Benefits of Getting More Social

First, a quick check in on the current campaign…

Meeple Poker Deck – 18 days left, raised $3270 of the goal of $6200

meeple 18 day

It’s gonna be a nail biter…

Social Issues

I know I need to get more social with my media. Because I spent 7 years (yikes!) with a focus on kids products, I couldn’t really be that “out there” on social media. During those years, my public persona needed to be very kid-friendly. This meant I had to be careful with how I communicated on-line and I knew I couldn’t hide anything I posted from kids. Kids are smart. I also don’t believe in hiding behind a fake name on-line ever. It’s not a moral thing, it’s just my way of making sure that the dreaded “virtual spine” never takes hold of me. Anything I say on-line, I would say to someone’s face. And because I was spending some weekends signing 1000 autographs for 8 year olds who called me “Master Luke”, I figured I should just limit my on-line interactions. The last thing I wanted was a kid and/or parent to yell at me at an event for taking a position on an adult topic on-line – better to be all positive, zero controversy, and focus on making the best product experience I could for those kids!

But being out of the social circle for that long has left me with few Twitter followers, few Facebook friends, and a mouthpiece that speaks well to companies, but not nearly as well to individuals – which is the bread and butter of Kickstarter. This year, I know I need to fix that. So in addition to being active on relevant Facebook groups and community groups, and tweeting about relevant issues, I also want to meet more folks face-to-face in an environment where I can speak on the topic of the day freely.

I had a couple of projects that needed outside playtesting, so I went to Unpub4 last weekend. It’s a consumer convention in reverse. Game Designers pay to get a “table” and playtesters show up to test your UNPUBlished games for free.

The first day of the show I dedicated to interacting with other game designers, playtesting their games. I played tons of games. Some were fantastic, others a little rough around the edges, but all of the designers were wonderful people. The quality of the playtesting was stunning – fantastic feedback was given in good spirit AND received in the same spirit by the designers. It was very energizing to be around that much creative energy. One game caught my eye in particular as I passed by it on day 1 – it looked like a design I’ve been kicking around, but I didn’t have time to check it out that day.

Day two I had a table where I tested the expansion for a game I designed and published through Kickstarter called “Castle Dice” (I’ll be Kickstarting this expansion later this year). That went very well. After playtesters try a game, they fill out a short report on the game anonymously. After the show, designers can see what folks said so that the designers can take action. Various parts of the game are rated on a 1-to-5 scale. Here was how the Castle Dice expansion faired with the very tough playtesters that were there…

unpub feedback score

BAM!

As I closed up my table, I had a chance to get a quick overview of the game that I thought looked like something I had been working on. The game wasn’t as far along as mine, but damn, this guys theme was 1000 times better than mine. Basically, I had focused on sort of a mean/funny angle (I seem to be doing that a lot much lately) where he focused on a fun/competitive angle. As my game is further along, I’m hoping to work with him on the project this year and he seems interested in the idea. I think the two of us as a team would knock it out of the park.

Unpub4 reminded me that being “more social” isn’t just so you can market your goods. It’s to give and receive support and encouragement and to remind yourself why you do what you do. I’m going to keep the pedal down on being more social, it’s awesome.

Back to the current campaign…

The Meeple deck is on cruise control, which is not a good thing. I’ve only done 3 updates in the first 12 days – mostly because with a poker deck like this, there isn’t all that much to say and I have a hard time writing pointless updates just to do them (although that often works to get backers to spread the word). I’ve also been hitting the other projects in the queue hard as well. But there was an interesting Meeple-related development. Jordan, my good friend and graphic designer on the deck, bought some new gear which allows him to create custom heavy duty vinyl stickers. He made me a set for my laptop…

Meeple on Computer

I posted the pic above to the Meeple Deck Kickstarter and got positive responses from a few folks. I think we’re going to add this to the campaign. It might only bring in $50 total, but it’s something both Jordan and I like and as he can create them from beginning to end, logistics should be simple. If we get too many orders, we can get them made out of house, but I think there is little chance of that. What I’m really excited about though is that this skill could translate well to other Kickstarters I might run this year. Once again proving that every Kickstarter creator benefits from having friends with skills – be they photography, marketing, or making vinyl stickers! Working out the kinks in the creation and delivery of these custom add-ons with the Meeple campaign could pay nice dividends later.

Next week, I’ll probably do two updates to the campaign, one about the stickers once we get the pricing and visuals done. The second showing the updated Ace of Spaces – which is a card that always deserves special treatment in a playing card deck.

The other news of the week was that the USPS just raised their postal rates for 2014. This happens every year, but it makes a fine argument to get your products out the door before the rates go up again!

Next Blog: Game Jam to Kickstarter

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