With 2 days left to go, Chaosmos is smashing their campaign goal on Kickstarter. The MirrorBox Games team has raised just over $90,000 after setting their initial budget for $40,000. Chaosmos was created by Joey Vigour, the Co-founding member of the MirrorBox team.
Chaosmos is an incredibly exciting looking game. In the game, you begin as an Alien on a desperate mission to find and secure the only thing that can save your species. As every piece of matter is dying across the galaxy, it’s a race against time and you explore the universe collecting weapons for to defend yourself should you attain the Oviod.
You must carefully collect and assess your playing cards to make sure you not only have a well balanced hand, but strategize against your opponents. After all, you’re not the only one after the Oviod…
How To Play
The game is intended for 2-4 players and should last anywhere between 60-90 minutes. Each player begins with 7 cards in their hand and has the option for 3 action moves each turn. An action move can be characterized as a move in spaces, accessing the Control Envelope, or Combat. Each decision to choose one the three options mentioned must be carefully crafted to find and defend the Oviod.
While the move in spaces action helps you navigate throughout the universe, the control envelope is a group pd cards native to the planet you’re on. While controlling the envelope, you may exchange cards freely between your hand and the envelope. You may choose to attack a player if they reside on the same planet or star as you. In the resolution of a combat between two players, the winner may wither look at the losing player’s hand or send him back to his home planet. All the while each turn is click on the Chaos Clock which is limited to only 60 clicks. The player with the Oviod at the end of the game is the winner.
Since the MirrorBox team has already been so successful, I chose to ask Vigour a few details behind the scenes of his campaign. His responses are below and nothing less than stellar.
Me: How much research did you do on other tabletop Kickstarter campaigns?
JV: We worked for months not just reading other campaign pages, but actually emailing the project creators and asking for advice. The board game community is a close-knit group, so we began attending all the conventions and demoing our game, as well as playing other games and becoming a part of the community. There’s a few criteria that I believe makes for a successful board game campaign. First and foremost, credibility. We love games, so becoming a part of the gaming community was easy. It’s harder to prove that you are in this industry for the long haul and you are organized and ready to actually produce a game. You do this by doing research, asking questions, and above all, being honest with everyone.
Next, your game has to be good. The game community has come to expect that they will actually receive a real game, not just a T-shirt or some unnecessary backer reward. So they want that game to be unique. We would not have gone to Kickstarter if we didn’t feel like our game Chaosmos was the best game ever and deserved to find its audience! Finally, backers want to know that you are real person, so we stay in touch with them frequently, shoot video updates, and try to thank each and every backer personally.
Me: I’ve seen quite a few tabletop games on Kickstarter, how did you go about creating a unique game?
JV: Chaosmos started as pure inspiration, and evolved slowly into a finished board game. The key is to capture that inspiration in the initial game concept, and then playtest and revise the game until it feels perfect. We went to Gen Con, the biggest board game convention in America, and worked with a company called Double Exposure to run playtests. In addition, we ran a series of “blind playtests” with new players trying to learn the game from the rulebook alone. We listened to their input and were careful not to go overboard with changes– we didn’t want to lose the “bottled lightning” of the original idea that makes the game so much fun. After the game was finished, we worked with artists to get temporary art complete. This is art that is good enough to present in public but won’t be the final art of the game (which costs more money). We knew Kickstarter was the place to go for manufacturing funds since our research told us that games are the number one genre on Kickstarter, and tabletop games are as big as video games! I spoke about the game a lot with friends and family, and several amazing people offered video production and voice over work, and artwork, for free. This allowed us to produce a Kickstarter page and video for almost no money. I would be lost without my awesome friends.
Me: How did you go about choosing a manufacturer?
JV: We met several manufacturers at the Game Manufacturers Trade Show in Las Vegas in March and met more over the internet. We emailed them all a pdf with pictures of our prototype components and received quotes for production. We chose Panda GM because they make some of our favorite games (Merchants and Marauders and Eclipse) and the component quality is amazing. They are rapidly expanding and have a very good history of delivering on their promises. Some lower bids from other manufacturers were tempting, but ultimately it would have felt like gambling. When 1,100 backers trust you with their money, you shouldn’t gamble it on a sketchy manufacturer.
Me: How do you organize all the different backers, pledge tiers, shipping info?
JV: We follow Jamey Stegmaier’s advice at his blog in regards to shipping and the lessons he’s learned with his campaign. He hasn’t steered us wrong yet. By being postage-friendly to gamers in the European Union, for example, you lose a bit of money on each copy but you will sell to a worldwide audience that will become your champions. We tried to have simple reward tiers so fulfilling it all would be less of a headache. It’s possible, of course, to try to “squeeze” backers by offering a ton of unnecessary exclusives, but I think the negative response would not have made it worth it. We’re proud of the game the way it is, and being honest and forward with our backers allows them to trust in us and our vision for producing the game.
Me: A lot of projects aren’t sure where to sell post-Kickstarter, what are your plans?
JV: There’s a lot of ways to keep selling your game after the Kickstarter is over. You can sell on Amazon and through your website, and using a distributor. We were lucky to meet distributors at the trade show. Distributors who like your product will promote it and sell it to retail stores. Game stores across the country (and eventually the world) will have our game for sale, and if it does well, then we now have a permanent relationship with the stores to trust in our next project too.
Me: Any other advice for future aspiring tabletop creators?
JV: For game designers who want to make their game a reality, I would recommend you have a lot of people try the game, including people who read the rules and figure out how to play without you watching over them. When the game is done, take it to shows and meet everyone. If it’s good, champions will come out of the woodwork to help you. Take their advice, use their special skills. Develop a team. You can’t do it alone. Make your prototypes look and play amazing. It will cost a few thousand dollars to attempt a Kickstarter campaign like this, so if you can’t afford it, just sell your game to an existing publisher and move on to another game design!
Finally, I would remind you to simply ask a lot of questions. People are generally wonderful, and want to see you succeed! Join Facebook and BoardGameGeek forums related to game design. Make a free print-and-play version of your game and people all over the world will offer you suggestions. It’s a wonderful community, so dive in!
As previously mentioned, Chaosmos has 2 days remaining on it’s campaign. If you would like to be apart of both an amazing game, and high quality team, you can back the project here.
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