My short bio: Two years ago I quit my day job to make board games for a living! My wife and I now run the company together (she's also a school teacher). My first game raised $100,000 on Kickstarter. My second game, Tortuga 1667, just passed $225,000 on Kickstarter and still has a week to go.

Ask me anything about board games, quitting my job, working from home, or anything else!

Here's a link to my current game: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/travishancock/tortuga-1667-a-pirate-game-of-mutiny-plunder-and-d/

My Proof: The picture of me on the Kickstarter page matches this picture I took of myself holding the game: http://facadegames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/7F3EE9B5-F7A5-4829-8104-7A2E65860DCD.jpg

Comments: 2831 • Responses: 104  • Date: 

ksbluesfan2888 karma

Can you make The Cones of Dunshire a reality?

Travisto8881069 karma

Haha, not a bad idea. It's funny - that is completely me. My office is full of random game pieces that I'll combine in fits of madness during game creation. Also, looks like someone beat me to it: https://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/cones-of-dunshire-board-game/

Halo77118 karma

Besides money from kickstarter how much have you made selling your games, if any?

Travisto888182 karma

We make several thousand each month from sales online and in game stores.

PM_Your_Bottlecaps94 karma

Gross or profit?

Travisto888200 karma

Profit

WigglestonTheFourth704 karma

Congrats!

How did you navigate the process of taking a game from design to reality (production, art, freight, fulfillment, etc...)?

Travisto888848 karma

The board game community was really helpful in pointing us in good directions.

We found an illustrator through a university's job board, did the graphic design using Illustrator and Photoshop, used a company in China called Panda Games to manufacture the games, and were connected to some good freight and fulfillment companies. Lots of pieces that come together!

onehundredpercent179 karma

What is a good going rate for an illustrator?

Travisto888131 karma

It's such a huge range it would be hard to say. One good way to gage is to go on Upwork.com and see what artists are charging. You can also look at their portfolios on there to check quality.

raresaturn43 karma

What are your thoughts on using DeviantArt for sourcing artists? I've written a couple of kids picture books and I've found DeviantArt to be very good, and cheap!

Travisto88824 karma

I haven't looked into them much since we already have a great illustrator. Glad to hear it's a good resource though!

Bikefish-1 karma

What would be the cost difference if you manufactured in the US? There is a lot of steam getting behind buying US made products exclusively. If you could find a reasonable manufacturing company in the US to do it, would it be cost effective for you? You can always make a point to let the consumer know that it's made in the US and could help bring in more revenue. I would probably buy your board game if it was made in America for that simple fact. I am over anything manufactured in China.

Travisto8882 karma

US companies have seemed to charge close to double from what I've seen. If they can get closer in price I'd be happy to make things in the US since it would also save on freight costs for the boat from China.

I think 95% of people don't care where it is made, so right now it makes more sense to make it China so we can keep the game price down. But like I said, I'd love to help the US economy if it was more of a possibility!

td1236560 karma

So you have raised money on kickstarter... How many games have you actually sold? I am starting to see South Park accuracy.

Travisto888773 karma

Our first game, Salem, was released at the end of last year. It has now sold around 10,000 copies.

--Hello_World--472 karma

Wait, you made Salem? That game is incredible!

Travisto888375 karma

We did! Thank you!!

panchowtf123 karma

I love Salem it made my family like board games and not see them as a pointless hobby

Travisto88838 karma

Oh good!

nicholman62 karma

Without context, I'm not sure what that means. Are you profitable, or relying on money you raise from Kickstarter? I'm trying to understand if the business proposition is selling board games, or getting paid through crowd funding.

Travisto888110 karma

We are profitable. We make money each time a copy of the game is sold. Kickstarter just clumps a lot of "pre-order" sales together right at once.

6268673564-45 karma

Why didn't you use the profits to make your 2nd game?

(Other than the fact people on the internet are mugs ripe for exploitation)

Because there weren't any?

Travisto88897 karma

We could have done that, but Kickstarter accomplishes a lot more than funding a project. Some of the things it is useful for:

  1. Lets you know the market demand for the game. If nobody likes it, then ordering 10,000 copies would mean huge trouble for your company.
  2. Generates great initial interest in the product.
  3. Gets user feedback on the design and gameplay before you lay down thousands of dollars for mass production.

Ivalesce342 karma

Alot of boardgames these days dont hold up with less than 3 players. Any thoughts on how (or plans) to make something equally engaging for a party of 2?

Travisto888380 karma

Our current game goes from 2-9. The 2 player games are really fun because they draw a lot from chess. Each player gets 1 move at a time and has several actions to choose from. You have to think ahead 2-3 steps, etc. So yeah, chess is the most classic game for a reason!

absentwalrus37 karma

Really impressed that you go as high as 9. I used to have a quite well attended gaming group night and we always struggled for games up to that kind've player count...nice one!

Travisto88830 karma

Thanks! Yeah, I had the same issue - which is one reason why we focused on having games with high player counts. There is definitely a need for more games that accommodate so many players but still have good structure to them.

OhNoTokyo10 karma

With a game of 9 do you have quick pacing for turns or do the other players have to tolerate lots of downtime?

Reason I ask is that we shy away from games higher than 4 or so, even if they go up to something like 7 or 9 because the downtime between turns can be super high, which causes people to lose focus, and become bored. There are exceptions to that, which become the go-to games for times we just can't split up into 3-4 players, so we're always on the look out for that kind of game.

With the assumption that you've carefully worked out that 9 players is not only possible, but also fun, what considerations do you take into account for designing games of that size?

Travisto88812 karma

In games of 9 people are still very engaged since people often have to choose who to give good cards to and who to kill with bad cards. Lots of politics and persuasion.

People have turns, but everyone stays very engaged.

Just lots of playtesting! If people get bored then we know the game needs work.

kindlered305 karma

Are you hiring people without 6-10 years of experience?

Travisto888459 karma

We're not hiring people right now. I've found that there are enough resources out there to hire contractors for design, marketing, video-making, etc that it makes much more sense to not bring on employees.

Plus, when you don't have employees your overhead is super low and profit is much quicker to come by.

PassKetchum235 karma

Employees are the #1 overhead in a business.

Travisto888207 karma

So true. It's nice not having them!

mealzer132 karma

You shouldn't talk badly about employees, they might see this

Travisto88870 karma

Haha, well none of them exist to see it, so I think we'll be fine :)

Tevesh_CKP22 karma

How did you go about getting designers? Unless you're the graphical genius.

Travisto88849 karma

We found our illustrator from a university's job board. My wife does the graphic design.

MJP2218 karma

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/travishancock/tortuga-1667-a-pirate-game-of-mutiny-plunder-and-d/

Who does your videos/marketing for you (if you are willing to share over PM)?

Travisto88853 karma

We do it all ourselves. I made the video on my iphone in my apartment :) I got a film minor in school.

savvystrider225 karma

What are the common traits of bad board games?

Travisto888596 karma

Here are some that bug me:

-Games with too much luck -Games with zero luck -Games that have lots of "Gotcha!" mechanics - meaning you can just skip someone really easily with a card you happened to draw -Games that are WAY too complex -Games that don't match the theme with the mechanics of the game

bsnimunf232 karma

If I could add to that list it would be games where there is only really one strategy that can be used to win. Monopoly is one of these and pandemic is a little bit too. If there is no depth to the strategy then they have little replay value if I've.paid forty pounds for a game it needs a lot of replay value.

Travisto888154 karma

It's true - you have to provide people with several "non-obvious" decisions or it's just going through the motions. Great point.

squiznard35 karma

At the higher levels chess has absolutely zero luck.

Travisto88854 karma

It's true. Which is why I don't particularly love playing chess :) The lack of luck is a little daunting, and it's insulting if you lose.

sbs1138210 karma

Got wood for sheep?

Travisto888243 karma

Nobody wants your sheep...

philj11435 karma

Hey, don't you knock sheep. I always usually aim for double sheep and the sheep port and I do alright.

On an unrelated to that side note - my wife does video work and I have a background in project management and marketing - if you need a contractor or two for future projects we'd love to be involved - we're huge board gamers.

Travisto88832 karma

Yeah, it's true. Sheep ports can definitely win games!

Reach out to me again in a couple weeks when things slow down over here and we can chat about collaboration in the future!

survivalsnake176 karma

Did you have any difficulties getting used to the business side of making your own board games (e.g. accounting, procurement, insurance, shipping, etc.)?

Travisto888220 karma

It was definitely a trial by fire - but jumping into it has been really educational. I was also a business major in college, so spreadsheets and business decisions and budgets didn't scare me too bad.

Tevesh_CKP69 karma

Would you attribute your business major for a reason for your success?

While I'm kicking around the idea of games, it's the actual production and procurement is the most daunting to me.

Travisto888108 karma

I would give more credit to my exposure to start-ups and entrepreneurial minds. That atmosphere really builds some boldness.

Reach out to Panda Games for a quote on pieces you'll need for your game ideas. It's a good step in the right direction.

justscottaustin160 karma

If a grilled sandwich with melted cheese has anything other than cheese on it, would you still consider it "grilled cheese," or would you call it a "melt?"

Travisto888199 karma

I definitely wouldn't call it a grilled cheese. I'd probably call it a "sandwich I stuck in the George Foreman"

BigChinaski58 karma

I missed "the" on my first read. Thought you said "I'd probably call it a sandwich I put in George Foreman." Now that's a board game, try to put things in George Foreman without getting clobbered.

Travisto88828 karma

Haha there we go.

Gyrod158 karma

How did you get that many people to see your kickstarter?

It's one thing having a great product, but it's another thing getting people to your kickstart page.

Travisto888183 karma

I would argue that a really great product has a way of getting found, especially on Kickstarter. Kickstarter users tend to browse the site pretty thoroughly, and if people like the product then they'll put money towards it, and then it starts to float up at the top of the Kickstarter page.

But we definitely did some of our own marketing as well - emailing our company subscribers, emailing backers of our first game, social media posts and ads, reaching out to websites to publish stories about us, etc.

cleverasinine54 karma

Is that the same kind of marketing you did for your first game?

Travisto88863 karma

Yes, very similar.

KickAClay28 karma

Any advice for marketing your first game? I am still debating if I should crowdfund myself or pitch to an existing game company.

Travisto88851 karma

For our Kickstarters we do several things for marketing: ads on boardgamegeek.com, social posts, facebook ads, instagram ads, reaching out to sites to write about us, etc. However, most traffic and sales comes from internal traffic on Kickstarter itself. Focus on making a great product and a lot of the marketing will take care of itself when people share your project!

_Particle_157 karma

Can you talk to the Stranger Things people and make a board game out of that please?

Travisto888133 karma

Oh my gosh yes!

daitoshi88 karma

I don't even play many board games but I would 100% purchase a Stranger Things themed DND-influenced board game.

One person is trapped in the Upside Down, and the other people have to keep them alive with items and weapons to run/fight the Demogorgon, while trying to open up the 'portal' to bring them home.

I just want to roll for Perception and Dexterity. 'Do I see the monster, and can I react in time to stay safe?'

Aaaaah, I'm already fantasizing about it~ The guys who make that show seem really cool, I bet you could get licensing for it!

EDIT: Oh! Not to mention, the Demogorgon could switch 'sides' of the board, and pursue the 'main group' for a while, under certain circumstances.

Travisto88866 karma

You have me intrigued. I'll reach out to them!

willdemo73 karma

What's your favorite classic boardgame? Have you always had an interest in boardgames?

Travisto888163 karma

Yes, I come from a family of 9 kids and growing up we always had a board game out! I felt a strong affinity for Clue and Monopoly as far as the classics go. Recent classics that I really like are Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan.

TheLordDragon38 karma

What's your opinion on Agricola?

Travisto88838 karma

Actually, never played it! On my to-play list.

TheLordDragon53 karma

As a designer of board games, you need to put that at the top of your to-do list.

Travisto88820 karma

Righto

lordofthepi67 karma

Do you think the market for board games is expanding? Do you think you can market board games outside of the usual target market?

Travisto888113 karma

I do, yes. I think with the huge explosion of technology/phones, people find comfort in the simplicity of board games.

I think with games that focus on being aesthetically pleasing and "cool", there is definitely a market outside of the "board game crowd." Our games come in faux books and I'd say about half of our players are people who wouldn't call themselves big board gamers. There's lots of room for innovation in the board game world, and that innovation catches new eyes.

KingHenryXVI36 karma

It's funny you mention the simplicity of board games. I recently started playing board games again because my girlfriend's cousin has a huge collection and that is his thing. Every time we visit them, we always play a couple of games with their kids and then we play a more "adult" game for us.

I actually find that most video games, be it mobile or on an actual platform are very simple, where as board games tend to be more complex, require a lot more thinking and have way more replay value. One of the things I value about board games is that they aren't that simple to play. Of course, this applies to games like Settlers of Catan and Monopoly, not kid's games.

Travisto88822 karma

That's a good point. There's definitely a range of simplicity going on.

I partly mean that games get us "back to the basics" before technology. You don't need a phone or fancy buttons or internet connections to play. You just need tangible pieces and a rulebook to dive in.

killerkow24 karma

The thing I like best about board games is that they bring us together. When you are all sitting down together and interacting it seems to become less about the game and more about the friendship.

Travisto88822 karma

It's so true. Can't beat the classic "game night" feeling.

K4R1MM57 karma

I'm so glad you didn't end up like Lily's father in How I Met Your Mother! Any plans to make a 'Slap Bet' game?

Travisto88823 karma

Haha that would be so legit! I'll think about that one :)

Dremadad8736 karma

How did you get started? What inspired you to come up with ideas for board games?

Travisto88863 karma

I was in Alaska for a summer and was playing the party game of Mafia. My friend and I decided to tweak the game to make it better and eventually turned it into "Harry Potter Mafia." From there I realized that I loved designing games and started on my first project, Salem.

Life inspires my ideas. Movies, phenomenons, culture, history (this is a big one). Everything can be equated to a game, you just have to pull the right parts out of it.

codeman737 karma

oh man, has anyone made a Harry Potter type of Mafia game? I'm generally not a fan of those 'social deduction' games, for lack of a better word; but that one sounds like it could have massive appeal; there's only that little bit of licensing to consider...

Travisto88813 karma

Yeah, the whole licensing thing is the only thing that stopped us from making one :) Maybe I'll reach out to Warner Bros and see what it would take to make it happen.

SaladClown35 karma

What is your take? How much money did you knock down in the past two years for yourself?

Travisto88868 karma

Roughly half of what we make goes towards manufacturing, freight, shipping, etc. The other half is profit to sustain my family or re-invested into the company to grow and keep building new games.

overthemountain44 karma

As a business owner myself, boardgames have always seemed like a really bad way to make money to me. The cost to advertise, the cut someone like Kickstarter takes, design, art, manufacturing, shipping, fulfillment, taxes, etc. seems like it would eat up most of the money really quickly.

How do the economics work out? I imagine most people see $325k and are amazed but the reality has to be that you're netting a slim percentage of that. I mean, $325k over 2-3 years is still a very small business.

Are you saying that you basically made $50k over the last two years before taxes (half of $100k from the first Kickstarter)? I mean, I know it can be rough, I had one year when I had started my company that my personal income for the year was under the poverty line.

I realize you've got the money from this new Kickstarter that will be coming in soon, but that will probably need to last you another year or two I imagine, when hopefully you have another game that rakes in big money to keep things moving. I know there are a lot of relatively big name designers who still have their day jobs - obviously they aren't doing everything from design to fulfillment.

It just seems like a lot of risk and work for a relatively small payout, even if you're fairly successful in boardgame terms. Is it more a matter of doing something you really enjoy rather than doing it for the money or do you see this as a big moneymaker in the future as things grow?

Travisto88882 karma

One thing that board games do have going for them is that they are very cheap to make. Its true that the retailers/Amazon/Kickstarter take big cuts, but you can still make 40% margins on what you sell if you are smart about it.

We generally profit/re-invest 40-50% of the Kickstarter total. But remember, we also make ongoing monthly sales once Kickstarter ends. We don't make all of our money just during the Kickstarter campaign.

One advantage we have is that because we are a small company (it's just me and my wife), there aren't a lot of mouths to feed or employees to pay. That really contributes bigtime to keeping the margins good.

I love board games, so if I don't become a millionaire from it, that's fine. If I can sustain my family with it, then that's my dream job right there. Make enough to live comfortably and do something I love. Also, with each game we make it creates a new revenue stream since games are very shareable. The more solid games you have out there, the higher your "salary" becomes.

Good questions!

overthemountain23 karma

I'm always looking at different businesses and wondering how some of them work financially. I understand my own business, but others I just don't know enough to understand how they really work. I imagine I overestimate the cost of physically making games (printing, assembly, etc).

Travisto88836 karma

Yeah, China can make things really cheap, and board games use wood, plastic, paper, cardboard. That helps keep margins alive and well.

Sir_Dr_Professor_Esq26 karma

Do you think you'll ever get ... board?

Travisto88822 karma

Haha, nice. I don't think so. The possibilities of game mechanics and themes are endless.

WhatTheOnEarth20 karma

Out of everything you could be making. Why board games?

Travisto88849 karma

I'm a thinker, and I love coming up with the mechanics that make games fun. There's a lot of testing and thinking and creativity involved. I also love that games can bring people together, and that they can then take those groups away together to the world of the game for a little while. I view games the same way others view music or movies - they provide a really fun escape. For those reasons and more, making board games feels very fulfilling for me.

Ivalesce20 karma

What board games do you find yourself playing the most when you're not working/playtesting?

Travisto88842 karma

Honestly, I prefer playing the games I create. Haha :) But I think that's important --- if I don't absolutely LOVE my own games then I wouldn't release them.

But I do occasionally pull out Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, Monopoly Deal, and Rummikub.

Founders_Game19 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA and for being so responsive to everyone's questions.

A friend and I are trying to do the same thing! In our research though we've discovered a lot of potential pitfalls with going the Kickstarter route. Namely, the "pre-marketing."

Do you have any advice for people who are trying this? Could you give us your top 3 things that made your first Kickstarter successful?

Thanks!

Travisto88815 karma

Good luck with yours!

My main advice: worry less about the pre-marketing and more about the product. With our first game we did zero pre-marketing and the game raised $100K. Make a great game and the people will find you.

Also, here's an article I wrote about my takeaways from last time: http://travhancock.com/2015/06/how-i-raised-100000-on-kickstarter/

NotVerySmarts17 karma

Everyone that does an AMA about their product mentions how they quit their job.

Does quitting your job make a product better?

Travisto88836 karma

Haha, good question.

I'd actually say yes, because you can put more time and focus into the product. You also have more riding on it since it's your livelihood, so you make sure it's awesome.

That being said, I'd recommend to most people that they have some kind of start on it before they quit their job.

psychebruh17 karma

First of all congratulations for all these great achievements. Was there ever a time when you wanted to get back to your old job?

Travisto88834 karma

Thanks! And so far, nope. I guess there were a few moments of uncertainty when the risk-free environment sounded nice, but the freedom and flexibility of working for myself just feels awesome.

MicahLacroix17 karma

What is your main method when it comes to selling your games? I imagine selling online comes easiest and reaches a much larger number, however every time I'm tempted to buy a board game it's been from seeing the box art and holding the box in person.

Travisto88823 karma

We sell most of our games on Amazon. Our only released game so far is played with 4-12 players, so a lot of people play the game with friends who already own the game and are able to enjoy it and see it before buying online.

Our games really focus on looking beautiful though, so we're trying to get into more stores so people can pick up the game like you said.

Vladimir_Trump15 karma

Did you start to make board games first and quit your job once it took off, or did you have an actual business model and quit your job hoping for the best?

Travisto88820 karma

I quit my job right after our first game raised $100K on Kickstarter. So I definitely wasn't leaving blind. It was nice to have that safety net to start with!

I also had a few other side ventures that I was working on as well at the time that were bringing in some revenue.

waterbuffalo75014 karma

Are your games being sold anywhere other than kickstarter? Will this remain viable when you're not "kickstarting" a new project?

Travisto88823 karma

Yes, we sell our games on our website, on Amazon, and in game stores around the world. They bring in a great monthly income even outside of Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a great way to get the ball rolling on a project and build interest and awareness in a new game.

NassauBlasian12 karma

How did you get pass the fear of failure?

Travisto88818 karma

Baby steps into the unknown. Start with some smaller side endeavors and learn the ropes a bit before jumping.

4_jacks9 karma

How much of the $325k went towards income versus expenses related to production of the game?

Travisto8889 karma

About 40-50% goes towards profit and re-investment in the company. The rest goes to production, Kickstarter fees, and shipping costs.

NoStupidQuestion9 karma

Congrats. The game looks like fun.

How do you find manufacturers for your products that you can trust? Are you working on new games all the time and how many do you have planned?

Travisto88812 karma

Thanks!

The board game industry is really supportive - we were pointed towards some good manufacturers that are based in the US/Canada but have factories in China. That made it really easy.

Yes, we're always working on new games! So far we have released 2, and we're currently testing the next 3 in line. New game ideas are constantly on my brain!

xBrianSmithx7 karma

You say you raised $325k, but what is you and your wife's gross or net personal income during that same time? It's a bit of a personal question, but that is the number that really matters for someone considering quitting their job. (I swear I'm not working for the IRS.)

Travisto88810 karma

Haha, yeah, I probably can't give too many specifics there. But after all costs are considered, we make around 40-50% of what we raise on Kickstarter. That can then be used as profit or reinvestment in to the company to make more games.

kecker6 karma

Ok so you're good at raising money. But how are those games actually selling???

I can't help but notice you didn't include a link to your first game. Given that, is this just a subtle advertisement for your kickstarter campaign??

Travisto8887 karma

Here's a link to our website: www.facadegames.com. You can learn more about our first game there. Our first game, Salem, has sold around 10,000 copies.

Sure, this reddit discussion helps with exposure for our Kickstarter campaign, but it's also taking hours of my time responding which I could be using to do lots of other things to help the project more. I really enjoy helping entrepreneurs and startups get going.

Booth_the_doberman5 karma

Was it difficult to find a North American manufacturer to make the games?

Travisto8886 karma

We looked at American manufactureres, but Chinese prices won big time. So we manufacture in China.

Double-Up4 karma

Why does it matter that you're married?

Travisto88813 karma

Just showing that I have a family to consider and have still been able to make the entrepreneurial thing work. Hoping to inspire other people in a similar boat.

Farge433 karma

First and foremost congratulations! On both following your dreams and the related success in doing so.

I am really into board games and have toyed with a few myself.

Any resources you would recommend for game design?

How do you know when a game is ready for crowd funding and not still just a proof of concept?

How do you get the initial prototype made, and how much does it typically cost to produce the "end" product to promote via Kickstarter?

Travisto8889 karma

Thank you!

There are a bazillion podcasts on game design. Just google "board game design podcast" and you can start sifting through. I don't listen to any one of them regularly, but there are some great ones out there.

There comes a "moment" when the game just feels great. When I find myself just constantly wanting to play my game not because it is mine, but because I love playing it, that's when I know it is close.

I use makeplayingcards.com for the prototype cards, order and paint wooden pieces for tokens and such, have a few things 3D printed using 3D hubs. It costs less than $100 for all of that.

Dank_Meems3 karma

How soon are you expecting your wife to divorce you?

Travisto88815 karma

Haha, well she's my partner in the business, so she's fine with it. And I don't imagine she's upset with our finances given how well the games are doing?

i_always_disagree2 karma

Spot me a $20?

Travisto88814 karma

How about you spot me $20 on Kickstarter and I send you a pirate board game?

davefive2 karma

When did you realize what your dream was? How supportive were the people around you

Travisto8882 karma

When I realized that the thing I was constantly thinking about and wanting to put more time towards (designing games) could actually make a living for my family - I realized that was my dream. I just naturally gravitated towards it and have been lucky enough to now pursue it. My wife and family have always been really supportive thankfully.

neuromorph1 karma

what are your sales outside of KS?

Travisto8881 karma

Confidential, but I'd say it's comparable to what we make in a Kickstarter campaign. So one month of Kickstarter revenue equals the rest of the year's revenue from sales online and in stores.

Rezmir1 karma

As someone who has enough material for an rpg book (200 pages of it), how did you went from having the idea to being able to do something with it?

Travisto8881 karma

I'd say your next step is getting it into a presentable form. Find an artist (upwork.com is a good place to start), or get it self-published through something like CreateSpace. That'll help move you in the right direction.

SNLabat1 karma

Can you detail your process? I've been wanting to do the same thing and this is a really inspiring story (we're around the same age). What are some of the production costs? Would love some details of how this all works!

Travisto8882 karma

Read the rest of the comments and you'll get a good idea of process. In summary: testing, design, prototype creation, Kickstarter launch, manufacturing, freight, shipping, distribution. Haha. Lots goes into it! Read the comments and then let me know if you have any specific questions!

Cant-Take-Jokes1 karma

Was there a certain point where you left your day job and said, no more? What made you take that leap?

Travisto8882 karma

I realized that I didn't look forward to going in every day. You only get one LIFE and this is mine right now --- I wanted to spend every minute exactly how I wanted to spend it and focus on things I believed in. And strangely enough, I really believe in the power of games to build relationships and bring more joy into the world.

matzenegger1 karma

So I have this idea for a board game. I have no freaking clue, where do I start? Something in the lines of "build a prototype", "get some friends to play and give feedback", is it something like this? What if it's actually good, where to go from there?

Travisto8882 karma

Yes- first step is to type out rules, print out board/cards on cardstock, cut it out and play it. It will be awful the first many times. Just keep taking the things that work and improving them. Eventually you'll have something really fun. Once you're there, talk to me and I'll give you the next steps!

Shihab_81 karma

How do you handle promotion? I recently put up my own tabletop party game on Kickstarter and it's hardly getting any traction. Any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!

Travisto8883 karma

Sure thing! Here are some idea: Email friends/family Get an ad on Boardgamegeek.com. Email [email protected] for that. Follow relevant people (board game companies and lovers) on twitter for hopes they will follow back. Facebook Ads. Instagram Ads.

butcher991 karma

you raised that much on kickstarter, how many of your games have sold outside kickstarter?

Travisto8883 karma

Our first game (the only one that has been produced so far) has sold around 8,000 copies outside of Kickstarter. Those are mostly from Amazon, our website, and game store distributors.

Thundergrunge1 karma

So first of all: big respect for taking this huge step. Really awesome!

Currently, I'm a bit in a similar position and I'm looking to start my own company to develop a concept with prototype I've worked on for a while now.

I'm currently working on a project planning, product development and production, including estimated timetable with required funding. Eventually, I'm going to look for investers and crowd funding might be an option as well.

My question, or well questions, to you are:

  • What is the most important part to communicate with a potential investor?
  • What is the required depth of a working prototype to showcase to a potential investor?
  • When requiring funding, how do you make an adequate estimate of your expected costs? What research do you take into account to get this information and do you overestimate on purpose?
  • Any other tips that you only found out AFTER you got Kickstarted and started production?

Thanks for your answer and congrats on getting Kickstarted.

EDIT: Also tips for board game development? I'm just slightly passionate about that haha

Travisto8882 karma

Awesome, good luck on your project!

-Important to give investors confidence that you can deliver. Show them prototypes, tell them the process, etc. -With photography it's pretty easy to show a prototype that looks really close to the real thing. I'd say get it as close as possible! -Lots of spreadsheets. Manufacturers provide quotes, and you can get quotes from fulfillment companies about shipping.

For board games: print your idea out and test it! It'll be awful at first, but you can make it better with each test.

pokegoing0 karma

Sorry some of the other questions have been a bit rude. Just wondering if you would talk more about the game design process and if you enjoy other forms of games such as video games, trading card games or even RPG table top games, and if the design elements ever cross over?

Travisto8882 karma

Game design process is a lot of fun. The first step is coming up with a basic idea, printing it out on cardstock, and playing it. It's awful the first 10-20 times you play, but you can always take something good from it to the next version. So yeah - lots of testing and lots of being willing to accept that your game is awful for a while!

I don't play much in terms of video games (except for N64 super smash!!), trading card games (although I loved pokemon cards as a kid), or RPG games. But that's probably something I should do more of for idea generation.

kevinstrat270 karma

Will looking at a picture of the sun make me blind?

Travisto8883 karma

Perhaps, in a sense.

unhinged_door0 karma

Were you inspired by Cones of Dunshire?

Travisto8881 karma

Seeing Cones of Dunshire was more like looking in the mirror and realizing how ridiculous I must seem :) My office is full of random combinations of game pieces, tokens, and cardboard. It's a fun time.

TangoDeltaNovember0 karma

[deleted]

Travisto8883 karma

Nope :) But that's from a Bengal's fan.