Dan Goes Inside Brace For Impact

Brace for Impact

  1. Why don’t you start us off by giving us a brief overview of Brace for Impact.

Brace for Impact! is a frantic, intense, head-to-head dice battler that plays in less than 5 minutes! You are a submarine Commander trying to either wipe out your enemy’s submarine crew or gather enough vital intelligence to be victorious! Commanders roll dice in real-time hoping to attain a 7 or doubles so that they can either stack their crew, load and fire torpedoes, drop depth charges, surface and dive, or gathering intelligence. The dice and real-time rolling adds an element luck, while the choice of surface or dive add an element of strategy and press-your-luck factor. Brace for Impact! is a portable micro dice game that can fit in your pocket and comes in a mint tin!

2. Now this is your second game and it looks like you are going to get more backers in week 1 of this campaign than you did in your entire previous campaign, what is one major thing you did different for this campaign to help it succeed faster?

The largest differences between this campaign and our Elements campaign were the pledge level price points and the perceived value of each pledge. We wanted the Brace for Impact! campaign to create a sense of urgency and an impulse purchase. I believe we achieved that by providing a complete micro game for only $13 that for many was a must-buy. Our Collector’s edition was also under $40, and you receive both versions of the game, so this also created a high value. We also limited the available copies of the Collector’s edition to increase exclusivity. Our Elements campaign had huge pledge levels that were likely out of reach for many backers. I believe this slowed our progress and lowered our potential backer count. The Elements campaign funded on day 27 of the campaign…Brace for Impact funded on day 3. I think our strategy was successful!

3. What was the best piece of advice you received about your campaign before launching?

Definitely build your following before you launch. During the Elements campaign we failed in that regard and only landed 24 pledges the first day. Brace for Impact landed about 60 the first day and ended up funding in 51 hours. A big reason for that was creating buzz and getting family, friends, and community members eager to back right away. I vividly remember the advice from you saying to have at least 100 backers ready to go. 60 was a bit under that suggestion, but with our low funding goal and solid price point for the base game, I felt we were in a good spot…turns out we were!

4. Building an audience is THE SINGLE most important thing you can do before launching. How are your advertising or spreading the word about this game to help grow your audience even more?

Word of mouth has been our most powerful tool, and friends and family gave us a good portion of our first day boost. We’ve tried Facebook and Kicktraq ads for our Elements campaign but didn’t witness much of a return, so we didn’t use them this time around. I think it’s very important to be a part of some sort of gaming community. I am active in The Game Crafter community and help when I can, and in return a lot of my backers are from that community. It definitely pays off to network. We also made an effort to demo our games at local conventions and passed out business cards with some catchy art and our launch date and set up an email list on our website. All of these strategies have contributed to our success. I’ve seen at least a dozen familiar names of people who have backed that have either signed up on the email list or attended a convention where we were demoing.

5. I would like to switch gears away from the campaign for a minute and talk more about the game. You are putting this whole game in a mint tin, what made you decide to make a mint tin game?

I was inspired by the well-known mint tin game designer, David Miller (Subquark games). I was invited to dinner with him (and you) in early 2016 and discovered his mint tin game collection that dominated on kickstarter (Mint Tin Pirates, Mint Tin Aliens & Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse). We talked all night and I thought that creating a mint tin game would serve as a great game design challenge. I knew I would need to come up with a sma
ll game that felt big and only used a few components. I started designing Brace for Impact! shortly after and a year later (after hundreds of simulated submarine battles) I launched the Brace for Impact campaign!

6. That was a really fun dinner, you and Dave are both pretty fun guys! Speaking of David and his games, I noticed that your gameplay relies a lot on rolling 7’s which is  a lot like Mint Tin Apocalypse (by David(, did you get inspiration from that game? Do you feel you are too close to that gameplay? What are you doing different?

Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse inspired me to design a real-time game which I had never done before. Rolling 7’s was more of a statistical decision rather than an inspiration. In Brace for Impact!, 7’s and Doubles are your action rolls. These two rolls also have the highest chance (statistically) of being rolled, so that’s why I chose them. Although MTMA and Brace for Impact! are both real-time games, the mechanics are very different. They both employ a sense of urgency, but approach it in different ways. MTMA is semi-cooperative and has a scoring mechanism based on your success during a game. You are ultimately competing against a monster who gets closer and closer to defeating you. In Brace for Impact! You are truly in a head-to-head battle and there are two ways to win. There are also two game states, where you are either on the surface or underwater, with each dice roll performing a different action. I feel like both MTMA and Brace for Impact! do a great job of packing an intense game into a small package.

7. The one thing I notice about these mint tin games is that you have to hand assemble it. Do you worry this will make fulfillment harder?

Quite the contrary, actually. Although we have to assemble the games ourselves, we are on our own timeline and are not at the mercy of a manufacturer’s schedule. It’s also a lot of fun sourcing components and making a game from scratch! Prior to the campaign our team made about 24 prototype copies of Brace for Impact! and it was a great experience (and didn’t actually take that long). Of course we made sure that we provided ourselves with an adequate amount of time to assemble the games and were prepared to limit pledges if necessary. Judging by the current success of our campaign we feel like we are in a great spot to accurately fulfill campaign pledges on time.

8. Speaking of fulfillment, you have a handful of tiers with many varied components. Do you worry that hand-assembling all of these different levels will be error-prone or delay fulfillment?

We are not too worried. We came up with a game plan prior to the campaign to make our lives easier. Our pledge levels are designed in a way that actually makes it easier to fulfill than it may seem. The Wallpaper and Full Color print and play are as simple as sending emails. The Lieutenant, Captain and Admiral Pledge all include the base game, so we just need to manufacture games equal to the totals. We’ll make all of the base games toge
ther to reduce errors, then we make all 48 of the Collector’s editions. Since the base game is in every tier, we will add a copy to every shipping box. We will seal and label all of the Lieutenant boxes and set them off to the side. Then we will add the playmats to the remaining Captain and Admiral  boxes and seal and label the Captain boxes and set them off to the side. FInally we will add the Collector’s Edition to the remaining boxes and seal and label them. Then off to the post office.

9. Sounds like you have a good plan in place and a solid team to work with. What is really interesting to me is your map of all of the places you are sourcing your components from and this leads me to a two part question. First, was it important to you to keep the entire game made in America, and second, do you have back-ups in case there are any issues with any of the companies  you plan to work with?

The majority of our campaign contributors are from America and we felt that sourcing from American companies is a good way to give back to the community and instill a sense of pride. Many gaming companies outsource to overseas vendors to reduce costs. We wanted to avoid that. Yes, we may have been able to produce this game for a lower cost if we went overseas, but I feel it takes away from local/domestic business owners.

Yes, we do have back-ups. We have worked with many of the companies we are sourcing the components from in the past without issue, but it is possible that commitments may fall through. We are even prepared to make the custom meeples ourselves if Plan A and Plan B for those components don’t work out.

10. I noticed that the colors you chose are blue and black, two dark colors, any particular reason for that color choice and not anything contrasting or brighter?

Yes, we were actually trying to theme the colors. We went with blue and black to represent the colors of the ocean (blue) and a typical combat submarine (Black). From the start, I definitely wanted the intelligence gems to be white, so meeples couldn’t be white. I also wanted the Collector’s edition to have a yellow and black nuclear-type theme, so the only remaining colors were red, purple, green and orange. We felt orange was too close to yellow, and green and purple just didn’t fit. We considered red, but felt it was a bit aggressive. Blue was the winner!

11. Lastly, say that I am not into fast paced pocket games, what final words do you have to convince me that I should back this game immediately?

Brace for Impact! is super portable (less than 4 inches square) and can be taken anywhere. The mint tin adds another level of durability over cardboard boxes that you can feel. Brace for Impact! can be played anywhere you have a surface to roll dice and a game only lasts a few minutes, so you can play one, a few, or many games is much less time than a traditional board game. You can get the entire game, mint tin and all, shipped right to your door for $13, so pack a lunch from home instead of going out and you’ve got enough to pledge! If for some reason you don’t like the game, donate it and you’ve got a $13 write off for your taxes! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it, it’s the Accountant in me!)

A big thank you to Chris and the Rampage Games team for doing this interview!  If you think you would like to back this game or if you want to find out more, head on over to the Kickstarter campaign and check it out!

 

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