'Colostle' illustrator finds success with imaginary world

An author and illustrator has found success with his unique fantasy adventure role-playing game (RPG).

Gloucestershire-based author Nich Angell wrote, illustrated and published Colostle in 2022, funded by 3,000 RPG enthusiasts through a £45,000 Kickstarter campaign.

Colostle - a combination of the words castle and colossal - is a book set within the walls of a magical building so huge that oceans, cities and mountains can be found in individual rooms.

It sold 10,000 copies and won an international award, its sequel, also published last year, has sold 5,000 and counting - and Nich is writing the third in the series now.

"Colostle was a side-project, an idea I just needed to get out of my head and on to paper so I could focus on what I thought were more important things," Nich explained.

"Now it's a hardback, large-format book and I make my living off it."

Nich Angell at work in his studio
Creating a fantasy world takes hours of dedication

The book is written as a solo RPG similar to Dungeons and Dragons.

But rather than sitting around a table with friends, readers keep a diary of their day-to-day adventures in the fantasy world, which also involves using a standard deck of cards to decide outcomes.

"It has always been my dream and passion to bring fantastical things to life in drawings, stories and games," said Nich.

"World-building is my favourite part of every concept I work on. I find it exciting to use art and stories to make a brand-new fantasy world come to life."

After taking its readers through some basic rules and hints, Colostle encourages them to journal about their daily exploits in the fantasy realm, effectively writing the book as they go along.

Colostle has been nominated for several awards, winning a gold in the Ennies, which is the Oscars of the board-gaming world.

"I flew out to America to receive my award last year at GenCon, which is a massive games convention. It really was an incredible honour," he said.

"I have never received an award before and I still can't believe I won," said Nich.

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