Category Archives: Kickstarter

Monster Moos – An Interview with Dominique and Nathanuil DeMille

This week I got a chance to talk with Dominique and Nathanuil DeMille, designers of Monster Moos. Let’s see what both of them had to say about their game and their ongoing Kickstarter campaign.

1) Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

We are Dominique and Nathanuil DeMille, the owners of Blank Wall Games Inc. Nathanuil is a mathematics instructor at the University of Arkansas and Dominique is a former retail manager turned work from home mom. We are avid gamers and love to introduce our non-board game friends to the joy of cardboard.

2) Can you describe Monster Moos in a few sentences?

Monster Moos is a casual strategic game in which players take on the role of inter-dimensional cowboys trying to wrangle herds of monstrous cows.

3) What is your favorite mechanic in the game?

I love the sit-a-spell mechanic. I feel that a lot of games with variance, like Monster Moos, need some way for players to actively affect the variance in the game. Being able to give up your turn to sculpt a strategy makes us feel like our choices have more of an effect on the game than just blind luck.

4) Tell us how you came up with the theme for Monster Moos.

The theme is all due to our son, Octavian, and his perception of animals. As we describe in our Kickstarter intro video Octavian learned his animal sounds starting with Dinosaurs. It took well over a year before he would even say dinosaur, most of the time he would just call them rawrs. When he started learning other animal sounds he figured that since dinosaurs roared so did every other animal on the planet and there was no need to learn the animals name, just call it by the sound it made.

We live in Arkansas and some of the cities have grown out to encompass large estates with cattle on them or research fields from the University so it is not uncommon to see cows out in pasture land while driving around. We were driving through Fayetteville and Dominique and I were talking about another game we were working when Octavian saw some cows and got very excited and kept moo-roaring over and over. It was pretty funny and we were laughing and one of use responded that yes those were some Monster Moos out in the field. This led to a discussion about what it would be like if there were different kinds of monster cows and how you would catch them, which ultimately led to Monster Moos.

5) What’s your favorite Cow?

Nathanuil is partial to the Zombie cow, but thinks the Ghost cow is pretty cute and Dominique likes the Dragon cow!

6) What are some other games that if other players liked that game, that
they would like Monster Moos?

This is an interesting question. We tried to brainstorm with a lot of players about what other games we would compare Monster Moos to but the best description a player came up with was Rummy meets Go with theme. Monster Moos is not even close to as complicated or strategic as Go, that isn’t the point of the game, but it is hard to pigeon hole it. Some people have called it a set collection game, others a trick tacking game. I would say that if you like games like Get Bit, fun or light games where the players determine the complexity, then you will like Monster Moos.

7) Monster Moos is a reboot of your first Kickstarter board game project. What are some of the things you’ve learned from that you think other Kickstarter creators would benefit from?

Primarily don’t rush into it. Build up support first, try to figure out were your first 20-30% will come from and how you will dole out cool bits of information throughout the campaign. We have learned a lot and there is a lot of information out there that wasn’t when we ran our first campaign, so do your research also, but I guess that links back to the don’t rush in advice.

The second thing is promote everywhere and every way you can. We always look at the other projects our backers have backed or are backing and I am amazed at how many great projects, both successful and unsuccessful, that I had never heard about.

8) What were your design inspirations for creating Monster Moos?

Our design inspiration came from our desire to broaden the audience for hobby games. Right now it is our perception that the gateway to hobby gaming is pretty narrow. You basically go from Roll and Moves or Party Games straight into high strategy. That’s not to say that there aren’t good gateway games, just that there aren’t as many options as we would like. So when we set out to design Monster Moos it was with the goal of creating a game that would be accessible to anyone, even it wouldn’t appeal to anyone. From the outset we knew we wanted a game that was a race to win and not a brawl or a race to be last to lose. We also wanted player choices to be meaningful to the game’s outcome, and we wanted to reward active players, without penalizing distracted players.

9) What type of gaming experience do you hope to create for the players of Monster Moos?

Our goal is to have a light fun game that will be a simultaneously accessible to different groups of people, effectively a game for anyone even if it isn’t for everyone. With our experienced gamer friends it becomes a strategic push your luck sort of game because you are trying to maximize your points per trick and leverage the action cards to make big plays. For younger gamers it is a game of matching and counting trying to make the biggest play they can at any given moment and variance plays a bigger role. For casual gamer adults it falls somewhere in between. The thing we love about the game is that all three groups can play at their level at the same time and still be competitive. I want the tricky strategic player to be able to pull off a sweet line that gets him a big score and takes him from last place to first, but I also want a child to get happy and excited when he gets lucky and gets the last tool he needed to capture a big herd that had been growing turn after turn.

10) Anything else you would like to mention?

Monster Moos is our first game to try to take to publication, but our goal is be more than a one trick pony. We want to build a company that helps bring more people to hobby gaming and exposes more players to all of the great games out there. We love board games and feel that the shared experience they bring is vitally important when so much of our entertainment is individually consumed. It is also important to use that we make the hobby accessible to younger generations because every other form of entertainment is vying for the attention of our youth and games that parents and their kids can play together are a key component to strategy.

Thanks Dominique and Nathanuil for the interview! Make sure to check out Monster Moos on Kickstarter now.

Hero Brigade – An Interview with Designer Nicholas Yu


About a week ago, I saw a thread pop up on BGG from a user asking for feedback on his Kickstarter campaign page. After getting feedback from BGG and making some changes to his campaign page, the campaign launched on Kickstarter and it funded on the first 24 hours.

That user is Nicholas Yu, designer of Hero Brigade. I reached out to him to talk about Hero Brigade, the Kickstarter campaign, and the changes he made to the campaign page.

1) Please tell our readers a little about yourself.

I’m 35 and happily married, living in upstate New York. I decided to make a break from corporate America after spending the last 10 years there and pursue my love of games and game design.

2) Can you describe Hero Brigade in a few sentences?

It’s a fast-paced card game that alternates between phases of deck-building and positional card-battling. You win by either defeating the opponent’s party of characters or depleting their deck, which is accomplished by defeating individual opponents. You lose a card permanently each time you reshuffle as well, so there’s always a set clock running down on both players! It pits a team of Heroes against a team of Villains in an epic showdown!

3) What is your favorite mechanic in the game?

Each character card can be played in 3 different ways. The player’s party has a front row and a support row, and characters can do different things in those rows (sometimes vastly different). In addition to what they can do on the board, they can also be discarded for a one-time play effect.

4) Tell us how you came up with the theme for Hero Brigade.

The ComiXology app has allowed me to re-embrace my childhood love for comic books and heroic adventure. I guess I had heroes and villains on my mind when brainstorming ideas. One of my friends and I also half-completed an iOS tactical RPG that had a similar theme, so I ended up re-using a lot of those concepts.

5) What’s your favorite Island?

Taiwan. My Mom is from Taiwan and I actually spent a year there growing up when I was a wee tyke.

6) What are some other games that if other players liked that game, that they would like Hero Brigade?

People who are into deck-building games like Ascension or Dominion should like that aspect of the game, but one thing that frustrates me about most deck-builders is the lack of player interaction. That’s why I built a battle system into the game, so it would force direct interaction between the players. Combat draws inspiration from Magic: The Gathering and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. Play also constantly passes back-and-forth, both during the Fight Phase and Play Phase, so there’s a lot of see-sawing, which I think makes the game more exciting.

7) Hero Brigade is your first kickstarter board game project and it’s already funded. What are some of the things you’ve learned from this already successful campaign that you think other Kickstarter creaters would benefit from?

Start early: I made the Kickstarter page in early February, got approved mid-month, but didn’t launch until late April. Do your research: Make sure you get detailed quotes for all of your costs, track your expenses, and build in some fudge room in your budget for unexpected expenses. Warehousing and shipping, in particular, can be an issue for a smaller team or individual. It turns out, coming up with an awesome idea and making a really fun game is only one-third of the battle. The next two steps are marketing and fulfillment, both of which are things with which I didn’t have much experience. Fortunately, Game Salute picked up Hero Brigade, so I don’t have to worry about the warehousing or shipping part of the fulfillment phase.

8) Before the campaign went live, you posted a thread on BGG asking for feedback on your Kickstarter page. How’d that go and what changes were made to your original page?

That went extraordinarily well. The KS campaign page went through a few major steps of evolution: 1. After I originally drafted it up, I showed it to a few friends and made some changes based on their feedback. Rinse and repeat here a couple of times; 2. I showed it to some fellow game designers in The GameCrafter community and made some changes based on their feedback; 3. I posted that thread on BGG and got a killer amount of constructive feedback; and 4. I got picked up by Game Salute 4 days before the KS launch, so I scrambled and made a few more revisions before going live.

Most of the major changes came in the last two steps. From the BGG feedback, I ended up completely redoing the pledge levels and stretch goals and re-writing two sections of the campaign. I originally had stretch goals like T-shirts and pins but everyone quickly pointed out how they’d much rather have additional game content added in instead. People also widely panned the intro video. I didn’t have the time or the right equipment to re-film, so I just cut out a minute in the middle where I started to ramble a little bit; but even that one edit ending up making a huge difference.

9) What were your design inspirations for creating Hero Brigade?

Obviously, I drew a lot of inspiration from comic books and some characters in the game are a hodge-podge of homages to various characters I love or characters who have become archetypal of the hero genre. My love for Final Fantasy 6 also blossomed into the row mechanic that’s part of the battle system. I also really really love deck-building games, but I was frustrated by the lack of direct interaction as discussed earlier.

10) What type of gaming experience do you hope to create for the players of Hero Brigade?

I really did my best to balance strategy and fun. I wanted to make a deep and tactical system without making it overly complex. I also hope to win over people who may not be the biggest comic book fans, either, but I feel comic books are becoming more and more mainstream, especially given the success of several recent films like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Batman franchise.

11) Anything else you would like to mention?

I love my wife! I’m grateful for the support of my friends and family. I hope everyone checks out the KS campaign page for Hero Brigade and supports it!


Thanks Nicholas for the interview! Make sure to check out Hero Brigade on Kickstarter now.

Kickstarter Stats for the Games Category

I’m planning to launch a Kickstarter for Monster Zoo in the coming months and have been in research mode trying to learn as much as I can about successful Kickstarter projects.

Using the data Kickstarter provides for the Games Category (note this includes Video Games as well since Kickstarter does not break out stats by Video Games and Tabletop), I did some analysis to better understand what projects succeed and what were some of the key metrics I would need to keep track of for my future campaign.

I built these charts using Kickstarter data available on April 9th, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 1.05.52 PM

A little more than 30% of all projects are successful. If you look at just the finished projects, the rate for success increases a little.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 1.19.33 PM

This brings up the success rate to almost 35%. That said, there is still a huge chance for most projects to not succeed. The ones that do succeed generally have funding levels that are under $10,000.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 1.12.20 PM

There are just as many projects that fund in the $10K-100K range as there are in the sub $10K range. Based on the data, I think the sweet spot is under $20K, with over 60% of all funded projects in the Games category ending in that funding range.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 1.12.05 PM

For unsuccessful projects, the major hump is still getting past the 20% funded range. More than 80% of failed projects do not reach beyond 20% funding. Once a project reaches 40% funding, there’s only about 8% chance that it won’t fund.

My takeaways from the data:

  • Set a realistic funding goal – under $20K is a good goal
  • Really push for the 40% funding goal early to improve chances for success

Back it: Fox & Chicken by Michael Fox

Michael Fox from The Little Metal Dog Show and Sprocket Games has a new game on Kickstarter called Fox & Chicken. It’s a family friendly take on Werewolf and I’m in love with the art. It’s funny, witty, and perfect for a game of friendly cunning.

Fox & Chicken

The campaign is off to a great start and funded in the first 22 hours.

Fox & Chicken - Werewolf hits the henhouse! -- Kicktraq Mini

For about $18, you get the base set of cards and all the cards that come with any stretch goals. Given the pace that the campaign is trending, I expect to see a bunch of stretch goals hit, so you’re getting a great deal on a fun game with tons of extra cards.

I like light, fun card games that are great for the family. Great art with a witty theme is a plus. If you like similar games or like Werewolf based games, I recommend you take a look at Fox & Chicken.

Check it out and back it.