Patrick Rauland: Hello everyone and welcome to the Indie Board Game and Designers Podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer every single week and we talk about their experience in game design.
Patrick Rauland: My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I’m going to be talking with Rich Hardy and Julianne Holzschuh, the designers behind Penguin SLAP!, which was on Kickstarter a few months ago and they had a pretty successful campaign. Rich and Jewlz, welcome to the show.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Hey. Nice to be talking to you.
Rich Hardy: Hello.
Patrick Rauland: Yay. So I saw your game because it’s a micro-game and I like micro game. Or not micro, but I like smaller, quicker games. So I know a little bit about you, but for people who don’t know about you, I like to play this little game where I ask you three quick questions. Then we’ll just go through those, all right?
Rich Hardy: Sure way. Sounds good to us.
Patrick Rauland: All right. So if you were a penguin, polar bear, or narwhal … Or, sorry. Sorry. If a penguin, polar bear or narwhal got into a fight, who would win?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Polar bear.
Rich Hardy: Polar bear?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Polar Bear.
Rich Hardy: You don’t think a narwhal with a-
Patrick Rauland: Not the narwhal with the giant spike on its head?
Jewlz Holzschuh: No, well, polar bears already eat seals, and I feel like a polar bear would know how to handle itself. It would sneak up on it and drag it out of the water, and then [crosstalk 00:01:19] a whole lot.
Rich Hardy: Yeah, but if I was a narwhal, the polar wouldn’t have a chance.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Sure.
Rich Hardy: That’s what I think.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, all right. We’ll see.
Jewlz Holzschuh: [inaudible 00:01:31] from your forehead horn?
Rich Hardy: Maybe.
Patrick Rauland: So what is your favorite convention?
Jewlz Holzschuh: I really like the MegaCon convention in Florida. It’s always really big, it’s in a gorgeous convention space. The R2D2 Builders association always comes every year. They always got a really … bunch of really nice photo booths. There’s tons of cos players. It’s big enough that you get a lot of [inaudible 00:01:56], also small enough that you don’t have [inaudible 00:01:59].
Patrick Rauland: Love it. And you Rich?
Rich Hardy: Sorry for MegaCon, I would say BostonFIG because we were there and there were a lot of really great people there, and it was a great place for smaller board game and card game designers to get on to a show floor and showcase their games for people, at a relatively inexpensive way, which was really for us and helped our game a lot.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Great for networking and great for seeing new interesting indie games.
Rich Hardy: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Hmm. Yeah, there’s so many indie small games that you would never hear of or never see in your board game store so it’s cool to have a place to see them.
Rich Hardy: Yeah!
Rich Hardy: Yeah, yeah!
Patrick Rauland: Cool, cool. And your favorite expansion for a game?
Jewlz Holzschuh: I was having a lot of fun with the Widow’s Walk expansion for Betrayal at House on the Hill. They add another level to the house. They added a few game play fixes, so it’s much easier to navigate the levels of the house … the dumbwaiter.
Rich Hardy: The dumbwaiter.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Stuff like that, and they added a bunch of new stories to it, too. [crosstalk 00:03:01].
Rich Hardy: Yeah I’ll second that one as well. We’ve both played a both amount of Betrayal at House on the Hill, and the expansion just kind of-
Jewlz Holzschuh: It adds a lot to the game.
Rich Hardy: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. I like it!
How Did You Get Into Board Games & Board Game Design?
Patrick Rauland: So I love … the first question I basically ask everyone is how did you get in to board games and board game design?
Rich Hardy: So, we were originally going to make a video game back in the day, because I like programming and I think programming is fun, and programming small Mario sized scroller kind of game is fun, and my aspirations grew to be much greater than my programming ability. I was like, all right. Let’s jump into card games instead because that’s way faster.
Rich Hardy: And that’s basically where it began and we sat down, or I sat down and I was like, all right, let’s make a game. And what game do we like? I played UNO with some friends of mine at one point and they introduced a house rule that I really liked and I thought of making a reverse UNO-esque game that utilizes this house rule as it’s core mechanic and that’s what really began this whole thing.
Jewlz Holzschuh: It was kind of like the seed of where the rest of the project blossomed. The house rule in question is for when you play an action or icon card on the pile, if someone else plays another one, they would the stack and the person who wasn’t able to play the same thing would get hit by like multiple skips or multiple draws or whatever.
Rich Hardy: Yeah in short, if you play a draw 2 on someone, it means they draw 2 cards and their turn ends. But with the house rule, you play a draw 2, the next person can play a draw 2, and instead of oh yes, the person would then draw 4, unless they have a draw 2 and the next person would then draw 6. And the effect would stack and keep going around the table. That was so much more fun than regular UNO. I was like, let’s take this sort of this jumpy reflecty mechanic and just make a game around it. And that’s where Penguin SLAP! was born and all of our interest and everything came from that.
Patrick Rauland: Hmm. So I’ve played with that house rule, too, for UNO, and it’s pretty fun when you can … when someone plays the wild 4, the draw 4, whatever it is, on you, and you pass it on, you’re like, oh thank god.
Rich Hardy: And every time we mention this to someone they always say, oh yeah! I’ve played with that house rule too. Everyone’s played with this house rule, and it’s not in the main game. Why is it not at least in the comments in the main game? Unless it is and I’ve missed it.
How Did You Design Penguin SLAP!?
Patrick Rauland: That’s really cool. I like that introduction story. So I’d love to know how did you design Penguin SLAP! together, because it sounds like each of you did different roles, or had different jobs.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Well, he had the basic idea and we got some construction paper and just cut it up and wrote down what the individual cards would do with a pencil.
Rich Hardy: Yeah it started off with little cuts of squares of paper, and we wrote what the cards did. One of the things we wanted to do in the game was have it so the back of the cards were different colors, and the back of the cards could be seen from across the table what your opponents would have. So the original construction paper just had highlighter on the back, and pencil on the front. Super, super, super rough.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Basic, basic prototype. It’s just getting the mechanics … trying out the mechanics, making sure the mechanics work before any art was in place.
Rich Hardy: And we kept going back and forth with this little game of making someone drop cards. Because it was UNO but backwards, so instead of picking up cards you wanted to make your opponent drop cards. This sort of back and forth, until it’s … until we … until it was fun.
Jewlz Holzschuh: What we ended up doing was he started out with the rules that he wanted to try. We had the different colored card backs. We had the making opponents drop cards instead of picking them up. We had the bouncing back and forth cards, but that was it. We started with the most basic rule set, of like three rules, and then we would play, and we would be like, Okay, I’m noticing that without a hand limit, I’ve got a massive amount of cards. This might not be a good idea. All right. Let’s try a hand limit of 7. Okay, we’re noticing we’re coming into this problem. Let’s add a rule to counter that down. And then it was very much a back and forth of he would introduce an idea. I would introduce an idea. And we would play test together because it was a two-person game so we would just sit down and play it with each other and suggest rules or suggest changes and it was a very collaborative process.
Rich Hardy: Once we got to the point where we played and a hand and when it was over, we went, that was fun. We knew we had finally hooked what we were going for.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah. And then when we got to that point, we decided to start thinking of theme because we had a mechanic that was fun, we had a game that was entertaining despite just being pieces of paper and scribbly little directions, so we decided to think about what we wanted it to be themed about. The main thing was either kittens or penguins. These are two things that everybody likes, but there was already a game that came out with kittens, because Exploding Kittens had recently come out, so we decided to do penguins instead.
It Seems Like You Design Mechanic First?
Patrick Rauland: I love that. I love that explanation. So what’s interesting is I don’t usually go to this question, because I don’t usually think there’s a lot of value in this question, but in this case, it might. It sounds like you designed the mechanic entirely first before the theme. Is that luck or if you’ve thought about other games, have you also started with the mechanic first?
Rich Hardy: So from what I’ve heard, Nintendo does a lot of that as well. Where they’ll come up with a brainstorm idea of a mechanic and then once they’ve found something that’s fun, that works, that’s fun to play, they’ll then look at their IP database and like, oh okay, this is more of a Starfox game or a [crosstalk 00:09:15].
Patrick Rauland: Really!
Jewlz Holzschuh: So that’s how you get things like Mario Cart which has nothing to do with the sidescroller platforming but it’s themed with Mario. Tennis, it’s just …
Rich Hardy: Wii sports is another good one.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah.
Rich Hardy: And you can’t … they decided to introduce the Miis for that specific Wii. So [inaudible 00:09:34] the same character across multiple things and it would be more universally applicable to people who aren’t familiar with Mario.
Jewlz Holzschuh: There was a little bit of a back and forth after we decided on the theme because once we figured out a theme, we were like, okay if we’re doing penguins, well, how would this work because we were talking about having multiple draw piles in the game, which is something that’s fairly unique for card games, but it was fun an added an extra layer to the strategy of covering them up. And we were deciding, well penguins, you know, icebergs … ice caps … kind of, well, how would that work?
Rich Hardy: So in our game there’s multiple places you can draw fish cards from … there’s fish cards … and we wanted a mechanic that would cover up draw piles, so that people wouldn’t be able to catch more fish or draw more cards. We wanted to have a penguin that would have an ability that would allow them to fish through a draw pile, and we were trying to think of, well, if these are draw piles, they are fishing holes, then maybe you’d cover a fishing hole with an ice cap. Well, what penguin can break through an ice cap? No …
Jewlz Holzschuh: Not many penguins can. Well …
Rich Hardy: What could? What if there was a polar bear dressed as a penguin, pretending to be a penguin? That sounds really goofy. Let’s keep going on this. And as we came up with more abilities for the players to have, we came up with goofier and goofier renditions of penguins, which, about half the penguins in the game aren’t actually penguins.
Jewlz Holzschuh: And it kind of snowballed into this thing where we would just bounce goofy ideas off of each other and then whatever made us laugh was what we would roll with.
Game Design With Improv Skills
Patrick Rauland: I find this really interesting just because … Sorry, I’m getting a slight echo … but I find it really interesting it sounds really improvy. You know what I mean? You know? Let’s just try this … I’m going to throw this crazy idea out there and we’ll see if it sticks.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Then the design process was very much like that. It was design first, brainstorm first, and then critique later. It’s figure out what of our goofy fun ideas actually work and which ones don’t.
Jewlz Holzschuh: But I think especially for beginning designers, they’ll either shoot themselves too hard in the foot, or they’ll be expecting too much of themselves, and they’ll critique themselves before their idea even gets off the ground. You’ve kind of got let yourself have wings and just explore the direction that an idea is going, because the creative side of your brain and the critique side of your brain are two different things.
Jewlz Holzschuh: So you want to just get our ideas out there and see where it goes and try to push it as far as you can before you come back and cycle around with okay, how can this be improved?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I used to work in an advertising agency and one of the rules that we had to come up was for five minutes you can’t critique someone else’s idea. And after five minutes, you … someone will be like, Patrick build us a website that fills up with beer, and it makes the words float on top. You just have to entertain those ideas for a few minutes and then go, okay, yes but it’s really technically hard to do that.
Patrick Rauland: But yeah it’s really important just to try an idea on. So I love that advice.
Rich Hardy: You can … if you’re too afraid to ditch earlier ideas in favor of newer ideas, you can definitely get into a point where you get adhered to something that might not work so well later on, whereas you could have done something different later on that would have made everything just overall better, but you were too stuck on your initial …
Jewlz Holzschuh: It also really helped that in the beginning of the game, since we designed around the mechanics first and we had pieces of paper and we had very rough everything, it … nothing was set in stone. We didn’t come up with a thing and then immediately do art of it. It was like, well, what would be funny? What makes us laugh? Because if it makes us laugh it might make other people laugh too. Following your enjoyment, because it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun.
Patrick Rauland: What! Games are supposed to be fun?
What’s It Like To Launch A Game While At A Convention?
Patrick Rauland: So … okay, let me change gears a little bit about … I just want to go into some of the interesting marketing stuff, because you guys launched your game while at BostonFIG. Now maybe for just a second can you actually tell us a little bit more about BostonFIG and then I’d like to know, what is it like to launch a campaign while you’re at a convention?
Jewlz Holzschuh: So BostonFIG, it’s a festival of indie games, and there’s two parts of it, there’s a digital game side and a board game or slash card game side. It’s just indie games, people who don’t work at publishing companies, who are making games on their own time, and it’s tables for them to showcase their games. A lot of them are part of the Boston Game Makers Guild, which we attended and were part of while we were in Boston, which is groups where people just come together and play test each other’s games and give each other advice on mechanics, and then you just kind of have a table to showcase it.
Rich Hardy: That’s something I wanted to get to a little bit later in questions. But the … One of the most useful things resources that I could recommend to anyone new who is trying to build a game or get feedback on a game is just to go online and go to Meetup.com or any other site where you can meet up with other people, and see if there’s a local game design group in your area, because they’re generally out there.
Rich Hardy: And when you can meet with other game designers and share ideas, and get critique and get someone else’s eyes on your game, they’ll see things that you don’t see. And they can give you help and recommendations and hey, this thing seems a little broken, or why don’t you try this or that, and just the feedback and the community can help you game grow so much faster and you’ll help them out as well with your feedback. It’s just a really, really great resource to just crowd-help each other out, which is what the Boston-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Game Makers Guild
Rich Hardy: Game Makers Guild did for us.
Jewlz Holzschuh: The … getting back to the Festival of Indie Games though, since it is a convention that has been at Boston a few different years, they usually host it in one of the MIT gymnasiums, and it’s a couple thousand people, something like that. And they’re all there specifically for indie games. So you get some people who they’re not professionals, so sometimes you’ll see whacky looking hand-drawn art, there was one that was, while we there, there was a surgeon game or something like that, where someone was lying on the table and they were talking about, you get this mutation. It’s not just basic game ideas, but it’s different game ideas, it’s stuff that wouldn’t necessarily find in the main stream.
Rich Hardy: And when we found that we were getting into BostonFIG … Oh, something else I was going to mention, they … they’ll do a curation process every year for BostonFIG where you’ll submit a video about your game and an entry fee-
Jewlz Holzschuh: And a copy of it so they can play it.
Rich Hardy: Well at first it’s just the video. And if you make it through the video phase after you pay the entry fee, then you can send a copy of your game, and then play testers will play your game. If the play testers think that your game is completed enough or ready enough for showcasing, they have a limited number of slots which they’ll give out to people to showcase their game on the showcase floor. So if your game is relatively completed enough, or interesting enough, you can submit it for curation with a small fee and potentially get yourself-
Jewlz Holzschuh: A booth and an audience of a couple thousand people.
Rich Hardy: To showcase your game. So we did that, and we made it through and it didn’t cost us a whole heck of a lot of money, which was awesome and kept our costs down. We were able to show case our game and since we showcasing our game and it was nearly complete at that point, we planned our Kickstarter launch at the same time so that we could utilize-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Kind of use it as a jumping off point.
Rich Hardy: Yeah, and try to get as many people on our Kickstarter on the first day as possible.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Right. There’s … so if you look up the Kickstarter algorithms, Kickstarters that do very well on their first day tend to get bumped higher up in the search results which make it easier for people to organically find it through the website and it’ll boost your results. So we kind of purposely designed our campaign around having a strong launch with the convention, with people that were going to be play-testing with it in person. So that it was all kind of streamlined and going together.
How Effective Was It? How Many People Did You Talk To?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I just … I think it’s such a cool opportunity to be featured in some sort of event like this and then just to launch your Kickstarter at the same time. I guess, I’m always curious, do you have any idea how many people you talked to, and then what percent of those people that you talked to were like, I’m going to back this on Kickstarter?
Rich Hardy: It was such a busy day.
Jewlz Holzschuh: It was such a busy day. Both of us were just play testing all day.
Rich Hardy: We had lots of people who were interested and it was our first time doing a convention so I was so incredibly overwhelmed. It was an amazing experience. Just being able to play the game with so many people, and seeing, oh there’s some really little kids coming. I’m not sure if they’re going to be able to understand the game and then they start playing and they get it, and it’s wow, that’s … you’re a smart little kid! Shh!
Jewlz Holzschuh: Because there were people who weren’t in our friend group and had no connection to them, seeing other people pick it up and enjoy it, and families sharing it with each other, it was a very interesting and special experience.
Rich Hardy: And so while we were telling people, hey you know we’ve got our Kickstarter going live right now, and pointing to the website.
Jewlz Holzschuh: We had business cards, we had coloring pages, we had-
Rich Hardy: We had an email list, as well.
Jewlz Holzschuh: We had an email list where if you gave us your email then you would be entered into a drawing to win an art print.
Rich Hardy: But from that we had a good amount of momentum. I couldn’t give you exact number of figures, but there were lots of people that I lost count of.
What Resource Do You Recommend to Game Designs?
Patrick Rauland: I think it’s really cool. So let me change gears just a little bit one more time. So I love conventions, and for people who are in … in your case, Boston, it sounds like they have a great convention. And other people have good project spiels, and other people have unpubs and all this stuff, but if you’re not near a convention, what is a resource that you would recommend to another designer out there?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Indie Game Alliance.
Rich Hardy: Tell them about Indie Game Alliance.
Jewlz Holzschuh: So … I’m not sure if you’ve seen their website, but Indie Game Alliance is a group of independent game producers-
Rich Hardy: Designers-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Designers,
Rich Hardy: Yeah I think publishers, too.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Publishers too, yeah, but they’ve all kind of banded together and they’ve made a system to help group-produce games, they have a play testing system, they have a group that goes around to conventions for you, that will showcase your games at conventions, they’ve got websites, where they’ll post games that are currently on Kickstarter. It’s kind of like a central meeting point for independent game producers or designers to send their game to be play tested, to be marketed, to be seen by publishers, when it’s difficult to get there in person.
Rich Hardy: And the other really big thing … I mentioned this earlier, but I can’t stress it enough. Just meeting up with other people in your areas, and if you look online and there isn’t a Meetup for table top game design, start one.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Make one. Yeah.
Rich Hardy: Go to … if you’re in college, college groups are easy to start. Find people in a game design class, just network with other people. Networking is just a great way to make your game better and make other people’s games better and when everyone has fun making games, everyone has fun-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Playing games.
Rich Hardy: And that’s just great.
Rich Hardy: Oh. And get on podcasts. Podcasts [crosstalk 00:22:23].
Patrick Rauland: And what?
Rich Hardy: Get on podcasts.
Patrick Rauland: Oh, yes. Yeah I … you know what’s funny, I think-
Rich Hardy: There are really nice podcasters out there.
Patrick Rauland: I think I start listening to podcasts, probably about six months before I seriously got into game design. It was really nice to have a little bit of foundational knowledge and then start designing stuff. Like, I think I listened to Ludology and stuff like that before I started. Cool.
How Did You Achieve Such a Low Funding Goal?
Patrick Rauland: So okay, I just want to ask you one specific marketing question. So Penguin SLAP! is on Kickstarter. I noticed that you had a pretty small goal. Now I notice on most games I think of a goal between 5 and 10 thousand, even games that are card games, because card games in a box and some tokens or whatever. Somehow they are always 5 to 10 thousand, and then games for minis are way higher than that. But how was your goal, I think your goals was like 1,500. How is it so low and why did you shoot for that goal?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Originally when we were making Penguin SLAP! like I mentioned, it was kind of a collaborative process between the two of us, and we didn’t expect that we were going to be selling it in stores, we didn’t expect that we were going to be going to conventions, it was something that we were doing for fun by ourselves, and I did all the art myself and Rich is good at websites.
Rich Hardy: It was going to be something that we were going to make 10 or 20 copies just for our friends-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah, and then maybe 50 and then maybe 100. Shoot, that seems like a whole lot. And 100 games at $15 each, that’s $1,500.
Patrick Rauland: Yes.
Rich Hardy: We weren’t like … It wasn’t going to be something that we were planning on … It was something that we were going to be largely doing in our own free time, using our own previous skill sets, and it wasn’t something that we planned on making a whole bunch of money on, so the costs were just way lower.
Jewlz Holzschuh: It was … we didn’t have to pay for an extra artist because I was doing all the art myself.
Rich Hardy: We were already living in Boston when BostonFIG happened.
Jewlz Holzschuh: We didn’t have to pay for convention fees, really, because FIG is a very, very low cost convention. So, just to fill you in, as our day jobs we’re compositors. We work in the movie visual effects industry. And I studied animation in college and art in college and-
Rich Hardy: I did computer stuff.
Jewlz Holzschuh: So we have an extensive background doing visual media things, and for our work, we travel around a lot. So we were able to do a lot of the things that someone might need to pay for normally for free or nearly free.
Rich Hardy: Or since we were already in the area, we tried to schedule work contracts so that we could be in Boston during BostonFIG.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Right-
Rich Hardy: And such, but yeah, since … when we set our initial costs low it was originally low, like 1,000, 1,500 just so that … okay, if we make this much money we’ll have enough so that we can have some games for us, our friends can have some games to sell-
Jewlz Holzschuh: We can give them to our family, we can give them to the people who helped us play test, and we’ll have a few extra to sell.
Rich Hardy: This is the minimum number that we need to get X number of games out to all the people that … just the minimum number that we want to get for our own goal. Anything beyond that is just-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Gravy.
Rich Hardy: Gravy. And just amazing and awesome and we can use it to better the game. Which, we ended up hitting our goal four times over, so …
Jewlz Holzschuh: And with the pre-orders at the end, we ended up hitting five times over, because we-
Patrick Rauland: Ooh, nice.
Jewlz Holzschuh: So after the Kickstarter ended, we had one last stretch goal that we were only $125 off of getting, which was to add art to the last two cards in the game that didn’t have specific part, and a number of the people in the Kickstarter that were following us were asking us to just do that stretch goal anyway because we were so close. So what we ended up doing was set a pre-order link on our website so you can pre-order the game-
Rich Hardy: And we had the pre-order links have the same things as the Kickstarter tiers, so even if you were late to the Kickstarter, you could still get the Kickstarter things.
Jewlz Holzschuh: And we had pre-order sales go back toward the original stretch goals.
Rich Hardy: And then once we start production for the game itself, we’ll remove that shop and have the regular shop. But until production begins, you can still order the game off of our website with all the same things as you would have gotten off Kickstarter.
Patrick Rauland: I really like that. It’s just cool I think to see a creator shoot for $1,000 or $1,500, like that’s a great, very realistic number. I think a lot of people stress about marketing their games now and you need to get a thousand people on your email list … I’m making up that number … but you need to get a whole bunch of people on your email list before you launch. And if you need to raise $10,000 maybe you do need 500 followers already, but if you need 1,000 then you can reach out to friends and family and a little bit of marketing will get you to the finish line.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Right.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Cool.
Rich Hardy: And getting to … hitting your Kickstarter goal really early makes you look better and then for the next 29 days, everyone sees hey, look there’s a game on Kickstarter, it’s already funded. That looks solid and they look at it.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah, it’s something that people tend to gravitate towards success and I remember we were … we wanted something that were fairly sure that we could hit, because, again we came into this with very low expectations. It was something that we put a lot of work into and we really enjoyed making it, but I’ve heard so many stories of people who just don’t really go anywhere that I didn’t set myself up for anything. I, like … we put all of our steps in going the right direction so I was pretty sure we would succeed, and then we hit it the first day. Which totally-
Rich Hardy: Yeah someone walked over to our booth when we are at BostonFIG and they’re like hey, congrats on hitting your Kickstarter goal, and we were like, what? Really? Cool! That’s awesome.
Patrick Rauland: Wow, that’s awesome.
Rich Hardy: I want to check, I need to …
Patrick Rauland: So I’m going to start wrapping up here little bit-
Rich Hardy: Oh good.
What Does Success Look Like?
Patrick Rauland: So what is, I’d love to know. You just got your game funded, what does success look like, especially after publishing?
Jewlz Holzschuh: So eventually it’d be really, really cool to see our game on a store shelf somewhere, being able to go into a Barnes and Noble or a Walmart or something, and just see your game on the shelf. That would be really cool.
Rich Hardy: Or having your game be well-known at parties and such, because every time you go to a party and you look at someone’s game shelf, you’ll see Betrayal at House on the Hill. You’ll see Munchkin. You’ll see Cards Against Humanity, if you have friends like that. And it would be really cool to see Penguin SLAP! right next to that.
Jewlz Holzschuh: We do have some friends because we were play testing it with groups of friends when we would hang out for game nights and whatnot, so we’ve gotten a few friends that would travel in and out of town, and when they’d come in, they’d be like, oh! You brought it! Great! They looked forward to play testing with us, which felt good.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Seeing people who were looking forward to the Kickstarter launch like before it went live, we mentioned we were going to launch on a certain day and we planned for a certain time to maximize our chance of success so that we could make sure there wasn’t any bugs during the actual festival, so it was going to be 5:00 PM that day, and I had some people messaging me, when are you putting it live? Give me Kickstarter!
Rich Hardy: On a similar note, if you’re going to launch a Kickstarter, make sure that it’s done before you launch. Like make sure you’ve got the-
Jewlz Holzschuh: Video-
Rich Hardy: Video, something short and sweet that gets to the point, at the top of your page. Have a short synopsis of what your game is like that people will read and be like, okay cool, and decide whether or not they want to keep reading. Because when people click on a link on Kickstarter, sometimes they’re only there for a few seconds, and if it looks interesting, they’ll stay and if not they’ll move on. Just make sure that, right at that page loads, you’re 15 second sell pitch is right there and you’ve got a video that can fit within a super short two, two and a half minute attention span of someone just passing by. Get those out before you launch so that when you launch, you’re ready. Very, very important.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah it should be perfect.
Rich Hardy: Yeah.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, yeah. Cool.
Jewlz Holzschuh: [crosstalk 00:31:18].
Patrick Rauland: I was just going to say I really like that advice. It’s really good.
Overrated Underrated Game
Patrick Rauland: So, I like to end my show with this little game called over-rated/under-rated. Now I believe before the show you mentioned you hadn’t played it before, so here’s basically what it is. I’m going to give out a word or phrase like “the Avengers” and you have to say over-rated or under-rated. And the correct answer is obviously under-rated. The avengers are way better than DC Super Friends. Something like that.
Rich Hardy: Okay.
Rich Hardy: And if it’s properly rated, we still have to pick over-rated or under-rated, right?
Patrick Rauland: Yes, because this way I … yes, you can’t be uncontroversial here. You have to go one of the two extremes. So hidden role games, are they over-rated or under-rated?
Rich Hardy: Hidden role games, like …
Jewlz Holzschuh: Werewolf?
Rich Hardy: Werewolf and something like that? Under-rated. I think more people should play them. They’re a lot of fun and they’re really simple, sometimes.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Man, I was almost going to say over-rated. Because they’re really fun with the right group, but the wrong group messed you up and it’s so frustrating to play with people like …
Rich Hardy: Who don’t get it?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah.
Rich Hardy: Who say that I’m a werewolf from the beginning.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Yes, yes, that can be a disappointment. How about blogging in general. Over-rated or under-rated?
Jewlz Holzschuh: I’m going to say over-rated just because of how big some bloggers’ heads are.
Rich Hardy: I’m [inaudible 00:32:38] to say over-rated. Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: So third one, there it is, print and play games, or basically a game you can print out yourself at home. Are they over-rated or under-rated?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Under-rated?
Rich Hardy: Under-rated.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Under-rated.
Rich Hardy: Under-rated, definitely under-rated. The fact that you can print and play a game at home without having to buy it and test it out. I think that it’s there, and I don’t think enough people use it.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Or try it.
Rich Hardy: Or try it, just because of the slight inconvenience of having to use a printer, although printers can be pretty inconvenient tools.
Jewlz Holzschuh: It’s also really great way for beginning game designers to get early versions of their game out to potential play testers, that may or may not live close where they live.
Rich Hardy: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: I love it. And then the last one, holiday … it was just sort of holiday breaks, are they over-rated or under-rated?
Rich Hardy: Under-rated.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Under-rated.
Rich Hardy: Under-rated.
Jewlz Holzschuh: I think they’re probably pretty highly rated, and that’s pretty cool, because they’re awesome.
Rich Hardy: Holiday breaks are awesome. We like sleeping and, shh, sometimes with our day job, we don’t always get enough sleep. So. Cannot stress holiday breaks enough. Seeing your family is nice, too. Depends on the family, but most of the time. Seeing your family is very nice
Jewlz Holzschuh: Absolutely depends on the family
Rich Hardy: Friends and everything. Holiday breaks are awesome.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Sometimes a holiday break is what you make of it.
Rich Hardy: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, thank you both for being on the show. Where can people find you and your game online?
Jewlz Holzschuh: Penguinslap.com.
Rich Hardy: Penguinslap.com. We’re also on YouTube. We’re also on Facebook. Jewlz has an Instagram that she has Penguin SLAP! art as well as her general art and photography. The links to all of those are on our website, as well as our Facebook. But yeah, penguinslap.com, Google Penguin SLAP game, [crosstalk 00:34:39] editions.
Jewlz Holzschuh: There’s also some speed paintings up on YouTube of … if that’s your jam.
Rich Hardy: Oh, yeah, because when Jewlz was doing the art fOR Penguin SLAP! we screen recorded it on the computer and I put cool music to a lot of them, chip tunes, and some have piano music and it’s either really pumping or really sweet music, one of the two. And those are all on our YouTube channel as well. So you can watch her paint stuff.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, I watched one of those, those are great. So thank you both again for being on the show. Really appreciate it.
Rich Hardy: Thank you for having us.
Jewlz Holzschuh: Thank you for having us.
Patrick Rauland: So listeners, if you like this podcast, please leave us a review us on iTunes, If you leave a review, I’m sure Rich will name a penguin after you or something.
Patrick Rauland: In case you ever get pet penguins.
Patrick Rauland: So just as a reminder I’m going to be launching my game Fry Thief on Kickstarter in probably a couple of weeks. You can visit the site, indieboardgamedesigners.com, I will have show notes there for all the games that we mentioned. You can follow me on Twitter, I’m @BFTrick, B as in boardgame, F as in and fun, and trick as in trick-taking games.
Patrick Rauland: That is all I got, everyone, so … until next time, happy designing! Bye bye.