Feature article on publisher, Jason Kotarski and his journey on becoming a full-time publisher with Green Couch Games.
Plus, we’re giving away a copy of Green Couch Games’ Best Tree House Ever.
Taking the leap of faith from going part-time publisher to full-time, cannot be an easy one. Yet that is exactly the recent decision, husband and father of two young daughters, Jason Kotarski, 37, made with his board gaming company, Green Couch Games. Founded in 2014, Green Couch Games is a one-man operation that focuses on putting out quality small board and card games (their slogan is “Great little games that make great big connections.“) and named after a $20 garage sale couch that was bought for the family home. When I interviewed Kotarski back into 2015 for a Meeple Makers (link here) he shared why he choose to focus on small games, stating “…when I realized I had a thing for small games and realized there weren’t a ton of publishers focusing specifically on small games I figured I was onto to something. So here I am!”
Starting with the game, Fidelitas, which he co-designed with Philip duBarry and placed on Kickstarter – Green Couch has been pumping out quite a few games for its relative newness as a game publisher. Since that first Kickstarter in 2014, they have had seven other successful Kickstarters (one of which is a ‘limited’ game called FrogFlip that Jason created with one of his daughters). Green Couch’s best success to date is a game called Best Treehouse Ever, designed by Tiny Epic designer Scott Almes. In Best Treehouse Ever, players are kids trying to build the ultimate treehouse by drafting cards and has become a big hit with the gaming community. The game itself will not only be seeing its second print run release soon but is also being released by international partners in six different languages.
Fast forward to December 2016, and Jason is finally ready to make that leap into becoming a full-time publisher. Recounting the story for our readers, that led to that decision Jason says, “We had recently moved across the state for a new job my wife accepted. And I got a new job, too, feeling like it was going to be helpful for making the transition. But the more time I spent working there 9-5 I realized it killed my flexibility; both to work on Green Couch Games at a critical time, with new games coming out, and what I needed to be doing for my family. So my wife said she was ready for me to give it a go so I went for it!” I asked Jason, what has been the best part of making this decision, he replied with great ease that is has caused him to have a “fresh wind in my sails” when it comes to being a publisher. Of course, running your own full-time publishing company isn’t all fun and games, even if that company is… well… a game company. Jason will be the first to tell you, it can be hard work, “With so many projects happening at once and so many things that have to happen to keep things moving forward, time management can be a challenge. But I’m working on that by just focusing on the next most important thing I need to do and getting it done.”
What does 2017 hold for Green Couch Games? We will see the fulfillment of its 2016 Kickstarters’ Outlawed, the anthropomorphic bluffing game set in the Wild West, along with Rocky Road a la Mode the saccharine-filled game where players run an ice cream truck. The later is actually coming with a small fold out board making it the first official ‘board game’ from Green Couch (and is also this writer’s favorite Green Couch Game to date). As the reader can see from treehouses to animal gunslingers to ice cream trucks, the company has a penchant for quirky themes. As for new games, Jason divulges “We’ll be doing a super cool trick-taking/ladder climbing game from Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback called Ladder 29. We have a couple more cool things in development as well but nothing I can announce yet.” Jason also points out that he will be attending more conventions this year including SaltCon, Unpub, Origins, GenCon, and GrandCon.
Upon asking Jason where he sees the future of Green Couch taking him, his response was “I hope to continue to make great little games that focus on bridging the gap for casual and more serious gamers. And I also hope to push a little beyond the edges of what I’ve already done and possibly do some bigger boxed games. Not anything huge but something that fits the family game or light to medium Euro mold.” The future looks bright for Jason Kotarski as he is living the dream from the green couch.