Saturday, 16 November 2013

Interview - #BoardGamersAsk Erik Dahlman

Thanks for all of you who joined in with the first every #BoardGamersAsk. Here is YOUR interview with Albino Dragon CEO Erik Dahlman.

Hi Eric, thanks for being our first guest on #boardgamersask. It is great to have a company involved who are clearly growing from strength to strength. It will be really interesting to read your answers to these brilliant questions. So lets get started...

LudiCreations - ‏@LudiCreations asked:
Hi Eric, what do you find most challenging about running a good Kickstarter campaign?

Albino Dragon Erik answers:
"Maintaining momentum. Many project creators get very excited in the first couple days when funding is rolling in, then they become anxious when they hit a plateau until the end of the project where another round of funding comes in. The hardest thing to do in any project is to find new ways to engage your backers. The key to this is to plan for the plateau before you ever start the project. Plan for ways to keep people engaged, plan for ways to keep momentum."

Eric Handler - ‏@reldnahcire followed up that question with:
Eric- How does backer volume impact running a campaign? 

Albino Dragon Erik answers:
"The number of backers has a huge impact on a campaign for several reasons. The first is that with a greater number of backers, the more individual questions and comments that need to be answered. This also carries over to time spent on order fulfillment and, because it generates more funding (or at least it should), it can impact the number and type of stretch goals and rewards that can be provided."

Amy Reid - ‏@ByAmyReid asked:
If you could play a game with any group of famous people living or dead who would it be? Also what game?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"Magic with Mark Gottlieb. I used to read his columns about deck building and the man is a devious, outside the box thinker and I dig that."
We continued with...
PBL - ‏@WardenF16 asked:
Eric, what is the key to developing a quality set of stretch goals?

Albino DragonErik answers:

"I prefer stretch goals that don't require any additional shipping. Anything that you can do that provides value but doesn't have a steep (if any) addition to your production costs is a win-win. This may be alternate or enhanced art, a slightly better paper grade, etc."

Maverick Muse ‏- @NigelPyne asked:
Hi Eric, why did you decide to do custom card decks as well as games? #BoardGamersAsk

Albino DragonErik answers:
"At the time we had already completed two game projects and were still waiting for them to be produced so that we could ship them. At that point in time there wasn't any cash flowing into the company so we needed to find something that would have a faster turnaround. There were a few deck projects at the time that were doing pretty well ($40k-$50k) and we figured we could do them in about a 30 day period. The Call of Cthulhu Deck set a new record for cards at the time and it still fulfilled faster than our original gaming projects."

Amy Reid ‏- @ByAmyReid when on to ask:
Most people ask what's your favourite game but I'm gonna go with what's a game you hate ?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"Catan. I know, gasp. I'm not saying it isn't a good game but the theme really bores me and I always cringe a little inside when it's listed as one of the top games that people like."

Tony Nanthavong ‏- @LiterallyTony asked:
Hi Eric! Do you play any other card games and/or have any personal faves?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"I used to be a big Magic: The Gathering player but have been sober for about 7 years. I'm a big fan of deck builders now so Ascension is a big one for me, and of course, Cards Against Humanity." 

Maverick Muse ‏- @NigelPyne when on to ask:
Eric, I heard you decided not to put your games through distribution. True? If so, why?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"The original decision for this was because when I looked at the numbers, a game was considered successful if it sold thousands of copies. It didn't make sense to use distribution if we had to sell twice as many units. It seemed like a backwards system to me, in order to sell more units to retailers, I first had to create enough demand to get them to pick it up, but by then why would I cut others in to make a profit if all of the work was already done?
After doing this for awhile, that perception is changing after dealing with large amounts of self distribution. There is a huge benefit to being able to send games to one distributor (especially bigger games) and being able to never deal with them again. I'm still on the fence about this since distribution could potentially bring greater awareness about our games. We sell more games on Kickstarters than we do at conventions because of that visibility."

Chuck Hagerman ‏@WispHollow asked:
What do you feel as game designer are some of your biggest hurdles with designing and publishing?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"There are two that come to mind. As a publisher, it's tough to raise awareness of our games and anything new that we're working on. As a designer, it's extremely difficult not to keep tweaking games. Every time we try a new angle or mechanic, it starts a whole slew of changes until we've moved away from the original concept and have to find our way back."

Maverick Muse - ‏@NigelPyne then ask:
Is KS moving away from helping brand new project owners to distribution for previously successful project owners?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"If you're asking if new project creators still have a chance to compete with established companies that post projects, I would say yes. I've found that innovation and creativity can trump any established projects on Kickstarter. Established companies do have the advantage in that they can leverage their current fan base and resources, but it's not insurmountable with a strong idea, hard work, and a little luck."

Ulf Persson ‏- @bguffe asked:
How much do you consider the environmental aspects of producing a boardgame, compared to other aspects such as quality?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"One of the reasons we went with a smaller box on our games was because it was more environmentally friendly as it uses less cardboard. I hadn't thought of additional ways to enhance this, such as substituting cardboard inserts instead of plastic. I think the biggest question from a company standpoint is does that influence a customer's buying habits? I don't see where a made in the USA stamp makes any difference so I think it will be tougher to persuade game companies to be more environmentally responsible until those buying habits change."

And finally we would like to know.
Do you have any projects or products you would like the board game community to be aware of right now?

Albino DragonErik answers:
"We're currently doing a playing card deck for The Princess Bride, one of my favorite movies of all time, so please check it out here. We also have some upcoming games that we could use some play testers for if they have an iPad, send us a message if you're interested."
 Thanks again to Erik for taking part in #BoardGamersAsk and to all the gamers who posed such great questions!

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Thanks for adding to the conversation on Ministry of Board Games ;-)