Dan Goes Inside Pinball Showdown

Table of Contents
  1. Pinball Showdown

Dan chats with Diane Sauer about her current Kickstarter campaign, Pinball Showdown, her fifth campaign. He asks the veteran creator about about what she’s learned from those earlier campaigns and mistakes she still made preparing for this one.

Pinball Showdown ^

  1. Why don’t you start us off by giving us a brief overview of Pinball Showdown

In Pinball Showdown players are the pinball steering into a wide array of playfield devices while trying to score combinations, activate Wizard Mode and become the highest scoring pinball. To do this they must maintain a critical balance between speed and control. Go too slow and it will limit what you can score and put you at risk for draining, but go too fast and you may lose control!

  1. That is really interesting, it seems like a pretty fresh theme being from the perspective of the pinball and all! This is now your fifth campaign, so you are becoming a seasoned veteran at this now. What is something you learned from your first few campaigns that you are either applying or doing differently to in this campaign?

I will forgo the usually stuff everyone already knows and instead say that I feel that now more than ever the tabletop gaming Kickstarter market is changing rapidly. So much so I feel it is very important to constantly watch it and be actively involved all the time, not just before your Kickstater is getting ready to launch. You can easily waste resources or leave out something that people are now expecting if you are not plugged in to the current environment.

  1. This is very true. Though it seems like you are always heavily involved in your campaigns regardless of the current climate of Kickstarter. You do a good job of staying in touch with your project and your backers. What was the best piece of advice you received about your campaign before launching?

As someone older than a large part of the tabletop gaming audience I had not considered that so many people might be viewing my campaign on a phone. In fact, I literally just got my first iPhone a week ago. Working from home, I never saw the need for one to justify the cost. Just so no one thinks I’m technically illiterate, I want to add that in the 80’s I was working with computers and touch screen technology when it was still using monitor frames and light pens. I was also a mainframe Systems Manager for a decade (end old person rant). But I digress, this is was great advice that really helped make the campaign better.

  1. If you could pick one thing you could say you definitely did right in preparation for this campaign, what would it be?

Having a graphic designer help with the page layout and graphics on the campaign page. It is a must anymore unless you have that skill set yourself.

  1. Yes this is a huge problem people make. Good art does not = good graphic design. I am glad you made sure to have you page look great! That was definitely a plus, but have you found any mistakes you made at launch that you have since adjusted or fixed since?

No mistakes, and the only thing I’ve adjusted is the stretch goal related stuff as required.

  1. That’s great to hear everything has gone smoothly so far.  How are your advertising or spreading the word about this game?

I’m using both Facebook and Kicktraq which I’ve had success with in the past. I’m also trying out a couple of other websites. Of course I’m hitting the Podcast and blog circuit including the Pinball related ones.

  1. That is a great idea. I actually sent you another question about posting in pinball related groups and forums and you touch on it here. Can you tell us a litte more about this?

Yes, very much so. I sent out press releases to the various Pinball news websites and posted in the Pinball related groups I’m a member of myself. Additionally, since my business is pinball restoration I have many business contacts who I think will carry the game once it is available.

  1. Well that should work out well for you too! Speaking of the game, I noticed that you are doing two separate tiers for the base game. Both seem to be the same cost but the shipping timeline is different (One tier is a shipping first tier while the second tier ships later). This feels like a logistical pain in the butt to me, so I am curious about your rationale behind this decision?

I had done this on Conspiracy! and it seemed to work out well. I wanted to have the benefit of an early bird type pledge level without the downside of making people that pledge later feel that they got shorted. This encourages people to pledge early, but the people arriving later are still getting the game in the same time frame, just at worse a day or two later.

  1. Touching a little bit more on your reward tiers, you also have separate tiers including your previous games (which is what I prefer and always do as well) but it seems like other creators prefer no other tiers to focus just on the game you are raising funds for. They then include options to buy add-ons in backerkit later. I am just curious if you considered this option and why you went the way you did?

I think we are at the outer edge of being able to do that next time around since this is our third game and I wouldn’t want to add anymore pledge levels. Why I do it is that those games are already printed and it is another opportunity to get them in front of potential players who may not know about them. On this campaign we will likely be also using BackerKit because there were some things I wanted to add, but didn’t because I was at what I felt was the upper limit of number of pledge levels. The coolest add on will be a real vintage pop bumper cap that can be used in place of the first player marker in the game (which is also very cool).

  1. It seems you have quite an abundance of quotes on the campaign page regarding people who have played the game and enjoyed it but there was only one review posted at launch. Commonly campaigns have 3-5 reviews/previews posted so I am curious if you have more coming or if it is just going to be the one on there.

In my experience more than three does not add value during the campaign and I feel those are better off left until the game is available. As for ours, we have more coming and there was an unexpected delay with one of our reviewers. That said, I honestly feel quotes from other game designers like Cardboard Edison (Tessen, Cobras, Dubai),  Oak Leafgames (New Bedford, One Card Wonder), etc. is even more valuable feedback to a potential backer.

  1. 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?

I feel I’ve really captured the spirit of pinball in a tabletop game. I’ve been playing strategy card and board games for over 35 years and publishing them for over 3 years. I’ve had a business restoring vintage pinball machine for 15 years and have been playing them most of my life. I know games and I know pinball and I love them both. Pinball Showdown finally brings both of my passions together in a way that I think honors them both.

  1. Thank you Diane, is there anything else you would like to touch on before we conclude the interview?

Just keep on flippin and thanks for the interview.

A special thanks for Diane for taking the time to give us some insight into her campaign and if you like vintage arcades, pinball, and tabletop games, then you should definitely head on over and check out Pinball Showdown which is live now! Check it out at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1919693711/pinball-showdown


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