Top Tabletop & Board Game Kickstarter Mistakes

We all love kickstarter, it’s incredible, empowering and creating a movement like no other in the industry of tabletop board games. But there are some worrying mistakes happening, and I’d like to go through them in my rambling, badly written style… so here goes!

Hopefully this doesn’t just come across as a hate list either. Which is totally a real thing by the way…

Anyway, some things to avoid when creating  tabletop projects on kickstarter:

#1: Looking the same as everything else

Now don’t get me  wrong some of the art on these games is incredible. It’s lovely and wonderful and dare I say it… BEAUTIFUL. And I hate even using that word, it’s a dirty word sullied by the product analogies of generic hipster startup companies who all describe their design and products as beauuuutiful. Everything is beautiful apparently. As long as it’s made of wood and has LOTS of white space. Sure.

What is worrying though is that because of the checklist style of successful kickstarter campaigns, people who start new campaigns are potentially blind to the idea that doing something different might actually work out BETTER than just copying the same old style that everyone else uses.

BUT it’s not gunna sell surely! Hey, don’t ask me, but don’t berate me either when your [insert genre here] game didn’t succeed even though you shoe horned generic RPG illustrations in and made sure to describe your game as BEAUTIFUL.

#2: Not explaining what the actual game is

People loose interest really fast these days. Most people have probably stopped reading this article, which basically means I can say whatever I want from now on!

Hahaa you suck, I hate every one of you!

Wait, you’re still here? Err, ok yeah that was totally a joke. Joking. Badum tsh?

I mean back story is back story, and themes are themes, but please tell us a brief overview of what the actual game is before launching into an epic 20 minute piece about the ‘valiant plight of bobby the bunny rabbit warlock  on his quest for immaculate tailoring.’ Although that does sound pretty fun…

It’s a strange concept I know, but it seems that we’d want to first know what your game actually IS before we’re  invested enough to read the story and fluff behind it…

Get it? Bunny rabbit, fluff… no? Ok I’ll see myself out.

#3: Making it overcomplicated

Simplicity is key people! And that’s exactly the mantra I have in mind when I write my long, rambling and borderline unreadable blog posts. And people call ME a hypocrite!

Just because you like most different types of soda does not mean you should go up to the machine in the fast food joint of your choosing and proceed to fill up your  giant re-fillable cup with every single soda on the menu.  It tastes like bad decisions and brown, trust me, 10 year old me would advise against it.

Similarly, just because you enjoy survival, co-op, resource management, word games, dungeon crawlers, civilisation builders, family games and deck building card games, does not mean you should take them all and combine them into one GIGANTIC AND CONFUSING MESS. Take a small amount of something, develop it, do it well, prove that it works, and then build from there. It’s only fair on our. collective brains!

#4: Being unintentionally dull

If your campaign is the equivalent of a 4 hour powerpoint presentation about business synergies then unforunately,  that is a bad time. Well, except for the 1 guy who actually loves those things. He always asks questions at the end as well… I mean come on! We’re trying to END  this presentation, sheesh…

Sometimes though it’s really hard to know when something is boring, trust me I know. My friends would tell you this on a fairly regularly basis. I think it’s because I’m just so interesting, they can’t comprehend how amazing the conversation is and just have to leave immediately and talk to someone over the other side of the room. Believable I know.

The thing is though, human beings are PEOPLE. I know right, Duh! We need to be engaged on an emotional level, with something that’s exciting, interesting or makes us think! If you read the same story over and over it would get old right? So why make a copycat when you can introduce something entirely new, and in a captivating and engaging fashion.

I mean either that or just use a thumbnail of a cute dog with a funny caption, AMIRITE!?

Summa-read…

Y’know, because you read this article. Read not read, because the pronunciation is different? Hah… *cough*

I mean the aim of this really is to help, but how much you can take away from an optimistically cynical british man who has never run a kickstarter campaign before, commenting on what you should and shouldn’t do on the platform is debatable…

Probably could have got it down to just key points as well, without going on and on about stuff. Something like this?

  1. Do something different visually AND conceptually
  2. Explain CLEARLY what your game is and how it functions
  3. Keep it as simple and concise as possible
  4. Try to NOT be boring

Simple right? Probably not. Give it a go anyway, I know I will… eventually.

Yours boringly,

Chris

Dungeons & Dragons: The Demogorgon teaches humanity

As Dave Grohl once said; it’s times like these we learn to live again! As Dave Grohl did not once say; it’s times like these we learn to cherish the fact that  that last second healing spell actually just saved you from absolute and brutal    death as the demogorgon decided to straight up rip your face off.

You now don’t have a face though, so that’s a problem… BUT, you know what I’ve always said; “No face? No problem! It’s better than being stone cold dead at the hands of a vicious, merciless, horrific and yet genre defining D&D monster.”

Such a classic saying! Although now I’m starting to doubt myself, I mean, a face IS pretty essential to most human interaction… or, well, anything really.

So that’s settled then, I’d rather be dead. Yep. If I ever end up with no face, just kill me. I’ll let you decide the way, it’ll be a like a fun surprise.

The point here though is not that we should all be ok with not having a face, BUT rather that D&D and other tabletop role playing games are AMAZING at teaching and learning how to deal with humanity, human emotions and REAL LIFE predicaments in general.

The bit where someone else already said it way better than me…

The key analogy here for me really is that of achievement. We strive to go out with purpose and achieve something, to overcome an adversary, and like the  friends on the football field, when we played D&D or any other role playing game, that was our version of going out against a feared opponent, and overcoming that challenge victorious.

So with that in mind here are some things I have learned, from D&D, and the Demogorgon…

If you screw up you will die, but that doesn’t mean game over

Sometimes in D&D you cast fireball instead of a protection spell. Sometimes that gets unwanted attention and all too fast you are lying on the cold cobbled stones of the dungeon floor, scattered in pieces whilst your friends frantically try to  gather up all the dismembered body parts whilst simultaneously killing a giant horrifying tentacle monster with magical powers.

‘Standard day in the dungeon!’ I hear you cry!

Sure, but sometimes the dungeon is your office, and sometimes that fireball spell is a misplaced pitch, or an aggressive proposal, and sometimes your boss is the Demogorgon. Unfortunately sometimes in this situation, you die…

Thankfully though, assuming you’ve surrounded yourself with trustworthy companions, they will be able to gather up the scattered bloody dismembered limbs of your career, and bring you back to life even stronger.

That or you’ll just be dead I guess.

Sometimes you just keep rolling ones

The dice hate me! It’s fixed! I always have the worst luck! Somebody put a weight on the 20 and it always lands on a 1! Actually, I wanted to roll 1 because I just think it’s way better for the game, and actually I’m not entirely devastated about that result even though the failure means my character falls down a chasm and is irretrivable for 4 hours…

So many excuses! We’ve heard them all before sheesh.

Thankfully though, like in D&D, you can always try again, y’know, depending on what happens obviously, and maybe then you won’t roll a 1!

That or you’ve just got shit luck.

Exactly what you thought wouldn’t happen, definitely will happen, exactly 100% of the time

Oh hey there Mr friendly NPC would you mind at all if I could please ask for som… YEP THE NPC WAS A SHAPESHIFTED EVIL WIZARD AND NOW I’M HIS SEX SLAVE.

Every single time. Really should work on incorporating less sex slavery into my D&D campaign writing…

Just prepare for the unexpected ok. Always be on guard. Or en garde, if you’re french or canadian… or french canadian.

Winning is hard.

No shit though. Winning stuff takes planning, hard work, luck, skill, practice, and most importantly, the attempted resolution of all the screw ups everyone inevitably makes along the way.

Hey, I get it, sometimes we all step on a poison dart trap because we didn’t figure out what the code to disarm the trap meant. It HAPPENS. Stop wallowing in the dungeon corner talking about how nobody wants to hang out with you now you have a contagious and fatal blood disease and FIGHT THAT DISEASE. Sure  they told you it’s ‘incurable’ but blind optimism and relentless medication will sort that right? RIGHT!?

Ok so over dramatic metaphor there…

We all screw up though, we all need luck. But if you don’t put in the effort, the practice, the work and learning beforehand, you’ll never be able to take advantage of those opportunities, or those lessons from mistakes.

No matter how good you are, the campaign doesn’t end when you defeat just one monster, who knows what’s in the next room…

Yours mistakenly,

Chris

Top 5 Worst uses of Business Slang

Right, guess I’d better action this article then. Hope you guys give me some actionable feedback so I can make sure this blog is scalable and will deliver you an end to end experience…

Made me a bit sick in my mouth writing that but there’s a lot more where that came from. Ah the bane of many a marketeer’s life; business slang. There’s so much of it and I don’t understand why. The words literally mean the same thing as other, well, normal words. Maybe I’m just jealous when other business people flex their business slang muscles in business meetings, how they exclaim profusely about the benefits of blue sky thinking, and how they just can’t wait to roll out the next end to end 360 marketing campaign. Oooo look I’ve got a business boner just writing that sentence! Better start thinking about talking normal words to normal people in a normal conversation to calm that rager down…

Let’s get this thing going anyway, it’s a top 5 list for a reason! Clickbait. I mean, quality reading…

I’ll start with the quick wins…

Quick Wins

Just like normal wins, but quicker.

360 Feedback

Picture the scene: you stand up, arms out and immediately start rotating on the spot. “GREG DID AN AVERAGE JOB AT DESIGN AND I FIND HIM MORALLY REPREHENSIBLEEEEE…” you scream as the rotations go faster and faster, slowly creating your own field of gravity. Desks begin to orbit and in a final scream you implode under the sheer inertia of your 360 degree feedback POWERRRRRR.

Holy shit that actually sounds pretty god damn cool…

Bandwidth

What’s my bandwidth? I’m 56k. I make those funky dial up noises when I work and everyone hates me, I like to call myself the modem kid. Pretty cool right.

Oh right you meant can I get your project done in time. Gunna be a solid NO on that one, I just don’t have the TIME.

Action, or actioning… things.

A word used in place of the very difficult phrase ‘to do’, or ‘yes, I will DO that’. I often wonder how many of these high level execs incorporate business speak into their real lives accidentally:

“Oh darling please make sure you grab the lube before you action me tonight.”

“Oh I’ll action you alright, I’ll action right all over your face…”

Gross.

Blue Sky Thinking

Guess what people; the sky isn’t even blue really it’s just THE WAY THE LIGHT REFRACTS THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE AND HOW WE INTERPRET THAT WAVELENGTH WITH OUR EYESSSSSS. We interpret it as blue just to clarify, hence the explanation.

Blue Sky Thinking really just sounds more like a third party company who just bored everyone with a 4 hour powerpoint about cohesive business synergy.

Double gross.

Summary… or should I say, to square the circle

Nope, I should really not say that, just leave the circle alone already. He’s nice and smooth and round, not like that square you’re trying to make him into. Stop forcing all geometric shapes to be the same, sheesh. His name is Geoffrey Rotund FYI.

“And what would Geoffrey Rotund do!” I hear you cry! Well, if there’s one thing to take away from this whole thing it’s definitely this; next time you’re in a tricky situation or going through a conundrum in life just ask yourself: “Is this scalable, and what is the scope.” Failing that just buy it on a wrist band to remind you, or just kill yourself.

#ITSAWITS

Yours scalably,

Chris

The Rise of the Casual Board Gamer

It’s here you guys, the plague of casual gamers is here! Shield your eyes and protect your newly born children from the horrors that are about to unfold!

Well maybe it’s not so bad. I mean, I’m totally a casual gamer, which I can imagine you think is fairly weird for someone who has just started a board games blog. It’s like if someone fancied having a go at being the President of the United States without actually being particularly involved in the politics of that country… oh, wait.

So I’m the Donald Trump of board game blogs is that it? Harsh, that I’d tar myself with that brush. Although it does turn out that I’m incredibly discriminating towards certain coloured meeples…

It’s the green ones! They’re too green! I know your mind went somewhere else! Shame on you!

One paragraph in and I’m already conflating choosing coloured meeple with bigotry. BAD JOKE DUDE. We need to focus on something FAR more important here, and something INCREDIBLY… probable, going on in the board game world. THE RISE OF THE CASUAL GAMER. Here’s my take on the reasons why it’s happening:

Reason 1: People are actually playing board games again

Holy shit no way! I mean yes way, sure it’s obvious, but for some strange reason in a world of abundant and incredible technological advancement, a large quantity of millenials who were probably bullied in some capacity at school (as was I), have flocked to the joys of moving little wood and plastic tokens around a cardboard surface for several hours. For fun. AND voluntarily.

What is the world coming too eh?

I mean probably something quite nice but then the aforementioned Donald doesn’t do much to quell my fears on that front. He’s clearly been playing too much of [that board game where you build walls to stop people from taking their turn], you know the one! Aaaah there’s a boardgame for everything nowadays…

Reason 2:  Casual games are like, actually quite good now

Kittens that blow up! Fights that are super! Humanity on some cards! Yes, even a game where you pitch fake startup business ideas to try and win fake investment from your douchey startup friends.

They’re all over the place, and subsequently all over Kickstarter. I mean… the other way round but yes, there are lots and lots and lots.

And what better way to spend an evening! Stop sitting around watching some emotionally disturbing reality dribble seep slowly and cruelly towards your eyes out of the TV. Instead, grab a card game about blowing up domesticated felines, engage a small portion of your brain, and try to screw over your friends by shitting on their dreams of blowing you up by means of gaffa taping some C4 to Mr. Tibbles. It’s a no brainer! Literally. Like, if you watch reality TV, you actually have NO BRAIN.

Reason 3: People just can’t be arsed to play long games

I GET IT guys, really I do. I’m the same, my attention span is zero. I’ve tabbed away from writing this article like 10 times since I started. It makes my writing really disjointed as well.

And when he sat down it was like oh my gosh. I can’t believe it’s not butter.

Is what I said when someone asked if I wanted to play a new board game the other day, it’s true! It really wasn’t butter. It was a game.

What I’m trying to say is come on guys, this game really takes 4 hours? No thanks, give me a card game where I can make everyone laugh with offensive jokes that other people have written and then take credit for it myself. Now THAT’s something I can buy into.

Reason 4: Can’t actually think of any more reasons

Yeah, I mean, top 4 is better than top 3 right. Sure.

Summery

It’s winter you idiot I mean SUMMARY.

So as you can see, the rise of the casual gamer is upon us! Yes, it’s a tumultuous world with twists and turns, where even the strangest things can happen. The Donald only uses white meeple (probably), we’re playing with miniature wooden pieces more (definitely), and board games are not butter (easy mistake).

But all of that is a GOOD THING. I salute those casual gamers amongst you, we have no room for elitism. Nobody should be judged because they don’t want to spend 4 hours of their life being humiliated by their friends in an unfulfilling and meaningless military campaign that ultimately ended in an existential crisis, but instead we should welcome all board gamers into our midst, casual and hardcore alike.

Yours casually,

Chris

 

29 Going on for tea. I hate tea.

Yeah really bad pun, I know, I get it, try to be a little bit funny with the article title and fall flat on your 29 year old face. Good job there.

This post however is not about me feeling sorry for myself, my age or my bad pun writing ability, but more about my hatred of tea combined with my distaste for over zealous age distress.

What is age distress you ask? Well I’m glad you did…

It’s that unwilling acceptance and petrified resignation of all things happy or beautiful past the age of about 25. It happens a lot in the shameless, overly accepting western society that we live in.  “I’m 26 years old, I might as well just kill myself,” they cry. “It was better when I was 18,” they whine, “I didn’t have to worry about my relentless obsession with the slow trudge towards inevitable deterioration and death…”

I often distress at the resignation of my peers, to a life filled with turning things down because we’re “too old for this shit.” So I’m here to try and help. And if the only thing anyone gets out of this is the courage to go and do one horrendously stupid childish thing one time, then more power to them! Have a go at playing on a trombone, try roller skating with a boombox rocking out some sweet jams, or eat an ice cream really fast, I’m sure you’ll be telling your friends about that brain freeze for the rest of your life. My god it was painful, I thought I might die!

Anyways, here is a list of reasons why life is like tea, which I hate, but it makes me feel better about getting old, so maybe it will help you too…

Life, like tea, takes a while to brew

Sure, it’s fun to mix all that stuff together, you put the tea in, put the milk in, put the sugar in, try different combinations of things, try a different tea even! Hopefully though, you get to a point where you know how you like tea. This is a good point to be at, you can now enjoy your tea in the correct fashion for a significant length of time.

Being old just means you’ve had a chance to figure out the successful formula to your tea cocktail, or at least something moderately close. Find a tea you like and then keep drinking it.

I mean this isn’t 100% fullproof advice. Sometimes somebody switches the brand of tea in the work kitchen, or sometimes people don’t even like tea. Then you’re really screwed.

Life, like tea, is not always flowery

But earl grey is, and I tell you now that stuff tastes like eating a giant handful of your grandmothers favourite pot pourri. Gross.

Life, like tea, is mostly brown

There are lots of brown things in life, mud, poop, the colour of beef on the outside. Only on the outside though. Make sure the middle is red. If it’s not even a little bit red then you are a heathen.

It’s never too late to enjoy beef guys. Just not the personal kind, that stuff is unnecessary. Settle your beefs with people, then go eat some.

Life, like tea, is sugary if you PUT SUGAR IN IT

Give me some sugar, I am your neighbour!

I mean maybe outkast can get away with that but for a normal person to go round next door and shout that seems a tad demanding. I don’t think I’d give you ANY sugar in that situation, I mean at least say please, even if it does ruin your mad flow.

Put sugar in and get sugar out. Spread the love, and it will spread you… Wait that doesn’t make any sense…

Share the love, and cher will love you…

Nope.

Err, you get the jist.

NEVER put the milk in first

Putting the milk in first just means buying a year gym membership when you’ve only done one free personal trainer session. Or getting a dog despite working an 80 hour work week. I mean sometimes that works out perfectly but for the most part you’re risking your whole cup of tea on a hunch.

Summar-tea… er, summary

Even worse than the first pun, seriously that is contrived at best…

I mean hopefully I’ve made you feel sufficiently more comfortable at being older than a child, and you are now more able to come to terms with the fact that sure, one day you might die, but until then, drink as much tea as you want, and brew it in a way you don’t entirely hate.

Or don’t, I couldn’t care less.

Yours Du-tea-fully,

Chris