Simple Design Publishing is currently running the Stop the Germs Kickstarter campaign. Dan asks the creator about the infectious little campaign, the transition from self-publishing to publishing another designer’s game, and the pill bottle box design.
Stop the Germs
- Launch date: September 6th
- End date: October 4th
- Goal: $6000
- Cost for a copy of the game: $19
- Designed by: Jeremy Peet
- Published by: Simple Design Publishing
- Campaign link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/573479451/stop-the-germs
- Why don’t you start us off by giving us a brief overview of Stop the Germs.
Stop the Germs! is a fast paced strategy game for two players that plays in just 10 to 15 minutes. Players take turns placing, flipping, and moving hex tiles until someone plays their last remaining germ tile, which ends the game. The player with the most points is the winner. Stop the Germs! does not require a playing board and is limited only by the flat surface that it is played on.
- Your first campaign was for STAC, a game that you designed but this second campaign of yours is for a game designed by another designer, Jeremy Peet. Why the change from publishing your games to another designer’s?
Well I definitely didn’t plan on publishing other people’s designs when I started Simple Design Publishing. However, after working on a different design with Jeremy for a contest on BGG, we became friends and I took a lot of interest in his designs. One of those designs, Stop the Germs!, was on my wishlist before we started working together. I had seen it on a few geeklists of games with non-traditional packaging and ones for portable games. I thought a game that came in a pill bottle was just the coolest thing I’d seen in a while so I always wanted a copy of my own. As it turned out, I happened to be lucky enough that it didn’t get signed by another company. That all being said, I’m not openly looking for designs to publish and don’t plan on opening up for submissions anytime soon.
- What a funny turn of events! Then do you plan to continue designing games?
Absolutely, I have quite a few projects in the works right now. Some of them are solo projects and a few are co-designs with Jeremy. Right now I’m focusing all my energy on getting Stop the Germs! published. Once the campaign ends, successfully or not, I’ll get back to the grind. I have another game ready to hit Kickstarter in the beginning of 2017 called Tricks for Treats; it’s a trick taking game for two to four players where players compete for a deck of Treat cards. But depending on the trump suit, various Tricks can be played that could help you or hurt your opponents.
- Good luck with all of that, I look forward to hearing more about Tricks for Treats as I love Halloween themed games! Now onto your campaign, what was the best piece of advice you received about your campaign before launching?
Not to make the mistake of trying to appease every backer’s request. With every promise you make during the campaign, it’s another ball you have to try and juggle after it funds. You don’t want to be worrying about 15, 50, or 100 promises you made that you now have to track and make sure you don’t screw up during the fulfillment process. We’ve already had a few backers ask me to change the packaging for various reasons and I’ve decided to take a hard stance to deliver the game as shown. It may lose me a backer or two but it’ll be worth it in the end for this tiny publisher.
- That is funny that you bring that up because I have been thinking a lot about the pill bottle. It is a really neat and cute idea, it is thematic and looks very portable. I am curious, are you worried that the bottle is not very shelf friendly? Also, do the rules get all curled up and gnarly from it?
I’m not too worried about it not being shelf friendly. There are quite a few games that have come out in the past few years that don’t use the traditional box packaging. Some come in dice shaker tubes, mint tins, vinyl wallets, and a variety of other non-squared off boxes. The rules do get curled up but the game is simple enough to learn that they aren’t needed once you’ve played a couple times. They also don’t get gnarly because they’re low enough in the bottle that the cap doesn’t rub against them.
- That’s great to hear. You should plan a whole line of pill bottle games. You could release, Simple Design Pub’s Medicine cabinet! Do you have any more pill bottle games lined up?
Funny you should ask, we have briefly talked about working on some other designs that utilize the bottle as packaging. But before we get to far ahead of ourselves, we want to see how this game is received.
- It seems to be well received from my perspective. How are you making sure people hear about it? What are you doing for advertising or spreading the word about this game?
I’ve got a decent size presence on Twitter so that’s my main point of advertising but I’m also posting on Facebook quite a bit. There are many groups on Facebook that I’ve been able to post on and almost a third of our backers have come from links on there so it’s definitely worth it to be on there. Other than that, I’ve posted on Reddit, Google+, and various crowdfunding forums.
- If you could pick one thing you could say you definitely did right in preparation for this campaign, what would it be?
Getting feedback from various designers and publishers as I built the page would be the thing that stands out the most. I’ve found the board game community, especially the one on Twitter, to be incredibly helpful when it comes to asking questions and getting support. If you start working on your campaign’s page a few months out, it gives you a lot of time to tweak things as you go so you’re not rushing at the last minute to get everything. There’s always going to be a little of that but the more you can get ahead of time the better.
- I must say that in looking at your campaign page, it was obvious you put a lot of preparation into it. Also, I really enjoyed your video. Seeing the designer was great and he did a good job keeping it light and humorous. I just wish there were a little more about the game in there. It felt like almost a half pitch where you set me up but then never delivered the punchline. Why didn’t you include much about gameplay in the video?
I’m glad you enjoyed the video and we chose not include more about the game like how it plays because we have that in other videos on the page already. Most people don’t make it through a whole video so we figured making it more of a teaser that makes you want to learn more would work better.
- Have you found any mistakes you made that you have since adjusted or fixed since launch?
Right off the bat it was clear that I needed to add a tier that accommodated people who wanted two or more copies. I had forgotten to advertise what the cost would be to add an additional copy to a pledge so I made a new pledge level and it immediately started getting utilized.
- I noticed you are offering a full color PnP as a reward, why did you choose to not include a free B/W version in the campaign so backers could try before they buy?
We considered it a first but ultimately decided against it because the game has been out for over 3 years in Print and Play form on BGG. I also think we’ve done a good job of laying out how it plays on the campaign page that people will be able to tell if it’s a game for them.
- That makes complete sense. Now I must point out what I find to be the most daunting and craziest part of your campaign….You are assembling all of the games yourself! This seems like a huge task and it is something that I certainly would not want the burden of doing. Have you done this before? Do you foresee any issues arising from assembly and fulfillment by yourself? Do you think quality will suffer?
It is a huge task and it does seem crazy to most of the people I talk to. However, I have done it before because I did the same thing for Stac. I ordered the components, rules, and packaging all from different vendors and then put each copy together by hand. I didn’t have any issues before and I don’t see any issues this time either. The only thing that could really cause a problem is if the campaign really takes off and I’m forced to put thousands of copies together, making it hard to meet the projected fulfillment deadline. The quality will actually be better by me putting each copy together myself because I will scrutinize each component that goes in more closely than a large plant will.
- Well I am sorry to say this (because it means you will be very busy for a while), but I truly hope it does blow up for you and the campaign ends extremely successful. You will have a lot of work on your hands assembling the games, but it will definitely be worth it! Lastly, say that I am on the fence about your game, what would you say to me to push me over the edge and convince me to back?
For one, the game is incredibly portable so you can keep it in a bag or purse at all times since it takes up such little space. And because it’s easy to learn and plays so quickly, you’ll always have a game with you that you can play while you wait for another game to start, your food to arrive, or your name to be called at the doctor’s office.
A big thank you to Daniel Isom for taking the time to delve deeper into his thought process in launching his Stop the Germs! Campaign! If you think the game is something you’d be into, head over to the page and check it out now!