Jason Kotzur joins the team August 02, 2016 18:54 by David Scott
It’s been a busy few months here at Rule & Make HQ and no group is more aware of that than the many passionate game designers who have approached us with their pitches. We appreciate the time and effort you all take to send us your ideas and we promise we read them all, even if we don’t respond straight away!
As a result we’re very pleased to announce the arrival of Jason Kotzur to the R&M team who will be heading up our games development area. He’ll be taking a leading role in reviewing all the designs we both commission and receive, and engaging directly with designers around the country to - in his words - “make awesome things happen.”
Many in the Australian tabletop community will know Jason is no stranger to game design. The founder of End Game Games and occasional podcast host of Tablepop, he’s tried his hand at nearly every part of the game production process, from concept through to design and development, graphic design, marketing and publishing. And he’s very optimistic about the future of the local tabletop scene. “It’s like a volcano,” says Jason. “There’s a lot of activity happening underground, but we’ve got a big explosion on the way!”
We asked Jason what the one piece of advice he wished he’d had before he’d started on his game design journey, and his suggestion was to spread your love across multiple projects and ideas. “Games are like plants. You need to care for and nurture them, but you shouldn’t invest everything into a single plant. You should try to grow a garden and then you can pick your best plants to focus on, nurturing them to thrive. All your other plants go to the compost to be reused to make your successful plants stronger. As a game designer, you’ll learn more by exploring game design through multiple games, rather than one darling project.”
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!
So if you’ve got a game you want to pitch to us, do send it through to email@example.com and introduce yourself to Jason in the process.
Building epic burgers at Gen Con 2016 July 31, 2016 08:00 by David Scott
Without further ado: we’re excited to announce that Greenbrier Games will be our official US distributor for Burger Up. Many of you may know GBG for Grimslingers, Folklore and especially Zpocalypse, which was the highest ever backed Kickstarter board game at the time of its funding. The Massachusetts-based company has won numerous awards with their projects running the gamut of card, dice, board and miniature-based games. Much like us, they are lovers of all tabletop games, and passionate about producing excellent products.
GBG will be running a host of Burger Up demos at Gen Con and have a limited number of units for sale ahead of wider distribution state-side in November. You’ll be able to find them at booth 2339 in the main exhibition hall, see map at the bottom of this post for reference.
Our partnership with GBG was a natural fit given that Stephen Gibson, the artist that helped bring Burger Up to life, is also GBG's Art Director. #SYNERGY!
Behind the scenes of Burger Up May 23, 2016 12:52 by David Scott
Have you ever wondered how a game like Burger Up gets produced on a mass, commercial scale? Wonder no more!
With thanks to Nick from our manufacturer Ninox, we thought we'd share a few behind the scenes pictures - and a short video - of the printing process. See below: we promise it is free of David Attenborough-esque narration from Alistair and Allen!
Burger Up update: production progress May 16, 2016 14:09 by David Scott
It's been a few weeks since we posted a Burger Up update to non-Kickstarter backers, apologies for the delay folks! Rest assured, there's been plenty happening on the burger-flipping front. Here's a bit of a snapshot.
The first question on everyone's lips is, of course, "when will the game start to ship?" And the good news is, it's getting very close now. We're full swing into mass production and expect this to complete by the end of May, so games will be on their way within weeks. Apologies that this is slightly later than our originally anticipated April timeline, but we think the tweaks we've made on the final product and its packaging will make the wait worth it.
We got our hands on some press proofs at the end of April, and as those of you who follow us on social media would know, we were very excited. The box feels nice and substantial; the finish is great and the card stock feels solid and just a little bit premium :). You can watch an unboxing Allen and Alistair did of the press proofs here, otherwise here's a quick sample of what the final package will look like.
We've passed these press proofs along to a few reviewers to get their thoughts, so you may see a few early reviews in the coming weeks - hopefully it just whets your appetite that little bit more!
Finally, the coaster samples for inclusion in the Kickstarter version of the game arrived just this week and after a bit of discussion in the office, we're going with a 'raw' edge finish, as opposed to a very glossy one. See below.
That's it for now. We're excited that we're *this close* to having the final game done and dusted and being played on tables (and in burger shops) across the world!
Announcing the winners of our International Tabletop Day comp! May 01, 2016 09:31 by David Scott
You're all winners! But some just happen to be more 'winning' than others.
Without further ado, here are the winners of our International Tabletop Day swag bag grab, click the names below to see their entries accordingly.
Are you a winner? Get in touch with us via Twitter or Facebook with your address so we can get your prizes to you.
Happy International Tabletop Day everyone :)
Game Geek Ninja (via Twitter) has won themselves a copy of Ninja Dojo Fight because we're slightly worried they are actual ninjas and will hunt us down if we don't.
Josh Reynolds (via Twitter & Facebook) has won himself a copy of the soon-to-be-released Burger Up. Plus, it's his birthday weekend, and we couldn't deny a man a burger or a game on such an occasion.
Tania Walker (via Twitter) sent out a plea for help to save her from Trivia Pursuit-related games and potential otherworldly-space vacuums on her shelf, so Entropy will be on its way to her soon!
Anna Shelmerdine (via Facebook), who is well on her way to being an R&M life member with copies of Entropy and Rise to Power already, will soon be blasting off to space with her very own copy of Robots & Rockets.
JP Fernandez (via Facebook) like Josh will soon be flipping burgers and generally winning at life with a copy of Burger Up.
Rule & Make events calendar: Quarter 2-3 April 30, 2016 10:27 by David Scott
It's always good to get out of 'the office' and have a chance to meet the people who have played, supported or been inspired by the games we've been fortunate enough to make.
Luckily for us, we're going to be taking part in a number of events in the next few months (May through to July) where we can catch up with you all and hopefully enjoy some quality gaming in the process.
See below for a snapshot of where we will be, and when, assembled in date order. We will do our best to keep this updated as things develop to bookmark this page and check back when you can.
#beyondbluebash - Melbourne, May 8: Games Laboratory are running a charity games day to raise money for Beyond Blue. For those who aren't aware, Beyond Blue supports individuals, families and communities affected by anxiety and depression.
We'll be running demos of Robots & Rockets across the day lead by designer Sye Robertson, and we've got a few games up for grabs in the raffle as well.
Queensland Family Tournaments (part of the Australian Boardgaming Tournaments series) - Brisbane, May 15 & 22: Technically there'll be no official R&M involvement in this one, but we couldn't very well ignore one of the premier weekend tabletop tournaments in our home city now could we?!
Panda Tabletop Games Convention - Melbourne, July 2-3: One of the newest tabletop conventions in Australia, PANDACon is all about providing a casual & friendly gaming event that is both inclusive & relaxed for anybody of any age. We'll have a few of our games available for prizes and demo.
Protospiel 2016 - Sydney, July 9-10: Have you been working on your own game and looking for tips and feedback to take it to the next level? Looking For Gamers (LFG) Australia are running a two day workshop and all-in play-test for the next generation of Australian game designers. Allen and Alistair will both be on hand across the weekend to lend their experience to the gathering.
Celebrate International Tabletop Day with R&M April 13, 2016 10:18 by David Scott
Thankfully the good folk at Geek and Sundry also thought this would be a good thing to celebrate, and thus April 30 is now International Tabletop Day. Like we needed an extra excuse to play games with our friends (and even many strangers...) but hey, we'll take it. As Allen said when I asked him about this: there's nothing better than tabletop games because (and I may be paraphrasing) where else can you have such a close, physical relationship with some bits of cardboard and wood?!
To honour all this, we thought a competition would be in order. An International Tabletop Day Swag Bag Grab, if you like. We want as many of you to have a memorable Tabletop Day as possible.
To do that, we're going to give away one (1) copy of each of our current catalogue of five games to our fans on Facebook and Twitter, including the soon-to-be-released Burger Up. Here's what you need to do:
- First, take a photo of your games library. Marvel in its awesomeness. It is a good library, but it could be better, you think to yourself in an overly dramatic voice.
- Send us a photo of said library, either by @-ing us on Twitter or by posting a comment in this Facebook album - we've got the ball rolling with a few shots of our own collections.
- When you send the photo, tell us: what is missing from your library, and which one of our games could potentially fill that gap, that yearning void, that dark empty spot on the shelf to the left you tried to crop out. Damn, they're onto me your dramatic internal voice says (probably).
- That's it!
The competition will run from midday Friday April 15 Australian Eastern Standard Time, to midday Friday April 22. Hopefully this means we can send some games your way before International Tabletop Day arrives but if not, they'll be there not long after.
NINJA EDIT 22/4: Competition now extended until 11.59PM AEST Monday 25 April.
We'll pick winners regardless of platform, but will be giving bonus points to the more creative and relevant answers. That's right; if you say "lol i want entropy just coz", you're probably going to have a bad time...
Happy Birthday: Entropy! March 18, 2016 08:36 by David Scott
Well this was a lovely surprise in our inbox Wednesday night.
That’s right — one year ago today, your project, ENTROPY – Thematic Fast-Paced Game of Risk and Deception, was successfully funded. Congratulations again!
I have fond memories of Entropy - it was the game that introduced me to the Rule & Make family (hat-tip to Alistair for teaching me at PAX AUS), and without that, I'd never be here on this site writing blog updates and generally doing cool things with Aussie tabletop gurus.
So time flies when you're having fun, right?! And by our count, more than three thousand of you have had some fun in the murky and dangerous corners of the Entropy galaxy. Internet high-fives to you - we hope you remade your reality in time for dinner!
We've still got a few copies of the game in stock so if you haven't grabbed one yet, well, think of it as giving us a nice little birthday gift. And if you head on over to our Facebook page, we're running a small competition to celebrate where you could win a signed copy...
Five tips for Kickstarter success: a gamer's view March 16, 2016 11:56 by David Scott
We here at Rule & Make wouldn't be where we are today without Kickstarter. We were quite fortunate our tabletop gaming journey as a business coincided with the (official) arrival of the crowd-funding platform to Australia. It's certainly not the only way to get funding for your ideas, but it's been a boon in more ways than one...even if it does come with its own unique set of challenges and problems!
Last week, Allen Chang and Matt Parkes were invited to speak to a group of undergraduate business and entrepreneurship students at Griffith University about the highs and lows of running Kickstarter campaigns. It was a wide-ranging discussion that took a bit over two hours, but we've noted the top five learnings below. Maybe these tips will help you one day as you embark on your own crowd-funded project?!
The students will be launching their own Kickstarter campaigns as part of their end-of-subject assignment, and we'll post a link to these in due course.
Here are Allen's top 5 tips:
1. Commit to regular project updates
Writing updates take time and effort. However they are extremely useful for any project, especially for Kickstarter where the turnaround from receiving your backer's money and delivering your rewards can be up to a year, or possibly longer.
Regular updates are beneficial in three main ways. Firstly, they keep your backers informed about where the project is at and help maintain your backer's expectations. Second, it provides excellent transparency, a public chronicle of everything you have done to date. And finally, perhaps most importantly, it helps to keep you, the project creator, in check. Committing to regular updates ensures you are always making progress with your project.
2. Engage with your backers
There's really nothing else like crowdfunding projects, as the connectivity you have with your fans and customers is enhanced and magnified tenfold compared to traditional means of interaction. Make sure you leverage the passion, excitement and expertise of your community. Don't take it for granted that they just want to be passive audience members as you toil away long hours bringing the dream to a reality; in most cases they are more than eager to help.
3. Don't just build it and hope they will come
People new to Kickstarter assume that as long as they have a good idea, Kickstarter itself will do all the work finding people to back your project. Not true! You need to build awareness of your product ahead of your campaign - make sure you explore all the different ways you can drive people to your campaign site. Be a responsible self-promoter. This will go a long way to getting the project funded.
4. Be as complete as perceptively possible
Backers will always find reasons not to back your project. Maybe they can't physically see how it will work, or perhaps they think your campaign video is all style and no substance, or maybe they just think it's a nice idea with a huge risk factor. There's one easy way you can mitigate this: when you launch your campaign, make sure your project looks as complete as possible. The more your prospective backers can see of what your idea is, and how close it is to reality, the less risky it will seem to them.
5. Really ask your self: why are you Kickstarting this project?
Running a Kickstarter campaign is a lot of work. Running a good campaign can be an ungodly amount of work. Before you go down that path make sure you take a moment and honestly ask yourself: why am I doing this?
If your primary motivation is to make a profit, let me be the first to stop you. Kickstarter is like a second job that pays poorly. Projects rarely make creators money, even very successful ones. The devil is in the detail, and the name of the platform itself: these campaigns offer you the ability to kickstart your ideas and hopefully turn it into something bigger down the road. Having passion and a dream can go a lot further than pure profit, especially with the amount of work you will be committing yourself to when your campaign is successfully funded.
Q&A with Rule & Make in The Campaigner March 15, 2016 08:07 by David Scott
Regular followers of our social channels may already be aware, but in case you missed it: this months edition of The Campaigner features an extensive interview with Allen on the history and future of Rule & Make.
For instance, on how R&M came to be:
"All we wanted to do was use our experience in creating things together and apply that into our actual hobbies, like tabletop gaming. We weren’t originally going to do game design, it was all just going to be accessories. Obviously that goal changed quite a bit..."
To what guides the team when choosing what games to pursue:
"Our priority is to publish games that make players feel smart. We don’t have a specific style of game we go for, as long as the game has interesting decisions and a certain gameplay ‘cleverness’ builtin."
And even the importance of the Kickstarter community:
"Kickstarter is a great way to get funded but also become more well-known to the community. Having that crowd watching you, and participating in the process, is very important."
We've always enjoyed the way Matthew and the team at The Campaigner have taken a closer look at the people behind the games, and while being the subject of an article is always a bit weird (!) we're glad we could speak about our passion in some greater detail.
You can find out about all things Campaigner, and read the latest edition, here.
R&M at the 2016 Toy Hobby and Licensing Fair March 08, 2016 11:28 by David Scott
Rule & Make will be in Melbourne next week as part of the 2016 Australian Toy Hobby and Licensing Fair, being held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Allen and Alistair be part of the VR Distribution booth across Saturday March 19 and Sunday March 20, primarily demoing Entropy but who knows, they may just get a chance to play a few games of Robots & Rockets and Ninja Dojo Fight too... ;)
Alas it's not a publicly ticketed event, so only those with an ABN will be able to get inside. We'll make sure that we take a tour around the convention floor and get a feel for some of the gaming trends, and report back accordingly. With big names such as Bandai Namco Entertainment, Hasbro and Lego among those exhibiting, there's sure to be something cool we can tell you about.
Heck, we may see if we can pitch an Entropy license to the Australian Lego team while we're there. Be honest - would you buy it?!
And on the 100th day, they kept working... March 03, 2016 09:56 by David Scott
It's been 100 days since Burger Up was successfully funded on Kickstarter. A minor milestone perhaps, but a milestone nonetheless.
See, a lot can happen in 100 days! Why, in the last 100 days the Rule & Make team have:
- sent out 14 campaign updates to backers at an average of one per week
- overseen the translation of the rule book into 13 languages - from Arabic to Thai
- consumed a minimum of 24 burgers (hey, you can't eat them every night), and
- taken zero sick days (!)
So internet high-fives to everyone who helped make this game a reality. We're so close to having the final product done and dusted, and we can't wait to see everyone's reactions when you finally have it in your hot little hands...