Anno General

Anno – One Year In

Rambling Backdrop

I was in 4th Grade in 1998 when I got my first starter pack of Pokémon cards. It was the original sets released in the United States. This predates Pokémon Yellow. This was the world of Red and Blue and only 151 to catch.

The Blue Pokémon for my Gameboy included 151 stickers, about half an inch by half an inch. Each one had one of the original Pokémon’s sprites with its corresponding number in the Pokédex. I put a sticker, in their order on card sleeves sheets of 3 by 3, ring holed to fit in a binder. Anytime I got a new one, I would reveal that another empty spot had been filled. My father encouraged my collection. He was born (no joke) almost exactly 9 months after the Japanese surrendered, a bit older than the other Dads. I think to him it was similar to baseball cards. He probably appreciated it as an ironically non-electronic and thoroughly American hobby.

A year in, 1999, I hit puberty. My old blue binder, appropriately decorated in the untrained sketches, made its way from my desk, to my book case to a box. My mother kept it for decades in plastic storage bin, protected but hidden, never firmly located but definitely not lost. It hung out with the other trinkets while I was off doing God knows what for 22 years.

Christmas of 2021 was the first one after my father died and my first after sobering up. In the course of the holiday season, my brother-in-law and I started talking about Pokemon cards. He is six years younger and his experiences with Pokemon are a bit different than mine. He knows way more about the wider array of new versions that have come out in this century. Like me, sports and girls eventaully drew him away from it, for a while. As we have aged, the nostalgia has really set in. He had pulled out his collection during a recent move and had been thinking about upgrading the container they were in.

We agreed during Thanksgiving dinner, that I would dig up my collection and we’d take a look though them on Christmas eve, when everyone was together again. After some looking, I pulled out the blue binder with a bit of relief. Thankfully it was intact and basically unchanged. Miracles of miracles, there was no moisture exposure. The cards in their sleeves and the sheets pressed flat and together perfectly. The binder was full. It formed a rectangle on every side, so it fit perfectly in-between layers of yearbooks. The edges and corners remained as flat as they were in the 20th century.

I came with the cards, and he came with cash. We went through the collection and after a bit of time we came to a price. We were both very gentle with the negotiating, so it became more of a trip down memory lane. I got a strange feeling of pride seeing the small stickers on the sheets of clear pockets. Applied well, given the other examples of my handywork at the time.

I was happy to get rid of them. It was a surprise to me that they had survived. I wasn’t looking to put their survival in my hands to the test again. I am usually very attached to things like this from the past. Especially since it was so well preserved. In this case it was technically staying in the family and was becoming a part of a bigger collection so I didn’t get a feeling of loss. In the end, they are referred to as Joe’s old cards after all.

Simple, Affordable and Consistent

I find myself going down Wikipedia rabbit holes frequently. As I write this there are no less than thirty tabs open on my phone that contain a wide variety of half digested topics that seem to multiple effortlessly. I have gone from the ancient Roman mint in Tier to subatomic particle spin types via a stroll through some light metallurgy. Shortly after selling the cards, I got into a several day, on and off binge of card games articles and videos from all over the world.

The new info about card games hit the entrepreneur in me… along with the contrarian. When everyone is running towards digital, why not make something tangible. Not a new fad or remaking scheme. Something that is simple as in it doesn’t require a bunch of accessories or complications to use. Affordable to the degree that, it is much easier to make something great if there are no cost constraints. Something great and simple is much rarer.

Consistent as in, from year to year, it can be enjoyed. Note: That is not to say there will not be an App…

Anno Prototype and First Printed Deck
Left: 1st Ed. Anno cards, Jan 2023; Right: Anno prototype as of Jan, 2022

After two weeks of brainstorming and statistical analysis, I sat down with some index cards and wrote out an experimental deck with just names on one side. It was tweaked a bit but for all intents and purposes the game mechanics were established and have remained basically unchanged. From January of 2022 to May I played it myself as if four people were playing. I played with my wife. I played with her family. The countless hours presented occasions for new rules to fit odd situations.

Original Painted Frame 2 of Anno Cards.

I spent several days painting panels, acrylic on canvas. Very quickly I realized I did not have the training to pull off what had been in my head. It forced me to lean into a kind of primitive look. I decided that the motif would be European tribal to make my level of skill compatible with the planned look. After painting them, they were scanned. The rules were streamlined and by July we had our intellectual property with the patent and trademark office. After two bids I had the first 1,000 decks printed.

Why Anno and what is Impar Ventis?

Anno is basically Latin for year. Anyone familiar with the game should be able to piece together the rest. You will notice that there are few words on the deck. Those words are for design and look. In reality, the symbols on Anno cards are all that is needed to decern which other cards they match to. Just so you know, Impar Ventis means “Odd Winds”. It was made last to fill out and balance the ‘Weather” cards.

We are releasing a number of posts that will be going over frequently asked questions from our testers and some strategies they started using. This is a fledgling field, so I want to get those lessons learned to you. Not only can you use them in the game, a look over of strategies will help new players solidify their understanding of the game.

Impar Ventis Anno Card
“Odd Winds” Anno Weather Card

Why Nouveau Riche – Blue Moon?

Nouveau Riche and Blue Moon were the names of two different military contracting firms from the late 2000’s and early 2010’s that I either owned or worked for respectively. As an ohmage, the names were combined, and the two companies were reborn as one. Blue Moon as a card was created first before I made the connection to the Blue Moon Corp of my youth. I couldn’t just use that name. One name just wouldn’t go without the other in some way. I am guilty of being pretty sentimental sometimes. Right now, Anno is of course our main focus but we are already developing several new game projects into game prototypes. Check in here to get the latest that we are cooking up.

What to expect from us.

This is a short history because that’s all we have right now. But it is not the end, this is just the beginning of the history of Anno. If you made it this far, take the time to like and subscribe to our social media, Nouveau Riche – Blue Moon, Corp. I have a lot of hopes for this company, but it is going to take time. We have been concentrating on the basics and I finally feel like I can divert our time and resources to expanding and marketing and not I.P. and UPC codes. I’m very excited about all but one of our contributors. I will let them introduce themselves here when ink hits paper.

Finally, I am Croatian-American. Fourth generation American but still majority Croatian blooded. We will have a separate group of posts that will be mostly my Anno related translations into Croatian. The current goal is to make all of our resources and posts available in both English and Hrvatski. Not because it is such a mammoth block of customers. Just because.

May Month Anno Card
“April” Anno Month Card

I look forward to sharing everything we are working on with you in the coming year. Try to unplug a bit more. Try a deck of cards like no other deck of cards.

Croatian-American Businessman with professional backgrounds in American civil litigation and N.A.T.O. centric military contracting. Creator of Anno the Card Game and Managing Partner of N.R.B.M. Corp.