We have games, no doubt about it, but do you know we carry Kickstarter Games? What’s Kickstarter and why is it a big deal to have some in store? Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site for game makers, visionists and individual entities who can get the funds needed for their projects and dreams to come true. You can read more about it here. I bring this up, because I was able to interview someone who regularly supports games on Kickstarter and I wanted to get his story on tabletop games. His name is Brian Conwell and he sells his extra Kickstarter games at the Guild House! I asked him a few questions that I hope inspire readers to look into making their own games or help designers create their projects.
Who are you?
I am a human being from Earth… My name is Brian and I do LOVE me some board games but it has only been recent this new found LOVE! Four years ago, I was going through some rough times. During those times I needed an outlet to focus on things that were creative, fun, social, and straight up positive… so I started to play Dungeons & Dragons again (like 30+ years later in my life!) which helped me through those rough times. That was the beginning of it all…. I met some awesome people within months and they became my new family of board game friends. I have been buying, collecting, finding awesome vintage games, and then recently selling them.
What kind of games do you like to play?
The games I really enjoy are what the industry calls “filler” games or microgames which are relatively inexpensive to buy ($10 – $15 each), quick to learn (under 15 minutes or less), and fast to play (30 minutes or less). Games like Love Letter, Dragon Slayer (KS), Get Bit (KS), Loonacy, 8-Minute Empire, and Coin Age (KS). Don’t get me wrong… I enjoy longer games or more in-depth games too; recently my girlfriend, son and I along with our friends are getting a kick out of Survive, Smash Up, Rivet Wars (KS), King of Tokyo, Arcadia Quest (KS), Forbidden Desert, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Takenoko, Fluxx (all of them), Seven Dragons, Dig Down Dwarf (KS), Dungeon Roll (KS), The Builders, MYTH (KS), and Dungeon Fighter. Our favorite game at the moment is Smash Up!
When did you start backing games on Kickstarter and why?
I started backing Kickstarter games in December 2012 with Kingdom Death: Monster being the first one I backed. I thought “Wow, what an awesome looking game; the best miniatures in the industry ever!” Still waiting for that one though, but, hey, so are thousands of others. I backed these projects because I support creativity for upcoming board game developers. I thought it would be different to sell Kickstarter board games to others that missed the project all together or sell to those that wanted more out of the game and to make some extra money while transitioning careers. I eventually want to work on some of my own ideas to put on Kickstarter.
How do you decide which games to back and how many units to buy?
Well I often use KickTraq.com to monitor board game projects to get a feel for what will sell and for what won’t or will have a harder time to sell. Obviously if there are many backers to the project and the goal of the project soars through the roof… well what’s a hit now will be a hit later when it comes to retail. Very few projects I pledge on with just a single copy… that’s because it is for me and me only. I pledge on these because they interest me. Sometimes what I like and what will sell to many others crosses over mutually, satisfying its justification to purchase many copies. I’ll pledge for 10 – 12 copies on a single Kickstarter project or on a rare occasion as mentioned above just a single copy. There are so many projects to choose from as KickTraq.com has a “Top 25” hot list for top projects on Kickstarter.com. Fortunately for me, board games make up about 40% of that top 25 any given day of the year. Video games make up another 40% but the success rate falls greatly so, I don’t buy them, and besides its digital content… I LOVE tangible things like board games.
Isn’t it risky to put money into someone’s project that might not succeed?
It sure is! This is the third year I’ve been backing projects and out of the 80+ projects I’ve backed only ONE that failed in being made. In fact, that creator is nowhere to be found! So the risk is minimal in my eyes and worth the chance in helping someone else out who’s got a great idea and it’s fun to watch the ups and downs of the process in how they successfully make their game. All of my pledges except one (Reading Rainbow Kickstarter – which I just had to do) were and are in board games.
Do you back games on other crowdfunding sites like indiegogo?
I have used only one other crowd funding site called Lanzanos.com… it’s a crowd funding site in Spain to pledge for the 25th Anniversary of Heroquest! What a classic Dungeon & Dragon-like board game back in the late 80’s. To answer your question… No, I haven’t used Indiegogo.com for any pledges. I have checked them out occasionally but the board games are few and far between and the quality just isn’t there. All creators know that Kickstarter is their best option to make the money they’ll need and more because of its popularity!
I have to ask, how did you find out about the Guild House?
Aweee! How is this related to my Kickstarter story? Oh, yeah, my Kickstarter line is in your store!!! Actually a Game Master (Sir Erik Wintz… Awesome Awesome guy) from another hobby/board game store in Garden Grove informed me of your wonderful store. He had told me that he needed a Steve Jackson Demo person to go to your store for its official Grand Opening last year. That demo person wasn’t me but I had to check it out anyhow since I live in Cerritos and the Guild House is the closest board gaming store! I was amazed when I walked in on how everything looked and the space with all the gaming tables! Really the icing on the cake was how Monica and Charles (the owners) were so kind and helpful the moment I entered the store! Customer service is everything these days and you guys are on top of it… with your knowledge and expertise. I wish you all good fortune!
Thank you, Brian for your time and sharing your story!