Tom: Welcome again Dan. I’m really happy to talk to you again. Let’s get into it. You decided to cancel the Dino Dude Ranch campaign and relaunch it. Which you did this past week. Congratulations! The game is doing quite well. With the previous campaign, you unlocked basically all the stretch goals by the end of the campaign. Can you talk about them and why you decided to go ahead and release them?
Dan: Yes, some of the stretch goals were not intended to be directly in the base game so they were not included at base funding, but they were minimal in cost to add so I figured I would start to unlock them to attract more backers to the campaign. The more expensive upgrades were able to be compensated for by the changes I made early in the campaign to reduce the cost of the game. At the start of the campaign I realized that simply reducing thickness of the player mats, which are still quality and functionally equivalent, allowed me to save on both manufacture and shipping. Since the campaign costs were based on the more expensive game, I was able to unlock the stretch goals and still cover the costs if the campaign successfully funded.
Tom: You’ve included your other game, Ph. D., as an add-on. That was a good idea. How well has it been received?
Dan: It was actually well received. I know that the game is targeted to a very specific audience, which is why I was hesitant to add it in the first place, but as soon as I added it I had a handful of backers change to the reward tier as well as people contact me post campaign asking about it for the next time around. Even though the game is not directly related to Dino Dude Ranch, backers were receptive to it because they were interested in seeing the project succeed, supporting me as a designer, and trying out a new game. Though I must admit, the game is still fun regardless of if you went to grad school or not. This second time around, I will be including Ph. D. The Game right from the start and it will include a Limited Edition Card for the backers who choose it called Dr. Dinosaur. It will include a Dinosaur Dude Rancher as the image but in the style of Ph. D. The Game. I will also be sending this card to backers of my first campaign for Ph. D. The Game as a thank you for being repeat backers. For more information on Ph. D. The Game, people can check out the BoardGameGeek page at:
Tom: You mentioned after the last campaign that there were some improvements that you discovered during the campaign and some ideas from backer feedback. What improvement are you incorporating?
Dan: First and foremost, I was able to get the game down to $23 (shipped for free in the US). This price will not include the upgrade to custom cut wooden food meeples but those will also be available for an additional cost. I was able to lower international shipping, especially significant for the UK, France and the western EU. Lastly, I have been working hard to improve the layout/graphic design of a lot of the components. On top of that, I have been working with the artist to complete the remaining pieces needed for the game: The player mats/ranches, some characters, and the velociraptors.
Tom: The updates look fantastic! I think they improve the game quite a bit. And as small as it seems, dropping the price to $23 will make it more attractive I think. And it makes it seem more like a family game for some reason. Free shipping for the U.S. doesn’t hurt either.
Now, we didn’t talk too much about this in the last interview but I want to talk about the art for DDR. Who was your artist? They’re super great and perfect for a family game.
Dan: Thank you! I was very lucky to connect with a fantastic artist, Jesse Labbe. I was playing a game published by 1A Games called Cross Hares and thought to myself that the artwork would go perfectly with my game so I reached out to the artist (who also turned out to be the game designer) and that was Jesse. He drew me one sample dinosaur and I was sold immediately. We worked really well together and have been sharing the same vision moving forward with it ever since. I look forward to seeing the remaining pieces that he has left to complete and updating the rest of the placeholder art. I must say again that I have been very lucky to work with someone who I can mesh so well with.
Tom: You’ve changed some of the pledge tiers too. Talk about that decision.
I realized that making a less expensive reward tier was beneficial in many ways. First, it gives the backers a less expensive option (shipped in the US for $23 instead of $29) which will also alleviate high cost concerns for international backers. Second, it was less expensive for me to offer the base game with the upgraded add ons, thus allowing me to lower the goal a little bit…and every little bit counts!. What is great about this change too is that it has zero impact on gameplay. The main difference is thick punchboard tokens (which are still quality) vs. custom cut wooden food resources. Although the custom wood pieces are nice, I figured some people would be indifferent to them and prefer to save some money. Now they can. I also figured I would reward those who chose the upgrade by including Velociraptor dinosaur tiles as well. They are not a part of the base game but add a nice new scoring mechanic that has a nice effect on gameplay.
Tom: What have you learned from the first DDR campaign? What have you done differently?
Dan: I think the most important thing is that I am going into it with a stronger crowd. I have been raising awareness of the launch date (May 19) and I had all of these amazing backers from the first campaign ready to go on Day 1. This strong start will hopefully set the tone for a fantastic re-launch.
Thanks for joining me Dan. The game looks even better than before. It has had a very strong start, at little over halfway to goal with 25 days to go. That’s awesome.
Dino Dude Ranch can be supported right here. It has about 20 days to go and is halfway to its funding goal. As you have seen Dan has updated most of the art and made some significant improvements to the game. It’s Jurassic fun for everyone.
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