to be notified when John Company is back in stock. Pax Pamir and metal coins available on

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Dates! Pledge Manager! Late Pledges!
over 1 year ago – Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 07:08:02 PM

You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again. THANK YOU! You are all incredible backers.  You came out and brought this project to life, and we couldn't do it without you.

Cole and I took a few days to rest from the campaign, and now we're back at it. We spent the weekend in St. Paul working on John Company, and boy howdy, the coming months are going to be exciting. Graphic updates. Production samples. Design completion. We'll cover it all in future updates, but before we get there, let's do some house keeping and talk schedules.

Next Up

When a Kickstarter project ends, pledges needs to be processed and confirmed. This can take a couple weeks to account for everything Kickstarter needs to do so that all pledges get either fully processed or automatically cancelled from failed payment. After this payment processing period, we start our pledge manager period, when we'll confirm pledges to get ready for fulfillment.  If you have any problems with your pledge, please reach out to and we'll be happy to help you out. Moving forward, let's chat about some dates and the pledge manager period!

Dates + Pledge Manager (Backerkit)

We partner with a 3rd-party pledge manager to help keep our Kickstarter organized and ready for fulfillment. Backerkit is our pledge manager platform, where backers will primarily confirm pledges and delivery information. We also use Backerkit to help backers select add-ons, as well as charge accurate shipping prices, which will be processed a few weeks before we start fulfillment.

Starting on May 3rd, we will be sending out our first pledge manager emails to backers. We'll send a few surveys at first, but by the end of the week, all of our backers will have received an email from Backerkit about your John Company pledge.

Please complete the pledge manager survey early to help us keep this campaign organized! This is a crucial step of the project. The sooner backers confirm their add-ons, input their delivery address, and submit payment information for any remaining balance due in Backerkit, the more accurate our logistic plan will be. Allows us to be smarter about how we split up and ship replacement parts too! Because we're starting production of Pax Pamir very shortly, we'll be ready to ship from the manufacturer to our fulfillment hubs relatively soon! That means we'll need to lock all pledges that contain Pax Pamir items Backerkit orders by July 1st. John Company pledges won't be locked until later this year, likely Oct 1st. 

A locked pledge means you have committed to your add-ons and delivery region, so you'll know exactly what will be in your package. This does not lock your specific address or charge payment. We will confirm delivery addresses a few weeks from when we start fulfilling in your region, and importantly, we will process payment for any Backerkit Balance this summer too. Fulfillment and payment processing dates will come in several weeks. Generally speaking, backers recieving their pledge from VFI or Aetherworks will have their pledges charged and addresses confirmed in July/August and most other backers in August/Sept.

If you have Pax Pamir items and John Company items in your pledge, you'll will have your pledge locked on July 1st. Pax Pamir items will be removed from the pledge manager add-on list for all John Company backers after July 1st, so be sure to confirm your pledge early if you want any Pax Pamir items. 

Late Pledges?

If anyone missed out on our Kickstarter campaign that wants in, you can join as a late-pledge backer during our late-pledge grace period! For about 2 weeks from May 17th to June 1st, you can pledge for items on our Backerkit late-pledge webstore (live on our campaign page May 17). You will be able select any of the KS rewards/add-ons at the same KS price. After the grace-period, the Backerkit late-pledge webstore will still be live for several more weeks, though they will not be listed for the KS pledge price.

I'll send out another update later next week once Backerkit surveys are sent out. Feel free to leave any question below in the comments, or if you have a specific question about your pledge, email us at for help. 


Thank You
over 1 year ago – Wed, Apr 21, 2021 at 01:12:18 AM

Dear backers,

First of all, I guess I should say hello. I am overwhelmed by how many of you have joined this campaign in just the past few days. If you are new to this Kickstarter or Wehrlegig Kickstarters specifically, let me tell you right at the start that I'm so glad to have your support. I cannot wait to share the next steps of this project with you all.

A few hours after we launched the campaign, it was clear that it would blow past our expectations. Drew and I are naturally pretty cautious people and so we did our best to ignore the campaign's success and just continue doing the sorts of things we like to do. We kept working on the game, kept editing rules, kept answering your questions.

But,  this didn't change the fact that the campaign continued to shatter our expectations. This is all the more amazing because we tried to offer everyone a sober campaign. When we were planning the page, both Drew and I wanted to build a campaign that reflected the game honestly. We didn't want to dress up the fact this was a tricky historical game with a complex subject that makes demands of its players. We wanted to present it in an honest light. For this reason, I was as heartened by comments of support as comments saying that they were going to pass on the game for one reason or another.

And it turns out plenty of you wanted this game! I've been working on John Company for so many years, I can sometimes forget the broader interest in the design. This is an immensely personal project for me. It dovetails closely with my scholarly training and my interests as a game designer. I feel immensely privileged that I will be able to share this game with you all.

I want to say too a word of thanks to my brother Drew who ran this campaign like a consummate professional. I've worked on a number of Kickstarters in the past, and there is no one I would rather share a project with than my brother. His focus and kindness shine through every comment, and he's an excellent developer to boot. I also want to thank both of our families. Over the course of the past few years, they have extended us a deep reservoir of patience and trust. Without them we simply could not tackle such a large project.

We'll have a lot more to share soon,  but for now we're going to take a few days to rest and recover. Drew will be visiting this weekend, and we'll be building a new physical prototype and inaugurating the next wave of playtesting. Soon, we'll have a fresh cut of the game for everyone to play and we'll include instructions for how to get involved in the testing. And, of course, as we get new art and make decisions about the physical production we'll be sure to keep you all updated.

I'm delighted to have you all along for the ride. 

The Final Stretch and a Surprise Stream
over 1 year ago – Tue, Apr 20, 2021 at 07:08:08 PM

Hello everyone,

We have entered the final stretch of this remarkable campaign. Who would have guessed that a game like John Company could possibly raise over 700,000 dollars?! We'll be talking more about what the success of this campaign means for the project in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted everyone to know that the performance of this campaign has given Drew and I considerable latitude, and we cannot wait to tell you more about the game's production.

Eighteenth-Century Kickstarter

To celebrate the end of the campaign, I'll be doing a short stream this afternoon at 4:30 CDT (9:30 GMT) on our Twitch channel. I'm happy to take any questions you might have and will also talk a little bit about the origins of John Company, how the design has changed over the past decade, and the ground we still have yet to cover.

Drew and I have really enjoyed running gameplay streams as well, and we hope to stream more games for you all as the game nears competition. 

Schedules + Designer Diary + Solo Design
over 1 year ago – Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 03:13:48 AM

Hello Hello!

Quick status update. Since there are two separate printings happening during this campaign, we have a couple different timelines that I wanted to briefly mention before the campaign wraps up next week. 

We are already nearing the end of our pre-production phase for the 3rd printing of Pax Pamir, so we are still on schedule for mass production starting up in the coming weeks! Folks getting Pax Pamir and add-ons won't have to wait too long before getting their pledge, but this does mean that our Pledge Manager period will be somewhat shorter compared to other campaigns! After our campaign, we'll have a separate update with Pledge Manager instructions and an estimated timeline for the Pledge Manager window about when we need to lock pledges, charge cards, and confirm addresses.  John Company is a while from getting there, and John Company pledges will have a slightly different timeline for locking and confirming addresses etc, but we're still moving forward on development for the time being. Again, we'll have more details after the campaign about the Pledge Manager!

As always, if you have any general questions about the campaign, feel free to comment below, or if you have specific concerns about your pledge, email us directly at and we'll try to get it sorted out ASAP.

Designer Diary 3

If you want to read more about John Company, Cole wrote another Designer Diary over on BGG where he gets into the design's history of negotiation. Promise cubes to Promise cards! If you are interested in more of Cole's writing and have not read the other Designer Diaries yet, you can check out the first and second post on BGG!

Solo Designer Feature

Okay, let's wrap up this update with a short conversation with our solo design collaborator! If you have not seen it already, Ricky did a solo design preview video you can check out below. There are lots of small adjustments to the design coming down the line, but the video does a really great job of getting to the core of how this automated opponent will figure into John Company. There will be future videos to come!

Tell us about yourself and where you are based?

I’m Richard Wilkins, though most folks in the board game arena know me as ‘Ricky Royal’ from the Box of Delights YouTube channel, which is now in its 10th season. I’m a board game player, primarily presenting solo board games on the channel, and have watched solo gaming grow and grow in popularity over the last 10 years. I will confess that I love a 2-player head-to-head contest best of all, brain versus brain, and see a battle of wits as the epitome of board gaming, having grown up playing Chess and Cribbage. I’m a graduate of Computer Science from the West Country of England, a place I was born and raised and love. Now a software engineer, with a busy family life, I love a problem to solve and have enjoyed throwing myself into the world of board game design.

How did you get your start in solo design?  

I’ve always been a lover of board games, ever since I was a child playing with my family. It was a way we could spend time together and have fun together. I loved all kinds of sports and games as a child, but discovering Chess very young was something that started me down my own path of being interested in competitive gaming and really trying to understand the science of games and how they work.

Can you describe your work?

I have worked on many collaborations now, primarily as lead or consultant design on solo rules, though I have also designed my own game, Renegade, which was published back in 2018, and which is getting a reboot this year with Victory Point Games. Collaborations are a great opportunity to work with others passionate about game design, to learn and share new ideas, and in particular solve the problem of how to make a clever solo variant. Working on Box of Delights, showcasing solo designs at a point in time when the industry was just starting on its rapid ascent, I was able to meet new people - publishers and designers, as well as other gamers - and get involved deeper in the industry. It has felt like a great privilege to be able to work with lots of different people making lots of different kinds of games; people who have inspired and then supported me in continuing to strive to create new ways for the soloist to play board games.

What’s your process like when working?

There is no one more enthusiastic about a game’s design than the designer, and to spend time working with these experienced artists is such an education. They understand their game and know what its heart is; and I, as solo designer for someone else’s game, make it a priority to embody the soul of their game in the solo game. So although most times those designers are looking for me to design something fresh and without their preconceptions, getting to know them and the goals for their design are very important to me as collaborator, in order firstly to be sure that I can deliver something that works, and works well, but also to be sure that I can deliver something that embodies the essence of their game.

Creating solo games means spending a lot of time with a design, getting to the heart of what makes the game special, and identifying the key elements of the game that make playing it feel special. This means I am always looking to work on games that stand out from the crowd, and games that give me an opportunity to be creative with my ideas. With every project I take on, I feel I am learning new things about game design, and searching for new ways to challenge the soloist so that THIS game is one that stands out from the crowd in the solo gaming world. The game should present a challenging puzzle and tell a good story. Without the dynamism that goes on above the table in a multi-player game, a solo game must create its own drama, in order that each play gives the soloist exciting memories. As a designer I like to play and play and play, to find the story and the drama and the puzzle. Sharing that experience with other gamers, other soloists, is its ultimate reward.


Thanks again everyone! 


Development Update and Artist Spotlight
over 1 year ago – Fri, Apr 16, 2021 at 02:23:18 AM

Hi Backers!

We just funded past $600,000 and that is ASTOUNDING. Cole and I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled we are to make and deliver our games at that scale. Clearly backers like you want to see more game like this! It is because of your direct support on this platform that we can make projects like this (and others in the future) with this same rigor we brought to Pax Pamir. Thanks for being here <3

Gah, I promised I wouldn’t gush until the end of the campaign, so here’s the rest of the update about development news and another artist spotlight in the meantime.

Development update

Unlike other Kickstarters you may have backed, this new edition of John Company is somehow both nearly design complete and also undergoing significant development during the crowdfunding period and in the months following. While the game's main systems are stable, Cole has been spending last several weeks balancing the game's advanced scenarios, especially the deregulated game. He's been looking forward to this stage of the process for a long time. Back when we first decided to do this project, balancing these scenarios was a top priority. But, of course, you can't work on the scenarios till the core engine is close to complete! 

A couple weeks before we launched the Kickstarter, Cole created a development branch of John Company that he's been pushing on since. The success of the KS has meant that Cole has been able to spend most of his Wehrlegig time working on the game rather than drumming up interest in the campaign. 

The coming weeks and months after the Kickstarter will be filled with adjustments to the core mechanics as well as graphic design/art updates to the development files. We'll continue to keep everyone updated as we have things ready for general access. Hopefully by the summer we’ll be ready to share final rules and art, but for now, we still have a lot of playtesting and tweaking ahead of us.

Of course, development hasn't fully swallowed Cole. He'll be sharing another designer diary in a few days about the negotiations in John Company and might be doing a second development AMA on Twitch before the campaign ends. 

Artist Spotlight

I’m thrilled to highlight another one of our amazing collaborators, Amita Pai, who has been a delightful partner on the project for contributions on the artistic direction of the India map and ganjifa event tiles.

Tell us about yourself and where you are based?

I'm Amita Pai and I am a commercial artist who loves painting, sculpturing & dancing. I am based out of the vibrant & cosmopolitan city of Mumbai.

Describe your work and what you did specifically for John Company!

The art that you see are all Ganjifa inspired. They have a lot of rawness along with vibrancy in them. I designed each keeping in mind the aesthetics, details & significance to each region. A lot of research has gone into their designs, as usually this art form is predominant with god stories & Persian influence, but for John Company, I had to get deep into the history so the pieces were more relevant to the period. I wanted to do to the cards justice as regional symbols for the game. It's a beautiful amalgamation of traditional art form & history!

How did you get your start in illustration?

I’m equally glad & honored that I have been able to get an opportunity like this. I’m very new to the world of board games and haven't played any modern board games yet! My cousin has been playtesting Cole’s games and believes in my passion for art.

As I am new to to the world of board games, I was hesitant in taking up the project, but I was filled with confidence from my cousin & Cole, and that did the magic. My 1st illustration was commissioned as a sample which turned out very well & then the journey began!

What’s your process when working?

If I have a clarity of thoughts, ideas, and concepts surrounding a project and the prerequisites of the project are also clear, it is much easier for my creative mind to get to work. I usually work on canvas, MDF board, paper variants, glass, clay etc. However, for this ganjifa art, I used 200gsm thick old card paper to achieve a right texture & thickness with acrylic paints to create rawness in them which makes them look vintage & royal.

Where can our backers see more of your art and follow your work?

You can view few of my art pieces on my IG the_little_artist89 or can connect with me on Twitter @amitapainayak


Thanks again and as always, if you have any questions about your pledge or our campaign, you can reach out to us on email at or drop a comment below on Kickstarter.