How do I make it in the tabletop games industry?
This is hands down the most common question I'm asked. Everyone has a different path so it's tough to come up with "One size fits all" advice. That being said, here is my best advice that could apply to anyone:
- Spend a lot of time making games for fun first and playing them with your friends.
- Find a mix of established industry norms but also mix it with your own way of doing things.
- Have a budget to promote your work especially if you're brand new and doing a crowd funding campaign. Yes, you basically have to kickstart a Kickstarter. It's beneficial to save up some money ahead of time instead of calling in every possible favour right away.
- Like any endeavor, the more time and effort you put into it, the bigger the payoff. You have to work harder at creating your game and promoting it than the next aspiring designer. I've personally taken a lot of influence from the DIY work ethic of indie punk bands.
- Be active in different online communities where your main audience is.
- Figure out the difference between a vanity project and something that other people would reasonably want to play.
- Making a great game and connecting it to the proper audience is important but also you need to be able to sum it up in one sentence. The 30 second elevator pitch is a thing of the past. Attention spans are getting shorter and you really only get a tagline to grab someone's attention and set yourself apart. Taglines that have worked for me are "It's a Drinking Game and a Tabletop RPG" and "A game for grownups who feel like they're pretending."
- Work as many conventions as you can. Make friends, playtest, sell your games, play other people's games, stay focused on your mission but also it's OK to have some fun by accident. I still work about 15 conventions a year but at my peak I was doing about 20. (Also plan to book one year in advance for the biggest shows). Start with smaller cons and plan to get bigger. Also watch as many panels with game industry folk as possible.
- If you're working with other people, make an agreement of what the arrangement is. Try and think of every possible scenario where you might disagree in the future. Two people with the best of intentions can have a disagreement if they're seeing the same things differently. If it's complicated, it might be worth it to have a lawyer look it over.
- Board Game Cafes are your friend. You always want to playtest with as many different people as possible and that's the perfect spot to make new friends / play testers.
- Compliment my biceps or buy me a beer at a convention and I'll open up many more industry secrets.
Why do you make games?
I've done it since I was a kid and I always challenged myself to make the funniest games possible. Eventually as an adult, I thought other people might like them too. Plus playing tabletop games is just my favourite way to hang out with people.
What does "Games for the Hardcore Casual" mean?
I make the kind of games I want to play. I consider myself a hardcore casual in that I LOVE games in a hardcore way but I'm pretty casual in that I just want to have fun while I'm playing them. I'm not an intense "rules lawyer" type person. I figure there are other people out there who are similar that might also want to play games like these.
What are your humour influences?
A lot of Stand up comedy, a lot of comic strips & webcomics, and this one episode of Garfield & Friends that I saw when I was 8 years old that had a bunch of scientists in a joke factory rating objects on a conveyor belt on whether they are funny or not... Rubber chickens are funny, cardboard boxes not funny etc. It put the idea in my head that you could determine objectively whether a joke was funny or not.
What are you game influences?
Some (but not all) of my favourite games of all time are Hero Quest, Lord of the Rings Risk: Trilogy Edition, Machi Koro, Joking Hazard, Splendor, Fireball Island, Steve Jackson Games' Revolution, New Bedford Whaling & Town building, Dungeons & Dragons, Settler's of Catan, Lords of Waterdeep, Scrabble, Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, Dairy Man, Home Alone 2: The Board Game
Why aren't you active on Board Game Geek?
It just goes back to the casual nature of my games. Board Game Geek is the definitive place on the internet for the most hardcore gamers... games that are on the simple side don't tend to do well there. It's just not the right audience. If you want to post about my stuff there or anywhere else, I'm totally ok with that.
How does a "Drinking RPG" work?
Like a typical Role Playing Game you have a character sheet, roll dice for saving throws, fight monsters, find treasure BUT when your character dies in the game you have to chug your drink in real life! It adds a real level of tension and excitement to the battles. Everything matters.
The battles are a series of one-on-one fights to the death. You either kill the monster earning coins and XP or your character dies and you must chug your drink! The cards act as the GM (So everyone can drink) and the heroes go through four themed quests in each game - each getting progressively difficult and more likely to drink. However as this is a light RPG and a light Drinking Game there is a one chug per quest maximum which prevents Drinking Quest from being a "Pass out in 10 minutes" kind of drinking game. Over the course of 2 or 3 hours, a typical game averages 2 - 4 chugs.
All of the Drinking Quest games are full games and not expansions. You don't need one to play the other and you can start with any game. However they all exist in the same kind of "Drunken Middle Earth" so there is a lot of fun story telling and humour that comes from that. There are a lot of layers of comedy that will keep the game funny through multiple playthroughs.
Whoever gets the most XP wins! Whoever loses had to chug the most so it's sort of like everybody wins.
There are other games that copied your idea...
I get this a lot, I'm supportive of other games in the scene. I just try and make the best stuff I can. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Do you ship to my country?
Yes, we ship Globally. Update: Because the packages never seem to get there, there are now a handful of countries we don't deliver to.
Is the site currency is US dollars?
How old do you have to be to play Drinking Quest?
If you want to play it while drinking then you should be legal drinking age. The humour is probably PG-13, it's suggestive but not raunchy. It also works well as a parody of drinking and RPG culture so drinking isn’t 100% necessary.
How long does shipping take?
USA and Canada takes 1 - 2 weeks. For the rest of the globe it could range from 2 - 6 weeks.
Will you tweet about my Kickstarter?
In most cases, no. I'd like to help but usually it's someone I've never interacted with before with projects that are really far away from the type of games I'm known for.
I would like the creator of the game to write as a guest for my online comic / sing a verse on my punk album / collaborate on some other comedy project.
I'm always excited to get these kinds of e-mails. I'll be having a pretty full plate with several projects on the go at once but send an email to JasonAnarchy@DrinkingQuest.com and maybe we can work together!