I’ve decided to get this blog going and I have a lot of things that I want to start incorporating. One of the biggest things that game designers and Kickstarter creators face is shipping. It’s the most convoluted and confusing aspect to Kickstarter, and so I’m working now on getting more and more data that I can include in the future to help tackle this problem. However I also want to help explain the creative process and business aspects that got me to where I’m at today. In a way this is cathartic for me to help see the struggles I’ve faced and how I overcame them, and also the short-comings I’ve faced and how I made the mistakes that led me there. I’m hoping that my story will sound similar to others who are moving ahead in their projects or even help those just starting out in things to avoid. In order to do everything I really want to I need to start at the beginning. So for the next few posts I’m going to detail how I got to this stage of No Echo Games. If you can glean anything from it I hope it is simply this… “Advice is nothing more than the person who went ahead of you making all the mistakes they hope you can avoid.” That’s my own quote, feel free to use it, and I hope you can use these posts for some good advice.
Passion, but for what?
Every morning I get up and get a cup of coffee then sit down to read the news. This has been my routine for years and this one particular day I stumbled onto an article about a game on Kickstarter. I knew what Kickstarter was, had even been to the website but never payed much attention to it. Then I read about Exploding Kittens and my jaw dropped. At the time of the article the game had raised $2.5 million and went on to raise a total of just over $8 million. Here is where someone would say, “Wait… if the money another game earned is what propelled you into making games of your own, hoping to get rich, then you really don’t understand how Kickstarter works. It’s not a get-rich-scheme.” Yes, they would be correct, that anyone who thinks they are going to simply make something and a bunch of suckers at their computer are going to make that person rich then you’d be right to criticize. Even today there are people who think crowd-funding campaigns can be a quick way to make a buck, but those people usually won’t earn a dime, their projects are doomed to fail because they lack the one thing that a creator has to have… passion.
Where exactly was my passion? I had owned a business for several years, a poker club to be exact. I always considered poker to be the most strategic game ever made because of all the intangibles that go into it. The saying goes for Texas Hold’Em, “It takes 10 minutes to learn, and a lifetime to master.” So for several years I owned this club, having good days and bad as happens with anyone who owns a business. I was making good money, not rich mind you, but I made a decent living and I got to play poker whenever I wanted and enjoyed lots of friendships with the patrons who came in. However, Poker simply wasn’t my passion, yet it gave me part of what I wanted. All I’ve ever truly wanted in a job is to work for myself with no boss except the customer. So I was able to really enjoy aspects of my business because I didn’t have HR meetings like before in other jobs. I had a lot of freedom to run the business the way I wanted. I knew that I could consider myself successful because I had started with nothing and built a great club over several years with no sign of it coming to a halt.
The day I read the article for Exploding Kittens though I realized something. I had absolutely no passion at all for what I was doing anymore. Instead, here was a group of guys who said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea for a card game, let’s see what we can do.” This is where you should realize that there’s nothing wrong with seeing what someone else has done before you and saying to yourself, “I want to be able to do that too!”. That’s what I said to myself, but it wasn’t the amount of money, because I doubt I can ever raise that amount and I’d be a fool to make that a goal. What I wanted is what they had. They had an idea, a purpose, a goal, and Kickstarter made this goal endless in possibilities.
I’ve said all that to get to this paragraph. I love playing games. Love it. I love card games, board games, computer games, console games, mobile app games, you name it. However, the most fun I’ve ever had in playing games was playing with friends over board games like Talisman, Battletech, Mutant Chronicles, D&D, and even card games like Phase 10, Hearts, Euchre. This list is far from complete, but the point is reading the article about Exploding Kittens made me realize the one thing that I truly loved was playing games with people I cared about. This is the moment when everything began to change for me in what I was doing. This is when the thoughts began to stir, while sipping my coffee. Right then is when I knew I had a phone call to make.