Hey there gamers!
It’s been a very long time since we wrote a blogpost here at ITB, so we thought we’d get back into it by posting some reflections on our successful first project, Molecular.
The whole thing started off as an idea we had while sipping hipster beverages and rolling dice over at THIRSTY MEEPLES, where we thought that it would be cool to design a game. That then developed into a pizza & mountain dew session which sprouted a few intriguing ideas for a game based on the Chemistry one of our co-founders, Matthew, was studying at the time.
We then thought, hey, why not get in contact with a few manufacturers? We stumbled across AD MAGIC, the people behind Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens, who were happy to work with us to make our pretty amateurish idea into a professional reality. After a while of back and forthing over the fine detail of the product, we realised this was all getting quite serious!
Our next step was to set up the business, known as Inside the Box Board Games LLP, and get all the fancy registration paperwork which made up one of the FIRST EVER POSTS here on itbboardgames.com! We started to think seriously about how we were going to do all this and began the terrifyingly steep learning curve of launching a Kickstarter project. It was incredibly challenging, given our relative inexperience in bringing tabletop games to market and the crazy amount of competition on Kickstarter for gamers’ attention. We had to do a lot of research into exactly how the whole thing worked, from getting our designs to the manufacturers to getting the games to backers. It’s an incredibly confusing process at times, and going in blind made it all the more challenging.
Nevertheless we stormed ahead and managed to get the Kickstarter campaign up and running on schedule after a marathon graphic design session involving an unreasonable quantity of Chicken Cottage purchases. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but people did pledge! We got a fairly solid start and it looked as though we’d hit our target in the last 2-3 days of the campaign which was really exciting!
Throughout the campaign we learned a lot about the tabletop industry, Kickstarter and ourselves. We realised we were limited by our lack of graphic design experience, which meant it took a long time to produce new content, we hadn’t appreciated the myriad snags in the manufacturing process or anticipated the volume of contributions backers make to a campaign to keep it alive! When things were looking rough in about week 3, we had dozens of messages, emails and smoke signals from across the world to give us advice and guidance. It worked! After we made some (pretty significant) moves late in the campaign, pledges picked up sharply and we ended with £3,000 more than we set out to get, which was an incredible success for us on our first project.
After the campaign was over, the project didn’t get any easier, but it certainly didn’t get less fun. We got cracking at putting all the content together for the manufacturers, which again was a real learning curve – making sure everything was in the right format and provided at the right time, without mistakes. Coordinating all the pieces of the puzzle together to make the game a reality was a huge buzz, getting the artwork, card content, rules, and product all together so that in a few short weeks time – Molecular will be filling my front room.
If nothing else was learned in the Molecular project, it’s shipping. Although it hasn’t even come about yet, we’re not exactly looking forward to packing 500+ orders by hand, although it should be a good laugh nonetheless. Since we finished off the campaign, we’ve found some fantastic shipping partners, who we’ll be using in future to handle our backer shipping – so that you don’t have to suffer Peter’s handwriting.
It’s been a hell of a ride so far, and really the biggest result is the motivation to keep making more games with a bigger team! We’re now working on Statecraft with two more members added to the team, and Broken Shield, with two more team members there too (and potentially soon another!). We’ve learned a lot about designing games, connecting with gamers, the manufacture and shipping process and honestly a lot about what’s capable with a laptop and a few slices of pizza.
We hope that there are gamers out there thinking about making their own games who are reading this now.
Official ITB Guidance: Go for it! (Or join us!)