Orcish Wisdom

Our latest game, Runes & Bones, has seven days left to close. We have been very happy with the popularity and success of this project, and have been spending every spare moment making games. Ok, confession time… Corey has been spending every spare moment building the games, but now is where my part comes in. I will be helping him sand, burn and mark the runes and then my favorite part – the bones!

To make the bones we take an enormous bucket of Sculpey, roll out and shape the clay bones, and then bake them in the oven. I can do that all day, it reminds me of play dough, and who doesn’t love play dough?

Image

Ok, not a bucket of Sculpey, but we are going to find one!

We are excited to hear whispers of an Unpub Game convention coming to Denver the first week of April and are already planning our games to bring. Unpub is a group of game developers that do nothing but network, share advice and experience, and play test new and exciting games. The developers group we are forming will kick off the week after Unpub, and we hope to meet many local developers at the convention that share our love of game creation.

Image

A rare glimpse of Wasad Qa, Spirit Talker, in his natural environment..

 

 

 

My loving husband’s alter ego, Wasad Qa, is now joining our game company. Our first Wasad Qa video is now on our Kickstarter page, but you can watch it here.

 

 

There is no better way to spend your days than doing what you love, and those words were always hollow to me before launching this game company. Success is not what brings happiness – happiness is what brings success.

Advertisements

Runes & Bones Deluxe

Our latest game release, Runes & Bones, has been a huge success. Our request was $500, hoping to send a few hand made copies out into the world. We are currently over $3000, and nearly sold out of every set.

This week has been a flurry of updates, stretch goals, and reaching out to other companies to partner with. We have included a new digital game called Sticknia, which is a hoot to play!

Image

In addition to Sticknia, we added a deluxe version of Runes & Bones, leather bags, and personalized runes.

Thank you to everybody who pledged their support, and we are excited about where this game is leading us!

If you haven’t already, please swing by our Kickstarter page and check out Runes & Bones!

Image

Entrepreneurs are the Ultimate Gamers

Image

As game designers, mechanic lingo is part of our everyday communication with each other. Action points, movement, risk and reward, and loss avoidance. When my husband first mentioned the goal of a game was loss avoidance, I rolled my eyes and laughed.

“Isn’t playing to win the reason for all games?”

“Duh, no?? Don’t you remember Arkham Horror?”, he told me. “Loss avoidance victory conditions are one of many mechanics.”

Loss avoidance game strategy is a last man standing type of game. Chess, Checkers. War, Tag are all games where the winner is the last man is standing. It also uses some behavior economics in game play with a few universal human behaviors:

1. Hoarding syndrome -Losses have a greater impact on preference than gains. Players feel much more dissatisfaction losing points (or pieces, etc)  than satisfaction when they gain points.

2. Endowment effect – This is a behavior phenomenon that states people assign more value to something they own than to something identical they don’t own. For example, my dice set is much better than yours, even though they were bought at the same place on the same day.

3. Sunk Cost Fallacy – The idea that what you have already invested in something has future value and worth, when the truth is your decisions are based on the emotion investments you’ve made. The short story – the more you invest the less willing you are to abandon ship.

In the game world, there is no better example than Farmville to prove these theories correct. The status quo bias comes into play when you are unwilling to give up your current plot of land to start over, even though the joy is in the building. You want to minimally maintain the income your current farm brings in. The endowment effect can be seen by hanging onto your own special sheep rather than selling it at the market even though one of your “friends” will surely send you a new sheep as a gift. The sunk cost fallacy is why people log in, over and over, to make sure their current crops don’t die from neglect. People will check their farms multiple times per day rather than start over with fresh crops. If that is impossible, people will even invest real money to make their crops last longer so they can check in less often. Marketing brilliance capitalizing on human behaviors are shown in every aspect of Farmville.

Loss avoidance is studied in entrepreneurial behavior. Entrepreneurs are typically optimists, risk takers, and visionaries. New entrepreneurs are not driven from a fear of failure. In behavioral economics terms, the status quo they need to maintain is low, their endowment effect is nearly zero, and the sunk cost fallacy may actually be a positive bias rather than a negative one. In other terms, new entrepreneurs often have little to lose and much to gain.

In contrast, when examining the behavior of successful, well established companies, overcoming loss avoidance in the game is much more difficult. Though they have all they worked towards, such as market share, revenue, and recognition – they also have more to lose. They have to maintain a status quo, they have their endowments. Suddenly, the strategy of taking risks and the sunk cost fallacy can be paralyzing when decisions are made. Nobody want to risk their empire they have been building for ten years to risk it all for new ideas and approaches. Growth slows, and market share is lost to new ideas and more passionate entrepreneurs with nothing to risk.

Being in the new entrepreneur category ourselves,  we are fueled by passion and driven by dreams. The goals we have are the same as most entrepreneurs – get our product to the public, focus on our message, create a business and life around our own ideals. Right now we are playing the game for the goals mechanics, not the loss avoidance. In a sense, we are living Arkham Horror everyday.

Image

References:

1. On the Psychology of Loss Aversion: Possession, Valence, and Reversals of the Endowment Effect LYLE BRENNER YUVAL ROTTENSTREICH

2. Entrepreneurship and Loss-Aversion in a Winner-Take-All Society John Morgan University of California, Berkeley Dana Sisaky Erasmus University Rotterdam 

SANJAY SOOD

BALER BILGIN*

Valentine’s Day Delight

Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers, old and new, to celebrate all they have found in each other. Valentine’s Day is for chocolates, flowers, romance.. even for geeky gamers.

Our Valentine’s Day is going to be a date to remember, we are going to Genghis Con, a game convention in Denver. This will be our second year at the game convention in Denver, and I admit I am giddy with excitement. It will be held at the Red Lion hotel from February 14th to the 17th, we have booked our room and reserved our game slots!

Preregistration ends tomorrow, so please sign up and come play with us. It’s a wickedly fun time!

Here are a few pictures of last year that I borrowed from their site:

ImageImageImage

Now, if that doesn’t look like fun, I don’t know what does! I am thinking about putting my hair up Princess Leia style and bringing my cloak (that Corey made for me personally) for special effects. What do you think?

Image

(Gun picture added for my lovely friend, Kells)

Project Update:

We played our game, Goblin Pit Fight, at the game store with some new friends and had a great time with it. The game stores are the perfect place to meet like minded geeks and have a great time! We are working on the logistics and hammering out details of our next game – this game makes me giggle with every new development. I think game developing and creation is the most fun job in the world. Where else is your mission to create fun and have fun doing it?

We now have a newsletter that we will be sending out once a month. If you want to follow our work without the hassle of reading our blog several times a week, feel free to sign up here. We will only send you out monthly updates, and your email address will not be offered to any eyes other than our own.

In the meantime, I am getting all geared up for the convention. Who knows, maybe I will even post pics of our Valentine’s Day night in all of our nerdy glory!

Game Night

This afternoon we will be hanging out at our local game store, Total Escape Games, playing Goblin Pit Fight and possibly play testing another game for a member of our Board Game Group on Facebook.

This has been a full week of gaming, last night we played Space Alert with our friends, pizza and beer. If you haven’t checked this one out yet – run, don’t walk, to you local game store and buy it. Who knew fighting aliens could be so much fun?

We are board game designers because we are board game lovers. Board games provide us fun nights with our friends in a personal, face to face kind of way. Video games are great escapes, board games are great times. Game nights bring friends, beer, laughter, food and a quality of relationship that you just can’t replicate with Xbox Live. Yesterday was the last night we had to spend with our dear friend, James, before he returns to Japan.

James has been a lifelong gaming friend of Corey’s, and a new friend to me.  James lives in Japan with his wife, Keiko, and new son Jamie. The last few weeks he has returned to the states for work and has spent most of his free time helping us with our project. He has play tested, offered feedback, helped with the design and visited game stores with us. He is also a project backer, even though he will receive a copy of the game either way. This level of support and friendship could not have been found without their mutual love of board games.

Image

Thanks so much for everything, James, and safe travels home!

Project Update:

As mentioned above, we will be playing Goblin Pit Fight tonight at our local game store. We love this store and cannot wait to feature it in our next post. If you are anywhere near the area, swing by. We would love to meet you, play a game, and generally hang out.

We ordered the t-shirts today and are excited to get them in the hands of our contest winners. We also can’t wait to get our own and proudly sport them at Genghis Con in Denver in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again to all of our friends and supporters, and make sure to swing by our Kickstarter page, the Goblin Pit Fight.

GOBLIN PIT FIGHT

We Love Our Local Game Stores

Magic The Gathering pre-release events were today, and there was quite a hubbub surrounding this event. People were out in droves, spending their Saturday at local game stores playing the game. How do I know this, you ask? Today we spent visiting local game stores to leave fliers and meet the game store management. There were pros and cons to hitting the streets on the same day as the release.

The pros:

1. There were hordes of gamers out and about.

2. There was excitement in the air as players’ favorite game was played around the many tables in the stores.

3. The managers and owners were present in nearly every store.

The cons:

1. There was so much activity we only had a few minutes with each store manager.

2. Parking was impossible to find!

Despite the flurry of activity in the stores, almost every manager and owner present took the time to visit with us. We were welcomed into their store, they expressed interest in our game and company, and were helpful and supportive in every way.

Local game stores offer so much more than selling games. They have tables for people to play games and visit. They have tournaments to play their customers’ favorite games. They provide a community – a place to meet other gamers, hang out and do what they love to do. They also support their community by posting community boards, they sponsor gaming events, and they have inside knowledge of what is happening in the gaming world. Visiting with a gentleman from one of the stores, we discovered a game developers group that we are going to visit to meet and support other like minded people.

Next time you are considering buying a game online to save a couple of bucks, remember your local game store. Keep our gaming community alive and well, and check out what they have to offer.

Project Update:

We are ordering our T-shirts for the contest and to wear at the game convention, Genghis Con, in a few weeks. Once the winners are selected, we will get sizes and send them off to print. Here is an example of what they will look like:

Image

Thank you for supporting our project, your local game stores, and Goblin rights everywhere. Once again, here is a link to our project, The Goblin Pit Fight.

GOBLIN PIT FIGHT

Funding Fun for Everyone

Image

Necessity is the mother of invention.

The Great Recession brought out the entrepreneurs in droves.People have been finding their own way in the world rather than relying on the workplace to provide for them.

One of the hardest parts of chasing a dream or making a business come to life is financing. Financing is especially difficult in the arts arena, with many artists not having the business experience to inspire faith and financial support from their hometown bank.

Hence, the birth of Kickstarter in 2009. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects, not an avenue to cover start up costs associated with starting a new business. These projects include publishing, film, music, games, technology, theater, software, dance, design, fashion, and photography.

In our experience, the most reassuring part of being a backer is the Zero Risk Model. If the project fails to reach its funding goals, we aren’t charged anything. The most gratifying part of being a backer is watching new creative projects succeed and being on the ground floor. The rewards are a perk, but being part of making someone’s dream come true is why we do it.

Since Kickstarter’s inception, more than 30,000 projects have been backed with more than 2.5 million people. Music has had the most projects funded, followed by film, then art.. Overall, a total of 44 percent of all Kickstarter projects have been funded. According to the Huffington Post, only 13 percent of small business loans were approved at 100 percent last year.

What we are seeing is a shift from financing to alternate ways of fund raising. Etsy is an avenue where artists can promote and sell their products. Crowdfunding sites (such as Rockethub, Kickstarter and Indigogo) are avenues of funds and support for launching a project on a backer level, but may grow to more with the JOBs law being passed last April (and still being worked out). Industry leaders are stepping up with new start-ups loans and coaching, such as Samuel Adams Brewing company.

The shift in funding alternatives are offering hope. Now entrepreneurs, dreamers, and people venturing out on their own have support and different avenues to find success. The banks no longer have the final word, and as long as you can find an interest in your project and a pool of people who will support you, you can chase your dream.

There are also a plethora of coaching and support options when beginning your project. In our case, we found a site and a podcast called “Funding the Dream” hosted by Richard Bliss. He is very specialized and focuses solely on crowdfunding  projects, and he has provided a wealth of information for us.

It seems coincidental to me that these Crowdfunding avenues are newly available after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Muhammad Yunus in 2006 for his work in Bangladesh and his pioneer work in micro-credit and micro-financing. Whether his work inspired these new avenues or not, I would still like to recognize and appreciate him. It’s rare that an economist is recognized for humanitarian work, but it shouldn’t be.

Image

Whatever your dream, there’s likely a way to chase it with one of the above resources. If there is nothing available that meets your specific needs, I bet there will be shortly.

Finally, a link to our own Kickstarter project:

The Goblin Pit Fight

Now, get off your butt and start your project. The main obstacle isn’t such a high hurdle anymore, so that excuse no longer applies. When you get out there, we will be your biggest cheerleaders!