Introduction

I have had an exciting life as far as careers go. I was Director of Marketing at a couple different places and then went into IT where I worked as a consultant for one of the largest IT companies in the world. About 6 years ago, I was laid off from that large company and without anything lined up for my next step in life, I decided to go back to school. Last May, I graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in Communication and a minor in Philosophy at 42 years old.  Since graduation, I’ve been doing some consulting in the areas of IT and Marketing just trying to figure out what adventures lie next for me. Well, a couple of my old friends I used to work with (and play MMORPG video games with) called me up a few weeks ago and told me about this incredible tabletop gaming project they have been working on for over a year now. Being pretty much a total newbie to the world of tabletop games and loving to hear stories on how things began, I decided to write a blog about how this thing came to where it is now.

In addition to the designer blog for my friends, I plan to use this site to blog about the things that inspire me in everyday life. Being middle-aged (almost 43), I have found there is still so much great stuff out there to learn and to share, it just takes a child-like spirit to jump in and see what it’s all about.

I approach everything as a total newbie, someone willing to learn looking for people willing to pass on their knowledge to someone else and have some fun in the process! =)

Nexus #1- An Idea Inception Story

The founders of D-Verse Publishing and creators of the game Nexus, Jason (Jay) Goike and Scott Rumptz are my heroes for starting and developing their own game. And like any good hero story, it is best to begin at the beginning. So, I asked Jay and Scott about their history together as far as games are concerned to get a better idea about how their journey to create a game began.

HockeyBoysJay and Scott both grew up in Detroit and cut their teeth early on Palladium games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And Other Strangeness, Robotech, and eventually Rifts. Being youngsters, they often modified the rules to make the game more fluid and to not get bogged down in the mechanics that didn’t matter to them. Both of them really enjoyed the character creation part of the games. “I didn’t really have the money for miniatures and paints, they always seemed out of reach for me [which is why] I loved spending time illustrating and developing a character’s backstory,” Scott Rumptz tells me. –But the two young boys didn’t stop there with tinkering with games. Scott follows up by saying, “Jason and I were never satisfied just playing someone else’s games or reading other people’s comics. While I loved the worlds that we were exposed to, they mostly just filled me with a desire to create my own. Not necessarily to make something better, just my own. Jason and I always did that. We made our own comics. We made our own games.” Jay mirrors these comments about their creativity starting at a young age.

JayJay Goike tells me, “eventually we would create our own RPG’s with different mechanics. Our home-brew games just became part of the rotation with the official games we continued playing. We didn’t have a larger group of friends that were into what we were into, so most of the time it was just the two of us playing.  Naturally, one of the home-brew games we created was a 2 player arena combat game. Out of all our home-brew games we created, this is the one that we kept playing.” –After years of the mixture of home-brewed 1v1 games and tweaked commercial games, the boys came across Games Workshop and played Blood Bowl. Jay goes on to tell me, “back then I painted Ral Partha mini’s with Testors paint in my parents basement with no ventilation LOL. I like to say I was part of the ‘lead’ generation.” —That might explain some things Jay.

As many friendships do, Jay and Scott’s lives took different forks in the road with Scott ending up in Memphis, TN and Jay going to Film School. As fate would have it, years and years later, Jay would eventually come to work at the same company Scott was working at in Memphis –which is where I met both of them. Now 30 years older, both married with children, they were reunited (*sings* and it feels so good). After working together, droning on like good little worker bees for years, they go out to lunch and Jay pops the question– “We are finally in a financial position to really make something great. Let’s do it.” and with the smile on Scott’s face, he continued telling me, “We started talking about that game we created as children. We got excited and carried away with the idea to bring this to life. We fell in love with the idea of bringing something from our childhood into our present lives and sharing it with others.”–And they picked up right where they left off as kids. Excited, driven, and finally able to see one of their own creations come to life.

CosplayI pressed Scott a little more to gain some additional insight into this desire to create. Scott answered, “for me personally, it was to keep from losing my mind. After years of working, raising children and being constantly bombarded by inspiring art and storytelling in every possible medium, I needed to create something myself before I exploded. Making a game seemed to bridge all my creative outlets with my systematic and analytical thought processes. This was a chance to express myself. It became more like an art project than a game.”–I can understand the need for creativity and creation, but it begs the question…why not just create something for yourself? Why go through all the trouble of making a game available to the public? To which Scott answered, “We have had a lot of fun designing and playing it [and decided to have some other people try it]. When we first started having strangers play test Nexus, we thought there was no way anyone was going to ‘get it’ and enjoy it as much as we do. We were wrong.“–And the desire to share the game grew stronger for our two heroes.

Next up in the Nexus Designer Blog, I ask Jay and Scott about the mechanics of Nexus and how they came up with their ideas of making this game work.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share. Also feel free to comment. I am really having a great time writing these and hope you are having just as much fun reading them.

To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/

Being the new guy — Best practices for entering a new community

Growing up, my father was often transferred and I found myself in a brand new neighborhood and school as the dreaded “new guy” way too many times. Being an only-child and an introvert at heart, this experience — as painful as it was — made me a lot better at socializing with people. It taught me communication and social skills that carried me far into adulthood — even to the point that people are shocked when I tell them I am an introvert because I seem so outgoing.

Being the new guy is never easy. But being the new guy online adds even more obstacles to fitting in. Online, there is no  body language, voice tonality, or other cues we use to communicate with each other to form bonds. Online communities are a real “space” — in academic communication terms — just like the place where you work is a real “space” where people interact and do things. Each “space” has it’s own set of unwritten rules and etiquette which should be learned before jumping right in. Each community is different and it can be tricky to navigate at first, but it is worth it. You can learn some incredible perspectives.

Everyone that knows me knows I love learning about things — and I have found the best way to learn something is to go to the people that know about it — go to their communities. This act will get you the best information the quickest way — but it will also have you playing the role of the “new guy” over and over again — this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing and it is definitely not something to fear. While I’ve been researching tabletop games and slowly introducing myself to the tabletop gaming world, I decided I would write about some best practices for entering a new online community. This list is in no way exhaustive and I am sure I have left a lot out. Feel free to post your ideas in the comments — more than likely it will help someone out.

What NOT TO DO:

CreepyCarSalesman-450x450

–Don’t promote– This should go without saying but it is something that obviously needs to be addressed based on the amount of people that still do this. We all have things we are working on and projects we are proud of and we want to share those things — with ALL the people!! However, jumping into a new forum, Facebook Group, Discord, or whatever with a link to your channel/website/etc is equivalent to eating dinner out with your family and having a strange guy walk up and try to sell you a used car right at the dinner table. It’s beyond annoying, it’s rude and inappropriate. More than likely, there will be a time that someone will ask about your project and you can share it — until then, be patient and follow rule #6 — be helpful.

–Humor– Being funny or throwing a joke out there is a strategy that works great to break the ice in most face-to-face situations, but it is something to be weary of while online — especially when you are the new guy. Without body language and voice inflections, jokes often lose their luster when typed — worse yet, they can come off very different than what was intended and actually offend people — the exact opposite of what you had in mind. Anything other than slight self-depreciating humor — such as, “can you explain that again? I’ve got 2 brain cells left and they are waving goodbye to one another” or something of the like — should be thought about very carefully before posting.

What TO DO:

–Get to know the rules– Whenever entering any online community for the first time, it’s best to take a peek at the rules. Sometimes, they can be hard to find or they aren’t posted at all. Even if the rules aren’t posted, if you follow these other best practices, you should be just fine.

Lurker–Lurk for a while– This might be the biggest trick of all. Just reading and observing allows you to get to know the people, the leadership, and the regulars. It allows you to learn the topics and how you might fit in. If you see an easy post to respond to such as a new leadership announcement, respond with a congratulatory message just to let them know you are there. Think of lurking like being at a party where you don’t know anyone — typically you listen for a long while before you jump into conversations and you only do so at the most opportune time. Pro lurkers are some of the best members. They are helpful, know pretty much everything that is going on in the community, and almost never are the cause of drama. 

CoolStory–Stay on topic– This is another one that should go without saying but still needs to be addressed. Every community is different and some are more stringent when it comes to staying on topic versus others — this is something you can learn during your lurker phase. For a best practice, it is best to only post on the topic the community is interested in — posting off topic is like having a conversation with your friend about crowdfunding and suddenly someone jumps in and slaps their phone in your face showing you a funny meme about dragons — don’t get me wrong, dragon memes are all the rage — or that might just be me? — but they have their place and time. Stay respectful to the community by staying on topic — at least until you have established yourself.

–Humanize yourself- I know, I know. Usernames are an opportunity to express yourself — and  as tempting as it may be to sport that uber-cool “xX420MiLeHiGhXx” profile name, it can easily become another obstacle when attempting to fit in a new community. I mean, usernames are fun and all — but it is hard to take someone serious when their profile name looks like something an edgy twelve year old came up with. Think about creating a name that is either your real name, or incorporates your first name. Something cool — like LogicianTim,  Hah! — if not, think about signing your posts with your first name — something like “~Tim” at the end — these things can go along way with building credibility. And while you are at it, using your real face as your avatar humanizes your profile. There are way too many trolls out there and a real picture can help build trust within the community quickly. 

help–Be helpful The one thing to remember about any community is that it is made up of people — people that have all different backgrounds and skill sets. At times, you will run across a question you know the answer to or have a different take on it — in these cases you need to answer it. People are posting to get the feedback and/or gain the knowledge of other people — and once you join a community, you are one of those people.  A strong community is made of people dedicated to helping one another. Being helpful and sharing your knowledge with others in a respectful way will have others in the community thankful you are there.

As I said, being the new guy can be intimidating — but following this list of best practices can help you become an upstanding member of just about any community over time. We live in an age — I hate that phrase — where face-to-face friendships are becoming more and more rare. At the same time, we have access to virtually anyone on earth with an internet connection. As we learn new things, gain more hobbies, and push the boundaries of our comfort zones — we open ourselves up to others — which, surprisingly can make some of the best friends you might never meet in “real life.”

Please like, follow, and share — leave a comment on what your best practices may be for joining a new community. I am sure I left some things out.

 

Nexus #2- I thought mechanics were people who worked on cars

When Jay Goike and Scott Rumptz started telling me about the mechanics of their new game Nexus, I was a bit confused although I never told them that. After all, I didn’t want to look stupid. I honestly thought that it was going to be a game about cars or something with all this talk about mechanics this and mechanics that. I’m glad I never said anything. It’s our little secret /wink.

Ok, now that I know what mechanics are in reference to tabletop games –thanks BoardGameGeek— I decided to ask Jay and Scott about the origins of the mechanics behind Nexus. Everyone that knows me knows I can’t just come out and ask a question as simple as “what are the mechanics of your game?”–No, no. That would only tell half the story. You see, whenever I am facing a new topic, problem, or choice, sometimes I find it useful to think about what I don’t want it to be and go from there. Let’s see what our two heroes have to say about this approach of what they knew they didn’t want in Nexus mechanics.

how-to-win-a-game-of-chess-in-two-movesBut first, one thing you should know is that Scott is a chess player. He has been playing chess forever and on his desk you will find 3-inch thick books on chess strategy. Knowing this, his first answer was surprising to me. He said he didn’t want a game that was “pure strategy.” He explained to me that in pure strategic games like chess, the more experienced, educated, and overall better player wins the game almost every time. And let’s be honest, how much fun is it to play a game with your friend when he wins every time? — more on losing in the game of Nexus later. Scott continues that he didn’t want mechanics which would allow the player to engage in “systematic game play” where they would “find a routine that works more than it doesn’t.” This goes right along with the purely strategic games. If I know I can execute maneuvers A, B, and C, and I will win the game more than not, the game becomes stale and not much fun to play — this works well in puzzles such as the Rubik’s Cube –I love the Rubik’s Cube!—but these type of systems wouldn’t go over so well in a tabletop game. Jay had several reasons he chose which mechanics were important to him. And those reasons were his wife and kids.

One of the biggest things for Jay is having time to play. Like Scott, he’s married, 3 kiddos, a full time job — geez, it’s a miracle the guys have time to wipe their butts — they wipe their butts I’m pretty sure. When asked about time mechanics in the game, Jay said, “this is a personal thing since we each have busy schedules and three children a piece.” But Jay did not want to sacrifice complexity for time. He continued, “we wanted Nexus to have depth in its world and dynamic game play but we didn’t want a game that required three or more hours to play.” This makes sense. Being married with 3 kiddos myself, just like Jay and Scott, I understand it’s hard to schedule time to hang out with the guys for hours on end when there’s always Boy Scouts, piano lessons, baseball practice, a leaking sink, or a myriad of other fatherly duties to perform. Losing in a game is one thing, but losing at being a father and husband is just not an option. And speaking of losing–see, I told you I’d get back to losing in Nexus– let’s hear what Scott has to say about the origins of losing mechanics in the game.

When I brought up what Scott knew for sure that he did want in the mechanics of the game, he was quick to answer. Scott said, “I want excitement! I have nothing to prove when I play a game. I don’t care if I win or lose, I just want to feel the rush of excitement that competition brings.” See, this is where Scott and I disagree. I am an ok loser, but not a great one. Losing now and then is part of life and picking myself up after a big loss or failure is something I have always struggled with. When I heard Nexus was 1v1 arena combat, I was quite worried about losing. Scott reassured me by telling me, “we created a game that rewards you for playing, not simply for winning.” Now that is something I can get behind! Participation award anyone? Count me in. Jay was equally as reassuring, “Nexus is designed to grow with you. It is fast paced and easy to learn the core basic rules without being too simple. You can game  for an hour or two and they build upon each other in a legacy format.” Simple to learn? We shall see about that — If I can learn it, anyone can. I’m not exactly sure what Jay meant by “a legacy format.” I think it has something to do with a leveling-type system where you grow after each game and you carry that with you to the next fight. One thing I found out is that in the Nexus, it is not just 1v1 like I thought it was. There are other variables at play that can quickly sway the outcome of the game at any moment.

iStock-525032572When I asked the guys what they meant by these other variables, Scott answered me. He said, “I was inspired a lot by watching people gamble. We knew we wanted random events. People love to feel in control despite how random an event may be.” This made me think. Do people really feel in control in random situations? It made me think of the randomness of sports where all I can really control is myself within all the chaos and how it gives me a sense of power to somewhat control that randomness to an extent. If it can give a sports player a sense of power, then surely it can give the player of a game that same type of feeling. Scott talked about this sense of power within randomness. He told me, “I think that is why I have always loved dice mechanics so much. The random nature of it is exciting. I knew I wanted mechanics that rewarded you with heavy advantages for positioning and other things that were within your control, but at the end of it all it came down to the outcome of a random dice roll.” Ahh yes, the dice roll. Like I said, I am pretty much a total newbie when it comes to tabletop games, but I have played my fair share of Yahtzee back in the day. Everyone leaned in, hearing the dice rattle around in the cup, the way they flew out on the table in almost slow motion. One by one they settled and all the players yelled out an elated “awwwww!” as the player got their final roll to win the game. Yes, I can relate. It sounds more inviting the more I hear about it.

I have yet to play or even see a round of Nexus played. I am unraveling all of this as I am releasing it out to you all. Next time, I will ask the guys about the origins of the Nexus world.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share — comments are always nice too!

To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/

 

Nexus #3- Twisted worlds

I am finding there is a lot that goes into creating a game from scratch. It is much more than putting together game mechanics that work well. There has to be a complete package that immerses the player into a new world where everything will take place. A world that doesn’t exist until it is created. — but how do you create a world that is different — allowing players to escape reality — but still immersive? Well, I asked our two heroes Jay Goike and Scott Rumptz to reveal their thought processes to me about the world of Nexus and how it came about. — Here’s what they told me.

dytopiaWhen creating a world for a game, it is important to have the lore — or story — coincide with what the players will be doing in the game. When I asked Scott how they came up with the idea, he said, “we needed to create an environment where it would be believable for two complete strangers to fight each other to the death without any complicated reason why.” Even though there doesn’t have to be a complicated reason people fight each other, there still has to be some sort of motivation or reason behind it. Typically in the fantasy realm of MMORPG’s that I’ve played, it’s fighting a dragon or beast that has been terrorizing the city — a place where I knew I was fighting for truth, justice, or some other moral incentive — But Scott and Jay didn’t want to go that route. They found different motivations for the battles that take place in the Nexus. And those two main motivating factors are fame and money. In the world of Nexus, where traditional morals seemingly have no benefit — fame and money can get things done and move people up the ranks of the social and economic hierarchy. This is something that is frighteningly familiar to our own world — some people would rather be rich and famous than just about anything else. The Nexus seems to exaggerate some of our flaws and spit them back out at us — in a often humorous manner — that makes you think — but mostly just laugh.

heroIntrigued, I asked Scott to share more about the motivating factors in Nexus. He said he didn’t want “heroes, quests, [or the player] to be saving the world.” Instead, Jay and Scott dreamed of a much darker role for the players. Scott goes on to say, “I wanted something that showed a society at its worst. Something that poked fun at the sanctity of life. I wanted to speak to the part of us that used to enjoy Robocop and Road House because it was graphic. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, in a lot of ways I think it is good for us to play pretend in that world. It is therapeutic.” –Ok, that’s a different twist I hadn’t thought of previously. It seems like in most of the video games I played, I was the good guy fighting against evil in some way, shape, or form. But in this word of Nexus, there seems to not be the usual roles of good and evil –instead you are either powerful and wealthy, moving up the ranks in the arenas, or you are a bit of goo stuck on the bottom of someone’s boot. –yea, it sounds pretty fun thinking about playing a ruthless, money and fame-driven character for once. But what kind of characters are available? Are there traditional classes and races in the Nexus?

When I asked Scott about what classes and races there will be in the game of Nexus, he smiled. He said, “this goes back to my love of character creation as a child. I hated the idea of picking a race or a class. I wanted to imagine my own thing, and have it go beat something up.“– So wait, there aren’t classes and races in the Nexus? I am definitely intrigued now. Jay mirrored Scott when he added, “our goal was to make something that sparked the players imagination. Each player will essentially visualize the world a little different. Seeing these different interpretations will let the players know that it’s their world just as much as ours. This is where imagination driven games shine!” Scott added, “yea, we wanted a way to make all things possible. Our main goal was to give the players the option to make anything they can imagine work within our world.” — I like this idea where my imagination can run wild and I am allowed to dream up anything I want and have it fight — and the very next round, I can dream up something totally different and go see how that creature does. So, if I’m not limited to an issued set of classes and characters, that seems to really open up the realm of possibilities.

toysI asked Jay about this openness and accessibility within the game of Nexus. He said, “you can start small and then build and upgrade your components over time. We decided to use standard polyhedral dice, a chess/checkerboard-style game board, and you can use any existing mini’s you already own.” Wait, so I barely even need to buy Nexus stuff? Sounds like with a set of rules, I could pretty much just make my own board and characters and just start playing — that sounds pretty cool. I bet my kids have some old toys that would be fun pitting against one another in Barge Battles — you know, just for fun. Jay tells me, “Helots (fighters in the Nexus) can look like almost anything. Everything can make sense given the right creative backstory. Have fun with it!” I really like this idea that I can mix and match Nexus characters with my own — and then make up my own backstory for a character and throw it into battle. I know Nexus has a lot of adult themes and isn’t for kids, but I think I could make a few adjustments and my kids and I could be battling it out in no time.

The world of Nexus seems to be a dark, twisted place where morals have gone out the window. I gotta be honest — I have always had a bit of a fascination with dystopian future settings — Orwell’s 1984 comes to mind — I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of the Nexus lore. I’ll be sure to share with you all when I do!

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share — comments are always nice too!

To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/

Nexus #4- Making a Dream Real

Dreaming a dream is one thing — making a dream become reality is a whole other story. Transforming a game from an idea into a physical thing is a big step — where does one even start? Well, this week I asked our two heroes Jay Goike and Scott Rumptz these types of questions and we get to hear their experience with the making of their new game Nexus.

MAME1I’m a fairly handy guy. I have built all types of things from furniture to a full MAME arcade machine complete with coin door. Whenever I think of a project, I can spend weeks or months doing research looking at designs and what other people have done before I ever start on it. So, when I asked Jay and Scott about how long it took them to get started on Nexus, I was quite shocked. Jay said, “we started working on the game immediately. From that discussion over lunch we were working on it the next day.” And Scott added, “yea, the next day I was all in. I think I did most of the core mechanics that weekend and it has consumed every day of my life since.” — Holy crap! The next day they started working on mechanics? How could you possibly start on something so fast? Scott answered, “we already knew we wanted to create a dice-based heads-up combat strategy game like the one we made up as children.” Oh, well that makes some sense. They already sorta had the game idea in their head and just needed to modify the home-brewed games they played as kids. But, surely — don’t call me Shirley — they had to do some research first — right?

When I asked Jay about what research they did before starting, he chuckled and said, “once again, we did everything wrong in the modern sense. We didn’t research other games much at all. We knew what we liked and what the feeling was we wanted to obtain. ” Wait, that can’t be right. Come on Scott, I know you had to do some research first. Scott said, “not until ours was almost completed. Even then it was just to make sure we didn’t inadvertently duplicate something that already existed. We didn’t find anything like what we have created.” I can understand that I guess. I mean if you kind of had an idea for the game from when you were kids and wanted something different than what was already out there, refraining from doing research for the sake of ensuring originality seems the right way to go. If you did research on the front end, you might run the risk of taking ideas that are already out there and using them for your project — not that doing so is a bad thing — just sounds like you were going for complete originality — which is cool. So, you guys didn’t do much research beforehand, but were you guys active in the gaming community?

dream-to-realityWhen I asked Scott and Jay about their activity in the gaming community when they started designing their game Nexus, Scott was first to answer. He said, “yea, in the 80’s. We Rip Van Winkled 30 years away and now we are trying to play catch-up. In some ways I think that is a good thing. ” Then Jay added, “yea, we definitely were not involved in the gaming community in the sense that we were not active on forums and other groups. The two of us really just lived in a vacuum. It sounds sad, lol. But we felt comfortable just doing what we were doing.” Jay and Scott both admit they weren’t in the gaming community in recent years. I could see where not being in the community for a long period of time could possibly result in a game that is incongruent with modern trends. When I questioned Scott about this he said, “I look at what is being put out now and I feel we have a fresh take on things that the gaming community just might enjoy. Or maybe we will land flat on our asses <shrug>.” I guess it is refreshing to see a couple of guys make a game that they enjoy instead of trying to follow some market trending data. They might just have made something both nostalgic and new by not being overly involved previously.

I asked Jay what he has found the most rewarding since re-entering the gaming community. He answered, “since the project has started we have been putting ourselves out there and we really do realize what we’ve been missing. We have already met some really exceptional people and that as been very rewarding. Working with artists and creative minds on a daily basis has really been amazing.” See, this is something I have to agree with wholeheartedly. In all my adventures in life and all my projects, it was not the adventures or the projects themselves that made the most impact on me, it was the people I met along the way. If you think about it, you’ll probably agree. Think back to any conference, event, or vacation you have ever been on. Sure the scenery is beautiful, but the family, friends, and even strangers who you ran into make up most of the stories you tell others about your experience.

I know Jay and Scott have put a lot of time and effort into their game Nexus and they really can’t wait to share it with the world. As they are getting re-acclimated to the gaming community, they are meeting some great people — and so am I! As things continue to progress, I look forward to meeting the new characters we will meet that will ultimately be the stars of future stories we will all tell about this experience.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share — comments are always nice too!

To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/

 

Nexus #5- Information Embargo – what?!

Why does the word embargo make me think of a barge or a ship of some sort? Maybe it reminds me of the word embark. I don’t know. — is it a bad thing to start the blog already off the rails? — Let’s get back on track here. This week, I asked Scott Rumptz about the self-imposed embargo they are currently in for their new game Nexus and he gives his first-hand experience and thoughts about the matter. But first, let’s talk about what an embargo is and if you should use one for your tabletop game KickStarter. An embargo — technically an information embargo — is a predetermined period of time you decide not to release certain information about your game to the public. This includes information posted on social media, your website, previews, reviews, press releases, everything. Typically, an embargo will run until about 6-10 weeks before your campaign will start — then you will have coordinated the dates that materials will be released to the public. The question is, should you use one? The answer is, “that depends.”

embargoKeeping information about your game a secret for a period of time — an embargo — starts with it being a secret in the first place. If you have been sharing your game on forums and Facebook, etc. and getting input and feedback about your game all the way through the process, having an information embargo might not be the best choice. Although a case can still be made that by “disappearing” for a bit while you get your marketing strategy and materials together could still be a good way to go. A good instance of when to use an embargo is if you have done most or all of the work outside of the gaming community. For example, the game Nexus that Jay Goike and Scott Rumptz are creating — they were old-school gamers who got out of the hobby for a long period of time. One day, when they decided to recreate a game from their youth they didn’t need input from a large group of people since they were recreating something they already knew how it would play. Since their game was not already out in the public, an embargo was the wise choice. So, now you know what it is and when to use an embargo, but this begs the question — “But, I WANT people to know about my game! Why would I ever want to NOT tell people about it?” Great question! Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you might want to incorporate an information embargo before your campaign.

The first reason you might want an information embargo is you get to control the message. Ok, what the heck does that mean? Well, controlling the message means you get to dictate the conversation for a period of time by releasing only information you want to be discussed. For example, maybe you have dice in your game but you know that a big part of your market just totally hates dice — well, you can lead with other parts of your game to build excitement in other areas and — possibly — build enough excitement that they might overlook that the game has dice in it later when you finally release that information. Another thing is that every game seems to have it’s fair share of haters — concentrating your marketing to a shorter period of time gives them less time to take control of the conversation before your launch. Yes, some things people bring up are valid and can help you make adjustments, but at the same time, some people just love to hate on things and look for any negative to blow up as big as possible for whatever reason. Controlling the message is just one reason to use an embargo.

77c2910950Another reason to use an embargo is what I call effectual excitement — I got paid an extra 50 cents for that phrase. What I mean by that is making the best of the excitement the public has about a game for the first period of time they learn about it. The more excited someone is about something, the more likely they are to act on that excitement. They are more apt to sign up for your newsletter, join your social media, and — hopefully — buy your game — all based on their excitement for it. The problem with excitement is that it fades over time. If you know you are going to launch 8 months from now and you go ahead and start advertising everything your game has to offer — yes, more people will know about your game — but, the excitement level is a whole lot lower. The long period of time being exposed to marketing about your game could cause fatigue — where people are just tired of hearing about it for months on end — and could cause people to not pay attention to your calls-to-action — like buying your game upon launch! By holding back on marketing to just a couple months before launch — or even less — you can ensure your KickStarter will launch with people at maximum excitement levels and the least amount of product fatigue. Of course an embargo without efficient advertising will do no one any good — so make sure to do your homework and get everything set to pop off as soon as the embargo is lifted. As you can see — an information embargo is all roses! — Nope — as with anything, there are always downsides — and this is where I let Scott tell you his thoughts about the pros and cons of an embargo in a real life situation.

Scott, tell me about the struggles with doing an embargo.

Scott said, “I understand its purpose, the deliberate and focused release of information to walk people through the story we are trying to tell about our game. But I just want to show everyone all this awesome shit! We literally have hundreds of pieces of amazing artwork and some, as my daughter calls them, “savage” miniatures. Being in an embargo means I have to just sit on all this stuff and watch people talk about how they want more information about the game. Meanwhile I am yelling at my monitor, “I WANT TO TELL YOU! I REALLY DO!” Unfortunately we are too far away from launch date, if we show people everything now the excitement will die down before they can ever get it. I hate it, but that is just how humans are, excitement sells. Sometimes I wish we could be marketing to Orcs like this guy (ORK STABR).” — Seriously, check out this Ork Stabr guy on Kickstarter — funny stuff!

Scott, what are some of the positives you have seen from being in an embargo?

Scott answers, “the embargo makes us think outside of the box. We get to release cryptic and awesome images with no frame of reference and watch people try and figure it out. Deep down I like messing with people, so that part is fun. It has been really cool to watch the teaser campaign pick up momentum. We just have a few images out there at the moment and your articles and that is it. People are starting to connect some dots though and that is pretty cool. We can’t just say HEY LOOK AT THIS! However, we can leave a trail of breadcrumbs. A few people (like two) have even figured out the blood.stream

As you can see, an embargo can be both challenging and rewarding. Is it the right choice for you? Well, that is up to you to decide. Leave your thoughts in the comments below about the pros and cons of an information embargo.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share!

To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/

Nexus #6- The Art of working with Artists -Part 1

I think most people can relate to having read a book which later gets turned into a movie. While reading, you get a picture in your head of what the scenes and characters look like and when you watch the movie, it often looks totally different than what you imagined. This same thing can happen when designing a game. You can spend months — or years — designing mechanics and writing lore — the whole time developing images in your head about what things look like. Then it comes time to hire some artists and bring these images in your head into reality. This is the topic of this week’s interview with Scott Rumptz and Jay Goike of D-Verse Publishing. I asked our two heroes about their experiences working with artists while making their game Nexus — and I recorded it for you to listen to!

Scott and Jay told me why art is so important to them and how they viewed artists in the gaming community as kids. It’s interesting how nostalgic they are when they talk about it.

danny1*artwork by Danny Cruz

Having no clue how any of this works, I asked the guys about where they located artists and how they approached them to work on their game Nexus.

 

As you heard, the guys said it was a worry of theirs that the artists might not take them seriously since they were not a large company and didn’t have a large history of games they had already produced. To combat this, they devised a strategy that would help build trust when working with them. Scott and Jay understood the obstacle ahead of them and adjusted their way of doing business to alleviate those obstacles. The first step was negotiating terms that were beneficial to the artists and implementing a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). They also sent along lore for the game of Nexus which, apparently the artists really enjoyed — making them even more excited to work on the project.

 

As Scott and Jay described, having well written lore will really help build excitement with the artists. This excitement will be carried through to the artwork on your project so take your time here. Scott and Jay didn’t stop there — they gave the artists — and future fans — the freedom to interpret the world of Nexus in just about any way they see fit.

 

bloodthirster*artwork by Danny Cruz

Hearing that someone is excited to do artwork based on lore that you’ve written has to be an incredible feeling. Actually getting that first piece back and seeing it with your own eyes — well, I’ll let the guys explain it to you….

 

There is a lot more to this interview with Scott and Jay about their experience with art and artists. Next week, we’ll pick up where we left off and how they were introduced to an incredible sculptor.

Let me know what you think about this sound-clip format. Should I do more like these or should I just continue on with the written format?

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share!

To learn more about the game of Nexus, go here: https://d-verse.com/nexus/