Brewin’ USA and the Road to Kickstarter
Two years ago, I had this surge of excitement that I was going to create the next great mobile game. The game was going to be called “Boss Fight” and it was going to bring to life the epic battles that took place in JRPGs from the 90’s. If that went over your head don’t worry, because I progressed down this path for about 12 months and then something occurred to me. I was spending more time with my face glued to my phone and computer than with friends and family. I had learned that I really liked the process and challenges of designing a game, but that I was missing social engagement… and I do not mean sharing your status with a friend to get bonus lives.
JOINING THE TABLETOP SURGE:
I had always enjoyed board games with my family, but mostly played classic card games. In about ’07, my family got introduced to the medieval town building game called Carcassonne and we have been diving deeper into the hobby board games scene ever since. When I felt some burn out on making mobile games, I turned to tabletop games. This was a pleasant surprise to that developing, prototyping, and testing a game became infinitely quicker for me since I wasn’t spending time learning a coding language. One of the best upsides was that testing a game involved playing with actual people versus sending some development build and a cold questionnaire for feedback. There was a decent learning curve here also, but I trusted my gut and listened to gamer’s more experienced than myself to quickly riff away the bad ideas.
WHY BREWIN’ USA:
My inspiration for Brewin’ USA appeared on my commute home one day. There was something about the idea of playing a game that had strategy and beer involved just stuck. That night I quickly mocked up a few ideas in MS Paint that continued my inspiration for where the game has come today although they were very rough. This sounds pretty random, but I also listened to a podcast that week where the host had entered a Game Design competition called the Tabletop Deathmatch hosted by Cards Against Humanity. I followed through to find that the 2nd annual Tabletop Deathmatch contest submissions were being collected in about two weeks. Knowing a little bit about the contest audience, Brewin’ USA was the natural game candidate that clicked as something that could be a stand out. I raced off to develop the idea further creating 3 prototypes and testing multiple times with friends, family, and my work gaming group to refine it very quickly to something that put fun mechanics behind the inspiration.
A HUGE THANKS TO THE CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY TEAM:
This contest included free access to designers, illustrators, and as much exposure that an indie game designer could hope for at Gen Con 2014. They are also airing a web series in Feb, March, and April highlighting the work of the finalists. I was so fortunate to get this exposure and access so early, that I knew I had to take the momentum from this contest do my very best to follow through with Brewin’ USA. When I returned from the contest in August, I was thrilled to have heard great feedback but knew that the game would benefit from more testing. I took the game to many meetups in the Minneapolis area, and worked to incorporate feedback to buff the strategy and replay-ability that will satisfy both new and experienced players. This included a print and play release and incorporating feedback specifically improving the auction phase. At the same time, I stayed connected with the manufacturers to make changes to continue to lower the cost of production and the price per copy.
Kickstarter is a rewards based crowd funding webite where an idea and prototype turn into reality and a reward is delivered to any supporters upon successful completion of the funding goal. Funding goals are typically set to fund production costs, and rewards are the product shipped to a supporter. The Kickstarter community has become the hub now for both independent games publishers and even established publishers. The real beauty behind Kickstarter though, is that the developer and crowd are brought into close communication and get to contribute energy, ideas, and feedback to help the developer deliver something special. But this community doesn’t just show up out of the woodwork. A community needs to start with friends, family, and fans of the project creator that vouch for the person and / or the project. I have felt so much support already that has helped me continue on this journey and test and share Brewin’ USA and Kickstarter is where you can help turn this prototype into a game.
This is where you come in. I will be asking for funding support for this project, with the goal of bringing a high quality game at a reasonable price. If you like the game, then please get in at the Kickstarter level! If you like me or the idea, then please share this project with others that might be interested and spread the love via Facebook and Twitter as well. Brewin’ USA will be on Kickstarter during February 18th – March 20th on Kickstarter
Thanks for everything!