Patrick Rauland: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers Podcast. Today, we’re going to be talking with Chad DeShon who is the designer behind On Tour, which is a roll-and-write game where you’re a band touring across the United States, and he’s also the creator of BoardGameTables.com. Chad, welcome to the show.
Chad DeShon: Hi.
How Did You Get Into Board Games?
Patrick Rauland: I really want to get into your game, On Tour, and talk about roll-and-write, but how did you start with board game tables? That’s where I want to start. How did you decide to make a table?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, that’s a lucky story, I guess. I think probably most people who will look at board game gables know several years ago, there was only one company basically you could buy a board game table from, Geek Chic. I had a friend who ordered one from them, and it was a long wait because they were really busy, and we were harassing him about if he was ever going to get his table.
Chad DeShon: I had another friend who had just moved in to a new house, really wanted a table, and didn’t want to wait a year. He said, “Hey, I’ve been looking at these guys selling poker tables on Craigslist a couple hours from here. I was thinking to just calling them up and seeing if they can make a board game table for me,” and I thought, “Hey, if they can make one for you, why not have them make 10 and I’ll sell them on the internet?” I didn’t really know if it’d work or not. We put up a website, and people started buying tables, and they started making more and more of them.
Patrick Rauland: That’s awesome. I have a really nice dining room table.
Chad DeShon: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Patrick Rauland: Just having like the inset game … or not game board, the inset playing area where you can put all of your pieces and all of your stuff, and if you want to have a dinner break, you can like put this thing on top, and be on top of it, and pull it off, and then your game is exactly where you left it. That is such a cool product, and if I ever make a million dollars, I’m going to get so many of your tables.
Chad DeShon: Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to have one to play a board game, but it is. It’s a nice little extra. If you play games a lot, then it’s a lot of fun.
Tell Us About On Tour
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so let’s talk about On Tour, so that’s the game. It’s on Kickstarter right now, and it’s a roll-and-write game. You’re a band playing, touring across the United States. How did you come up with the idea, and what was the design process like?
Chad DeShon: Sure. I guess a couple angles for how I came up with the idea is we play a lot of … Me and my game group, we play a lot of this game called Age of Steam where you’re laying track, and connecting cities, and driving a train around to visit as many of them as possible, but it’s a two-and-a-half-hour game. Probably, more like three and a half the way we play it, so we’re always on the look out for what’s something that can give us some more field with this in a small package, and so that’s always rolling in the back of my mind on … so things like route building and stuff like that.
Chad DeShon: Then, another thing is I’ve played a lot of this roll-and-write games. Rolling America is obviously a similar concept, and you can see some similar ideas there with the map of America. The gameplay is actually very different between that and On Tour, but just having all those things rolling around in my head led to this, “Well, what if we have a game where you’re just doing route building, you’re just trying to visit as many places as possible?” Then, start rolling dice, come up with some ideas, and On Tour fell out of that.
Patrick Rauland: I’m curious. What about the music theme? Was that something? Are you like big into music, or did it just fit the mechanics?
Chad DeShon: Yeah. Honestly, the theme could have gotten a lot of different ways. I wanted to do something different because I get a little tired of playing the same theme over, and over, and over again, so that’s where the music theme came from. It could have been a train game. It could have been a million different things honestly, but I wanted to do something different, and I thought the music was something that could lead to interesting graphics.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yeah, I have to say that is nice. I love my zombie games, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a non-zombie, non-dungeon-crawler game.
Chad DeShon: Sure.
Patrick Rauland: It’s nice to have that break.
Chad DeShon: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Okay. One of the things I thought was really cool is on your Kickstarter page, you said, “In the months this through this, we were designing the game, and the months this through this, we were doing this to the game.” I liked it because I could actually see a little bit of your thought process, and there’s two things I want to point out. One, I think you said like the main game was made like three months. Is that right?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, the game …
Patrick Rauland: The main part of the game.
Chad DeShon: The core mechanics of what the game are are the same as what they were my first solo playtest. I mean, I literally … I downloaded an SVG of the United States state map of Wikipedia, printed it off, and started rolling dice, and we didn’t have the … The first version didn’t have the cards like the current version does, but started rolling dice and put numbers just to see like, “Does this idea work? Like is it just …” I had no idea when I first started like, “Are you just going to always be able to visit all the states, and it’s just a super boring game?”
Patrick Rauland: Yeah.
Chad DeShon: Then, that game kind of worked, but it was really puzzly, and I think there’s a certain subset that would actually prefer the game as I played it the very first time, but it was too long, too puzzly, and too same every time.
What is Professional Game Development?
Patrick Rauland: The other thing I noticed is like after … I think the core design process, I think you listed, was about three months, and I think there’s another couple months where you said you used Waitress Games, which is a professional development studio, and I’ve never heard of a service like that before, so what is a professional development studio, and what did you get out of it?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, this was I think a key point in the game. I worked on the game, like you said, for a few months, and it got to this point where I’m like, “Okay. This game is okay. Maybe even good. I could honestly probably put this game on Kickstarter and sell a decent number of them, but it’s not great like it’s nothing.” I’m not going to claim you’re going to play this the third, fourth, and fifth time, and I don’t think like personally … There’s enough new games coming out. If I’m not going to do something special, I’m not going to release the game, but I was stuck, right? You get to, “Well, this is the game I wanted to make, and here it is, and what’s the next step?”
Chad DeShon: I guess at the same time as that, I didn’t have … like I’m not designing games full-time, and I think that’s true of a lot of game designers out there, so I didn’t have the time to put this to the playtest iterations due to like, “Think of new idea. No, scrap those trash. Think of new idea. No. Well, there’s a little piece, so that was good,” and just go through those iterations, and so that’s what Waitress Games is able to do.
Chad DeShon: One, brought in fresh ideas because … I mean, they do this all the time. They have people who are professional like they’re developing games as a full-time job, so they’re constantly thinking like they’re always thinking of new mechanics and they’ve seen a lot of games, seen a lot of ideas. What kind of things can we apply from somewhere else to this? They’re going to conventions. They’re working with playtest groups. They were able to get a lot more playtest in than I would have been able to do, and so that jumped us out of that rut and set the game on a trajectory to get to the end goal where I needed to get, which was shaving a little bit of the playtime off and making the choices a little more interesting.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so I really want to dig into this because this is I think fascinating. I think I’m at a point with one of my games where it’s like 80% done, and I know the core of the game is fun, but I just … Yeah, I just want to like polish it, you know? Here’s now my question, so like is this the type of thing where you can … First of all, is this expensive? Is it like an arm and a leg to hire these people to work with your game? Do you pay by the hour? How does that work?
Chad DeShon: Sure. I think they’re open to different kind of arrangements. I think normally, they’re going to want to work on monthly retainer type operation depending on how much work you want them to do, and it’s not … If you’re designing a game as a hobby, then it’s not something you want to spend money on because it is an expense, but it’s not so …
Patrick Rauland: Okay.
Chad DeShon: It’s not such an expense that only big name publishers or design studios should be looking at this. It’s definitely approachable. If you think you’re going to put a game on Kickstarter and do well with it, I think it was a great investment. I don’t …
Patrick Rauland: Okay.
Chad DeShon: Like you said, I think I could’ve put … and I wouldn’t have done this, but I could’ve put a mediocre game on Kickstarter and sold some of them, but I want this game to be a game that I’m going to be able to continue to sell months and years into the future. In order to do that, it’s got to be a good game.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yeah.
Chad DeShon: It doesn’t have to be a game that appeals to everybody, but it has to be a game that some people are playing it, liking it, and telling friends with similar taste, “Hey, you will like this game too. Go buy it.”
Patrick Rauland: Got it. I think that’s really interesting because I want my game to be the best. Now, I’m … Sorry. Here’s another one of my questions I guess or follow-up is … I see Waitress Games or a development studio as like an accelerator like you could probably do the same thing yourself if you went to like four or five different [produce deals 00:10:05].
Chad DeShon: Sure.
Patrick Rauland: Because then, you might get the same number of ideas, but that just takes a lot more time. Would that be a fair way of looking at it?
Chad DeShon: I think that’s at least half of it. It was a way for me as being busy as wanting my primary focus to be on selling board game tables to say, “I’m going to put a little more money at this problem and a little less time at it,” but it was also a way to get fresh ideas and to get some validations. It was a way to get people who have worked on a number of published games to give me an honest opinion and say, “No, we worked on this, and we don’t …” They could’ve come back and said, “No, this idea, it doesn’t have legs,” or they’re able to give me fresh ideas.
Chad DeShon: Like I really wanted to keep all 48 states on the map. I given up on Alaska and Hawaii. They were in the original version, so it doesn’t … The rules, they were too complicated. I really want to keep all 48 because … I don’t like games that are overly-polished. I think sometimes that can happen, so I was like, “Yeah, there’s just a little rough edges like Rhode Island. It’s a hard state to use. Just get over it.” We kept some of those rough edges, but the game … it was like they came to me, and they said, “We got an obvious problem and an obvious solution. You just need to give in. The game is too long. The Northeast is too crowded graphically, and we can solve both those problems with one obvious thing.” Getting that outside opinion really helped there.
Patrick Rauland: I love that. All right, so this is your first game that you’ve designed from start to finish. What would you change next time now that you’ve gone through this whole thing?
Chad DeShon: One thing, now that I’ve gone through, because I’m doing the design process, and then there’s also the publishing process, right, of art direction, and giving the Kickstarter page ready, and all those kind of things. Seeing how long that publishing side of thing has taken, getting the art ready, getting prototypes out to reviewers and stuff like that, I would try to have two games going at the same time so that … Right now, like my only game design is currently on Kickstarter, so I don’t have another one ready to follow it up, right? If I could stagger-step, I could be working on a little bit of the design and a little bit of publishing, and so just switching back and forth.
Patrick Rauland: Sure. Love it. All right. I think it’s so funny because I’m still working on game design number one, so I don’t have that problem of like, “Well, it’s being published,” but yeah. I’m sure once you get things going and once you know how to publish, then yeah, you want to have multiple games going at the same time so you can have the Kickstarter in the beginning of the year and a Kickstarter halfway through the year for the next game. Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Okay. I mean, I think you gave us like a rough timeline of the design from start to finish and the Kickstarter page, but just maybe the core of the game like how many hours a day did that take you to … or how many days? Is there some sort of estimate on like how much time you put in to develop the core of the game?
Chad DeShon: Yeah. I mean, I’m not … So, I’m working in spurts, again, because I’m not full-time on this, right? For me, it’s constantly mowing over an idea, or problem, or things I could try, and then normally, hastily a few hours before a game night that I’m going to printing and cutting to get a prototype there so I can playtest it. That’s a little bit of procrastination I guess on my side, and On Tour was great that I could do solo playtesting too. I mean, especially early in the design phase because you don’t … Like people who are playtesting your game are doing such a favor to you by doing that. You don’t want to burn them out by playtesting too many awful ideas, so I always try to solo playtest it, tweak before I would take it to get bigger exposure, and more and more test.
What Other Mechanisms Are You Looking Into?
Patrick Rauland: Love it. No. Was there anything that you … Besides the states, was there some sort of design element that you really wanted to get into a game that you … or into this game like On Tour? Is there some sort of game design principle you want to get into any sort of game you just haven’t been able to yet?
Chad DeShon: Any sort of game design principle I want to get into a game?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yeah. Is there some game mechanic that you just love and you just really want to put it into a game or some theme?
Chad DeShon: Oh, I don’t know if I have a good answer for you. Yeah, so …
Patrick Rauland: Maybe not.
Chad DeShon: I think I like sports games is one thing that comes to mind. I don’t know that the market loves sports games. That gives me a hesitation there. One thing like I’ve been really wanting to do a sports game, a baseball game in particular that lasts instead of a season. There’s a lot of baseball games out there to do that, but where you’re building a franchise over 50 to a hundred years. How many worlds can you reach and win in that timeframe? Doing something epic on that scale is really interesting to me.
Patrick Rauland: Love it. Yeah, it’s interesting. The board game world has a lot of racing games, but that’s it as far as sports. There’s a couple sports games, but they don’t seem popular at all, do they?
Chad DeShon: I think it’s really hard to model sports in a board game without it just becoming a dice fest and a random, “Oh, you’ve got a 300-hitter, so if you roll a three, I guess he gets a hit,” because you don’t want to put too much.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah.
Chad DeShon: I mean, those games are games of skill, right, in real life. Sports are, so that’s hard to bring into the board game.
High Quality Games
Patrick Rauland: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yeah. No, it makes sense. Okay, so I noticed On Tour has a really premium quality, and I want to separate this. There’s a lot of games on Kickstarter that are really nice, but I think they’re all really nice like after stretch goals like once we get a stretch goal, then we’ll use the nice dice or we use the nice box, but I think everything from On Tour was nice from the beginning. Why did you decide to do that?
Chad DeShon: That’s kind of a … I guess a two-part question there. For one thing, like if I’m at a … It takes a lot of time to get a game ready, to design a game, and then do the art and all those types of things to get that whole package together. If I’m going to do all that, like why would I spend all that time to make a second-rate game? If I’m going to put my name on something, I’m just going to make it exactly what I want it to be.
Chad DeShon: For me, personally, like when I go to play a game, when I’m playing games with my friends, I’m not any more. I’ve been playing games [inaudible 00:17:01] buying games fair enough. I’m not limited by the number of games I own, right? If a game costs a few dollars more, that’s fine. I don’t mind owning half as many games and spending a little more on the ones I can get because I want every time I play a game, I like it to be the best experience that I can possibly get out of that because time is limited.
Chad DeShon: As far as why, why was it that way before stretch goals, I think I’m in the minority as far as people who back projects in Kickstarter, but … which still seem like a funny thing to me. A fun game like … At some point, if you … and maybe this is only half-true, but if you look at a board game as a piece of work, as something somebody has created, like you would never go buy a painting and the artist tell you, “Well, like if a lot of people buy this painting, I’ll put in the second house.” Right? Like, “No, like you drew the landscape you wanted to make.” That’s the same way I feel about On Tour. Now, this is the game I wanted to make. If you want a different game, you can find a different game, and I’ll understand that, but this is the game I made.
Patrick Rauland: I really like that, and I think … You said like you may be in the minority.
Chad DeShon: True.
Patrick Rauland: I don’t know where it all is, but I think there’s a big part of people that there’s a love-hate relationship of stretch goals, right? Just include the nice cards from the beginning. You don’t need those.
Chad DeShon: Sure.
Patrick Rauland: I don’t need to email about, “Yay, we unlocked halfway decent cards,” so I do think there’s a love-hate relationship with that in the board game community. I’ve talked or I’ve heard so many podcasts, or books, or interviews where people have like they’ve lost money on their final product because they went component crazy, and they just kept like stretch goals, stretch goals, stretch goals. Eventually, they realized they weren’t making money on the game because they’re so … They lost profitability. I think that’s smart, and I like … I think there’s like artistic integrity with maybe … or maybe even having limited stretch goals, or not having any at all, or having something we want to have directly related versus quality.
Chad DeShon: Yeah, and we did include … We did end up including stretch goals. I didn’t want to have any, and then I talked to people, and I got feedback, and we ended up basically doing the … I mean, honestly, doing the thing that everybody says people are going to do.
Patrick Rauland: Okay.
Chad DeShon: I took some of the things I already planned on including in the game. I backed them out and listed them as very reasonable stretch goals that I was very confident we’re going to hit. As the campaign launched, I did a little bit, now if I can backtrack over what I said earlier, start to see some of the value because I think they’re …
Patrick Rauland: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Chad DeShon: I was very confident. The project is doing well now.
Patrick Rauland: Okay.
Chad DeShon: I thought I was going to, but then I thought, “Well, what if? What if I’m wrong? What if this isn’t going to be a successful as I think?” Well, if that is the case, those stretch goals are going to provide a little bit of padding. Like if the game just barely funds, and I’ll be able to say, “Okay. Well, we didn’t hit the stretch goals. I’ll be able to do a little bit cheaper version of it and still keep a little bit of margin in there.” Not even a margin of that points much for profitability, but a margin to ensure against mistakes that might cost me money that might jeopardize the product.
Chad DeShon: As I tucked more backers, I think some backers see it, stretch goals, not even … Like there’s a thing. They know like I had a $40,000 stretch goal, and the project got to $20,000 on day one. Like anyone who’s done any amount of Kickstarter realizes that project is going to get to $40,000, right? You’re going to double what you did on day one. That’s not a problem, but they see that as calling out what you’ve done to make this project special by being able to sell direct to consumer and getting a higher profit margin at that point, so it’s a way to … and a lot of backers’ minds to understand what they’re getting by giving you money upfront on Kickstarter.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I like the nuance here as opposed to stretch goals are good … are the best thing ever or the worst thing ever.
Chad DeShon: Sure. I mean, you have to listen to your customer at some point too.
What Games Inspire You?
Patrick Rauland: In your case, like you don’t love them, but there are some really valid reasons for having them. Cool. Yes. Yes. Okay, so I think I asked you about research. Yeah. Okay, so what type of games inspire you? What type of games make you want to design other games?
Chad DeShon: A game that I really love is called King of Siam. What I really like about this game is it’s a 30, maybe 45-minute game, but it’s super dense. It’s really a pretty heavy game gameplay-wise, but it’s easy to learn and it’s not too long. I love playing games. I don’t love learning rules. Any time we can get something that’s easy to learn but still gives me the heavy game I want to play, that’s something that I’m interested in.
Patrick Rauland: Yes, I agree. Love it. Okay, so this is it, but maybe this relates, but are there any designs of games that you didn’t like at first but you grew into?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, I think there … So, it’s probably gone both ways, right? There’s definitely things I liked the first time, now don’t. There’s this whole category of train games now, Winsome Games, which is a publisher. Winsome, and they make these super ugly train stock holding type games that are falling to that category of easy to learn, really heavy player action normally, and really … Nobody is really sure what they’re supposed to be doing the first time they play like strategy-wise. Like the rules are clear. You’re like, “Okay, so I can do one of these four actions. I have no idea why I would do any of them. I guess I’ll just pick one at random,” and then about three turns later realize, “Oh, this is what I should be doing.”
Chad DeShon: I didn’t get those games when I first got into the board gaming hobby because it’s not … and they could say it’s obvious what the game is at first sometimes like I’m just moving this cube around. I don’t really get it, but as I played more and more games and have seen a lot of different mechanics come together, now I appreciate that depth that it’s able to give without be … still being easy to learn the rules. Sure.
How Do You Market A Game?
Patrick Rauland: I haven’t played those games, but I think that makes a lot of sense, especially with something more abstract, right, like pushing a cube around. Yeah. Okay. Okay. I want to go into marketing because you said your Kickstarter got $20,000 on day one. What was like your best … What’s your best idea for marketing? What was your best tool or best marketing channel? What would you recommend to someone to get to $20,000 on day one?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, it’s always email. Selling everything on the internet is email. I don’t care what you’re selling. Email, email, email. If you’re playtesting your game, but getting email addresses, get your website up right away so that people can start giving you email addresses as they’re interested in what you’re doing. I mean, obviously, I … So, I started. I had already been selling board game tables for over three years, so I had a following. I had people who were listening to me already, and so that’s a huge headstart, so I cheated. I mean, always cheat when you can, but email … Social is great. Paid advertising is great, which I … I do both of those as well, but email.
Chad DeShon: Get an email list. Get people on your email list. Actually, email the people on your list. Try to send them things that they will find interesting, and then when you have a game to sell, hopefully, they at that point have trust in you, have trust in your taste and your skills because you’ve been talking to them through the process and showing them what you’re working on, showing them what your inspirations are, and they’ll always check it out at that point.
Patrick Rauland: I love that email is the answer. I’m in e-commerce world, so I’m pretty familiar with that answer, but how do you … I mean, like if you’re a board game designer, how much time should you spend designing your game, and you’re working with [crosstalk 00:26:01] manufacture, and how much time should I spend basically marketing like getting people to my site and then getting them on the email list?
Chad DeShon: Sure. I think that depends on what your goals are. If your goal is just to have a game in the store with your name on it, then I don’t know if you should spend any time on that. You should just pitch your game to a traditional publisher. Understand that you’re not going to make very much money from it, but you are going to have your name on a box, and they’ll send you a few … They’ll send you a small check and a few copies of that game, and you could put it on your shelf, and you could be proud of it, and that’s great.
Chad DeShon: If you want to make money off this or if you want to … If you’re designing with an eye towards commercial viability, then it’s all pointless if no one is going to know about it when you launch, right? You’ve got to be collecting email addresses. You have to have people who are going to care when that product goes to launch. I think the easiest way for a designer to do that is going to be designing in public. You need to be posting about what you’re doing, about what’s working and about what’s not working, about what ideas you have, about what frustrations you’re having. All those kinds of things, and people who are interested in the niche you’re in will hopefully want to hear more.
Patrick Rauland: Got it. I love that because I … It’s funny because I am working through like … There’s like one particular card in my game that’s been giving me trouble like a couple playtesters have had … They basically read the card and miss important information, and that’s a perfect opportunity where I could just post it on to some group, ask for some legitimate feedback of like, “Hey, how do I make this card easier to read, simpler, so it’s intuitive?” Like a point of that post is marketing, but it will … By default, people will learn about the game and hear about it. Maybe they’ll visit the website and maybe get on the list. Would you think stuff like that be a good idea?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, I think so. I think the best marketing is things that are generally on the line, generally interesting to the people you’re talking to, right? Just running around screaming, “I have a game on Kickstarter,” is not going to get you very far.
Patrick Rauland: [Inaudible 00:28:00].
Chad DeShon: I mean, it’s a strategy some people have tried.
What Resources Do You Recommend?
Patrick Rauland: Oh, I thought that was the best strategy. All right, so what’s the best money you’ve ever spent as a game designer?
Chad DeShon: Yeah, I bought a laminator like a month or two ago, which I’m … I mean, I’m making a roll-and-write game, so lots of dry erase marking on boards and stuff, and I had no idea how cheap they were compared to how much money I was spending and how much time I was spending going to the UPS store to have them laminate things for me. Buy a laminator, and get the big one that will do 17 by 11. Yeah. It was less than 40 bucks on Amazon.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah.
Chad DeShon: Yeah, I don’t know. A big old pack of a hundred I’ve got over here. Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Oh, 40 bucks? That’s great, and like each sheet is probably a couple cents?
Chad DeShon: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so I’ve gone to … Yeah. I think I probably go to the FedEx or UPS store, whatever like once a year, and it is outrageously expensive. I think it’s like $10 per six regular papers to be laminated.
Chad DeShon: Yeah. Yeah, that’s about right. I got a color laser printer and a laminator, and I’m good to go now.
Patrick Rauland: I like it, and then what other … So, we talked about a tool. What resource would you recommend for another indie game designer or an aspiring game designer?
Chad DeShon: I’m a pencil and paper person. I think the biggest … Like everybody [crosstalk 00:29:26] got an idea for a board game, and most people haven’t playtested any of them. Until you playtest your game, it’s completely worthless. Like I said earlier, that first step has to be a solo playtest, and it is … Like this is my least favorite thing about designing is prototyping. It takes forever to make a prototype.
Chad DeShon: I’m not talking about a good one. I’m talking about just cutting. I mean, I’ve got a paper cutter, but you just still just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. On your first early prototypes, you can do a lot with a pencil and paper without even making a board or pieces. You can just literally like, “Here’s what the board is going to look like.” Draw like 10 circles. “And then I’m going to have three things here.” You draw little Xs and Player 1 is going to move one over here. You erase that X and put an X somewhere else, and just walk through those core mechanics without ever having to cut out anything. Just give it a “Is this a sane idea?” test with a pencil and an eraser.
Patrick Rauland: No, I love that. I have to say I did that for my first was I literally just wrote with pen and paper like on index cards rather than figure out like, “How big is the card?” and I have to cut it out and put it in a sleeve. I don’t know if that sounds like a very easy thing, but like for the very first game, just writing on index cards made my life easier. Probably made me actually get interest.
Chad DeShon: Yup, and you can do that anywhere. I can be waiting for some to … I can be waiting in my car to meet somebody, and I can have stacked index cards, and I can start writing down a few ideas for new card I want to test.
Why Run a Mini Podcast
Patrick Rauland: Love it. Okay, so one thing that I think you did really … One thing that I think is really neat in your Kickstarter page is it’s linked to a short daily podcast for your game. How is that going for you?
Chad DeShon: I don’t know. I said about 50-50 to actually get it out, so part of it is … I mean, I’ve never done a podcast before. I wanted to go through the steps of seeing what that would take.
Patrick Rauland: Okay.
Chad DeShon: I think podcasts can be great marketing. The idea, and if I do it again, I would try harder at this, was to have about half of those episodes recorded in advance and to do about half of them during the Kickstarter campaign, and I ended up with zero of them recorded in advance, which is why I’m about 50-50 on getting them out. I mean, I’m going to keep doing it for the rest of the campaign, and then we’ll see if in the end, I think, it led to anything or not. It helped me think through a few things. I did like I did an episode on stretch goals, and it brought me to some of the conclusions we talked about earlier.
Patrick Rauland: Love it. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chad DeShon: Sure.
Patrick Rauland: I’m a big fan of … When I write a blog post, usually for work. When I write a blog post, that’s actually when I figure out what I actually think of a thing, and I’m sure podcast is very similar because you … If you write it all down ahead of time and then … In your case, they’re like short 10-minute episodes I think. Like it forces you to be very concise and to think through your arguments, so maybe it’s useful for designers just to have even their broadcast media if it’s only them that listens to it just to get your ideas out and explained.
Chad DeShon: I think I could. I mean, the stretch goal episode I did is super weird like it’s me ranting on stretch goals for the first four minutes, and then going, “Well, maybe it’s okay because of this.”
What Does Success in the Board Game World Look Like?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yeah. I like it. Okay, so we’re getting near the end here, but what does success look like in the board game world to you?
Chad DeShon: To me, as far as game publishing, it works like continued sales and just ongoing evergreen titles, the thing people … the phrase people throw around when they’re talking about this, but …
Patrick Rauland: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chad DeShon: I think that’s the true measure that a game is worthwhile and good is if people are still buying this game three or four years from now and not just a thousand people bought it on Kickstarter. Some of them played it once and that was the end of it.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah.
Chad DeShon: I think I can figure it out.
Overrated Underrated Game
Patrick Rauland: Sure. Love it. Ongoing sales. All right, so we’re near the end here. I have a little game. It’s called Overrated Underrated. Have you ever heard of it?
Chad DeShon: Overrated. I don’t need you to tell me where I stack my pieces up.
Patrick Rauland: All right, so I’m basically going to force you to take a position.
Chad DeShon: I’ll figure it out.
Patrick Rauland: All right, so first one, personal player mask. Are they overrated or underrated?
Chad DeShon: Overrated. Too crowded.
Patrick Rauland: Love it. All right. Live music? Overrated? Underrated?
Chad DeShon: I mean, I like music. I mean, but …
Patrick Rauland: Oh, I hear you there. This is really amusing because I just assumed you’d be like really into music because of the game, but yeah.
Chad DeShon: Overrated, and I think we’re starting to learn something about my personality here.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Okay. Fair enough. All right, so what about like custom die faces? Overrated? Underrated?
Chad DeShon: I mean, that has to be … It’s so, so talked about. It has to be overrated, right? How could it possibly be underrated? It’s rated so highly.
Patrick Rauland: Last one, royal weddings. Overrated? Underrated?
Chad DeShon: I have no problem with it. It seems great on circumstance.
Patrick Rauland: You could make an argument that like even though they’re rated highly, it brings our society to get … Whatever.
Where Can People Find You?
Patrick Rauland: Awesome. Well, thank you, Chad, for being on the show. Where can people find you online?
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. Thank you again. By the way, listeners, if you like this podcast, please leave us a review. Chad said he’s totally willing to sing Don’t Stop Believing with you if you meet up with him at a conference or at some sort of convention somewhere, so that’s incentive for you to leave a review. You can visit the site at indieboardgamedesigners.com and follow me on Twitter, @BFTrick. Until next time. Happy designing. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.