Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Girls' Heist Out - The Designer Experience

One of the best ways to connect with backers is to offer unique rewards. This can be a tricky part of a Kickstarter, because unique often means higher overhead or delving into additional logistics problems. Early wave Kickstarters were awash in T-shirts, mugs and other traditional promotional items. I didn't do any of those because, quite frankly, there are still some Kickstarters I'm waiting on years after the fact that never got off the ground because that stuff got underfoot. 

I considered talking to the companies I design for to offer PDF packages of the games I've done as rewards. I decided against it for a few reasons. Not everyone would go along with it easily. It seemed counter productive to talk about breaking into comics but reward people with RPG products. Most of the people supporting the Kickstarter likely already own whatever work I've done that they want to own. My licensed work might be a big draw but could get wrapped up in legal issues. Ultimately, much of the work I've done as a designer I don't completely own, which is why I'm doing a creator owned comic in the first place.

But my time, on the other hand...  my time is something that I do own. What my rewards didn't have were that elusive experience one where a backers gets to do something few people rarely get to do. How often do you get a chance to play a game with someone that's made something for the game? The opportunity usually only comes at a convention once or twice a year, if you luck into tickets for the event. Why not offer the people who keep asking how to play Fate or Firefly a chance to see how the pros do it? 

Backers have an opportunity to play in a game that I run over Skype or Hangout which is pretty cool. You can pick from any game that I've worked on in the past fifteen years of my design career. Big or small. Licensed or original. The idea started as a reward tier for international backers who wanted to get a little more than just the digital basics but more and more people have asked me about this reward than any of the others. Outside of the Ella Fitzgerald, which I still can't believe someone took, it's the most unique reward I have for the project, because it offers me as the reward directly.

There are opportunities within these opportunities. The big one is that for backers near me, which the overwhelming majority of my backers are, I'm happy to set up a time and place to run the game in person. Beyond just playing Shadowrun or CAMELOT Trigger, I rarely get a chance to talk design and theory in person and I love doing it. It's why I enjoy hosting D&D&D events at 42 Ale House. Book one of these sessions and you have me as a resource for GM advice, game structure and whatever else you might want to talk about relating to RPGs. 

It's also one of the few rewards you can really share comfortably. Whether that means splitting the cost between your players (which comes out to about what you'd spend for a night at the movies) or picking it up as a gift for your spouse who doesn't get out to game as much anymore.

I'm excited about all the rewards I have to offer, but this one intrigued me the most. Con games are like Christmas presents to me. The backers who book my time and who want to see more of my work make me feel a little like Santa Claus.

Girls' Heist Out runs for the next two weeks on Kickstarter. I hope to see you there.