Back For A Buck Challenge

logo-e1375768120724-300x71Rodger Hicks over at Today in Board Games has started something rather interesting. It’s a Back for a Buck challenge where your challenged to spend $1 on 10 different kickstarter projects you find interesting or think are worth supporting over the course of a month. Nearly every project on Kickstarter has a $1 pledge level and if not, you should contact the creator and tell them they should add one. You generally get two things for your $1.

  1. Updates on what’s happening with the project, news and potentially interesting insights into the behind the scenes development of the project. I’ve learned some incredibly interesting things about making a movie through the Veronica Mars kickstarter updates, gotten a sneak peak at the art and design of card games through the Get Lucky, the Kill Dr. Lucky Card Game and gotten access to early downloads of the game through the RARRR!!! Monster-Building, City Stomping Board Game. All of these were well worth the $1 that I spent on backing them.
  2. A warm fuzzy feeling inside. Link: Here

He asks you to post the projects you’ve backed on his BoardGameGeek thread as well. He’s compiled some data on how many people have participated, how many projects got backed and some other interesting information. He ran this challenge for Sept and Oct, but I’m not sure if he’s doing it for November. Either way, I thought this was a great idea and felt the need to participate, if only by myself.

Here is the list of projects that I’m currently backing for the month of November:

  1. Dead Man’s Draw
  2. Glamazons vs The Curse of the Chainmail Bikini
  3. Dr. McNinja’s Legendary Showdown
  4. <Firewall> (roll, control, repeat) Hack the Planet!
  5. Get Lucky, the Kill Doctor Lucky Card Game
  6. CASTLES – A Strategic Card Game for Two Players
  7. RARRR!!! Monster-Building, City-Stomping Card Game
  8. TWO ROOMS and a BOOM

As you can see, I still have two more projects to back before I’ve reached my goal, but I’m sure I can find a couple more things to back.

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Playing with Strangers

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Recently, I went to a game night at Blue Highway Games here in Seattle. I took in a copy of Vye with me and plan. I was going to sit down at a table and convince people to play my game.

BoxIncludeShotsWebI had hoped people would like the game enough to sign up for my mailing list. A mailing list that would become one of the foundations of my initial launch for the Vye Kickstarter. I knew I needed to build a community if I had any hope of having a successful campaign. To do this, I needed to get more than just my friends, family and coworkers playing the game. 

I had to play with strangers.

So, there I was in the game store, wandering awkwardly around, like a nervous boy trying to build up the courage to ask a girl to dance. In this case, the girl was the manager behind the game counter. Finally, I walked up, put my game on the counter and said, “Hi, I’d like to talk to you about this game. I created it and I’d really like to play it with some people here.”

The man behind the counter, who I later learned was named Scott, looked over the game, gave me some encouraging comments about the artwork, then regretfully informed me that they were doing a tournament tonight and all the customers were involved.

Crap.

“But, you’re welcome to hangout,” he said. “Maybe you could show it to a couple people between games.”

With those encouraging words, I found an empty table and started laying out the cards. The art for Vye is eye catching. So, I hoped putting the cards out on the table would draw people in. It paid off. One of the guys at the store asked about the game, commenting first on how good it looked. He sat down in-between his tournament games and started playing.

BlueHighwayGameNightShortly after that, the manager brought some people over to play Vye. He told them they should take a look at the game and give it a try.

The next thing I knew, I had four people playing and others standing around watching. Everyone was having fun and I had gone from incredibly nervous to incredibly elated in the span of an hour.

This is why we make games, to see others enjoy playing them.

That night over a dozen new people played Vye. Everyone had fun and I got a decent amount of them to sign up for the mailing list. It was a great evening and I got a lot of encouragement from Scott , the other employees, as well as from the completely random strangers who played the game. All signs point to success.

However, I’ve been in other game stores where things didn’t go anywhere as well as that night. I plan to post about those experiences another time. Now I wanted to talk about this success and what I’ve learned from it.

What I Did Right

  • I made sure to pick an open game night to try and play Vye.
  • I talked to the guy who runs the place before I sat down and started pushing the game onto people. This not only let me take the temperature of the place, but also gave me the knowledge that they were doing something else that night.
  • I displayed the art of the game for others to see.
  • When I got people playing I sat back and let them play. I didn’t get in their way of enjoying the game.
  • I wasn’t pushy with the mailing list, maybe I should have been, but it didn’t feel right.

What I Did Wrong

  • I should have gone in months ago. Meeting these people, playing with them and getting to know them helps on so many levels. It was stupid of me to stay at my house, dreading the encounter.
  • I shouldn’t have given up nearly so easily when he said they were doing something else that night. I had one foot out the door before he stopped me.
  • I should have known before I walked in there if they were running a tournament or not, though in the end it did work out.

What I Couldn’t Control

  • The manager was awesome. He talked with me about the game, gave me the name of someone to talk to about shipping fulfillment and encouraged the people in his store to play a game he had never heard of before that night. That was huge.
  • The vibe of the store felt like a casual party rather than the typical ‘magic the gathering’ game night. These people were there to socialize, play games an meet new people, not to test out their new deck on their select group of friends.

I was really lucky with how well the night went and I plan on posting more of these “drop in play sessions” with Vye. If any of you have insights into how to improve the experience I’d love to hear them.

Have you tried to play with strangers? If so, how did it go?

Give me a beat: Video editing with my ear

Currently, I’m in a slump with my kickstarter video. The rough cut is laid out. The scenes are saying and showing the things I want them to say and to show. However, I find it bores me and I can’t tell if it’s because I’ve been working on it too long or the video just isn’t that exciting. My gut tells me the video needs to be remastered.

ShinningRecutTo get me back in the editor’s chair, I’m starting with the music. Music conveys emotion and sets the mood. Just watch “The Shining” turned into the feel good movie of the year to hear what I’m talking about. Skip ahead to :51 seconds and feel your emotions swell and your spirits lift as you watch Jack, Wendy and Danny come together as a family.

Music is not where I start. I’ve learned the hard way to start with the script, rather than just taking a bunch of video of people playing my game, me talking about my game, shots of my game dynamically placed on a table with my dog sleeping in the background, and then editing all of that while trying to craft a 2:00 minute, ‘gotta have it’ video is impossible, because it just ends up as disjointed and convoluted as this sentence.

So yeah, I start with the script, but I immediately move to the music because it sets up the beats for all my edits. Getting the timing right for when to cut to a different shot in the video, is easier when I know the music I’m using. The script might be what is said, but the music is how to say it.

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When making the video for kickstarter, I had to be aware of using songs I was legally allowed to use. There are a handful of sites out there that offer music, paid or free, but the one I’ve been most impressed with is PremiumBeat.com for the following reasons:

  • High quality
  • Large selection
  • Easy search
  • Inexpensive (IMHO)
  • Downloadable preview .mp3

Unlike other sites that sell “songs,” PremiumBeat focuses on music and scores you’d expect to hear in commercials, television and movies. It’s a great resource for the type of videos you might want for your Kickstarter.

That’s all for now. Time for me to go face the music and get back to work on that video.

Take This Map Before Kickstarting!

Campaign Map It’s easy to lose your way on the crowdfunding seas, always searching for that guiding star that’ll ensure your campaign is a success. The resources listed here have served as welcoming ports in my own journey across this ever surprising ocean. I’m sure there are more outposts and I’m sure I’ll find them before my journey is complete. My hope is that these act as a map and a compass to help guide you along your way.

Stonemaier Games

Stonemaier Games – Kickstarter Lessons Jamey was my inspiration to start my blog. He’s done a lot to educate and improve the overall community of Kickstarter. He has dozens of helpful articles on how to build, execute and follow through with a successful Kickstarter. You should be familiar with everyone of them.

Approach: Start at the top of his list and starting reading down. Follow his advice and start commenting on his articles. He makes a point of responding to nearly every post.

Standout Articles: 

Funding The Dream

Funding the Dream Podcast Richard Bliss runs a tight informative podcast, keeping it to 20 minutes and corralling his guests to stay on topic. While his show has evolved over each episode, it almost always focuses on Kickstarter topics, usually within the card and boardgame space. His usual format is a small update at the beginning and then a chat with a guest who has specific knowledge or experience regarding crowdfunding. While the format might be the same, every episode feels different and fresh.

Approach: Load up your phone with the podcasts. Start at the most recent and work your way backwards. It’s great for commuting. Consider taking notes on some of the key points (assuming you’re not driving). 

Standout Episodes

cropped-FB_Header James Mathe He is a game store owner, game designer, game publisher, successful Kickstarter and consult. He writes guides specifically designed to help you not screw up your kickstarter. His understanding of the whole process from end to end is key to your survival.

Approach: His articles aren’t in any particule order so it’s best to scan through them and see if something peeks your interest. However, I’d recommend reading through all of them before you launch your kickstarter.

Standout Articles: 

Facebook: Kickstarter Kickstarter Best Practices and Lessons Learned on Facebook This is a helpful group of people focused on how to improve campaigns for themselves and others. They have a strict no spamming your KS campaign, which is nice. There are a decent amount of people in the group and experienced people generally speak up with assistance. If you join the group remember, a community is only as good as those who participate. So, make a point to post questions and comment on others. Be helpful and polite and you’ll find the group will follow.

Approach: Send a request to join. Read through as many initial posts as possible, comment on a couple before you consider posting. One thing I’ve noticed when you post is to think of your posts like a newspaper article, ‘don’t bury your lead.’ You’ll get more responses from people that way.

Off The Map Resources

These are different sites or articles that I’ve come across that I’ve found interesting and informative regarding Kickstarter.

Tasty Minstrel Games

One of the first things I read, before I knew about any of these other sites was this short little ebook written by Michael Mindes founder of Tasty Minstrel Games. It was called, “Confessions of a board game publisher” and it scared the hell out of me.

bgg_cornerlogo A.J. Porfirio of Van Ryder Games, the group that made “If I’m Going Down” and “Tessen” posted a short list of things to know before you do a kickstarter. You can read it in a minute, but you’ll be thinking about it throughout your whole campaign.

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Joey Daoud is a filmmaker who ran a kickstarter for his documentary film project. He breaks down with great detail and a lot of math how much it cost. He has a handful of other kickstarter related articles that are all interesting to read.

klicktraq

While the front page of Kicktraq has plenty of crowdfunding related news articles, the meat of the site is its tracking of kickstarters. It’s basically stat porn for kickstarter enthusiasts. I imagine many a campaign owner has sat on this site hitting F5 over and over again.

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Sidekick is a project created by some Swedish math guys who wanted to prove the success of a kickstarter campaign sooner and more accurately than anyone else. I’ve talked about them before in a previous post. The main thing I like about them is how they put all of the active projects in a nice easy to sort spreadsheet. This is a great resource to find others who are doing kickstarters that are similar to your own.

That’s my list as it currently stands. What resources did you come across that you found helpful in your journey to the new world?