Sinister Fish Games was founded by Dave Clarke, who started playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1981, aged 8. Dave started a LARP club aged 14, and has never stopped playing games. He has previously been a rubber sword maker, learning support person, affiliate marketing manager, web designer, leatherworker, and sign maker.
In 2015, Dave decided to try being a tabletop game designer, but evidence indicated that this would result in his death from starvation. He made the marginally more sensible choice to became a games publisher instead.
Sinister Fish Games currently has one full time employee (Dave), and one part-time (Carly).
We believe that publishers should not have a financial relationship with the people who review their games. We think this is better for gamers, better for reviewers, and encourages publishers to publish better games.
We don’t enter into any kind of financial relationship with the content creators who review our games. We provide one free copy of a game to the reviewers we choose to work with.
We pay select content creators for informational how-to-play videos and Kickstarter preview content, but we do not solicit reviews or opinions from those creators.
Sinister Fish Games compensates event crew at a higher rate than the UK’s National Living Wage for workers aged 25 & over, and provides accommodation as required. Playtesters are currently not paid.
Games are for everyone. Sinister Fish Games does not tolerate sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or otherwise offensive remarks or behaviour. These constitute harassment, and have no place in our hobby.
We aim to publish games that promote fun & friendship, and we believe in having respect and care for everyone regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion, political belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
Climate change is the most pressing concern of our time. With so much at stake, we don’t think it’s enough for businesses to aim for carbon neutrality. Rather, they must become carbon positive; reducing future emissions and capturing historic ones.
For its part, Sinister Fish Games will:
- Partner with the registered charity TreeSisters to fund tree planting in an effort to capture more carbon than we emit.
- Continue to power and heat our office space with 100% renewable energy.
- Continue to recycle our waste paper & cardboard.
- Use FSC certified wood products in our games.
- Seek out and act on ways to further reduce our emissions and our use of single-use plastics.
This approach is a work in progress. If you can help us come up with a more accurate carbon footprint estimate for our manufacturing, or know of ways we can better compensate for and capture C02 emissions, please get in touch.
How do we calculate our emissions?
As a small business it’s hard for us to come up with an accurate estimate of our C02 emissions. You can’t just Google “what is the carbon footprint of manufacturing a board game” and get a simple answer, so all we have are educated guesses. However, because we’re aiming to be carbon positive rather than neutral, our estimate doesn’t need to be perfectly accurate – we just need to overcompensate by a decent amount.
Our games are mostly made of paper & cardboard. Speaking very broadly, we estimate that to manufacture 1kg of cardboard generates 0.33 kilograms of C02. This doesn’t take into account printing, non-cardboard components, or the running of factory machinery, but if we heavily overcompensate we think it’s safe to assume that everything is covered. One 40ft shipping container of board games (say 20 pallets at 500kg each) costs about 1 ton of C02 for its ocean journey from the factory to our distributor. Again, these are very rough figures, but they’re sufficient for our purpose.
From this, we can roughly calculate of how many tons of C02 we generate when we print a game. We recently placed an order for 25,000 copies of Streets and Villagers, weighing an average of 1kg each. From this we can estimate that the C02 cost to manufacture and transport these games will be about 15 tons.
How do we compensate for our emissions?
We’ve chosen to sequester our C02 by planting trees, in partnership with TreeSisters. An average tree absorbs 1 ton of C02 over the course of its life. So 15 trees would technically cover our 15 tons of C02, but they’d take 100 years to do so, assuming they all survived. Clearly we need to capture C02 faster than that, and since we want to do more than break even on our C02, we should plant many more than 15 trees.
This is where TreeSisters comes in. Not only are they an utterly brilliant and inspiring organisation, but they charge just £0.40 ($0.50) to plant a tree. At that price, we can clearly afford to multiply our tree planting by quite a bit. Multiplying by ten and planting 150 trees might cover us, and multiplying by a hundred for 1,500 trees surely would. However, we are a small company with low overheads, and we make enough profit on 25,000 games to go a bit overboard with this, so instead we’ll multiply our 15 ton C02 estimate by a thousand, plant 15,000 trees, and be fairly confident that we’re giving more than we took. Until a better solution comes to light, we’ll do the same for every item we manufacture from now on, based on the weight of goods produced.
“TreeSisters invites everyone to do as much radical good as they can for the planet. Our global network of treesisters are transforming both lives and landscapes in extraordinary ways. TreeSisters offers unique global programs that focus on encouraging women’s leadership, Nature-connection, and significant behaviour change as we make the shift from being consumers to restorers. TreeSisters is funding the restoration of environments, biodiversity and communities within 10+ major ecosystems around the world, through a diverse portfolio of vetted, trusted reforestation projects. Join us in making ecological restoration the new norm.” – www.treesisters.org
In 2021 we funded the planting of 15,000 trees in partnership with TreeSisters.
In 2020 we made a donation to Black Lives Matter UK, and became corporate sponsors of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (now Blueprint for All) and the Pathways Fellowship. We also sponsored the planting and care of 50 trees with Treedom.
In 2019, we planted 50 trees with #TeamTrees.