Patrick Rauland: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer every single week, and we talk about their experience in game design and the lessons they've learned along the way. My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'll be talking with Chris Rossetti, who designed Brace for Impact! and 11:59. He also runs Rampage Games. Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris Rosetti: Thank you for having me. I'm excited.
Patrick: Also, thank you for enduring technical difficulties. It feels like one out of every ten guests has some technical difficulty, so you get extra kudos just for hanging out with me for like 20 minutes before the show.
Chris: Works for me.
Patrick: I like to start with a lightning round, in the beginning, to introduce yourself to the audience. I've got three quick questions for you. One of your games is submarine-themed, so I want to know what is your favorite ship in the classic game Battleship?
Chris: It's a submarine.
Patrick: Is it?
Chris: Yes, it is. But we used to make special rules that the submarine could move around.
Patrick: That's pretty cool. My next question is how did you get into– Or, my next real question is how you got into game design, so we'll see if that comes back up. But the next lightning round question is if you are running to a fallout shelter, what is the one thing you bring with you? The caveat here is family, friends, and pets are already safe. So family, friends, and pets are good, what is the one extra thing you bring with you?
Chris: Probably one of those LifeStraws, because you can't survive more than a couple of days without water.
Patrick: I've seen those, I almost want to say on Kickstarter, but yeah. Those look cool.
Chris: So, any water filter.
Patrick: Cool, I love it. Now normally I ask, “What's a game you play with someone every single time at a con,” but since you have a game about nuclear war if you could only bring one game with you into your Fallout shelter what game would you bring?
Chris: I'm boring. It's not a game, and I would bring a deck of cards.
Patrick: OK. How about this? What is your favorite game you can play with a deck of cards?
Patrick: Cool. All right.
Chris: Yeah. I'm a gambler. Or Rummy, Rummy is pretty good.
Patrick: OK, very cool.
Chris: I'm not really into the whole trick-taking ones.
How Did You Get Into Board Games & Board Game Design?
Patrick: I'm from the Midwest originally, so my family plays all those trick-taking games. Cool. First real question is, how did you get into board games and board game design?
Chris: It started in high school. I would play Yu-Gi-Oh! with my younger brothers, and I didn't care for the fantasy theme. I wanted to create a game that had more of a realistic theme, so I created my own collectible card game that was based on the real world. You had tanks, aircraft, different things in society like taxes and social programs, and things like that.
Chris: I based it on the Yu-Gi-Oh! mechanic and then that grew in high school, I made like 300 cards while I was in high school. Then gradually I was like, “Maybe I should do something with this game. Maybe I should try to sell it.” So me and a buddy started an LLC and tried to do it as official as possible, printed our first decks and sold them online.
Chris: That's really how we got into board game design, was through a collectible card game. Then it was, “Should we continue to grow this company?” That's when I started getting into game design, and I had no idea what I was doing. Absolutely no idea. But as you play more games and as you get introduced to new mechanics, you start putting those mechanics together in weird ways. Next thing you know you have a game that might be worth pursuing.
Chris: It all started with wanting to create something that I hadn't seen before, and it just developed from there.
Patrick: I think it's pretty cool that you– I think the convention in the game design world is that either games of minis are the hardest to make, or collectible card games are the hardest. Those two categories of games are just very hard to make, especially for an amateur game designer. So I think it's pretty cool that you got started with one of the hardest roads into game design.
Chris: Yeah, I think if you have a basic mechanic that you can base your trading card or collectible card game on developing the card game isn't as difficult as marketing it. It's extremely difficult to sell a minis game or a collectible card game but making it can be really fun because you can continuously make cards. Right now that game, we're redesigning the art for it, but it has 600 different cards all with unique effects and different attributes, and it just keeps growing. It's been a work in progress. Just, “How do we sell it?” That's the thing. “Do we sell it as a complete set, so you get all 600 cards at once? Do you sell it with booster packs, which everybody hates?” That's the tricky part. It's selling the game, not necessarily making it.
Why Do You Like Mint Tin Games?
Patrick: Yeah, I hear you. I first heard about Rampage Games, and I want to say, on Kickstarter when I saw 11:59 on Kickstarter. I love that it's a small game, and I love that you have this Fallout edition where all the pieces are metal, and it's “Guaranteed to survive a nuclear blast.” First, I want to ask you about mint tin games. Why do you like this–? I should say your other game, Brace for Impact! is also a mint tin game. Why do you like this size of game?
Chris: I think it's just the portability, and the– I enjoy the tin the most, and using little bits to create a large game experience. So both of the games that I have made Brace for Impact! and 11:59 are real-time games. They play in less than five minutes, but you get immersed into the theme and I just like the fact that the game is so small, it's in a durable container, but it plays big.
Chris: So that's what I like about the whole mint tin game size, is that you can literally fit it in a pocket in a backpack, but it can keep you engaged. Because a lot of times when I play with friends or people who haven't played a real-time dice game of that size before, they're not expecting much going into the game. Then the next thing you know, we're on game number eight or nine in a row, and we're having a tournament.
Why Do You Make Unique Packaging?
Patrick: Sure. Cool, I like that. Now, I have to bring up the packaging. I love your packaging idea. The Fallout edition where all the pieces are metal, and it comes in a military container. Like, a metal container–
Chris: The decon container, yeah.
Patrick: I love that Kickstarter lets people create weird stuff like that. If I had maybe played your game at a convention, I might have– Because I think it cost four or five times more than the base game, and it's the base game, just with nice and cool metal components. The pawns are metal. I guess, number one, why did–? I love weird stuff like that, and I like when people do that. But why did you make this edition? What were you hoping to get out of it?
Chris: It's funny you say that because the Kickstarter was launching in two days and one of my business partners was like, “We need to do a crazy, off-the-wall edition.” And I'm like, “What would we do?” And he's like, “Let's do all metal components.” So we scrambled, and we found all the components within 24 hours, and we put it together. We wanted to make sure that we'd be able to source all the components, so we limited that backer tier to only 25 backers. We got it in just under the wire, and we ended up selling out.
Chris: You're absolutely right. At that tier, it's like $70 bucks for all the metal components. Because they're expensive, metal dice are expensive, and metal [meeples]. That's like eight times the price of the base edition because the base edition if you get the basic edition– Which is still good quality because we try to have the best quality we can. It was $9 dollars, shipping included.
Patrick: Man, shipping included.
Chris: Shipping included, $9 dollars shipping included. It was quite a deal. I'll get you a copy, don't worry.
Patrick: Very cool. Do you plan on doing more special packaging? Like, do you want to for future projects? Are you going to come up with other cool ideas like that?
Chris: Yeah, I think we will. Because every Kickstarter we've done so far we've always done a deluxe edition where you get special boxes or special components.
Chris: In our first Elements campaign, we had this custom wooden box that was high quality, and then Brace for Impact! we had a custom gold printed tin with custom cut meeples that look like submarines rather than just regular meeples.
Chris: Then on our Zombie Road game, there was a card in the game called “First aid,” and it was this first aid bag that was the image on it, and you could get in the deluxe edition a first aid bag that would hold all your stuff. So we've always done the extreme deluxe editions for obviously a premium price, and in this game– In this campaign, the 11:59 campaign, we have two premium editions.
Chris: You have the base edition, which is dirt cheap. $9 dollars shipping included, you don't see campaigns that low. Then we had a medium one where we had custom dice, custom tokens, and it had a new mechanic with a Fallout token that glowed in the dark. Which was pretty cool, because it was a radioactive symbol that glowed in the dark. That was only around $20-25 dollars, and then we had the super-elite edition. We were surprised, we didn't think we would sell any of them, but we ended up selling out. I think we'll do that going forward, having multiple tiers, because some people really like the unique full metal components.
Patrick: Yeah. I think if you ever want to make something weird and crazy, on your Kickstarter campaign is the best place to do that. Then later, when you're super famous, and you go to all the conventions, then you can sell the regular version and any extras you have. But I love when people make weird stuff, so I'm going to watch for whatever your next thing is and see if its “Weird” matches up with my “Weird.”
What's it Like Working with Family?
Patrick: But changing gears a little bit, I noticed just looking up Rampage Games that you have a lot of family members helping you out. I've talked to a lot of like husband/wife teams, but I don't think I've talked to people who are family members but not husband/wife. What is it like working with family and friends in this pretty small company?
Chris: It's funny, you say that because if it was a husband and wife team, we would be dead a long time ago. We would kill each other. No, I can't do anything business-related with my wife. It just– We don't get along. We're both type-A personalities.
Chris: But as far as working with my brothers, they came to me. When I started the company, I did it with a friend from high school, and we went our separate ways. Then I was running it by myself, and they both came to me, my two younger brothers, they're like, “Can I be part of this company?” And I said, “Absolutely.”
Chris: We worked out an operating agreement and whatnot, and then I wanted to bring on another friend that I had in high school who helped out with that collectible card game that I made then, and we all seemed to work very well together. We all have different opinions on how we should run the company, and it works rather well. Especially since they're family, I think we get along just a little bit better. We didn't get along as kids, but we get along now just because we're from the same blood I guess. I don't know, but it works. It works better than I think it would.
How Do You Split Up The Work?
Patrick: Do you–? Do they–? OK, so here's one of my questions that I always think about. Do you split up the work? Like, one person is the owner of the design, and they make all the decisions according to design, one person is the owner of the fulfillment and logistics, and they make all those decisions. Or does everyone do everything?
Chris: Our company is weird, so right now I own a majority of the company, and I do about 95% of the work. They are right now more of financial support, and then when I ask for opinions on things. If I'm writing a contract or if we're making a certain purchase. I almost have ultimate control, that's how the company was set up because they just wanted to help. They didn't want a lot of responsibility. I still value their opinions, but for the most part, I run it. But that might change near in the future because some of these campaigns are starting to get out of hand.
Chris: I'm going to need a lot more help. But the trouble with it is I'm in Kansas, one of my brothers is in Minnesota, another brother is in Massachusetts, and for a while, the friend was in Japan, in the military. Not only were we in different states, some of us were in different countries. So it's very hard for all of us to come together to work on the game. I just took the lead role.
Patrick: OK, cool. It's cool hearing that. I like hearing that people are helping out, and I know when I'm stuck on a game design problem I have a couple friends from my local game design group that I will maybe text or e-mail, or whatever. But having someone that it's almost like you're– Like, I help my friends and they ask me questions and I ask them questions. It's nice to have, and I don't know what I'd do if I got stuck on a problem and I didn't have that person to text or e-mail. It's nice that you have that.
Chris: Right. Just bouncing off ideas is huge.
Patrick: Yeah. I won't go into it, but just– I'm going to go into it a teensy bit. But just last week I had this thing that I was like, “Should I go A or B?” And then just– It was like two texts, and then my friend was like, “Definitely go B for these reasons.” I was like, “Thank you. You just saved me a couple hours of prototyping. So, thank you.” I totally agree. OK, so I wanted to change gears a little bit again.
What Advice Do you Have on Designing Mint Tin Games?
Patrick: Because the reason that I reached out to you is I saw your game, 11:59 on Kickstarter, and I'm like “Cool. I want to have this guy on my podcast sometime.” Then I saw you are running, or the head judge of the mint tin competition on The Game Crafter. I'm like, “Cool. Now is the perfect time to have you on the show, we're going to talk about mint tins.” I would love to because I've never designed a min tin game before. I know some of the people that listen to the show also submit games to The Game Crafter. What is advice you would have for people who are creating games, really small games, especially games that would go into a mint tin?
Chris: The advice that I usually give is “You have to try to make a game that fits.” That is usually the toughest thing to get over, is creating a game that not only the game components but the rules fit in the tin. In the contest, it was originally that the rules needed to fit on a business card. We have since redacted that, and now it's one side of a piece of paper.
Chris: But multiple people have asked me for advice, and my advice is “You just got to come up with a mechanic you think will work, and then find the pieces that will fit. You've got to trim. You can't have it be a very complex mechanic or something that requires a lot of parts, and this makes you refine a game mechanic in components down to their absolute minimum.
Chris: But you also don't want to sacrifice quality of play.” I think it's a great constraint. Another contest that was like it was the microgame challenge. Now with that challenge, it was more of a price constraint on components than necessarily a space constraint. I think that's where this mint tin competition differentiates itself, is that you have to fit everything in that tiny mint tin.
Patrick: Yeah. I will say I've been working on a game for it, and normally the price constraints is the thing that limits me on components. But in this case, it is 100% size. I even upgraded, like I had regular plastic cubes and just for fun I just wanted to see if I could, for the cost, fit in metal eight-millimeter cubes. I can totally upgrade all of my components to mostly metal components, because there's just so little space in a mint tin that you can get– Like, price is usually the limiting factor, but with a mint tin it is 100% the size.
Chris: Right. That's why we upped the price.
Chris: Because we didn't want price to be a factor. We just really wanted it to be size.
How Do You Cut Down a Game?
Patrick: It's basically not. It's basically not a factor at all, so that's pretty cool. OK, let me ask you this then. Let me follow up on that. You said, “You have to cut your game down to the bare essentials.” I know today I was writing up my rules, and right now it's six pages long. I think it's a pretty good game. So, do you cut out a piece of the game? Do you cut out multiple rounds? Like, how do you cut when you have six pages, and then you need to go all the way down to one page? How about this, do you have advice on where to start cutting a game?
Chris: Someone told me that you got to adopt, what is it–? It was like “Ogre-speak.” What is it where you start taking out pieces of words, like “Roll dice” instead of “Roll the dice.” So you can start with that if you wanted to keep all your rules.
Chris: That's a very tough question for me to answer. I guess when I am designing a mint tin game I know right off the bat that it needs to be simple, so I try to find a mechanic where the decision means something, but it doesn't take up a lot of space to explain it. It just so happens that the last two mint tin games that I've made are real-time, so I can fit them on the front and the back of a business card.
Patrick: Got it.
Chris: The game mechanic lends itself to doing that because it's real-time, and there's only so many decisions you can make in real-time. Whereas in turn base you can have multiple options, you have time to think. You don't have time to think in a real-time game. Not that I was aiming for people to create real-time games, but I guess to circle back to your question, I don't have a good answer for you on how to get from six pages down to one. That's a lot to cut.
Patrick: It is. We'll see what happens. Cool. But that's helpful, and I think it's helpful to think about– I'm sure we're 70 days out from the competition as of the time of recording, and this will come out in a week or two. So I'm sure there are plenty of people who are still working on ideas. I think just hearing, “Keep it absolutely simple” will probably help people select the right idea just to get started, I think that's helpful.
Chris: We'll be pretty lenient on– We're not very critical of games, it's very easy for us to have fun and all four of us are going to be playing them. I think we're going to try– I don't want to make any promises on this podcast, but we want to try to give every single game feedback from all four of the judges. Even beyond the semifinalists. We're going to try to do it for every game, but it's very possible that this could set a record. Just the buzz I've been hearing, we could have probably up close to 200 entries, or more. I have no idea because the microgame contest had 132, and that was a long time ago. That was a couple years ago when The Game Crafter contests weren't as popular. So we'd like to give feedback to everybody, and obviously extended feedback to the finalist, but we'll see what happens. I don't want to extend ourselves too much. \
Patrick: Very cool.
Chris: The other suggestion is to maybe use tiny font and put a magnifying glass in the tin.
What's Your Favorite Design?
Patrick: OK. I will consider that. So you've designed a couple different games, do you have a favorite part of a game or a favorite game?
Chris: The favorite game that I've designed, it's called Front Line now. It used to be called “Countermeasures,” and that's the collectible card game. Because that has been in the works for 10 years, because we started– Actually, longer than that. I started designing it in 2006, so that would be 13 years.
Chris: We didn't bring it to market until 2009 or 2010. But it's constantly being redesigned, and thank god The Game Crafter came up with the Component Studio because that is making my life so much easier. Because when you have to make 600 cards and make a change, it's pretty tedious. So there's a plug right there for component studio.
How Much Time Do You Spend Designing Games?
Patrick: No, I hear you. Let's go into your process a little bit. What is your process for–? How about this, how much time do you spend designing games? That can be time coming up with new rules, and it could be time in graphic design, it could be time e-mailing manufacturers. How much time do you spend on this whole hobby/business thing?
Chris: Boy, I guess it depends on the time of the year and whether or not a campaign is running or being fulfilled. Obviously, when a campaign is running, I'd say it could be as much as 20 hours a week. They say it's supposed to be a full-time job, but I feel like our team is pretty efficient, and it's spread out between four people. But then there's other times where you can be crazy busy with work and not do anything for a week, and then you're itching to get on the computer and do something.
Chris: But right now with the fact that we're going to be starting shipping on 11:59 this weekend, that's not game design, but it's still Kickstarter fulfillment. We'll probably spend 16 hours this weekend doing that.
Patrick: You're doing all the fulfillment yourself?
Chris: Yes. We manufacture pack and ship every game.
Chris: It's self-manufactured. We source all the components.
Do You Like Assembling Games?
Patrick: Most people have a manufacturer, or basically– Or really, either source the components and print the cards and put it in the boxes and put it all together and ship it out, maybe then that goes to a fulfillment center and the fulfillment center ships to everyone in the world. You're doing the whole thing here. Do you like doing the whole thing, or is that just as a cost-saving mechanism?
Chris: No, we do it on purpose. The reason why we do it is because we can source all of the individual components and pack and ship on our own time. The last five campaigns that we've done, we shipped five or six months early from our estimation. We estimated when we launched the campaign that we would ship out 11:59 in February 2020, and now we're shipping them this weekend, which is the middle of August.
Chris: By self-manufacturing and shipping ourselves, we have complete control over the production timeline and nothing– We've never had a delay, so we're just going to keep with this. Either we fulfill through The Game Crafter, or we fulfill on our own, and it's lightning-quick, so that's the reason why we do it. Because we're in complete control.
Patrick: I love hearing that. I think you're in the minority, and I think I've had one or two guests who do all the creating of the game itself. I think as far as I can remember the only other guest that has done that is Jackson Pope, who– I don't remember the episode number right now, but basically everyone else outsources that. Does that give you additional creative freedom? Because you outsource from– Or, not outsource, but you source your components from different places? Does it give you more flexibility in what you can make?
Chris: Absolutely. Just look at the elite edition or the Fallout edition that you mentioned, I can source all those metal components. You couldn't do that at a manufacturer. Or it would cost you a huge amount like I don't know how many overseas manufacturers will source metal dice. We had to get creative, so we used iron ingots for the bunkers.
Chris: Then we used stuff that you put on denim jackets or leather jackets for the warheads, the little metal warhead pieces. We got creative in what we used. Even for the Fallout tokens, we went to custom poker chip company and had them print it. It is a poker chip, but it's a ceramic poker chip that is now a new mechanic in the game. The same thing with the def con container, or the decon containers. I had to order that from an army surplus store, and you wouldn't be able to do that with a Chinese manufacturer.
Will You Always Assemble Games?
Patrick: Very cool. OK, how about this. Let's say you keep continuing to grow, and your campaigns get bigger. Let's say you 10x your crowd size, do you still think you can manage to create all the games yourself? Even if you 10x your audience size in a couple of years?
Chris: Yes. I have a lot of family that I can pay to help, and the way I would get around it, and we were planning on prepping this for the 11:59 campaign if it exploded because we were getting pretty close to a point where we wanted to start delaying some of the manufacturing. What we'll do is we'll put caps on the editions. Let's say you wanted the base edition, once it reaches 500 then we open up a new tier, that instead of it being fulfilled by February 2020, it'll be fulfilled by March 2020. We'll build in– It won't change the price, but you'll get the game a little bit later.
Patrick: That's pretty cool.
Chris: We'll do it that way.
Patrick: I think that sets expectations, right?
Chris: Yeah, definitely. Because we can say, “We can get these 500 games done by this timeline, but the next 500 games are going to take us an extra month.” Which it isn't– When you think about it, that's not that much time to get 500 games done.
Patrick: Yeah. I remember, this is one of those things that I don't think a lot of people think about, but I remember– I want to say it was Sprawlopolis, the Kickstarter campaign, which I'll link to in the show notes. But I want to say they had 10,000 backers or some huge– Maybe 5,000 backers, it was a huge number. But I think they just shipped out the rewards, not in a random order but maybe they'd be alphabetical or whatever. But people who pledged in the first couple of minutes got their games a month or two after everyone else. What I like about the way you're doing it is that if you back first, you get your game first. That's nice. It's nice that's built into Kickstarter, and everyone knows what they're getting.
Chris: Yeah, I agree. I'm not a big fan of “Early birds,” so I like to keep the price the same because I feel that might alienate some backers because they might wait for an early bird tier to open up. But I think I think it's fair that if you backed on the 20th day of the campaign, you're still going to get the game for the same price and you will get it, it's just going to be a month later than everybody else. I think people can deal with that, especially if we're known for shipping early. They're going to get it early anyway, right?
How Many Unpublished & Half Finished Games Do You Have?
Patrick: I love it. So, how many–? You've been doing this for years, so how many unpublished and half-finished games do you have?
Chris: This is one of my favorite questions. Are you familiar with The Game Crafter? Do you know how there's line items for the games that you've started?
Chris: Each page in “Make games” holds ten games, and I think I have 13 or 14 pages. That would be 140 line items. This is why I like answering this question, and we have so many games. We've been in business since– We established the company in 2009, and that's right around when The Game Crafter came out. I started, and I think I became a member of The Game Crafter in late 2010, so I've been there a very long time. I still have games that I published in 2010 on there. It adds up quick. You figure that's how many years? That's 10 years, so that's 14 games a year on average. Sometimes there's some iteration, so there might be three or four versions of one game. But yeah, we have a lot.
How Do You Decide Which Games Are Good Enough?
Patrick: What's interesting to me, and I don't think enough people highlight this, is you have 140 games that you've started, you've looked at costs, and you've added components. You presumably have an idea of the rules, and the gameplay and how that works before you add components, and of those 140 you've launched, I think six Kickstarter campaigns. So in terms of– I don't think people realize that your first idea is not going to be the best idea. You have to have a lot of game ideas to find that one that's good. So, let me ask you this. How did you know that the six games that you launched, the six games you did end up launching on Kickstarter, what made those six make the cut? What had to happen for you to go, “This one is worth creating and fulfilling all the way?”
Chris: It's a gut feeling. I don't know how else to describe it. You pull out the game, you playtest with some people, and you can tell from their reactions whether they connect or not. That's only happened a couple of times. Now we do have another couple of games that could potentially do that, but we [inaudible] by a strict rule that we only do one Kickstarter a year. That keeps us honest.
Patrick: Do you think that'll ever change? Like, if you get more popular and maybe you can hire people part-time?
Chris: No. Because I think– I don't know if this is going to harm my company in any way reputation-wise, but we do look at this game and at this gaming company as a hobby that can support itself. We make enough money from Rampage Games Kickstarters that we don't have to add contributions. The money that we make from the campaigns will allow us to continue making prototypes and run future campaigns, and that's where we like it. I think if this became more of a job, I might not like it as much.
What Resource Would You Recommend to a Game Designer?
Patrick: Cool, so I will save the rest of my follow up because I have a question at the end that deals with this. But cool to hear that. OK, so we went a little bit long on time because I was enjoying our chatting. I do always love to ask people like you've been doing this for a long time and you've had several successful Kickstarter campaigns, you're running a contest. What is a resource, some free resource or blog post, podcast excluding this one, a book or whatever that you'd recommend to another indie game designer?
Chris: It's not free, and this is probably cliche, but I would say The Game Crafter. The Game Crafter has been huge. Then to go along with that, the component studio that goes with it. Obviously, I could– There's been so many people, so many podcasts, so many game designers that have influenced my success in the gaming industry. I can't just name one. That's why I would name The Game Crafter, and it's just the ability to create a prototype. Because a lot of times when I make games, sometimes I create a prototype before I even have the rules made because I want to play something that looks good when I playtest. So I know that's probably a common answer, but that's what I would say.
What's the Best Money You've Spent?
Patrick: That's fantastic. I appreciate hearing that. Now on the other side of the coin, I'm a frugal person. I try not to spend money if I don't have to. What is something that is worth every cent of the money you paid?
Chris: Kickstarter videos.
Patrick: OK. So tell me a little bit more, because there's very simple ones that are like 60 seconds, and it's just people “Hey, I'm the game designer.” And then there's the 3D animated ones that are five minutes and don't show you much. So, where do you–? What do you mean by that?
Chris: I've found that you want the video to be a pitch, and you don't want it to be any more than a minute. At very most, 90 seconds. But people usually lose interest after a minute, so I like something that's catchy that tells you about the game and goes into mechanics briefly, and tells you what the price is. Real simple, but I want it to be eye-catching. Usually, the last few campaigns that I've done it's been pricey, but I think it's paid off. To get an animated video that's a minute long, that's like $500 bucks. Which can be pricey for the new designer, but as someone who's seasoned that's not that big of an investment.
Patrick: What was the price point you shared?
Patrick: Yeah, OK. Cool. So that's a good–? Is that like if someone said $600-700, that's not too crazy? Like, that's in the ballpark?
Chris: That's in the ballpark. I use Freelancer.com, and I'll put my max budget on there which isn't my max budget. So I'll say “I want a 1-minute animated video for $500 bucks,” and then you could potentially work with somebody that would be willing to do that. Then I'm usually pretty generous, and I think I gave the videographer– He did a really good job, so I gave him a 20% bonus. He got $600 bucks.
Patrick: Wow, that's cool.
Chris: But if you're nice to people, they're nice back. I try to pay it forward a little bit.
Patrick: I love it. I totally agree. What is it–? Man, there's an expression that I can't remember, but it's about how if you hire people who are very cheap and you pay them the least amount possible, and you're giving them a hard time and making sure you get every cent out of them, they're probably not going to want to work with you again. They're probably going to intentionally do a bad job, so treat people well, and you'll probably have a better product in the end. Cool.
Chris: Absolutely. Because everybody I've worked with have always been like, “Let me know if you have another project you want me to do,” and they've always been responsive.
What Does Success Look Like?
Patrick: Fantastic. OK, this is a follow up to what you said earlier. You talked about wanting to only do one– Excuse me. To do one Kickstarter a year because it's a hobby, not a job. So my question is, what does success in the board game world look like to you? And by success, paint a dream picture.
Chris: Because I was going to go simple. I think a sign of success as a game designer is to get your first printed prototype and play it.
Patrick: Love it.
Chris: Because that right there, you've got to come up with the rules and come up with the art– Which may be rudimentary, but at least you put something on paper. You have to figure out a graphic design program, and then you have to figure out how to get it up to a prototyping site like The Game Crafter. Then you get to navigate The Game Crafter and figure out how you're going to buy all the components you had, and then when it finally shows up in the mail, you're like “All this work that I've done is finally in this package, and I can play it.” I think that is a sign of success. Just, the very beginning of your design career.
Patrick: I love it. Very cool. I will agree, it is very exciting to see a Print & Play version of your game. Love it.
Chris: I still get excited.
Patrick: Yeah. OK, so I have to say in the mail right now is the first version of Fry Thief that's off the line from my manufacturer.
Patrick: I cannot wait to see that.
Overrated / Underrated Game
Patrick: Thank you. OK, so I have a game at the end, and it's called Overrated/Underrated. Have you heard about it?
Patrick: All right. I'm going to give you a word or phrase, something like “Game of Thrones,” and you're going to tell me if it's overrated or underrated and give me a one-sentence reason why. Does that make sense?
Patrick: Cool. So Battleship, as in the classic game. Overrated or underrated?
Patrick: Underrated. OK, why's that?
Chris: I think it's a great game.
Chris: I'm trying to put my thoughts together. When I was a kid, it was awesome. Even though you guess where you play, there was a slight psychology to it where I had to think like the other opponent and where they would have put their ships. But my brothers always cheated and moved the ships around, but I always had fun with it. I think it's hard for older people to get into it because it's just so basic, but it's a great game for kids. I think it's underrated in that regard. If you had said Monopoly, I would have definitely said “Overrated.”
Patrick: OK, cool. The reason I'm asking this one is because there's a giant explosion in it, and I guess that's a spoiler but this movie is pretty old. Watchmen the movie, overrated or underrated?
Chris: It's not overrated, but it's not underrated. Am I allowed to say that? It's underrated, then. I'll say underrated.
Chris: I think it's one of the best comic book movies that there is.
Patrick: Wow, OK. More than all the new Marvel stuff that's coming out?
Chris: No, I'm not– I watch the Marvel movies, but Watchmen was way better.
Patrick: OK, very cool. How about the movie U-571, overrated or underrated?
Patrick: OK. Why is that?
Chris: It's one of the best World War II movies there is. I think it's just a unique story where they look at a submarine that– Because they actually, they hijack a German submarine. Just the level of detail that they went into, and all the special effects. It was fantastic.
Chris: I'm sensing a theme here, something to do with the destruction or submarines.
Patrick: Your games are related to explosions and submarines, so that's what I've tried to base my questions on. The last one is not– The last one is timely. Labor Day, which is coming up– This episode will probably come out around Labor Day. Is it overrated or underrated, just in terms of the holiday?
Patrick: Overrated, OK.
Chris: It means the start of school.
Patrick: I get that. Yeah, it's the party right before the bad thing. I get that, cool. Chris, thank you so much for being on the show.
Chris: You're very welcome. I had a blast.
Patrick: Where can people find you and your games online?
Patrick: So, you have–? Do you already have–? I feel like your games are cool, should people follow you on Kickstarter? When is your next Kickstarter coming out?
Chris: We're currently in the contract phase of our next Kickstarter. This will be our very first published game that isn't ours, so it's a pretty big step. I can't share anything because we're still in negotiation, but that'll probably be spring 2020. Because we try to do one game a year. But if you're going to follow us, I'm actually on The Game Crafter chat all the time, so if you ever have questions, you'll probably find me there. But shoot me an e-mail or Facebook message, I don't use Twitter much.
Patrick: Perfect. Chris, thank you again. Listeners, if you like this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Chris said he would tell you how to pack a go-bag in case of nuclear war. Chris, we talked to this right before the show, what is– Because you have a go-bag, I think you said, for tornadoes. What is the thing you got to have? Give us three bullet points of things you've got to have in your go-bag.
Chris: One is a weapon. One is some way to purify water, and the other one would be shelter. So a tent, pup tent, or waterproof blanket of some sort.
Patrick: So, dumb question. Why do you need a weapon?
Chris: To protect yourself.
Chris: During an apocalypse–
Patrick: OK, we're talking about–? OK.
Chris: You're going to have people fighting over– You said “Nuclear war,” I believe that's what you said.
Patrick: I did. I think– Yes.
Chris: You're going to have people fighting over resources. I didn't mean to be inappropriate with saying, “You need a weapon,” but people will be fighting for scarce resources and you want to be– I think that– Because even if you have shelter and food, people will try to steal that from you. You need to defend yourself.
Patrick: OK, cool. So here's where I think I got confused because you have a go-bag. I assumed your tornado go bag has a bazooka in it. Is that correct?
Chris: Not a bazooka, but it does have a weapon. I'll keep it vague.
Patrick: All right, there we go. So if people want to follow up with you, Game Crafter chat, e-mail, Facebook message?
Patrick: Awesome. All right, everyone. Sorry, long tangent over. Until next time, everyone– Wait, I forgot to promote my site, IndieBoardGameDesigners.com. You can follow me on Twitter, and I am @BFTrick. Until next time everyone, happy designing. Bye-bye.
Chris: See ya.