Interview mit Brian Henk und Clayton Skancke

Ich hatte vor kurzem die Möglichkeit mit Brian Henk und Clayton Skancke von Overworld Games zu sprechen. Im Interview sprechen die beiden über ihr aktuelles Crowdfundingprojekt Good Cop - Bad Cop, ihren Verlag und die Chancen und Risiken von Crowdfunding im Allgemeinen.

"Good Cop – Bad Cop” has already successfully been funded. Congratulations first of all. Now it´s your chance to get more backers! Why should people pledge for “Good Cop – Bad Cop”?

This game truly delivers a social experience that no other game offers its players. You are fully engaged with the other cops around the table as you try to read expressions and behaviors, deduce identities through your investigations, and cross-examine fellow cops after they complete their investigations. You can be EQUALLY successful through either bluffing/lying or by being completely truthful and just inviting anyone questioning your identity to investigate you to determine for themselves whether you are honest or crooked. Plus, Good Cop Bad Cop works very well in a large group and plays quickly, no matter the number of players.

Other than the fantastic gameplay, you will be supporting a new, independent publisher who genuinely needs your help to create this game. Also, our backers will receive 2 Kickstarter-exclusive equipment cards contingent upon meeting the campaign’s social media goals. Lastly, although Good Cop Bad Cop will go into distribution in the US, it will be very hard to come by internationally once the campaign has completed, so this is the best way to acquire a copy outside of the US.

Tell us about the development about “Good Cop– Bad Cop”. When did you get the idea and how long did it take before you could launch the crowdfunding campaign?
We have been working on Good Cop Bad Cop for about 6 months. When we heard about the Dice
Hate Me Games 54 Card Challenge, we focused all of our efforts on perfecting it with the help of dozens of playtesting groups and hundreds of playtesters. After we started seeing games of Good Cop Bad Cop complete with an explosion of excitement and engagement among the players like we had never seen in any other game, we knew we had to see this through ourselves through self-publishing rather than submitting it to the contest.

Brian, you are also running a blog about boardgame strategies. When did you decide that this isn’t enough any more and became a boardgame designer? Tell us a bit about “Overworld Games”

theforbiddenlimb.com was created, we knew we wanted to publish tabletop games. Discussing strategies through vlogs was a way to start engaging the community in a way that reached more than just the gamers we played with during game nights, conventions, and other events. It also provided a great way to learn to make engaging videos. Even though it helped seed Overworld Games in a small way, we try to keep The Forbidden Limb and Overworld Games as completely separate entities, primarily because they have very independent goals, but also because Overworld Games is a 50/50 partnership between Brian and Clayton while The Forbidden Limb is something Brian produces on his own outside of the company. Although Brian had to pause the video release schedule on The Forbidden Limb to work on the Good Cop Bad Cop campaign, he is already working on his next analyses that will be released soon.

Why did you choose Kickstarter as your crowdfunding platform to promote “Good Cop – Bad Cop” and not other Crowdfunding sites and what do you think are the advantages and risks of crowdfunding in general?

Crowdfunding is the most dramatic change in tabletop gaming since Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a way for gamers to become intimately involved in the publishing process while providing opportunities for smaller/independent publishers to propose their game ideas to the community for potential publication. This gamer/publisher involvement is evident in the Good Cop Bad Cop campaign, since, although the gameplay has remained unaltered after rigorous playtesting and carefully crafting it, the presentation has completely changed based on backer feedback. Crowd-funding has overwhelmingly more benefits than drawbacks as long as the gaming community can rely on reviewers like you to identify those that deserve to be published.

In your opinion: what is essential for a succesful Kickstarter campaign? Any advice you could give game designers, who are still debating on whether or not it´s a good idea to kickstart?

The most important elements for a successful campaign are spending time on clearly presenting your game in a way that will give people a reason to back it and engaging with backers so they know what is happening and can become a part of the process.

New game designers often ask themselves the question about whether they should self-publish through crowd-funding or find a publisher to do it, but it’s probably not the question they should be asking. The right question is closer to: Are you a game designer or are you a game publisher? The skill sets for each role overlap in some ways, but are ultimately VERY different. If you want to be a publisher, you have to be able to do all of the following: marketing, distribution, accounting, shipping, finding initial capital (you need this even with Kickstarter), working with reviewers, making videos, flying out to conventions all over the world, art direction, financial planning, project management, brand management, etc. Failing to do ALL of these may very well lead to the demise of your game. Most of the people who ask themselves this question are game designers and will create a much more successful game by convincing a publisher to publish it for them. If you truly want to be a publisher, then you should be crowd-funding it, but if you are more of a game designer, then you should work on these three things:

1. Design an exceptional and unique gaming experience.

2. Playtest hundreds of times and learn to LOVE feedback.

3. Practice pitching your game to a publisher.

Are you already planning on doing another Kickstarter campaign in the future? Is Crowdfunding the way "Overworld Games" will go?

For the immediate future, Overworld Games will be based largely on crowd-funding, but we will remain flexible and adapt to changes in the industry and our company as we grow. We can’t announce anything right now, but look for another campaign from us soon!

An dieser Stelle nochmal vielen Dank an Brian und Clayton für das gute Gespräch! / Thank you very much to Brian and Clayton for answering my questions!