Whether I meant to or not, this blog has become very focused on Kickstarter. So why not embrace that! Along with the Road to Kickstarter entries, I will be putting together Kickstarter-centric interviews. First up is Dan Letzring from Letiman Games.
BG: For those who don’t know, what is your background? How long have you been designing games?
DAN: I live in Rochester, NY with my wife and daughters. I have been designing games for a few years but only really got into it seriously about 2 years ago when I successfully funded my first game on kickstarter, Ph. D. The Game. These past few years have been an amazing learning process and I look forward working hard to develop my skills in both game design and publishing more each and every day.
BG: What are you currently working on? Give us a quick breakdown of the game
DAN: Dino Dude Ranch is a Set Collection/Resource Management game designed for Ages 8+. My goal in mind was a fun family game that was a 20-30 minute casual game night filler. The main idea of the game is that players roll dice to collect resources (meat, fish, and leaves) that are in turn used to capture dinosaurs to place on their ranches. Cards can be purchased as well using any combination of two resources and they make purchasing easier or add a light take that mechanism to attack other players. All players have hidden bonuses that are revealed in the end in order to gain additional scoring and whoever has the most points/most valuable ranch wins!
BG: What’s the biggest hook to the game? The coolest thing about it?
DAN: Definitely that it is a great family game. Adults love it, kids of all ages love it, it’s been a hit with most demographics. It’s dinosaurs eating leaves, fish, and meat, it’s dice rolling, the cards add a lot of character, What’s not to love? Plus, the artwork is pretty fantastic too!
BG: What’s the game that is closest to this one? So that fans of that game will know they’ll love this one too.
DAN: It’s got some similarities to a handful of games. It has some similarities to Power Grid but is really nothing like it (if that makes sense). So throw Power Grid into a melting pot with some casual card games with light take that and secret bonuses, mix with some Gamewright and you have Dino Dude Ranch.
BG: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had in creating this game?
DAN: Deciding how to balance it such that it is a kids game that adults enjoy. I wanted enough appeal that adults and hardcore gamers would like it, but I did not want it to lose its identity as a light casual family game. Once I made a decision to how I envisioned the end product, I think I was able to find a delicate balance that makes it appealing for all ages and player-types.
BG: What was the best moment you’ve had in developing or testing this game?
DAN: When I ran into one of my playtesters on Christmas eve and he told me his 7 year old son had put Dino Dude Ranch on his Christmas list. That was such a nice feeling.
BG: Any advice for others who want to make their own game?
DAN: Spend the time to really talk to people who have done it. Do not be afraid to share your idea, no one is going to steal it. And take your time with it, don’t just rush it out as fast as possible because you are exited about it. Playtest and refine it until you are sick of it, and then do it some more.
BG: Why Kickstarter? What is the appeal for you?
DAN: Honestly, without it I will not be able to produce this game. I do not have the funds to front the costs of purchasing things like the remainder of the artwork needed or the initial print run needed to use a large scale manufacturer. Aside from that though, I have become really drawn into the kickstarter community. In the last year I have backed about 40 projects and I have really been excited by the idea of a community of people coming together to discuss a project, throw ideas around, and work towards funding it and making a dream a reality. It is really a great experience.
Thanks Dan! Would you like to have a conversation about Kickstarter? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org