Startup Gamers Presents: Ten Candles

Welcome to our very first actual play! Dylan, Allie, and I play a game of Ten Candles run by the game’s designer, Stephen Dewey! Stephen was nice enough to come to my home, teach us how to play the game, and run an awesome session for us! If you want to know more about the game and character creation we have an episode devoted to that here. This episode gets right to the story and tragic horror you will find when play Ten Candles!

The Startup Gamers Podcast is a talk radio show from Tabletop Torch. It’s designed to give independent game designers invaluable information and insight into the design process while at the same time showcasing great new up-and-coming games!

“This is no survival horror game, where the question is “will you die?” It’s not about whether the characters fall to the darkness or emerge as survivors. There are no survivors. Not here. Instead, it provides the stage upon which you will act out the final moments in the lives of a group of people destined to die; to see them pushed to the very brink of terror, madness, and sorrow. It is a game of loss, yes, but it is also a game of hope.

That hope will live on, even in the end. But hope can be lost when those who guard it are pushed to that edge. It is in those moments that the darkness around becomes the darknesswithin, and that is when They have truly won.”…

Chaos of Cthulhu – Episode #50 Startup Gamers Podcast

Today’s show features a game of Lovecraftian horrors, dice rolls, and strategy! Chaos of Cthulhu, currently funding on Kickstarter, is a game strategic dice rolling and manipulation from Imp House, LLC. Travis Watkins, one of the game’s designers was kind enough to talk with me about Chaos of Cthulhu, Kickstarter, game design, and shared some details on upcoming Imp House projects!

A pantheon of Elder Beings from the mind of H. P. Lovecraft has been unwittingly set loose in the basement of the teenager next door. The catch? The Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead, used to summon the creatures was torn asunder in an argument between the teen and her friends. The stars are definitely not aligned, the essential grimoire has been mended with tape, and the monsters appear as hybrid abominations, eager for the chaos of battle. The tournament to find the strongest amongst them begins…”

The Startup Gamers Podcast The Startup Gamers Podcast is a talk radio show from Tabletop Torch. It’s designed to give independent game designers invaluable information and insight into the design process while at the same time showcasing great new up-and-coming games!


Measure Your Success – Board Game Marketing #3

How do you judge your success or performance? We all have a goal when it comes to the endeavors that we take on, and if you have a website then your website also has a goal. So how do you guage the performance of that goal? By using KPIs also known as Key Performance Indicators.

If you haven’t read the prior two entries now would be a good time. You can find them right here:

Board Game Marketing

In this series I’ve been building an example website with an objective and goals. Here is what I have so far:

Website Objective:

Build a strong community around my upcoming game on Kickstarter.

Website Goals To Support Objective:

  • Increase mailing list opt-ins
    • Actions:
      • Free downloadable Content
      • Prominent opt-in forms on site
  • Improve lead quality
    • Actions:
      • Frequency of communication
      • Communication message
      • Healthy unsubscribe number
  • Increase post shares
    • Actions:
      • Share buttons on top and bottom of post
      • Ask readers to share each post

I’m going to give my example site and game both names. I’m from Boston so I’ll call the website Wicked Awesome Games and the name of the game will be Pahk The Cah.

I need to measure each of the above goals. Instead of trying to guess, I’ll first look at each goal individually.

Increase Mailing List Opt-ins

Wicked Awesome Games’ website just launched so there is absolutely no one on my mailing list. But I’ve got a demo print & play ready in the form of a PDF, I set up my email marketing client, and I’m ready to begin collecting.

So what should my goal be?

Right now you have no one. You haven’t launched anything, you’ve just built your home on the Internet. Don’t worry about getting  multiple new sign ups each and every day. That will come later. Right now focus on getting just 1 new person who loves your game or is at least very interested in it.

The people who sign up for your mailing list are your tribe. They are the people that care most about what you are doing. Facebook and Twitter are fantastic (we’ll talk more about them, I promise), but those fans and followers are looking in at your work from the peripheral. They might catch a post here or there, and they might have visited your website. But guess what – they aren’t your tribe. They didn’t want your print and play. They didn’t want to get direct communication from you in their email.

If you focus on growing your mailing list by 1 new person a day you will have a better chance at hitting your funding goal because each of those new people are actually interested in the game you are offering.

Wait A Second

I’ve noticed that a lot of independent designers tend to just give away their print & play from their websites as they feel that getting it out to the most people possible is the best thing. The thing is this: If they made the investment of giving you their email address then they are engaged enough to really care. Plus you can then communicate with them from then on. Without collecting emails then anyone can download and who knows how many will play and you have no means to communicate afterward.

Improve Lead Quality

OK, now that people are starting to sign up for your list you need to get them to listen to you. I recommend sending at least an email every other week. You might want to send more than that. Essentially you want to send your list communication when you have something you need to say to them. If you are posting on a blog consistently at least send a newsletter every time you publish something new.

With your email marketing client you’ll be able to see who opens your emails, who clicks on what links, and who unsubscribes.

The first thing to measure here is your open rate. Mail Chimp shows a games industry average open rate for mailing lists as 22%. This means that if you have 10 people on your list you can hope that 2 of them will open any given email you send.

Goal For Open rate >20%

The next thing you want to measure is the click rate. Again, Mail Chimp offers an industry average of 3.38%. This means that of 100 people on your mailing list 3 or 4 of them will click on a link inside.

Goal For Click Rate >3%

These are two ways that you can measure your lead quality. Once you start building up a decent size list we can start talking about going deeper with this, but for now this is perfectly fine.

Increase Post Shares

This number is going to be arbitrary at first. You need a baseline to go off of. Make sure you are executing the plan to get people to share your post. Do this for 5 posts and promote each one on your most important social networks.

Once this is complete go back and look at how many shares each post got on each network. Average them and use this as your goal.

For Wicked Awesome Games the Facebook goal is 35 shares and the Twitter goal is 50 tweets.

These numbers will grow over time so go back and and take a new average every few months.…

Cones of Dunshire: A Startup Gamers Podcast

In episode two of the Startup Gamers podcast Patrick talks to Morgan Dontanville of Mayfair Games about a variety of subjects ranging from game design, Catan, and Cones of Dunshire. For those not in the know, Cones of Dunshire first appeared on the popular television series Parks & Recreation. Ben Wyatt (played by Adam Scott) created the game during a week off from work. The end result was an ambitious game filled with passion and rules — lots of them. One of the mechanics of the game is that you roll dice to find out how many dice to roll. Morgan explains how it works along with some of the other crazy rules that were dreamed up for this game.

The producers of the show loved the idea so much that they decided to revisit it and that’s when Morgan realized that an actual, playable ruleset was in order. Listen in to hear all about it!

From the Kickstarter:

“Encouraged by the success of the first edition of the game, Cone Hiill Games (makers of fine wood and wrought-iron amusements) want to produce the largest, most impressive version of the game possible. This wonderful, deluxe version of the game will include the spectacular new characters developed for the very special version of the game played in Indianapolis at the Gen Con 2014 charity event.”

Get Your Copy!

Cone Hiill Games, in conjunction with The Architect and the enthusiastic fans at Tilton and Radomski Accounting, want to bring the Deluxe Edition of the Cones of Dunshire to life–with your help!

Pledge NOW!
Check out the Cones of Dunshire Kickstarter Director’s Cut video:
Morgan also talked about a number of new and upcoming games that Mayfair Games has coming out. Unfortunately our audio recording had technical difficulties and the last 10 minutes of the show was lost. Below is a list of games that Morgan talked about:

Flea Market Board Game

“Take on the role of a buyer’s agent in Flea Market! There are unique treasures and you must buy and sell at the right times to maximize your earnings. Be the first player to reach $45 and you win!”

Extra Extra Board Game“Put on your newsman fedora and live the life of a newspaper editor with Extra Extra! Build the best front page by gathering reporters, writers, photographers and interviews, then add advertising to keep the lights on. Cater to your audience and scoop the competition for extra points. If it bleeds it leads so start the presses and win!”


“Booty is a pirate-themed card game all about the search for pirate treasure! Grab more than your opponents and grab it fast! So get on your ship and set sail for adventure, there’s Booty to be had!”

King Chocolate™

“It’s all about harvesting the most cocoa beans and turning them into chocolate in this delicious abstract puzzler. Move your cocoa beans from stage to stage, eventually turning them into black gold: chocolate! It’s all about mountains of delicious dark goodness and the player with the most will be crowned King Chocolate!”

Asgard’s Chosen Board Game

“It is the end of the Bronze Age! A new era begins. Only recently have you discovered how to extract iron from the ore in the peat bogs, and it is best to use your new discovery before others use it against you. As a Teutonic lord your duty is to ensure your family line is preserved and that your land prospers and grows. Of course, every other lord seems to be thinking the same thing. The gods’ grant favors both to control creatures and to aid your goals. Make the proper sacrifices to the Æsir to appease their whims and Valhalla could be your reward!”…