Month: December 2015

Jamey Stegmaier Interview – Part 3


Here we are again. This is Part 3 of my awesome interview with Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games. As a reminder, this interview was conducted in early 2015. I ‘lost’ it over the year and am just now getting to it again. So you will see some outdated material. But the interview is SOOO good I had to post it. I hope you enjoy it.

Jamey: I like that you mentioned this. Indeed, it takes a ton of work. Looking back, I’m not sure how I possibly ran Kickstarter campaigns before this was my full-time job. I have a much greater sense of appreciation and respect for creators who run a campaign (not to mention design and develop a game) while still maintaining steady employment and family obligations.

Tom: They are indeed our heroes. Talk about your open letter. I want to know more about that.

Jamey: It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and taking notes on. The goal of my blog is to make Kickstarter a better place for creators and backers, and 99% of my content is directed towards creators. I often challenge creators in what I hope is a healthy, constructive way, and I’d like to offer a similarly healthy challenge to backers as well.

Tom: Ok, I just read the blog post about customer service. It is spot on and something I’ve always thought should be taught in business school.

Jamey: Absolutely! I wish I had been taught that in business school.

Tom: You mentioned a book you are writing. What about that?

Jamey: I have a book about Kickstarter (my story, lessons, and a number of stories from other creators) being published by Berrett-Koehler in fall ‘15. I’ve actually been getting reviews back from the official beta readers provided by the publisher this week, so the next step is to revise the manuscript. I’m really excited about offering something tangible people can hold and earmark as they figure out their path to Kickstarter success.

Tom: That’s pretty cool. While it will help more than game producers using Kickstarter, it is something real that you are offering back. That is one of the things I like about you most. You really support our community. Let’s talk about the gaming community a bit. How do you see it? What are some of the best aspects of it in your opinion?

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Jamey: Yes, I’m hoping the book will reach well beyond creators in the tabletop game category (that’s currently my main audience). And thank you! It feels like the right thing to do. You’ve said similar things in this interview regarding the motivation for why you write. What do you think it is about the board game industry that makes us want to lift each other up instead of push each other down?

It’s a little hard to talk about the “industry” in blanket terms, because there are so many niches within the niche. My primary experience is with three of those niches: Kickstarter backers, BGG participants, and convention attendees.

My favorite thing about Kickstarter backers is that they’re willing to put their trust in someone to make something that doesn’t technically exist yet in final form. It takes a lot of guts to spend $50 on something you won’t get for at least 6 months.

My favorite thing about BGG participants is the wealth of knowledge there. I check BGG at least 5-6 times a day to answer questions about my games, but 75% of the time someone has already chimed in to answer.

My favorite thing about convention attendees is how incredibly welcoming they are. I love that people warmly invite you to play games with them at Geekway to the West (I’ve heard it’s the same at BGG.con), and I love that gamers welcome people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, nd costumes at Gen Con.

Am I missing a key niche? If so, what’s your favorite thing about it?

Tom: I think most everybody will fall into one of those for the most part.

Jamey: Well, Tom, this interview has led right up to the holiday season, so it’s probably a good time to wrap things up. It’s your blog, so why don’t you have the last word–perhaps you could share your favorite moment in gaming from 2014. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me!

Tom: Yep, it’s been a long but extremely enjoyable and fruitful interview. We covered a lot of topics and I liked the ‘back and forth’ conversation very much. I appreciate you asking questions back to me. It turned into ‘the interviewer becomes the interviewee’ at some points. I enjoyed that enormously.

Last words, THANK YOU Jamey very much for taking time from your very busy schedule. I know you were shipping massive amounts of Kickstarter materials during the days of the interview. Your time is greatly appreciated and it just goes to show that you are one of the nicest guys in our gaming community.

Everyone, keep your eyes out for Between Two Cities and Scythe. They are  fantastic.

Jamey’s eBook about blogging – https://app.box.com/shared/0p2y5hhppv

Well, that’s it. The longest yet best post I have done so far. Thanks for sticking with it to the end. I have to thank Jamey so much. He is such a great guy and an excellent guest. It makes my “job” at Go Forth very easy and fun. Thank you Jamey.

And once again thank you readers. Stay tuned for some interesting changes to Go Forth And Game in 2016.

Jamey Stegmaier Interviews Me – Part 2


Thanks for coming back for Part 2. It will be worth it. I had forgotten how interesting I sound (and Jamey to of course). I hope you enjoy.

Tom: Rhythm. That’s the key. I need a rhythm. And a goal. I need something to shoot for. You have inspired me Mr. Stegmaier!

Jamey: As for the advice, other than what I wrote above, I have a formatting suggestion for bloggers: Write the blog in a way that is easy for people to read. That is, use very short paragraphs, short sentences, and lots of lists and images. Breaking down content into smaller chunks makes it much easier for people to read.

Tom: I like that advice a lot. I tend to run on and on. I will definitely work on this. Starting with this interview. ( I would like to request some pictures now.)

Jamey: Do you have any tactical suggestions like that for fellow bloggers? What’s your favorite gaming-related blog to read and what makes you keep returning to it (both in terms of content and format)?

Tom: Two pop up immediately – Cardboard Edison and Hyperbole Games. Cardboard Edison compiles info from hundreds of gaming sites every day or so. It makes it easy to find real gems. And the folks who run it are awesome. They have a Patreon fund raising campaign going that everyone should check out.

Grant Rodiek of Hyperbole Games is such a prolific blogger about games. And he really delves into gaming why’s, how’s, and many aspects of game design. Every designer and gamer interested in design should visit Hyperbole Games regularly.

Format? I agree with you on the short and sweet points. People will not spend time on a blog unless you get to the point. The K.I.S.S. philosophy works well. AND we will probably have to break this interview into three or four parts if I am serious about starting to live by that. Give the people what they want – quick, useful, pretty. Or at least grab them, draw them in with that.

Tactical suggestions? Take the high ground. On first glance that sounds like a joke and facecious but it’s not. Set high standards for yourself and live by them. Don’t get caught up in the latest BGG or Twitter fire fight, unless you REALLY care about the topic and are contributing something positive / solutional to the situation. Don’t pick fights. Don’t get too emotional. Take a breath. Then respond if you feel it is necessary. There have been some recent scuffles that I almost jumped into because they struck emotional nerves.

Jamey: I really, really like what you’ve shared here about taking the high ground (in a humble way). I actually just wrote an article about customer service, so this idea fits perfectly with that. It’s often our instinct to get defensive, but if you treat people with respect and create a dialogue with them, you might find that you have a really loyal reader at your back from then on. And for the people who just like to pick fights, if you don’t fight back, they’ll quickly move on.

Tom: The biggest fight I know of  at the moment is on Kickstarter – why do backers or potential backers now feel that a game HAS to have finished art when the project is in the campaign? A few months ago, prototype are was fine. Why the change? Do you understand what Kickstarter is about? I don’t get them. It was very apparent in a recent campaign and possibly affected the outcome of that project. I don’t get them. Oh, man. I was starting to rant.

Jamey: That’s really interesting. I think it might be because some people associate a game without finished art with an unfinished game in terms of mechanisms and testing. It’s often a fallacy, but the association is there. Also, some backers may have been burned by projects that needed “just a little more art,” and 2 years later they still don’t have the game.

However, I think it’s a good point to remind backers of–one of the biggest up-front costs for a tabletop game is the art, so if you’re raising money for the game, the art probably isn’t complete. I think the key is feature a few beautiful, evocative pieces that represent the overall art in the game, and have a specific schedule in place for the rest of the art to be complete if you successfully fund.

I’m actually working on an “open letter to backers”. Other than the art rant, what’s one thing you’d like to remind backers of (or something they could be better or more understanding of), and what’s one piece of positive backer behavior you’d like to reinforce so it continues?

Tom: I’ll tackle the second question first. Backer behaviour to reinforce?

Jamey: Yep! What’s one thing you’d like backers to continue doing?

Tom: Other than continue backing? Talking up the projects they are backing. Continue the verbal support. Keep up the word of mouth marketing that Kickstarter projects depend on. Without that many I’m sure many projects would not fund.

Jamey: I think that’s a great point. If a backer feels strongly about a project, it’s great if they go out and share it. Sometimes people are hesitant to blast a message out on social media, so as a creator I encourage backers once or twice during a project to share the project with 1-2 people who they think might really like it.

Tom: As to something backers could be more understanding about I believe people should really understand how much work creating a game takes. There are lots of game campaigns and that probably gives an impression that it is easy to create a game and run a KS campaign. I know from interviews and because I have a good friend who has run quite a few campaigns that it is hard work. It takes a huge amount of time and there are so many things that pop up and are under the radar. So I wish backers would really take this in.

 

Stay tuned for the grand finale of this super duper interview.