Tell us a bit about yourself and Dice throne.
Nate and I (Manny) have been friends for a long time. And we were both working at an app development company here in Spokane. Nate is a software developer/game designer and I am a concept artist/game designer. Between us we’ve worked on games for Disney, Pixar, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and many others. But serendipity stepped in and we were both laid off from our job last year on the same day. We took that as an opportunity to work like crazy on Dice Throne. Which started it’s life as an app. And in a series of amazing events the game came together really smoothly. Nate is a phenomenal rules and game builder and together we forged Dice Throne in to a game that borrows from a dozen game types and aesthetics. It’s a culmination of what we both love about games!
What did you do to build up a following before you launched?
We did our best to learn from the gaming community. We built a Facebook presence from scratch and began s twitter account. We also slowly introduced ourselves in to the world of board games. Before we launched we did not (and still don’t) have a HUGE following on any social media site. But it is growing quite rapidly. I (Manny) have some following from self-publishing comics and running Kickstarters for graphic novels but we were not sure if that would translate to people following our game. In the end we kind of crossed our fingers and jumped in the deep end of the pool.
What is your best marketing tip?
Engage with a genuine heart of interest with people. Whether that is with a small group or large. Whether on Facebook or twitter. Interact with people, not as a business but as a person with an open mind and heart towards the people who are watching, enjoying and hopefully supporting. The Kickstarter community is also a MASSIVE group that you need to market to. And by “marketing” I mean being responsive, replying to messages and comments, listening to feedback and acknowledging the desires of your fans that you will gain through doing a campaign. The backers on KS are the people that make a game like ours possible. Without them and their support, we don’t have a game. And I think it’s wise to embrace that going into Kickstarter as a game developer. Oh, and if you can afford to pay for ads it can really help but make sure you understand that world of advertising and marketing. We got lots of advice and help from the start and it has really been amazing.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you launched, what would it be?
“Take your time…” Looking back, we originally thought we would be ready for kickstarter 2 months after our first iteration of Dice Throne (which is very laughable now). We thought that creating a fun game mechanic was 90% of the work, but we were very wrong. The game must go through soooo many iterations, play tests, cold play tests, rules revisions, etc. And then you still have to figure out price points, MSRP, shipping, distribution, marketing, con attending, etc. We worked many late nights to get where we are. Next time, we shouldn’t have such a condensed schedule.
When did you launch and why did you choose that exact moment?
Dice Throne launched January 25th. We were selected to be a part of the PAX South Indie Showcase ( http://south.paxsite.com/psis) along side 6 other AMAZINGLY cool games. But because of that our timetable to launch was accelerated. It felt like a no-brainer to have the campaign live when we arrived at PAX. We had no idea how incredible and game changing being at PAX would be.
You don´t have a huge following on social media. How did you manage to get that many backers to find you?
We, obviously did not have that big of a following so being selected for the Indie Showcase was one of the biggest boosts we could’ve hoped for. The folks at Penny-arcade created a show that far exceeds expectations. And that had to have been a major player in people finding us. But even on top of that, the community that gathered around us upon launch has been absolutely fantastic in their support and in ALL the sharing they’ve done. It’s part of the magic of Kickstarter. When fans there love what you’re doing they spread the word. And wow, have they ever.
The beginning and the end of the campaign are when most of the backers pledge. Whats your main tactic to handle the mid-campaign drop?
Keep pushing. Stay active with the backers. Keep promoting as best we can. The mid campaign is coming but since you know it happens you can’t lose heart. Keep sharing and keep the excitement up with all the amazing fans that are bolstering up our passion project.
How often do you send out updates and what do they include?
It’s our goal to not overwhelm backers with updates. But make them important and fun. Celebrating milestones and in soon we’ll start a series of “Meet the Heroes” updates where we talk about who they are and their play style. We want the updates to be engaging. We’ve done 5 so far and we’re moving at a pretty swift pace!
Whats you tactic regarding stretch goals?
Our first step with stretch goals is to better the game over all. Better quality cards, box and most of all better DICE. Since this was our first game campaign we had no idea if we’d have 50 backers or 1000 so we tried to be as safe with our initial estimates in making the game. That $15k goal was a entry level “we get a game to backers” amount. And from their, it’s in the hands of the fans and backers. We all want better product and this whole process is also in service to an awesome retail product as well.
The secondary aspect to the stretch goals is MORE HEROES. This is a game about playing unique heroes and more options are what we all want. We had fully developed 2 additional heroes and had no idea if we’d get close to those. The fans have shown is that more playable characters is what people are hungry for. We won’t be adding any more than the Paladin and Monk to the Kickstarter but we are ready with even more heroes for Dice Throne 2.
Why did you choose to have player reactions on your main Kickstarter video?
It was important for us to talk to the people who are playing our game and get feedback. After every game night, play-test we ask for any and all feedback. The people who’ve play-tested our game have absolutely integral to us making changes and creating the best game we can.
What is the most important element of a Kickstarter page?
One of the most important things you need when you launch a campaign is to be clear and straight forward with what you are making and what you are asking for. You need to listen, respond and engage.
Do you regret something you did on the campaign?
I think taking our time and not moving so quickly would’ve been nice. Everything move so fast during all of this. In hindsight we should’ve started 6 months earlier. 🙂
You have a social goal that will unlock a companion app. How did you develop the app. Is that a big and expensive job?
Since both Nate and I come from the app development world it is not as costly as it could be if we had to go out and hire someone. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Nate will put in a TON of time making and fine tuning the app once we hit that goal and there are many art assets and things we want to do with it to make it as awesome as possible.
What is your favourite board game and why?
Manny- Right now my favorite board game is Pass the Panda. It has a whole bunch of dice and it’s super simple to play with my boys. And did I mention I get to roll lots of dice?
Nate- Legendary. I love the teamwork aspect and how changing out the heroes and villains changes the feel from game to game.
Do you have any role models in the board gaming industry?
We have not bee in the game industry for very long but in these short months the person that has been beyond helpful is Eduardo Baraf (http://www.baraf.com/). He has made multiple games and has been so willing to help up and coming designers like us. He was the first person willing to preview our game and has been an absolute wellspring of experience and guidance. Our journey to where we are now would’ve been much rockier without him.
When this interview took place they currently had $ 41 000 and their goal was $ 15 000
Check out the LIVE kickstarter campaign for Dice Throne! They are also on facebook and twitter.