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Tasty Minstrel Games was started in early 2009, and has become a favorite game publisher for many people.

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Tasty Timecapsule - 5th November 2010

Michael Mindes
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Fun Fact: In 2010, for my Wife and my wedding anniversary, I got her a weird present. I purchased journals for myself and promised that I would write in them consistently. It was one of the best anniversary presents I ever got her, much better received than the pearl necklace I got her on year 3.

As TMG filled my mind so much then (and still does) I primarily wrote about it, and today is the first time that I will review the journal. I am holding true to what I wrote and only editing out some personal information, so please forgive the mindflow type of writing...

The journal writing will be in italics.

5th November 2010 @2:30 PM -

What a momentous day for this to arrive in the mail. Yesterday I got the #1 manufactured copy of Train of Thought.

It looks amazing.


<Modern Me:>
It did look amazing, and it is still a great game. But sometimes hybrids don't exist for a reason. For example, party games which are thoughtful... To hard to play for it to be mass market, and most gamers that we serve don't want party games.
</End Modern Me:>

As of 2:35, the Kickstarter campaign for Eminent Domain has exploded in popularity.

When starting Tasty Minstrel Games, I had a vision from strengthening families. A vision of gamers trusting us with their money. In exchange for a fun and great game.

It is one thing to thank and acknowledge the Lord for ideas, passions, skills, and a vision. Even while others doubt you.

Even while you doubt yourself!

It is another thing to see the fruits of personal efforts and His Love.


<Modern Me:>
This is the start between what I now call the difference between intellectual knowledge and experiential knowledge. That the difference between having the ideas of how things could work (and their results) and seeing results of executing on those ideas.

There is always that bit of doubt before the results come. Something in the mind that says things like "who the heck are you? You think you are so smart, but if this works and seems obvious to you, then why aren't others doing it?"

It can be difficult to exercise trust in your ideas and instincts, but it gets easier... Especially when you see the results of being correct. But even when you are shown to be wrong, it is beneficial because you know to avoid that for at least awhile...
</End Modern Me:>

Seeing that the only way to sell something is if the prospect has convinced themself to buy.

Therefore, the best salesmen take their time enabling their prospects to convince themselves.

There are few things more convincing than:

* A community (that you are part of) endorsement
* Participation in the creation
* The convincing power of a mob
* Somebody giving you what you want
* A ritualistic event

Turning your product or service to align with these will dramatically increase sales.

This Kickstarter campaign for Eminent Domain taps into these forces. People feel ownership in the game due to promoting it, commenting on and influencing artwork, printing and playing prototypes.

This is why, despite them being buyers, if I asked for a favor; they will be glad to help. As organizer they will help me.


<Modern Me:>
I sound pretty smart here. I expected to be more dumb in this journal, but maybe that will come up in the future?

Anyways, I am correct in what I said above. Kickstarter really allows you to bring people into participating in something that is bigger than themselves. Now, more than 4 years later the novelty of this certainly has worn off and there are more transactions on Kickstarter that are treated as simple purchases.

I have been guilty of running campaigns where Backing is treated as a simple purchase, but it is important not to. You might do well if you have a great audience, but not anywhere near as good as if you hit on these key points.

There is a fine line between asking for favors and sounding like a desperate whiner. Also, in this day if you ask Backers for a favor and have no relationship with them prior to them Backing your game, then you will not get much traction.
</End Modern Me:>

ACTION: Update for Backers only asking for the favor of spreading the word on Facebook. The aggregate effect should be awesome...

<Modern Me:>
Or not... I knew I didn't need to go far to see something dumb! Again, without a history with somebody, asking for favors doesn't work out well. And of course, if you have a history and if you are sufficiently good to somebody, then you probably will not need to ask for the favor anyways!
</End Modern Me:>

I am not a HUGE fan of the name of this, Tasty Timecapsule... To me it screams: LAME-O!

So, if you have some suggestions, that would be great. Also, if you wan to see more posts like this, thumbs do encourage me...
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Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:18 pm
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34 More Gamers You Should Follow On Twitter!

Michael Mindes
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Disclaimer: This list, nor the list of 73 before it is meant to be exhaustive!

Again, if you are looking to get into the gaming industry in any capacity, then one of the best places to get noticed or start building an audience is Twitter. I really cannot recommend it high enough.

Now, seeing that I might not have offended everybody with my previous list, here comes another!



Bonus: @tastyminstrel - 21,000+ followers - These guys are pretty cool....


Quick Twitter Tip: Join into conversations and chat with people!


1. @Hydra_Lord - 11,400+ followers

2. @CBJPodcast - 4,116 followers

3. @thegamesmith - 3,960 followers

4. @mleacock - 3,672 followers

5. @kicktraq - 3,536 followers

6. @maydaygames - 2,822 followers

7. @mikeselinker - 2,493 followers

8. @eric_lang - 2,478 followers

9. @diceandnames - 2,417 followers

10. @pandagm - 2,348 followers

11. @islaythedragon - 2,023 followers

12. @blightygamer - 1,881 followers

13. @leagueGM - 1,824 followers

14. @fredmackenzie - 1,489 followers

15. @getlouder - 1,479 followers

16. @eurogamergirl - 1,418 followers

17. @mattmorganMDP - 1,311 followers

18. @Scott_Almes - 1,220 followers

19. @zenxacred - 1,013 followers

20. @HappyMitten - 935 followers

21. @darylmandrews - 861 followers

22. @nakedmeeple - 853 followers

23. @bowergamecorner - 753 followers

24. @tomgurg - 748 followers

25. @profbeard - 695 followers

26. @spielguy - 680 followers

27. @floodgategames - 645 followers

28. @BritSmithereens - 639 followers

29. @DonaldAShults - 597 followers

30. @SmashingPlastic - 514 followers

31. @dshortdesign - 424 followers

32. @billcoreyjr - 306 followers

33. @pincao - 300 followers

34. @hahnarama - 220 followers

If you like this post and want to share it with others, then please thumb it.

And if you want to share it on Twitter, then retweeting this would be great!
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Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:43 pm
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73 Gamers You Should Be Following On Twitter

Michael Mindes
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Disclaimer: This list is not meant to be exhaustive! Also, I forgot @sedjtroll... How bad is my memory!

First, let me say that if you are looking to get into the game industry in any capacity, then Twitter is the place to start to lay a foundation for success. You might want to be a reviewer, a publisher, a designer, an artist, or maybe just a customer that is heard and valued...

Besides that, Twitter is fun if you are interacting with the fun folks!

Twitter is the place to get started. There are a lot of folks on Twitter that are well connected and respected in the industry even if they don't work in it.

That is why I have made this first list of gamers that you should be following and interacting with on Twitter to get you started... Please let me know if you like this by thumbing the blog post and/or commenting and I will continue to make posts like this.

Click This Link To Tweet About This

This list is sorted by total number of followers that person has:

1. @professorshyguy 114,000+ followers - Shyguy makes some awesome chip tune music and I especially recommend his album Geekotica. He in particular likes Stefan Feld games and I met him at last GenCon after he demoed and liked Eminent Domain.

1B. @Quinns108 46,000+ followers - Shut Up & Sit Down!

2. @jeffcannata 44,100+ followers - Jeff is a host of the Totally Rad Show which was on Discover for awhile and now has a funny podcast called "We Have Concerns". He likes euro games, including Belfort.

3. @boardgamegeek 28,100+ followers - Enough said. Tweets signed "-WEM" are from W. Eric Martin himself...

4. @richsommer 24,100+ followers - Rich is an incredibly nice guy and wonderful actor from shows such as Mad Men and The Devil Wears Prada. Good guy, multiple time guest of honor at BGG.con.

5. @thedicetower 18,900+ followers

6. @tastyminstrel 18,600+ followers - These guys are cool. Plus, the founder brought you this awesome and yet incomplete list...

7. @StrongholdGames 11,800+ followers

8. @watchitplayed 6,959 followers

9. @catalystgamelab 6,537 followers

10. @DaveTheGame 5,815 followers

11. @dicehateme 5,615 followers

12. @thefathergeek 5,579 followers

13. @mforbeck 5,557 followers

14. @MinionGames 4,990 followers

15. @danielsolis 4,218 followers

16. @Zee_Garcia 3,985 followers

17. @crash_games 3,870 followers

18. @EricSummerer 3,758 followers

19. @trzewik 3,621 followers

20. @jonathanhliu 3,456 followers

21. @Gamelyn_Games 3,110 followers

22. @gengelstein 3,052 followers

23. @indiecardboard 2,671 followers

24. @cheapassjames 2,641 followers

25. @e3kmouse 2,537 followers

26. @jameystegmaier 2,468 followers

27. @geekfitgirl 2,406 followers

28. @LeagueNonsense 2,240 followers

29. @couplevs 2,170 followers

30. @undeadviking 1,967 followers

31. @benosteen 1,926 followers

32. @GameWireGirl 1,924 followers

33. @hyperbolegrant 1,863 followers

33B. @sedjtroll 1,773 followers

34. @TheOneTAR 1,753 followers

35. @puppyshogun 1,710 followers

36. @jtagmire 1,558 followers

37. @rhiochs 1,554 followers

38. @BenRosset 1,526 followers

39. @425suzanne 1,523 followers

40. @cheveedodd 1,497 followers

41. @Sarcastic_Robot 1,476 followers

42. @jasonkotarski 1,400 followers

43. @C_M_Young 1,399 followers

44. @benny275 1,385 followers

45. @ad7m 1,368 followers

46. @geekinsight 1,316 followers

47. @gilhova 1,291 followers

48. @Level99Games 1,262 followers

49. @InsertStrawHere 1,209 followers

50. @scottking 1,182 followers

51. @cbdarden 1,127 followers

52. @EdPMarriott 1,067 followers

53. @maggibot 1,031 followers

54. @RMBlees 909 followers

55. @HeavyCardboard 856 followers

56. @BluePegPinkPeg 828 followers

57. @frahminator 748 followers

58. @genialgenius 731 followers

59. @duckizz 702 followers

60. @alexwithideas 682 followers

61. @moltenink 675 followers

62. @jamesfloydkelly 663 followers

63. @bamboozlebros 654 followers

64. @mdriddlen 642 followers

65. @vhgames 639 followers

66. @gameritusguy 633 followers

67. @SenFoongLim 597 followers

68. @Jeremiah042 597 followers

69. @FarmerLenny 591 followers

70. @MajMalfunction 569 followers

71. @KeltnerDan 320 followers

72. @meskue 289 followers

73. @shmitz 236 followers
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Thu Jan 8, 2015 5:12 pm
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Why Neglect Certain Kickstarter Campaigns TMG?

Michael Mindes
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TL;DR Version - It only appears to be neglect, and we have TONS to do...

Ok, so I have been getting this complaint from people... I felt it was important to explain...

First, let me say that I am very glad that people enjoy our games so much as to have so much passion for exactly what happens with them. It would probably be best to explain something...

Kickstarter for us is not a opportunity to cash in and make a bunch of money. Otherwise we would cobble together a game that could use miniatures and get some sweet looking minis made. Kickstarter is the way in which we can get any individual game which meets our standards produced and out to the public.

Since the beginning of TMG, we have consistently had a full pipeline of games which are excellent and meet our standards, such as Eminent Domain, Belfort, Kings of Air and Steam, Ground Floor, Scoville, Captains of Industry, and more. And yet we have always struggled for enough time to make that pipeline into a reality.

It is a side effect of who we are (consisting previously on only myself and Seth... now Daniel is here too) and what we do. We find good games with potential, develop them to be great, and get art design to make them excellent. As it is, we have had to painfully cut some games which were almost there due to not having enough time.

It is a very time consuming and creativity consuming process overall to produce a game in exchange for a low return.

I do not want to move to a selling position of assuming total sales of 3,000 units and pricing these kind of games such that they can profitably fund TMG operations at those sales numbers.

That means that we have to have the take the opportunities to make money elsewhere when we have them. Even now with 3 full-time employees, there is too much for TMG to get done. We do not have the luxury of a evergreen mega-selling game that allows us to overspend on labor and devote huge amounts of resources into areas that would lose us money.

For example, if a game like Scoville is $60, then I am likely to be bringing into TMG after paying royalties and freight about $20 per copy that is sold into distribution. If it takes $10 a copy to make the game (which is about right), then we are looking at about $10 a game of profit IF AND ONLY IF it sells out.

If sell print and sell out of 3,000 copies, then we are looking $30,000 of gross profit. If I made it an $80 game, then I would be looking at about $48,000 of profit. These are impressive numbers for a financial windfall, but it is not very much if you need to run a business off of it.

Of course, Kickstarter changes all of these numbers for the better, but we still price the game on Kickstarter to only provide us a little bit more than if we sold into distribution. And it allows us to utilize accumulated financial capital for other things.

For TMG, It is all about making a great game available to gamers. Regardless of the size of the game

Running TMG for almost 5 years exclusively on these low volume, low margin games was fine while everything was done part-time only. But paying for 3 employees now at very good livable salaries means that games like this CANNOT support such a company unless we were selling 10,000+ copies of multiple titles every year.

For reference, there are only 2 games of this size where we have sold 10,000+ copies (OVER THEIR LIFETIME). Village and Eminent Domain

So, like it or not, the fact is that TMG cannot afford to only concentrate on making amazing euro games at fair/reasonable prices. There is only so much time and effort resources that can be devoted... And I do not want to compromise on making games that are not as good or have higher prices.

I could go on for a long time about this and some other psychological factors on Kickstarter, but I need to get back to all of the other work that is necessary to continue to improve TMG's position overall where we can provide greater concentration on any one individual item/game/project.

Briefly, one aspect of psychology on Kickstarter that works against TMG is that I suspect that some people think that we are TMG and thus we no longer need their help on promoting a game...
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Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:32 pm
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Coin Age "copy"

Michael Mindes
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So... I was just going through some emails and I got a message from a Coin Age backer. That pointed me to a project for a "game" called Wallet Battles.

At first I thought, wow this looks familiar...

Then I read about how the "game" was played, and that it was based on a Civil War coin game, and I realized that if the mechanics for games like Risk and Monopoly are outdated...

I realized that there was nothing "legally" wrong, and I saw that my methodology for releasing micro games would be copied faster than I thought would happen...

Anyways the bottom line is this:

#1) The game is different. Very different, I wouldn't personally consider it a game based on the rules that I read.
#2) I have seen my ideas and methods for using Kickstarter copied, reused, and reworked many times over.

So, I have no problem other than the potential confusion about TMG's potential involvement. Now, the first line of text in the project is:

"We are not affiliated with Coin Age. TMG, Michael Mindes, and Adam P. McIver have no involvement with this product or campaign."

So, I am satisfied. I would like to ask you to not hassle the guy. I hope that he is successful in what he is trying to accomplish. I had people hassle me about a game that was similar to another game only in that you stack wooden shapes. I had to back out of that because of it, and I don't want that to happen to somebody else.

The only thing I worry about is that if it was copied without further thought going into it that he might run into trouble. The microgame projects that I am doing only work for me at fairly large scales.

But, that is not my problem in this case.

Here are Adam's thoughts on it:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/14422359#14422359
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Fri Jan 3, 2014 6:11 pm
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Errors Suck - But Your Customer Service Doesn't Have To!

Michael Mindes
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At TMG, we work with manufacturers that do great quality control and have reduced error rates to a very low level. Still, we assume that 2% of all product produced will be missing some piece or damage internal damage prior to the end customer opening the game to play it.

2%. It doesn't sound like a lot right?

Well, imagine you have been waiting to get a particular game, you bring it to game night, and open it up...

Only to realize that you are missing key pieces or that there is damage which prevents game play.

THAT SUCKS!

Now, your internal image of the publisher is tainted. You might be less likely to buy their other games.

You go to their website, can easily find where to submit requests for replacement parts. You get an automated email back saying that you should get a response within 48 hours and that if you forgot your shipping address or what needs replaced that such information will be needed.

The next day, you get an email telling you that it has been shipped out. In fact this message comes from somebody you wouldn't expect to be doing this in the company (owner, game designer, and so forth).

Now, you feel much better. You know that if you have problems with one of their games in the future that it will get fixed.

------------------

As a publisher, the bottom line is that errors will happen. You need to send out replacement parts. Why bother waiting or dreading the experience?

You can instead potentially win a long term customer by responding right away and shipping out their piece right away!
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Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:00 pm
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Not every game should be published...

Michael Mindes
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I have gained many friends while publishing board games. Many of whom are small publishers trying to make their own mark. I like them, they are good people. They do things right and are being successful, but not successful "enough".

I ask the question, "why?"

Sure, it took time for me to become established, and that has been accomplished on the back of many great games, transparency, and consistent hard work. And it has taken a lot of TIME!

But I see them doing the right things. So, again I ask the question, "why?"

Then I hear the answer dropped into conversations hear and there. And my heart sinks... To put it politely, the games aren't incredible. Sometimes, I hear that they are bad.

Which brings me to the topic of this post:

Don't Publish Everything

I know it is exciting to make your own game and see it start to work. The rules are working, the pieces make sense, there are even decisions to make. The decisions might even be interesting, and the theme fantastic.

Everything is coming together.

So, you start the process to publish the game.

Kickstarter is horrible and bad because there is no gatekeeper...

What was that? Oh, I can hear the anti-Kickstarter folks coming now to get their say in... Well, in some senses they are correct. With many games that are Kickstarted, there is no gatekeeper in the old sense of the word.

Don't go down this path Michael, you will never recover...

Right right, so bottom line - gatekeepers at many companies fail and still publish crap. You personally don't need to Kickstart any game that you don't want or don't have 100% confidence in. Available choice for the consumer is a good thing for the consumer.

Right, where was I? Yes...

Don't Publish Everything

Just because your game works doesn't mean it is interesting. Find out from large pools of alpha gamers what they think of your game.

Develop "taste" for a certain type of game. Seth Jaffee has incredible taste for euro games. Michael Mindes has good (maybe incredible?) taste for dice games. DomCrap from NorthStar Games has incredible taste for party games. Steve Jackson has incredible taste for games that feature tongue-in-cheek geek humor (see Munchkin and much of SJ Games line).

Stefan Feld is probably the most trusted designer right now to make a great euro game.

If you have good taste for a certain type of game, and people start to recognize that, then you are on your way toward success. Utilize your taste to understand why a game is better than others in its class. Or to know why it is unique and cool.

Maybe you are thinking... "Wow, Michael, that is not very helpful at all."

I Know, It Is Hard To Quantify

It is very hard to quantify. When I started TMG, I knew that Seth had fantastic taste for Euro games. That is why he is our developer. That is why it is almost 100% up to him what TMG publishes in that arena and how much work needs to be put into those games.

His taste in this area has proven to be amazing, and over time it is verified through how people like games like Homesteaders, Belfort, Eminent Domain, Kings of Air and Steam, Il Vecchio, Ground Floor, and so forth.

I think I have good taste for games in general (as evidenced by how many I dislike, meaning the ones I like must be VERY good). But of course, acting on an unverified taste can be damaging when you publish something that sucks.

However, my taste in dice games is being verified. Martian Dice has been very well received. Dungeon Roll is in the hands of folks and becoming well received. I saw the great things about each game, and was the main developer on both to make the good things about the game shine.

I think Train of Thought, For The Win, and Jab are fantastic games. It is clear that not enough people are in agreement. So, my taste for smaller filler/party games is not great, unless they are dice games.

Learn Your Tastes Through Trial And Error

Where you have good taste will often line up with the type of game that you really tend to enjoy. If you have any good taste at all.

Over time, if you are publishing games, then you need to see where your strengths are and focus on those areas. Always focus on your strengths.

And again, just because the rules work and it is technically a game, that doesn't mean that it is something you should publish.

Because you really don't want to become established as a publisher that has bad taste.

Cheers!

Remember, I am starting a new game company on a budget of $999. Reviewing this information is helping me remember how to start a game publishing company (Mindes Style) while having the opportunity to teach what I have learned to you.

You can sign up for email updates at Paradise Game Labs. We would love to have you along for the ride.
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Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:00 pm
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Find An Audience, Become Friends, Rule The World...

Michael Mindes
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In the previous blog post, I talked about epidemics how to help your game spread like an epidemic and what it takes to get backers on Kickstarter.

It Is All About Audience

I didn't call it out heavily in that post, but having an audience and a relationship with that audience is a HUGE factor here. It was there just under the surface.

Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon) has said, "Real estate is the key cost of physical retailers. That's why there's the old saw: location, location, location."

To this, I, Michael Mindes, have a variation, "Potential backers on Kickstarter is the key limitation of a crowdfunding based creative company. That's why there is the new saw: audience, audience, audience."

Backers drive initial results on Kickstarter, which drives buzz, which drives additional backers, which drives total funding results, which drives results in retail... At each step, the better the results are, the greater the increase in your audience.

After the Dungeon Roll Kickstarter, when I asked in the survey if backers would like to become TMG email subscribers we got an additional 3,553 email subscribers. That is a 32.6% opt-in rate out of all of the backers. That is with at least 15% of backers having already been on the list.

Wow, the next time we Kickstart a game that is similar to Dungeon Roll, we will have such a HUGE head start when compared to last time. Our first email about Dungeon Roll went to 8,140 email subscribers. Today there are over 15,000, quite the growth in 5 months.

People Aren't Numbers

You will not here me say "email blast" and every time that I hear somebody say it I cringe. Why you might ask?

Because, a marketing email is not something that you just BLAST as somebody. Like you are shooting as much as you can at as many people as you can trying to get as much to hit as possible. It isn't a process of sending every bit of promotional material and hoping that something in there convinces somebody to buy.

For me, it is about building a relationship with all of those people. That way, when you have something to say or something to promote, they are willing to listen. They are willing to give it a chance.

Sure, TMG might have over 15,000 email subscribers, but it is the relationship with those individual people that matters. Obviously, we cannot have a personal relationship with 15,000 people.

So, what we do is show people what we are all about and let them choose if they like that or not. So, we share how we do business. We share what is going on in the company. We pull back the curtain.

We strive to provide as many services and as much value as possible. For that, we hope that we are well liked enough that people on average will continue to buy our games.

RELATIONSHIP

That is what it is all about. Without it, it doesn't matter how big of an email list you have. Plenty of companies have email lists ten times the size of TMG's, but they don't get results. That is because they don't have a relationship.

They don't ask for permission. They don't continue to earn that permission.

In today's world where there is more good free information than you could ever consumer on the Internet, it is the attention of an audience which brings the most value.

So, go out there and EARN that attention...

Rule The World

I don't know pinky...

Remember, I am starting a new game company on a budget of $999. Reviewing this information is helping me remember how to start a game publishing company (Mindes Style) while having the opportunity to teach what I have learned to you.

You can sign up for email updates at Paradise Game Labs. We would love to have you along for the ride.
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Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:00 pm
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Kickstarter Epidemic...

Michael Mindes
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How Epidemics Spread

Many factors determine how an epidemic will spread, concentration of populations, percentage of afflicted in a group, contact with other groups, duration of infection, and so forth.

To help a game spread and become an epidemic (in a good way) then there are 2 main areas in which you can and should concentrate:

1. Percentage of afflicted in a group.
2. People that cross over many groups.

If a game is popular in an area, then it is likely that more people in that area will buy the game, especially if lots of people already own it. At a game night in Utah, I learned that already 6 people own a copy of the new Star Wars RPG: Edge of The Empire (core rulebook). I am close to being influenced to buying one myself.

Then you have people that cross over many groups. I see 2 different types of these people.

The kind that influences many regional or location based groups within a larger group. Such that UndeadViking or Tom Vasel might convince many different locations within the "hobby gamer" or "BGG" community to get a game.

The you have people that have cross-over influence. Somebody like Jerry Holkins from Penny-Arcade who has influence with Video Gamers, Webcomic readers, and so forth. Or somebody like Wil Wheaton who has influence with Hobby Gamers and Video Gamers.

An effort to work with these folks that can spread a game is good, but it is also important to target distinct areas. For example, what if you could get a local game meetup group with 100+ attendees to be consistently playing your game? What if 30% or more were constantly playing it?

It would spread.

Why Do Games Pre-Sell On Kickstarter?

I am sure that many of us could go on at length about cynical reasons why games pre-sell on Kickstarter. In my experience though, it comes down to a handful of things:

* Incentive
* Trust
* Presentation
* Interaction
* Visibility

Let's start with visibility, as this is the easiest. Nobody can Kickstart your game without seeing it. It is beneficial to be able to send lots of people over to Kickstarter to check out your game no doubt. Without a built up reputation, then you will need to buy this.

I suggest building up a reputation in advance. I already have one thanks to TMG, and through this series of blog posts, I am getting people to opt-in so that when Paradise Game Labs launches some things that it has visibility.

Interaction is how involved or interested a backer is in your project. Sure, somebody that shows up and backs is great, but somebody that comes and backs, comments, returns to see other comments, and reads updates is even better.

As they spend more time with your project they will become more emotionally vested in the success of the project. With Dungeon Roll, TMG was hitting on all cylinders for interaction.

Presentation is all about how a project looks. If it looks like crap, then it is more likely that a potential backer will think the final product will be crap. And people don't buy crap. Unless it is sold on TV, cost 80% less than its "value", and you get 2 of them.

Trust is critically important. People need to believe you will deliver and that it is as awesome as you are showing them it can be. You can earn this over time, but if you are short on time, then you can borrow the trust of others and get 3rd party verification of awesome. This is called sending out review copies or making print and play available.

Incentive is all about the reason to back a project (or share it) now and not wait. Do you have discounts? Do Kickstarter backers get exclusive stuff? Once you pass your funding goal, is there more stuff to earn through stretch rewards? Is the game a good value?

Combine all of these, and you have a potentially great success coming.

Next time, I will talk about how to build an audience and build a relationship with that audience so that when you launch your Kickstarter project you have a core group of supporters that will be interactive and there from the start...

Remember, I am starting a new game company on a budget of $999.

You can sign up for email updates at Paradise Game Labs.
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How and Why a game sells...

Michael Mindes
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As previously mentioned, I am starting a new game company on a budget of $999.

You can sign up for email updates at Paradise Game Labs.

Since, this game company will not have the resources of TMG to assist it, then I have again thought about How and Why games sell.

Game Sales In General

Games, in general sell because they are fun, well liked, and people know/understand the rules. Why do people buy Monopoly? Because the "know" how to play and remember it being fun (even if that fun is nostalgic and it sucks now).

The nostalgic fun benefit shows itself with Risk, Stratego, and Magic: The Gathering (particularly through people that come back to M:TG). Obviously, we cannot benefit from nostalgic fun and a built in base of people that know how to play a game we will release.

Therefore, they need to have fun immediately and consistently enough that they want to play a lot of the time.

Regular Folks vs. Alpha Gamers

If you are on BGG and reading this blog, then you are certainly an alpha gamer. The majority of the fans of TMG are alpha gamers. There are pros/cons to attracting both the regular folks and the alpha gamers.

Alpha Gamer Pros:
* Will gladly read and learn the rules of the game from a rulebook.
* Are more likely to take a chance on your game.
* Have greater influence on what games are played.
* Respond well to expansions.

Alpha Game Cons:
* Lose interest in a game faster, especially if they don't find anything special about it.

Thus, if you graph the influx and outflux of alpha gamers playing your game it will look like a spike (unless you REALLY catch on and that is rare). And you will hope that they will spread the game to as many "regular folks" as possible before they get bored.

Regular Folks Pros:
* Are impressed by good games.
* Play a smaller number of games, thus if yours is one of them, then yours is very likely to be played by them regularly.

Regular Folks Cons:
* Hate reading rules.
* Need to know a game and like it before buying it.

This knowledge about alpha gamers and regular folks coupled with a knowledge of game sales in general, means that we need to know what impedes immediate fun, and remove those from any game design.

What Impedes Immediate Fun?

Learning rules, misunderstanding rules, game flow, game speed, over analysis, lack of table talk, lack of laughter.

Nothing sucks more than learning the rules to an epic game like Twilight Imperium or Eclipse. Except maybe playing them if you don't want to devote several hours to a game. Or find the game flow to be problematic (like in TI3).

What Allows More Fun For More People Faster?

If you want a game to have commercial success. REAL commercial success (not just several thousand sales)... The kind of success you can build a career on, then it is important for as many people to have fun as quickly as possible.

Cards Against Humanity is the poster child for this.

To accomplish this, you need to support more players, be easier to learn game (video rules anybody?), faster gameplay, lower price, encourage table talk, and provide reasons to play again.

As a publisher, you would LOVE for your game to spread like an epidemic, so there is looking at that too...

Next time, we will look a little at how epidemics spread, pre-selling on Kickstarter, and how to build a relationship with that initial audience that can get you started.

Remember, I am starting a new game company on a budget of $999.

You can sign up for email updates at Paradise Game Labs.
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Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:00 pm
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