48: Offloading Pain Points with Producer and Game Designer Stephen Kraus

48: Offloading Pain Points with Producer and Game Designer Stephen Kraus

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

In this conversation, Nick and Stephen discuss Stephen's board game publishing company, We Ride Game, and his video production business, Anthem Video. They talk about their experiences at conventions, the costs and sales associated with booth presence, and the importance of building connections and brand recognition. They also discuss the process of planning booth setups, the evolution of the production company, and the importance of delegating tasks to focus on core strengths. Anthem Video, a video production company, and WeRide Games, a board game company, are two separate ventures run by the same group of friends. Anthem Video focuses on selling video services, which can be challenging due to the ambiguity and complexity of the product. On the other hand, WeRide Games, selling board games, is more straightforward and enjoyable. The team uses different marketing strategies for each venture, including leveraging successful projects to attract new clients and pitching specific videos or recent successes to potential customers. They also utilize project management tools like Slack and ClickUp to streamline their workflow.

You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

Nick (00:04.265)

So I told him that's really not a good place to stick that pen. Anyways, so today on the podcast we have Stephen. Stephen and I met at Origin. And you have kind of two things that we could chat about during this podcast. First off, I met you specifically at a booth for your board game publishing company, We Ride Game. You have a really cool game in development about trick or treating that I'm excited about.

And then on top of that, you also run a video production business that is something that I'm really excited to find about the process of you putting that stuff together and how you ended up where you are. So before we dive into any of those things, how you doing?

Stephen (00:47.054)

Hey, I'm doing well. Yeah, I'm Stephen, Stephen Krauss. I am a Pittsburgh native. So I'm sitting right here looking at a beautiful cloudy Pittsburgh day. And yeah, I can't be much better. It's really good to talk to you, Nick, and I'm glad you introduced yourself at the convention. And yeah, I'm glad you invited me on the show.

Nick (01:10.153)

it'd be easy to have a conversation with you, which is why I really wanted to have you on the podcast and talk more about where you are in your professional life. So starting off, well starting off, how is Origins for you?

Stephen (01:18.35)

Yeah, I -

Origins was okay. I think for us, we only do about two conventions a year. That's mostly because of the stage of life all the different game designers are in. We're all either about to get married or having kids. Not me, I'm neither of those things. But we're all this very specific age where life is starting to, not get in the way. That's not the right way to phrase it. Life is rearing its head and doing other cool stuff. So we're...

Nick (01:39.305)


Stephen (01:50.318)

You know, we're managing what we do right now, but I definitely think, sorry, that's not your question. Your question is how was it? It was pretty good. I think PAX was a little bit busier for us, but Origins, I mean, I'm in Pittsburgh, right? So Columbus is three hours away. It's such a great place to, you know, kind of look at the more Midwest game community, meets tons of cool people. And the other thing is I really, I got some other friends of mine more from Pittsburgh to come out and help with the convention. And it was such a blast to.

not only just hang out with them, but to also see their reaction to the larger gaming community and the tabletop community. It was like a bunch of other D &D fans, for example, that had never really been to that larger community before. It was a great way to live vicariously through them.

Nick (02:36.425)

So I could say from my experience, I've been to Origins three times. Once as a vendor, twice as an attendee. And as an attendee, it's incredibly fun. As a vendor, also very fun, but nerve wracking when you consider how expensive it is to have a space there. So in regards to, I could say when I went, I just did the entrepreneurial option, which I think was like $650 for a space. And then I believe since

Stephen (02:53.326)


Nick (03:05.673)

base option after that is double the cost or something. I didn't apply the last couple years, but can you talk a bit about how much it costs to have a presence at a convention like Origins and then how much you expect to make from sales of your games?

Stephen (03:08.142)

Yeah, yeah.

Stephen (03:21.326)

Yeah, so good question. So the rough cost to be that well, the cost for a booth in this case was 1600 just about, which is I think that's right. I got double -chose numbers. But yeah, it was about 1600, which is a lot. And you know, even compared to what it used to be, I think one year, we paid maybe close to 1000 for a booth. And I think it's gone up a little bit. And, you know, to be honest, even even looking at a sorry, I'm comparing contrasting, right, because that's what we do. We're just comparing to other cons.

Being at Pax Unplugged, for example, that's about 2000 for our two by one, a little more than that, like 2200 or something. But for the amount of sales we're getting, I think we did about 6 ,000 in sales at Pax Unplugged, which for us was huge. That was a lot of product. And I think we were kind of going to Origins and expecting to have similar numbers. And to be honest, it really wasn't like that. We kind of broke even more so. We think we've got about 2000 in sales, which...

Again, for us, any number is great and huge, but I think for us that was not what we're anticipating and hoping for. But I think because it was a, you know, if we break even, we're still happy, right? Because we get to get a chance to build future fans. We get to meet people and, you know, it's an excuse to see my friends, right? So it's a, either it's a hobby that pays for itself or it is that extra, you know, money on top of getting to fund the next game.

Nick (04:44.873)

It is weird because there's absolutely a non -quantifiable boost to your business that happens from being at those events. Like, I could... So I could say, like, the one time I was there, again, I was paying like $650 or something for the booth. I made, I think, $1 ,900 in sales. And... But on top of that, I met wholesalers, I met game promoters, and I was able to...

Stephen (04:51.758)

Totally. It's funny. Yeah.

Nick (05:12.681)

my business so much from the connections I made in that event. And it's like, it's nice to look at the numbers, because then you can kind of wrap your head around, was it successful, was it not? Well, all those other tertiary, that's probably not the right word, but those other additional connections that happen can't really be quantified to that specific event.

Stephen (05:27.214)


Stephen (05:32.782)

look at this, you know, look at the look at the, you know, we're doing right now. No, I totally agree. And it's funny, because I'm like, I think that's something that my other some of the other people that are part of the team with me at we ride games are much more vocal about, right? I'm sometimes in my own head about like, we got to do this. So we got to, you know, this is the number we got to hit for it to be even worth it worth the energy, right. And I think everyone else has been much more vocal about, hey, you know, look at all the people that buy games afterwards, look at the sort of people we meet that are going to be

you know, whether it's Kickstarter, the next thing or we're playtesting games that aren't out yet. Those are things that are much more hard to quantify, as you said. So, you know, I think, I think the, obviously the ideal is it's both like profit wise, you know, a big, or, you know, it's, it doesn't just pay for itself, but there's a little bit on top. But I think even when it is just break even the other benefits of it tend to come back to us in other ways. And especially with

You know, Kickstarter, it's such a way to, it's a great way to build that, that base. So.

Nick (06:33.609)

Well, let's talk about, I guess, what would be your source of income at an event like this. I believe from looking at your website, you only have two games currently on the market, right? So did you have just like two SKUs going into this event of SARS products itself?

Stephen (06:43.502)


Stephen (06:48.206)

Yeah, so, and I want to be clear, like the, the, the games we have, I am just one part of the, the, you know, the, the company, if you will, right? I'm, I'm, I'm one designer and I also have, my, my really close friends. We actually all grew up in Syracuse, New York together and that's, Kenny Chapman, Cole Jarvis, Damien Roberts, but they're, they're the ones who do it with me. So this is a very much a group effort. and I don't want to ever sound like I'm like, yes, my games. but.

The convention, yeah, so we came in with primarily two SKUs. That's going to be Knights of the Hound Table, which is our smaller two -player optimized deck building game, and our larger box game, Dungeons & Co, that we just kick -started last year. And we also have a bunch of like, we know, we did a bunch of, we have a deluxe edition for both of those. And it's funny, because we're like sold out of certain things. So every convention, we're sort of figuring out, okay, what have we not sold out of that we can kind of create a new bundle out of?

you go into our square app and it looks like, yeah, it looks a little bit manic because it's just, it's nonsense. So yeah, the true answer is yes, just two games, but there's a lot of other add -ons we have. Like we have a dungeon, or sorry, a booklet, RPG booklet for Dungeons & Co. We have, that's the big one. We also have like a play mat for Dungeons & Co. It's funny, this is totally off random, but like what we don't have is we used to have these really nice

mats for Knights of the Hound table and we sold out last year and we haven't gotten around to ordering more because we're frankly saving money for this next game we're doing. And so we're like, every time people come by our booth, like, do you have those new pre -mats? We're like, sorry, we don't, but you know, we're hoping, you know, X date we will. So it's always a bit of a like, no matter what we have, there's also some, we just don't have and we will have at some point. Sorry, my phone just went off with a piercing noise in my ear.

the Apple Ding. It was like whatever the volume that yeah, the volumes were out of sync. So got a little bit of a piercing ding in my ear. But anyways, sorry, I hope that answers your question.

Nick (08:42.889)

You just imagine.

Nick (08:53.481)

Well, yeah, you did. And I like that you brought up neoprene mats specifically because I primarily do tarot decks for my business and I always make a neoprene mat, or not always, but I regularly make a neoprene mat. I guess I, no, my recent one didn't have it. But, so I love them because they're beautiful. They're so fun to feel. It's a great, easy add -on for people to add to their pledge on Kickstarter. They're very profitable, but...

Stephen (09:01.134)

Mm -hmm.

Nick (09:24.297)

I always get screwed in the shipping because it's such an awkward shape. And if someone's buying a neoprene mat and a tarot deck, the box is going to need a lot of filling in order to stop things from rattling around. And every now and then I'll get a message from someone saying, Hey, I bought these things together. The box, the tarot deck got damaged because it was rattling around the box and I got a text to the fulfillment center. They're like, we didn't put stuff in. So it's like, I'm starting to move towards maybe more printed fabric that can be folded.

Stephen (09:26.542)

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick (09:53.705)

cause like that's normal for tarot and altar cloth is a, is a common item, but as much as I love making neoprene mats, I think I got to stay away from them moving forward just for the sake of logistics.

Stephen (09:53.71)


Stephen (10:03.758)

Well, they sell, you know, like there's the game. Never play radlands. I then that's that's that's that's this game that's a it's a two player, two player deck builder. I think it's a deck builder. It's a two player card game. But I mentioned it because, you know, they were they went really hard at conventions a couple of years ago. You know, they're they're they're hugely successful game. But I remember seeing them a lot of these conventions and.

You and like they have basically it is a essentially a small. It could be a small deck card game, but there they have a larger box option as well. That is just basically the neoprene mat, higher quality tokens and the cards. And it, you know, it looks and feels like a big box game and it comes in that big box because of that neoprene mat can take up so much space. Right. So it's like, you know, it's, it's funny that they've kind of been able to hit both of those angles, both the small box splash, sorry, small box and large box purchase.

just because of that map and Hey, the mats great, right. And it, I think especially with card games, it's a, it's a big add on and just gives you a ton of, you know, people like them.

Nick (11:09.193)

So I want to ask you specifically about what goes into planning what your booth will look like. How has that changed since your first convention, all the way up to what are things or changes you want to make now that Origins is open?

Stephen (11:23.989)

wow. Good question. That's something that's a week. I'm just in that headspace now. And I think I think the biggest thing that has sort of changed or let me let me answer it this way. I think when we first started, we were really we had just one game and that was easy. We had Knights of the Hound Table. And that is a small footprint card game where we can have essentially a like high top table or honestly, in the case what we did, we basically had these like shelving units.

Nick (11:29.161)

Figured you would be.

Stephen (11:49.742)

that we then put a black mat over and then treated that like a table to demo. And all we had to do is put four of those or three of those in a one by one booth and then have like a really basic checkout table. And that was it because there's the, you know, we just had these stations that were called, we were pulling people over, we're talking to people, but the game sale can happen right at that station. There doesn't need to be necessarily a larger point of sale setup. There doesn't need to be really that much more, that much more stuff. And the other thing we used to do,

in terms of like layout is we had a lot more promo items. And so actually Kelsey Wagner, who is someone who is also on works with me in video production world. well, sorry, she, she's also an incredible video editor and, you know, she also went ahead and made all these props for, basically a commercial we did for Dungeon, sorry, for Knights of the Hound table.

And we use all those props in the set decoration of the booth. We all, we all see all wore dog costumes, for example. And, and it was great. It was a really good sales tool. I think, but I think recently we've been a little bit more like, okay, how can we maybe evolve that or mature that into a clap more classic store setup? And, I know this time we had a more like slightly more professional looking checkout area.

and we also had, you know, for, for Dungeons and Co and for October's on our upcoming games, since those are larger box games with more setup and more pieces, we have more sit down card tables, right? So I, for us, it's, it's been kind of a, how can we anticipate how many, frankly, how many tables can we set up in this space? And this time I underestimated it. I thought I could only do one standing card table or sorry, one sitting card table and ended up, I ended up being able to fit two in there. So, however, that being said,

I think one thing we learned from this con is I kind of want to open it up a little bit more in terms of where, where people like how people engage with the booth. And I'd love to move the point of sale system backwards because people, I think we, we watched a lot of other booths and I think we were actually near all play this, this year, which if you don't know all play, they're an incredible game company that hell of a booth set up. And they've just, I mean, I could go on about what they do. Right. Like one of the things they do right is.

Stephen (13:59.598)

all the titles of the game and like the one sentence log line isn't, it's not even eye level, it's above eye level. So like your eyes, they want to go up and you look at these really nice kind of overhangs on each of their demo tables. And I'm like looking at them and they just, they just catch my eye versus if that was, you know, lower, which most people, us included that all the game stuff tends to be lower. It just, I don't know that they're taking up real estate that is, is unused and people naturally look at.

But anyways, I think they're set up with having these open demo tables. It's a little bit more come into our booth and there's a bit more flow to it. And the point of sale system is kind of a separate behind the everything approach. That's a really cool way to do it. And something that I think we're toying around with for Packs Unplugged.

Nick (14:46.409)

Well, the way I see it is like for what feels like a good successful booth setup, the point of sale doesn't have any presence. Because then it feels a lot more inviting if you don't see like a station that you have to go to to buy something. Everyone who's working the booth should be empowered with a Square reader or whatever you're doing that they just whip out, tap, hand it off. And I don't think it should feel like

Stephen (14:56.334)


Stephen (15:07.598)


Nick (15:14.537)

You're like, okay, I need to wait in line to talk to this person. There should always be someone who's able to help you at each level. And I think, I mean, that's an ideal situation, but for me, it's always just me. So I don't really, and you know, I need to have, I need to have my space compartmentalized so I know what I'm doing. But I think as the customer, I love that setup, that feeling when anybody I look at could help me and I don't need to stand in line. And I think having.

Stephen (15:26.19)


Stephen (15:32.398)

Yeah, totally.

Nick (15:43.081)

not a designated space for pointed sail is a step towards that direction.

Stephen (15:46.958)

Yeah, and I think we really have used to do that more. And I think that some we've kind of gone away from, not maybe partially intentionally, but I think it's where you're right. I felt that this year I was like, I really wish that we had a couple more square readers. Everyone was in was kind of empowered to do that. Like literally and technically, right. And yeah, I think that's something I totally agree, like less point of sale. Hey, yes, having games on display, but not having it be like a like a very specific

Here's the checkout, here's the line, et cetera. And here's the person.

Nick (16:19.881)

struggle with and I imagine you probably have a bit of it too is when you do want to introduce a new product to your lineup, it feels so bad throwing away all of your old banners and stuff because now you need to focus on this new product and get new vinyl banners made and it's like at what point do I like recreate older banners? Do you have any type of like thought that goes into like how do you focus on a new product? When do you...

Stop focusing on old ones as far as the printed materials in your space.

Stephen (16:51.182)

That's a great question. When we did Knights of the Hound Table, our first game, we made a ton of promo stuff for it, like banners, vinyl, et cetera, you know, roll up banners. And I think for the, a lot of that stuff actually has like evolved with us. I'll give you an example. The first big backdrop vinyl we did for our booth, we did it as a We Ride general one. So I think we had, we lucked out where, well, we didn't maybe luck out, but COVID.

hate us in a way or the way COVID lined up with our timeline was we didn't actually do any conventions until our game was kickstarted out and shipped and fulfilled. So the first convention we went to, we were working on our expansion for it. And we had a couple other games kind of in the design process that we had initial like key art for. So we were able to kind of lift some of that stuff, put it onto the vinyl banner and kind of, you know, skip some of the initial like, because I think we were worried that we would do that that have that problem where a lot of our stuff would become redundant.

We are not running, but out of the, out of date, we were able to kind of avoid that with some of the larger ticket items. But, you know, I think for, I think we're at a place where we try to just make the bare essentials. We need to market something within the booth. Like the, the really nice pullout banners are always helpful and don't cost all that much. Right. And, it seemed to have other purposes too. If we make, sorry, I'm gonna come myself out there. They, they, they do have purposes. Also, the other nice thing is,

Well, another thing to look out for is like, we always end up putting live on Kickstarter this date on them, right? So we've tried to, we've, we've started to kind of, you know, avoid that and have those be like, things we can print out separately and just kind of adhere to the actual pullout banner so that, you know, it's just, it's, it's going to have just the information we need for that convention, but still be able to be used later. But we've, we've, you know, we've messed that up a little bit and we definitely have some, some things like we have a

We have a pricing banner that even this kind, I was like, one of those prices, we don't have the expansion we need to basically make that bundle work. So there's always things that we are getting good enough but not quite perfect, especially in that kind of printed material.

Nick (19:00.809)

that there's no easy solution. You just have to be comfortable with throwing shit out. And it feels so wasteful, but there's really no way around it because you're trying to get people's attention on products that are constantly changing.

Stephen (19:05.966)

Yeah, totally.

Stephen (19:15.438)

Yeah, and I think you're trying to evolve the booth every time. I know Kenny on our team has been really good about, hey, we should do this, this next convention, and evolve it this way. But that inevitably means some other stuff we have for our booth is going to go out of fashion or go out of style, right? And that just ends up sitting in my basement.

Nick (19:35.273)

to do because I usually have a new product every four to six months and what I used to do is I would always do like a two foot by four foot banner with just grommets on the edge and I would hang those from a long, I don't know what they call it, like a fold out sign or sign, signage thing, just like a horizontal pole and so like when a product is too old I get rid of that two foot by four foot banner and replace it with a newer one.

Stephen (19:40.334)

Mm -hmm.

Nick (20:04.649)

And that, while it worked in theory, it looked pretty ratty. These different banners that are all kind of curled up because I keep them rolled up. And so what I did recently is I got like my biggest product and did one big design that was like eight foot by 10 foot. And that looks way more professional in the back. And it also has consistent branding for each product. It's just the different logos and then like a faded back, faded out image in the back behind it. But

then the issue becomes when I have a new product, I'm gonna have to do a whole new banner for that and hang it somewhere else that might not match the old banner that's listing like 10 products. So how much mind space in your booth, or how much branding in your booth would you say goes towards We Ride Games as an entity versus individual products?

Stephen (20:42.766)

Right. Yeah, it's a

Stephen (20:56.27)

So I'd say about 10 % goes to We Ride Games. Really the only big thing we have is our banner. Sorry, is our, what is that? Yeah, it's 10 by 10. It's a 10 by 10 vinyl backdrop. But even in there, we have characters from each of our current games that we're working on. So I think that's part of it. And then color scheme, we're black and purple. So we have a lot of purple. We have these like, I don't know what to call them. They're kind of almost like,

Nick (20:57.097)



Stephen (21:26.574)

coat of arms or like these sigil cloth things that we just put over tables, for example, and they're not like a full table mat or table wrap, but it's just a way to kind of give it a little bit of color splash to, you know, what otherwise just be that black table. So most of it goes to, I think, the individual games. That's always a hard decision because like right now we're really pushing sales of Dungeons and Co. And I almost in retrospect, wish I bought our Dungeons and Co.

you know, 10 by 10 banner and just put that in the back. And cause you know, we're not big enough to have any real sort of brand recognition as we ride games. It's way more about the individual games for us. And you know, that might change, but you know, it's, it's kind of a, it's a, it's a con by con decision for us that I think as we grow, we'll just maybe even get more complicated as we have more and more games and more and more projects for trying to figure out how to market.

Nick (22:20.265)

Well said, because I mean, I like to imagine people follow my company, Train Assembly, but I think it's just because they're already on my email list, you know? Not because they're a fan of the brand, they're just, I mean, luckily I get a lot of repeat people because they're a fan of the products I'm creating, but I don't think it's the brand specifically that draws them in, so.

Stephen (22:43.982)

Yeah, I think it's a thing to have to like build towards. I think for us, it's, you know, I think we definitely do have some, some, some quote unquote, some fans, but it's not necessarily like they'll just, you know, well, I don't think we have the brand recognition yet. And I think that's by design and that's, you know, that's a far way off, but I think we do it to give ourselves legitimacy, to be honest, is kind of a, you know, it makes it seem more legit, even though when you look one level deeper, it's just, you know, four dudes in the trench coat, right? We're just kind of, we're just kind of baking it till we make it.

Nick (23:11.209)


Stephen (23:13.358)

Or faking it forever. So anyways, yeah, it's it's a part of the the grand facade

Nick (23:26.153)

So can you tell me a bit about how that started and how you eventually built out a production company? And how, like, I guess just how that came to be.

Stephen (23:35.854)

Yeah. Well, speaking of the grand facade, right? So I was, I was a student at Pitt university of Pittsburgh. and I was a business student. I was a marketing and it student basically. And I was like a B minus student that would pull out a video at the end of every class and, you know, kind of slack off a little bit and then end up getting a B plus because the video, whatever, like I would, I would, you know, always find a way to make a video because that was, that was my passion. That's what I did in my free time. I was in clubs for stuff like that. And I think the same

rule applied for all my internships too, where I would be an okay intern and then pull out a video that was not part of my internship at all, but would somehow get very many points that way. So I think when I graduated, I realized I just wanted to do only that. And I quickly, I think that's one thing that like, instead of just being a freelancer, I kind of branded it as a company, right? And even though for

The first three, four years, it really was just Steven Krauss, the freelance videographer, but I branded it in such a way that it was like a full production agency. And, you know, I, and that, that, that's not fair to the people who like the other freelancers I worked with and the other people that were part of that. Cause they definitely were part of, you know, that kind of the company feel, but I mean, for the first few years, it was just, I had no idea what I was doing. I was not operating it like a company whatsoever. I was just kind of a freelancer with a.

company name behind it. So, and just for context, so, and the Anthem Video is a production company. I started, we're based out of Pittsburgh and, you know, we're a full -fledged production agency. So we help organizations, nonprofits, all sorts of companies and people make, make video content and make commercials and make documentaries, which is, which is, yeah, a lot, a lot of fun. But I think, I think one thing that I could go on about this, but you know, that the beginning really was just.

me kind of wanting a place to sort of, you know, yeah, make money doing video and again, faking it till I make it, right? And making a company name, company brand before I really had all those things, those pieces actually put in place. So there was a little bit of building of that brand before I actually like became what I was faking it to be.

Nick (25:56.713)

It was just you under the umbrella.

Stephen (25:58.99)

Yeah, it was just me under the umbrella.

Nick (26:01.513)

And then what was the process on bringing more people as permanent members of Anthony's video?

Stephen (26:05.87)

Yeah. Yeah, so a lot of the people I worked with originally were people I knew in college, people who I was in, I was in a really fantastic video club, our video club, we were essentially a TV station on campus at Pitt. And I through that, like, met some fantastic filmmakers, collaborated with people and made friends. And so when I first started, I kind of brought a lot of some of those people that I had worked with.

very frequently, I had them freelancing with me, right? So mostly in editing, I would kind of do all the shooting, all the client relationship stuff, and then I'd have editors I'd work with from that I mostly knew from that club working with me on different video edits because I am a definitely, I'm an okay video editor, or I once was an okay video editor, but I think I have a little bit more like, video editing takes a level of focus and attention and sitting.

you're asked down for 10 hours that I kind of had quickly, lost that skill set, whatever that is. I it's gone. So, that was a really good way to, the first two I brought on the hour and they were all, they're all basically freelancers 10 99. And then I kind of evolved that to have some, those same people, you know, came in house, became salaried employees and, kind of grew from there, but that only became because there was the demand, right? Or there was the, the work consistently to have that. hit my microphone.

Nick (27:31.273)

I definitely want to pop in to say those are the little moments of joy in my business that I live for is when you find something that you hate doing, you identify something that you're not good at or you just hate doing, and you identify a portion of your income that can be allocated to having someone else do it. Those little bits are just, it's a chef's kiss.

Stephen (27:37.358)


Stephen (27:54.318)

I know there's like a quadrant. I'm going to I'm going to butcher this because I think I heard it in a podcast in like 2016. But it was it was really helpful for me because this this random podcast kind of spelled it out like, OK, there's there's sort of four. It's a two by two quadrant and there's things that you know how to do and are not good at. There's things you sorry, there's things you like to do that you're good at. There's things you don't like to do that you're good at. There's things you.

Don't like to do that. You're not good at and there's things you I'm butchering this there's things you know how to do but aren't good at I hope I hope your listeners can get get the point. There's a there's a yeah, there's there's a grid there that I'm messing up but the point is that the podcast was saying like, you know, you really got to look at that and figure out what are those things that you You know, like you shouldn't you actually shouldn't be delegating things. You don't know how to do first off you should delegate things, you know how to do but hate doing because

Nick (28:29.225)


Stephen (28:48.622)

That's the stuff that you can actually, you know, manage a little bit. Like you can kind of like, and that was the case for me. I knew how to jump into a video edit, maybe mentor people, maybe even just give notes on an edit. And if I, you know, if I was doing all that myself and letting up, maybe having other people learn how to pay taxes, how to build client relationships, right? Like I don't think I would have succeeded. I think that'd have been a much harder path because, yeah, that was, that was something that really stuck with me that that helped me grow initially.

Nick (29:19.081)

I'm glad you brought that up because like I always default to wanting to learn how to do this thing I don't know how to do. And once I've gotten proficient in it and like you said I get bored doing it or I hate doing it. Like for me the first thing I was able to successfully offload was logistics. And that felt so great to not have to ship out my own Kickstarter pledges. And it's like yeah I'm paying a pretty penny for it but

Stephen (29:28.046)


Nick (29:46.441)

If I manage my project correctly, I should have the funds available for all of that. And like you said, having done it so many times before, I can then be a good arbiter on what's the correct way to do it when someone else is doing it. So beautifully put.

Stephen (30:03.95)

Yeah. Yeah, no, it's, I wish I, I wish I remember the podcast that frame this, but it like, you know, I think in 2016, I was just, consuming anything I could find about that. But, but you're right. Like there's, there's things that like, when you can offload that and it's, it's suddenly becomes something that's just under, under your, under your purview, if you will. Right. And you're not having to actually do the thing. It's huge. And it's, it's, you know, it makes you feel so good and it makes you feel very free in a way.

So that's, yeah, it's very rewarding feeling.

Nick (30:35.849)

So as Anthem video, how do you go about getting new customers and how is that similar, if at all, to getting new pledges on a board game on Kickstarter?

Stephen (30:48.398)

Ooh, good question. Okay, so with Anthem, we get new customers in lots of different ways we get we get new customers. Well, we get new work from our existing customers, right? We're like, we live and die by projects, projects, projects, projects, projects are going to come in, we're going to bid them, we're going to do them, we're going to get paid for them. And a lot of those times, those projects are coming from existing customers, or people that are, you know, connected through existing customers, right? We just have a network that

that we've been able to build from doing successful projects, right? and we also get project. We also get clients through, SEO. If you Google Pittsburgh video production, right? We're on that list, which I always joke is like being a plumber, right? Like it's, it's very much like some people are in the market for who can do video production in Pittsburgh, right? But the stuff that takes us a bit more national or maybe more.

to other cities in the U S it tends to be stuff that's just, Hey, we did a good project for someone in that turned into something else. Right. So we definitely have a lot of existing network. And then we also do a fair amount of email outreach. Right. So, I will, you know, we have systems in place where we're going to cold email people. and, and the thing about that is it's, it's, it's a little bit hit or miss. Like there are seasons we do that we're, we're not that busy that we'll do a lot of outreach.

And then we get busy and then we were hard time doing all that outreach. So, you know, it's kind of a little bit of a lot of things that bring us business. But I think one thing that's been consistent that I've sort of had to kind of just trust in is the people that we've worked with that maybe won't they'll do a project every few years, but they do tend to come back, right? Or they'll like people don't people will will give you more business if you if you sort of trust the process, if that makes sense. So

that's comparing that to WeRide Games. WeRide Games is like the is way more frankly easier and more fun and more like humanistic to market and to sell and to get more customers because with Anthem Video, I am selling something very ambiguous. I'm not selling a video. I'm selling a video service and maybe I have to even suggest an idea for a video at all. And it's, you know, I'm selling a professional service which is very

Stephen (33:09.134)

It's hard to sell, frankly, you know, and you're selling hours into a project and it's it's ambiguous and amorphous. Is that the word for it? Versus if you're selling a game, you are selling a box that has a thing in the box and it is fun. And people know if they'll like it, if they if they demo it or if they see a video and they say, hey, that's for me. And I'm a board game fan. Everyone that we work with are board game fans. Like it doesn't you know, it's very

Nick (33:18.505)


Stephen (33:38.286)

I don't know, it's a little bit less ambiguous. It's a little bit more. It's also kind of therapeutic. It's kind of rewarding comparatively to sell the sell board games. And sometimes it's a little bit of like, man, like selling board games is way much like comparing it to the anthem world. It's so much more cut and dry and fun. And you know, you see someone demoing a game, there's a lot of joy that comes out of selling it like that. You know, I don't feel like I'm doing a hard sale. I think I'm kind of just, you know,

showing people what it is and if they like it, they'd be part of what we're doing. That's that's great. But yeah, I hope that makes sense. But it is really like, yeah.

Nick (34:16.041)

Yeah, well I'm really curious about how these cold calls go. Are you saying like, hey, we could do a commercial, we could do just videos for social media. What do you use to try and sell your, like you said, amorphous services to someone who hadn't even considered that they may need a video?

Stephen (34:37.006)

Yeah. And I think this is good advice for, you know, basically any professional service, right? It's like not just video, but anyone that runs in any kind of marketing agency or does, does professional services. What, what I think of it is as every time we have a successful project, I want to turn that into five more projects. Let's say we, you know, make a video for a housing nonprofit and you know, let's see, I'm going to use a different example. That's a little specific. Let's say I make a video for a.

Holy hell, I kind of had to get back for a second. I got one here. Sorry. So let's say we make a video for robotics company and you know, the video turns out great. It's posted publicly. Awesome. I want to then be able to email 10 or 20 more robotics companies to say, Hey, we did this video. Here's how it went. Here it is. Here's the link to the video. Would you be interested in working with us? Right. And it, it's kind of like, that's been a pretty successful way for us to do outreach is just kind of saying, instead of saying,

Hey, we're Anthem video. We make videos. You know, do you want to work with us? We're saying we did this for this company and we think we could do something similar or at least just if you ever have a need, talk to us and you know, only a small percentage of those actually want to have a conversation and want to convert to a customer. But at the end of the day, it's I think a little bit easier. It creates a bit more specific need and it's sometimes we'll hit companies that don't actually at that point need a video, but they watch it and they say, we could use that or

you know, we have a convention coming up. We didn't think about that, but we could really use this video to, to market ourselves. Right. So, you know, it's a little bit of that being said, there's also companies we just reach out to and we say, we're Anthem, you know, here's our portfolio. Do you want to talk? Right. And those sometimes convert as well. So we're always sort of changing how we do email outreach, but I like to think of it as like pitching a very specific kind of video or recent success that we can leverage into another one.

Nick (36:33.737)

I love that idea of like you find yourself working in a niche and then you use that as evidence that you have succeeded in that niche. I think that's beautiful. And then you probably have things that will maybe like bridge the gap of two niches so you can use it as an example and transition sideways. So yeah, that's fun.

Stephen (36:51.502)

Totally. Yeah. And I think our website, we have it laid out kind of accordingly. We have a portfolio laid out both by type of video, like is it a event sizzle video? Is it a documentary? Is it a explainer video? And we also have it laid out by industry. So if you're in healthcare, are you in a nonprofit space? We kind of try to make it so it shows no matter where you are, we have a video that we've done that's similar.

So yeah, I think that's something that we've kind of fallen into for sure.

Stephen (37:26.318)

we have, yeah, we have edit. So we have editors that are on the team permanently. actually honestly for in in -house full -time staff, we have a creative director slash editor, and that is Kelsey, who I've talked about, who also made some of the amazing props for rewrite games, as well, as well as a COO. and that is, yeah, her name's Whitney and, yeah, that is, highly, I mean, for, well, let me, let me take a step back. I think the, that kind of.

The permanent roles really came out of figuring out like back to that quadrant, the things that I wasn't good at kind of had, you know, no interest in or kind of had lost time for. And I think early on, you know, I very much did everything and having a COO role who can, you know, do a lot of the client management stuff, help me out with, with proposals and make sure that things stay running, especially when I'm deep into another project, right? If I'm, if I'm working on a product to actually create, you know,

film it or create some of the pre -production for it. It's super helpful to have someone else on the ball who can keep things moving, answer questions and, you know, make sure nothing falls to the cracks. So, that's a huge part of it is that COO role. And then, yeah. And another creative director who can, not just do some of the editing and client work there, but can also make sure there's consistent quality control, consistent creative on everything we do.

Nick (38:51.465)

So what does the COO do, I guess, specifically? What did they take off your hands by bringing that?

Stephen (38:58.414)

Yeah. So they, they do a little bit of everything. but I think the main things that the COO does is project management. That's a big part of the everyday is, you know, figuring out, if you ever watched the show of mad men, they always talk about the traffic managers or traffic meetings. And I think that's a great, that's a great way to call it. Cause it's just making sure that, you know, clients have what they need that if there's questions that they're getting answered, it's basically just connecting.

and also honestly, like pushing clients, right. And getting them to give us the information that we need to either quote the project, to get that quote quoted project to a decision and to close out projects and keep things moving. So, you know, full, full time emailing is basically a lot of it, as well as, strategy, as well as HR, as well as, you know, also helping me in sales world, right? So if I'm taking a sales call, I want to also record that call.

share it with Whitney and be able to, yeah, be able to like have some of those sales, you know, she'll help me with the proposal and then we'll review it together and make sure it's feeling good for both of us, right? So basically it's someone who, yeah, can kind of be a clone of me in a lot of respects and do those things that, you know, I have kind of outgrown as I'm much busier shooting, for example, right? Shooting like, you know, being on set and actually, yeah, recording the videos.

Nick (40:27.593)

Is We Ride games connected to Anthem video in any legal sense? Or they do completely separate?

Stephen (40:36.142)

No, they're connected in a legal sense. That is because I mean, I think we ride games, the hope is that it'll grow to a point where it makes sense to have it be two separate things. And there's less, I think that there's, you know, there also won't be enough revenue and profit to cover the overheads of, you know, doing a separate tax return, doing some of the separate administration. That being said, you know, I try to make them, I have them very separate in terms of

the bookkeeping, the finances. And so I've kind of found an efficient way to run them under one umbrella. But, you know, it is, it is helpful to have the, the, you know, the ability to do that, to have it be under kind of under the same roof, if you will.

Nick (41:20.265)

So what are some software tools that you find indispensable in regards to running a Kickstarter -based board game business or running some video like project management and something like that? Like what are the tools that have been really helpful to you?

Stephen (41:39.15)

yeah. So I think the most helpful tools, I don't want to name specific tools. Well, I can name specific tools, but I think in generally the big things for us have been for rewrite simplest, simple project management tools, right? Even like a, like, yeah, like keeping it all in Google, Google workplace, keeping it all in documents and not really leaving Google has been the way to make sure that everyone's on the same page and nothing gets lost. And that, I mean,

I think this is true for a lot of project management tools. It really has to match what the team is comfortable with. And so if I threw some of the tools I use for Anthem video at WeRide, I think it wouldn't work. Like with Anthem video, we use, you know, we're all in Slack. We have ClickUp, which is like a really, really, powerful project management tool. Lots of automations in there. We use like various review platforms called like Frame .io, for example. But if I threw that same approach to WeRide, it would just be like.

I don't know. It's unnecessary. I think everyone would be like, this feels silly. All we need is a Google Doc, which is true. Right. So, yeah, I think, I think that's been helpful to kind of right fit the different tools for the projects. That being said, there's sometimes I want to like, I like, I always want to some, I haven't, I always have the instinct to like over -design the tool or like sort of create, like, you know, apply a tool before the actual need exists for it. So.

That is a weakness of mine. I've over -engineered the software approach.

Nick (43:13.289)

doing the logistics and tracking all the places and stuff. It also kick -start outputs everything as a spreadsheet. And just import that into your Google Drive and bam, you're done. Now I always have that as like a locked data sheet that I cannot edit and I just import that stuff into another sheet that I can mess with and add filters to and checkbox toggle things in and off. I go absurd with the conditional formatting.

Stephen (43:15.982)

Mm -hmm.

Stephen (43:19.662)


Stephen (43:40.734)


Nick (43:41.865)

Do you have experience with Bacchor Kit as a tool to help organize pledges?

Stephen (43:45.806)

I was just going to say, yeah, that was a backer kit was a big part of how we did Dungeons and Co. And that was a, that was a huge win for us. You know, it not only helped us manage the pledges, we also did a fair amount of upselling after the, after the campaign I completed. So, that was a great tool and one that, I think we're going to use for all future, you know, any future project backer kit was, was great. and that's the best one. It can not only be a

be something that that accomplishes the need like for us, like order fulfillment or, you know, order tracking, order fulfillment, but it also gave us that ability to drive revenue. That's, that's a win -win for us. So that was a big, big, big win for us or yeah, big, big tool for us to use.

Nick (44:24.329)

It's always, so this is my second time using BaccorKit for fulfillment. I use it for launch on just about every project. Sorry, I use BaccorKit launch for just about every project. This is my current one, it's the second time I use it for fulfillment. And sorry, not fulfillment, for pledge manager. And for those listening who don't know, it's basically a tool that imports what everybody selected or pledged for in Kickstarter.

And then it emails all those people and says, hey, this is what you pledged for. Would you like to add more? Also, what is your address? And here's what we need to charge for shipping. Things that Kickstarter does not do really well. But what's incredibly impressive is how well the pledge manager interface gets people to pledge additional money for more products.

If I had just emailed them and said, hey, I made a playing card deck out of the art that you already pledged for, maybe like 10 % would say, yeah, I want it. But through the pledge manager, it feels more like 20 % to 25 % who say, yeah, I want it. And it's so weird how well they've managed to just be so good at that one thing, at upselling your existing customers.

Stephen (45:40.078)

It's so funny. I think there's a lot of that whole idea of a good UX or user design can just increase sales. And I think it's something that I think I know academically or I've read it in enough books where I'm like, that's true, but I don't always act accordingly. I always need to sort of see it to believe it. And then BackerKid is one of those examples for us. That's like, yeah, this just converts way more. And I think it all comes down to, in your words, it's just

It's made, they make it easy and they make it, they do a better job than the other existing tools or even Kickstarter themselves. And so that's end of the day. It's like, it's, it's kind of magic, but, yeah, I think, I think we're always looking for tools like that. And backer kit was like an easy, and successful way to do that.

Nick (46:27.241)

It is ironic though because on the creator side, the UX has got awful. Like it does its best to try and guide you through it, but just like if you go to backerkit .com, it's so hard to find what you're trying to find because they offer so many tools and those tools are all tied to different projects and they need to find your project and choose which tool underneath that and I constantly get lost in. But luckily they have a great support team and they're like, here's the button you're looking for.

Stephen (46:32.686)

Ha ha!


Nick (46:55.081)

So it is like you have to set apart maybe two or three days to set it all up in the back end for the pledge manager, which is pretty funny.

Stephen (47:02.574)

Luckily Kenny on our team, I think he was the one who dared the wilderness there and jumped in and learned all of it. So all I saw was printed labels and that's not true. I probably was in it a little more than that, but I mostly just saw the end product and the pretty labels. And I was like, all right, this is great. So, you know, that's my privilege there.

Nick (47:25.257)

Can you write games comprised of some of the same people at Anthem Video?

Stephen (47:29.23)

no, it is, it is different people. so it's, it's, you know, we ride games is, myself, Kenny Cole, Damien. and you know, we are yet so, and none of those people are necessarily involved in Anthem video. However, I do collaborate with Cole Jarvis who is on, who's on the, we ride, we ride games team. He's a marketing, marketing guru runs his own, ad agency called, Jarvis media.

And they do, Cole has actually collaborated with me and we've worked on some projects together, some client projects. And so, you know, but mostly no, but there are definitely cases where we do collaborate, but that also just comes down to the fact that we're, you know, we're, we're four best friends from high school and we, you know, that's kind of the, I don't necessarily know if that's because of We Ride Games that we collaborate. That's just because we're really tight. So.

Nick (48:22.345)

So looking at, right now looking at the Dungeons & Co Kickstarter project, and I see you had 248 backers. Did you do any, or do you have any sense of how many people came to you because they pledged to the dog game? Sorry, I forgot the name of it.

Stephen (48:41.006)

No, it's okay. That's a good I don't actually know. I should know I should have a better answer for this. I do think there I mean, there was some overlap because we, you know, had people that we talked to that that was, you know, came from Knights of the Hell and Table, but and of course, people who are gold tier supporters of us aka our families, you know, who are, I think, sometimes back both right so

I definitely think there are some, but I think for the most part, there's silly different audiences. And, I will say that we had, we had some people we talked to, again, this is more anecdotal than, than database. but a lot of people that we, you know, a lot of the audience for nights to have on table were like, kits and for, and like, you know, it was parents who maybe were into deck building or had experienced like magic, the gathering or you go or whatever.

and we're kind of trying to find a way to like, get their kids into those things or, you know, their kid just, you know, this game is a bit more streamlined version of some of those, you know, larger deck building games. So anyways, we had some, we only have a lot of audiences that are, that are kids that I think, you know, some of them were, I don't want to say like graduated to Dungeons and Co, but I think there are some like, you know, Dungeons and Co is, you know, we, we kind of target it as 11 and up is kind of the age range.

But I think there's some overlap there with Knights of the Hound table where it is in Dungeon and Co is not a overly complex game. It is not a heavy game weight wise, but it has some of the same like there's there's weightier mechanics or weightier parts of it that are sort of streamlined in a way where you know, a younger audience can get into it and it has some kind of tactile fun appeal maybe compared to you know other games. So it's it's I think there's a little bit of overlap in the like, you know, the yeah.

kids that were into Knights of the Hound Table that also, this is something that, you know, they're also played Dungeons & Co.

Nick (50:40.393)

So I know it's, I feel like...

Maybe not tradition, but one thing you commonly see on board game Kickstarter project is At the top is just a whole bunch of reviews for the product from Like I guess what I'm getting at is this is kind of the space I'm thinking about for my upcoming game Did you do any? Samples of the game that you shipped out to reviewers to get feedback to put specifically with the intent to make as a marketing product

Maybe that sounds the right word. A marketing push to put on your landing page for the Kickstarter.

Stephen (51:20.11)

We did. We did. I think we did some with Dice Tower as well as some other smaller reviewers too. But we, you know, we kind of have done that both for the, it kind of hits a couple different boxes for us. It checks different couple boxes. It checks the, it's great to have reviews and to have that as kind of a social proof on your, on your side. It also frankly gives you pull quotes that you can use that tend to be a really, I mean,

great way to spruce up the landing page and give yourself some legitimacy. And it also is marketing for us where we can tap into some of those networks. However, I don't know if it's been like the I don't think it's been like a huge driver for us. But it's something that I think is part of the bill, the complete breakfast, right? It's something that has been part of the success. But I don't know if I have a number of like that of how percent you know how successful that's been in terms of traffic.

Nick (52:12.169)

Kickstarter potential Kickstarter customers would bypass a project because they don't see a review Like I know it's not really so I've done it on I think two of my tarot projects where I sent out samples got reviews from like Tarot readers or people who have tarot related social media thing then I put their quotes on my page with links to them and I there's like you said there's no way to quantify whether or not that makes a difference but

Stephen (52:29.294)

Mm -hmm.

Stephen (52:41.646)


Nick (52:42.921)

It's definitely not the norm to include review information on a tarot project or a metaphysical project. But because it feels like the default for board game thing. And also, I don't want to play that game because so many reviewers, you have to pay them to review your project. And that feels so weird. So what was your experience working with the dice tower in that review?

Stephen (53:02.766)


Stephen (53:07.566)

I don't know if I'm the right person to ask. I think that was more of a Kenny, a Kenny task as well. which that goes back to my, you know, we're, we're all, we all have one, one part of the process there. however, I think, you know, I will say this, I think like we, we had them also review Knights, Knights of the Hound table. And so I think there was a, that was really positive, right? To have both some of the same people reviewing, you know, one game is the other. We got a little bit of this,

Nick (53:10.857)

Okay. Sure.

Stephen (53:35.822)

Yeah, a little bit of this like, they could see what we're doing, they could harken back to the old game and also say, you know, these are the people who made this and here's kind of how that is related to this, right? Here's the things that they do similarly, here's the strengths of both. I mean, we put a lot of effort into our art and I would say world building of our board games and character design. So I think like we could people, those are reviewers kind of captured that pretty well, we thought, and you know, we're able to help us lean into our strengths.

Stephen (54:11.242)

no worries.

Nick (54:12.169)

Okay, now I remember. So, again, this might be a candy question, but because these are review copies that you're sending out before the thing's actually in production, are these like made by the Gamecrafter or do you have your manufacturer do a small batch before the big run?

Stephen (54:32.43)

So yeah, these are Gamecrafter versions, which I think people get. There's always a balance. We want to make it so it's good enough that it's going to show well on their cameras and it's going to look solid. But of course, they're a pre -production unit and there's also things that aren't finalized and some rules that are going to probably even be tweaked. So I think that's one thing I'd love to... We actually haven't had that much of a shipped proof yet.

And I think it's something that we want to do for our next games to kind of cover a lot of boxes for us, right? Have the reviewers handle the actual closer to the final product of the game and also gives us a chance to just review everything. That's not sure we did that, but we did have a proof for Dungeons and Co that came in. I don't think it's the one we actually sent to reviewers. I think we had the review copies happen much earlier in that process. So yeah, that's something we'd like to do, but haven't figured out a way to do it quite yet.

Nick (55:36.457)

over ten projects now. So I wonder if I say to her, hey, I'm going to be doing a huge order of this game. Can I do a small sample order of ten copies first? Normally they wouldn't allow that because they have minimum order quantities they're going to hit, but I'm curious to know if because I've been developing that relationship for the most of the years, they might be okay with that.

Stephen (55:48.398)


Stephen (55:57.646)

I think only because you have that relationship and they sort of, they have a, you know, cause you would need exactly, they will hit them in order quality at some point. And I think, you know, you just might have to pay more in that shipping process, but I think that'd be worth it. I mean, that's one thing I've all, as different, we've worked with two different manufacturers for both projects and.

Nick (56:00.521)

Yeah, I hope so too. Yeah.

They trust that there will be an order down the road.

Stephen (56:22.83)

You know, when you're at a booth, you have different manufacturers come up to you. You know, you're talking about potential future projects. And that's always a question I ask is tell me about your proofing. You're both your digital and potentially physical proofing methods. And I'm always thinking, how can that proofing method also tie into what you're talking about? review copies or just marketing pro promo stuff. So yeah, that is something that is, would, would be huge to kind of.

dial in and I think because you had their relationship with them, I think I'd hope they'd be open to that because that would be a big win for sure.

Nick (56:55.529)

Yeah, again, it's just me thinking about it out loud, but... I mean, the majority of the parts I can get made from the Game Crafter, and that would be cheaper than doing a 21 -unit order, I'm sure, from China. But there's like a couple of items that the Game Crafter can't do well. Like, for example, with my upcoming game, I have a specific size I need for the boards.

Stephen (57:03.822)


Nick (57:22.345)

And I know the sample for your trick -or -treating game that I saw at Origins, I'm pretty sure that was the Gamecrafter. Just because the board had so much negative space around it, I'm like, okay, he had to go for the specific board size for that. And so I'm thinking maybe I'll just make the boards myself, but like if I'm gonna have them do anything, what I would really need a manufacturer to do for me for the sample is the box and the boards. Everything else I can offer.

Stephen (57:29.678)



Nick (57:49.609)

I can offload to the Gamecrafter and it'll look like a ready to sell game.

Stephen (57:56.046)

I wonder if, I mean, he's also, you can kind of piecemeal it and assemble that yourself at the end of the process. So yeah, it's, it's, it's funny how those things are, you know, it is very disconnected, but, I would love a, I would love a workflow that allowed them to be streamlined and connected, but I don't think it's funny. I, and I kind of feel like I'm like, I feel like I'm in the minority wanting that to be one company that I can work with on both. But I, of course I understand why that can't be a, always a reality, but if someone came to me and was like, yeah, we can.

Nick (57:56.905)


Nick (58:00.745)


Stephen (58:25.326)

make that prototyping process easier, maybe not as cost effective, but gives me the same level of, okay, what I see is what I get, right? It lets us be iterative in how we're designing it, and because nothing's scarier than receiving the shipment, the full shipment, and it is like terrifying for us at least. And it hasn't been an issue, but it is genuinely terrifying.

Nick (58:45.641)

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick (58:52.329)

So moving on, what is next for Anthem video or We Ride games?

Stephen (58:59.214)

Yeah. So, what's next for we ride games is we are hard at work at October's end. this is a game really came out of the, we, we all, you know, we're close friends from middle school, from high school. And when we were growing up, we would, you know, trick or treat Halloween night. And it'd always be this candy economy that would develop like at the end of a trick or treating session. There's like this, you, everyone dumps their candy on the table. At least we did. Right. And there was a trading process. There was a, you know, there was a stock market essentially for.

various fun -sized candy bars. And, you know, there's also the classic like, you know, you know what houses are going to give you the good stuff, right? You know what neighborhoods are going to give you the good stuff? You know what, like you have a strategy and it's wild how that'll develop. And I think we tried our best to kind of encapsulate that into a game. And it's essentially a tile placement game where you are exploring a board, you and other players are exploring a board, you're placing random tiles out of a collective, my gosh, bag. That's the word for it.

And similar to Carcazone really developing a map that you can explore and collect candy defeat monsters And and we're really excited about it. It's actually it was playtested a ton by Kenny and Cole who were the ones who came up with the core loop and kind of did the initial design on it and they They were both living in LA at the time and they just spent a ton of lockdown time working on it together And I think more than any other game we've had this one has had the most playtesting

just from even the core designing group. So this game was essentially in a pretty finished gameplay state since 2021. And I think we've just been honing some of those things, working on art. So it's been a long time coming and we're really excited to do that next marketing push for it.

Nick (01:00:45.673)

Great, so how can people find this game? Do you have any sign up forms for updates or anything online?

Stephen (01:00:51.406)

Yes, so we are not launching it. We're not on Kickstarter yet. We don't have a Kickstarter specific page for it. But if you go to We Ride Games, weridegames .com and you go to the contact page, if you just put your name down into our email newsletter or really any page on the site, you scroll on the bottom, there's going to be a newsletter sign up. That's really the best way to stay updated. We are hoping to start really doing the campaign and we're starting to do our marketing launch later this summer.

Gearing up to either a fall Kickstarter or potentially a little bit later Again, we're all we're all a little bit busy right now at the moment But we're really excited to get that to get that moving

Nick (01:01:30.697)

So in re -

Nick (01:01:37.865)

game like October.

Stephen (01:01:39.406)

good question. It is, I mean, it is email list, email list, email list. It is, that was what that was really the biggest thing that made it made us successful in my view for, nights on table and successful. I just mean, had a successful funded launch, right? I think that was, we, we really got the advice early that, you know, you need an email list that's gonna, you know, you have to really trust that a certain number of people are convert. And, you know, that came down to running some ads that came down to.

you know, posting on Reddit that came down to go to conventions. And so our big marketing pitch for October's end has been even at Origins being able to talk to people about it, get some email signups. And I think our next thing is to start to even warm up our existing email newsletter from previous games and gauge interest and start to, you know, get, get everything going and also get a Kickstarter page follows before it launches. So that's kind of our, our next step is to get all those things in place.

Nick (01:02:42.552)

I do recommend looking into BackerKit Launch as your first step. It's basically just a landing page that you can create before your Kickstarter is anywhere near being done, that you can fill with images, graphics, descriptions, videos, whatever. And then on the bottom is a link or a space for them to type in their email address to sign up for updates. And then after they do that, it takes them to whatever website you want to take them to. So you can have another, you can have them

go to We Ride Games until you have the Kickstarter pre -launch page up, and when that is up, you can then direct them to the pre -launch page. And plus, people will just natively find that webpage too through the BackerKit interface or just Googling board games about Halloween for kids. And if your SEO is on that description, they'll find that landing page.

Stephen (01:03:18.35)

That's a great point. That was, yeah.

Stephen (01:03:32.43)

Yeah, I think I don't think they actually we did launch last time around. We think we just used it for the fulfillment side. This is this is good for us to look at. We've been doing a similar thing just on our own, like, you know, we write games dot com slash game name. Right. And there's just a very simple put your email in here. I mean, our first we write game site was literally a you know, Knights of the Hound table, couple JPEGs and a, you know, contact form plug in that was pretty janky. So.

Yeah, the, the people, yeah, but you can skip all that and, and be able to use something like backer kit launch. That's, that's huge.

Nick (01:04:06.857)

Steven, it was wonderful chatting with you. And to leave it off again with the listeners, they can follow your company at anthem .video or you can find Steven's games at weridegames .com. You're also on Instagram as at anthem .video and at we underscore ride underscore games. Anything I missed?

Stephen (01:04:29.838)

Nope, that sounds like, that sounds all of it. Thank you so much, Nick. Appreciate it.

Nick (01:04:33.097)

Thank you so much, Steve, and I appreciate your time.

Stephen (01:04:35.374)

Awesome. Thank you.


Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

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