Flock Together And How To Best Find Your Creative Team When Designing Board Games
In this episode of our podcast, we're thrilled to have Matt and Savannah, the creative minds behind the soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter game project, "Flock Together." They take us on a captivating journey, sharing their experiences as first-time publishers.
Matt and Savannah dive into the nitty-gritty of creating and marketing a game, from learning the ropes as they go, to developing an unconventional yet effective strategy of building community engagement. They've established a solid base of over 1400 subscribers on their pre-launch page and a vibrant Facebook community, all while juggling a smaller email list.
They also share their decision to go against the norm by not including expansions or stretch goals in their campaign. The aim? To deliver the best possible product to their backers without any complications. Their game boasts high-quality aesthetics and promises to deliver a fantastic, full-featured experience right out of the box.
Full transcript below:
Hi there. My name is George, and I help creators run successful campaigns with my company's YG crowdfunding and fantastic funding. On this podcast, you'll hear from the creators themselves how they successfully launched their products, games, and businesses using crowdfunding. Our guests today are Matt and Savannah Mundy, the creators of Flock Together, published by Sea Cow Games. As of this recording, this first time project already has over 1400 followers on their Kickstarter pre-launch page, and we're going to hear exactly how they're gearing up for their big launch. Welcome Matt and Savannah. Great to have you on the show.
Yeah, thanks for having us.
Absolutely. Before we dive into the project and the game itself for which the art looks ridiculously fun I'm so excited to get into the artwork. There's chickens, there's foxes, but I'm gonna contain myself. Before we go there, could you give us a brief introduction about yourself? We're seeing a husband and wife team here. Who are y'all and how did this get started?
Yeah. So we're husband, wife, team of board game enthusiasts. We started the idea for this, our first game flock together five years ago. We love board games and we have chickens, and we thought that was, that would be like the perfect premise to make a good cooperative game. And since then we've developed it and we're gonna be launching soon this fall.
Amazing. Okay, so, take me there, right? You like board games, you have chickens. I like board games. I have cats. Haven't made a board game about cats yet. So what is it that made you decide to put all this time and effort into actually making a game? Are you hoping to make this your full-time business, like a gaming business, or will this forever be Yeah. Sort of a hobby on the side?
Yeah, I mean, I'd love for this to be game number one. We already have game number two a first rough prototype of it on the shelf. That was about giraffes.
Oh, giraffes, which you do not have, right? No
we don't have giraffes. Okay.
Okay. Well, you know what, if these games become really successful, you can absolutely buy.
We don't have gaffs yet.
Exactly. That's the spirit entrepreneurial dream big. Not a giraffe yet. So tell us a little bit about the game. Obviously, folks can check out your landing page. We'll link it into show notes, but it's not out yet. The Kickstarter isn't out yet. So what is this game all about?
It's a cooperative action points game, which means, everybody's working on the same team together. Everybody wins together or loses together against the game. And so everybody takes on the role of a different breed of chicken. And over the course of three seasons works to fight off all the invading predators.
If I get this correctly from Also so on the website is. All your heroes are chickens, right? Yep. Based off of your real chickens?
Oh, some of them are ours. Yeah. But we, what we did was we found like all the most interesting breeds from around the world and stuck 'em in the game.
That's awesome. Yeah, because the variety, if you go onto the landing page, there's a section with the illustrations, which are done by Andrew Bosley, right? Yeah. Super beautiful. Definitely encourage everyone to go check that out. So the chickens are all these different types of chickens, fluffy white ones skinny brown one, like there's all these different types. And then the villains are badgers, bears, snakes, foxes. So sort of the rest of the forests are the villains, but only chickens are heroes. Right?
Predators. The predators.
Yeah, the predators, exactly. So what I was wondering is it has obviously amazing artwork, that is very family friendly, but it is kind of a fighting game. There are villains and heroes. Is this a family game or is this more of an adult game at the end of the day?
Yeah, I think, one thing about it that works really well is because it's a cooperative game, it can work really well with being a family game. It's not graphic or anything like that. So you can definitely play it with, younger children, but also the majority of the games time we've played it, I've played it with, my wife or other adults who love board games. And so the appeal is really wide. We've had people who've only played Katan say it's their new favorite game. And we've had people who like those really hard eight hour, euros or, dungeon crawlers who, played it and then wanted to play it again right afterwards.
But no chickens get hurt in the playing of the game.
Well, it is one of the loose conditions is that all you die, so,
oh, okay. So don't get too attached to the chickens.
Everybody has to be alive by the end of the game for, as part of the win conditions.
So then take me to this moment where ya'll like board games, ya'll have chickens, this idea of hatches and then what do you guys do? Like, where do you start? Do you google like how to start a board game? What happens next?
So Matt's super inventive. His brain is the one that works in the game design realm. So he came up with this game and we started playing it. And my favorite is not cooperative. So for a long time it was kind of a drag, so we had to play it again. And then one day with enough developments and enough people inputting, it really leveled up and became fun. So I think once we kind of hit that level, where it was, kind of taking off and fun to play is when we started considering what are we gonna do with this thing?
And when it first started out we had just been reading some really good books like the Green Ember Series by S.D. Smith. And some books by Andy Wilson. And just thinking through how cool it is to be able to make something, that your kids can enjoy. We have four kids and so my first thought was, it'd be really cool to make this game that we can play together. And eventually it ended up turning like, wow, this is actually an enjoyable game that I would, share with a lot of other people. So her was like, okay, well, I have to find art and so the whole process started.
Yeah, because you two, as a married couple, obviously do not have, well, I say obviously, but in this specific case, you don't have all the skills right. That you need to create an entire game. You need artists, you need maybe story writers, whatnot. So did you register like an l LLC and start hiring some freelancers that you find friends that you knew could draw chickens really well? How did you put this together?
So a lot of it was looking through games that we loved playing for various reasons. Either the production was really high or the art was incredible, or, the mechanisms were really interesting, to try and think through what things do we need to have in the game? What things we make sure we don't have in the game. And so, both, production wise and as far as the game me mechanisms go. So one thing for generally, we love the art from Everdale. Bosley, who's our favorite illustrator of all time. And so I sent him an email. I was like, Hey, I'm making this game about chickens. Are you available to be our illustrator? And he's that's an awesome idea. That sounds so fun but I'm booked for the next year. Okay, great. So I waited a year and emailed him back and was like, Hey, are you free yet? And he said, you know what? Yeah. I'll work you in. Let's do it.
He probably wasn't, but he was like, okay, if the chicken folks are this serious to wait a year, you can't turn them down again. That's amazing. So you two love games. You look at which games you love, you look at the box and the names and who's on there, and you just start emailing them and getting them to work with you. So then you're developing the game. You have your artist on board. What's next in the process in terms of gearing up towards a crowdfunding campaign. Why did you wanna do a crowdfunding campaign? Why don't you just wanna, release it on your own website? Like what were the thoughts going on there?
Yeah. I've backed a bunch of Kickstarters before and gotten games after they've launched when I've had the money later. And the process is really neat. It's really cool to build community, to have other fans be just as excited as you are about it. And it's cool to even start seeing that now. In like our Facebook group, we have a community there and it's really cool to be able to post these story bios or the card art when they get produced, and see people respond really positively towards it. We're, so again, okay. We'll do it on Kickstarter. Wanna build that community together, share it with as many people as possible.
So Savannah, you have your husband, Matt, the mad Chicken Man, just going and emailing everyone. Has there ever been a point in this journey where you're like, what are we getting ourselves into?
Yeah. I think we just reached a stage in life. It was like, let's just try, let's just go for it. So I think we're definitely on that page, but it's been really exciting, especially since he's gotten people on board and just as this is our first time publishing, we've really learned a lot from the people we're working with and they've been so kind to kind of, point out things are missing or connect us with other people. And even people in who've had successful Kickstarters have been willing to talk to us and talk through what worked for them and what didn't work for them. And so yeah, a lot of what we're thinking about is the math behind how big your crowd is, how to grow the crowd so that there's less risk possible.
And so how did you then learn about all these things, right? You're obviously like asking creators and whatnot, but there's so many moving parts to this. And it looks like you are doing a great job because you've got over 1400 people subscribed to your pre-launch page, you have your Facebook community set up, like that's advanced crowdfunding. Where did you all pick it up? Was it literally just the folks that you worked with and then the former creators Yeah. Or other certain websites that you found really useful?
Yeah. So pretty much everything was learn from other people. So first off, We love Stonemaier games. Jamey Stegmaier has a fantastic crowdfunding series where I, ate up all I could from him. Repeat? Yeah, on repeat. I mean, he has bit how to do Kickstarters. He has videos on how to think about like game mechanisms which were super helpful. So helped me as in development process. The Dice Tower guys are awesome. They have a bunch of things like, 10 things designers need to make sure they do, or 10 things publishers need to stop doing. I was like, oh gosh, you need. Make sure, take the notes on this. And when we met with Andrew Bosley for the first time, we were, talking back and forth about the game. He's okay, so who do you have for graphic design? I was like, what's that? He's I was like don't you do that? All that. You're the illustrator, right? He's yo, like someone like, iconography and stuff. I was like, oh gosh. He's yeah, lemme, text you some people. And so that's how we found a John Merchant, our graphic designer, and earlier in the year I was seeing another campaign go up Stone Saga by OOM games. And I was like, man, their video's amazing. Who is this guy? And so I looked him up. Ory Hagan he's gonna be doing our video too. In the coming weeks. And he was like, yeah, have you heard The Crowdfund Nerds? I was like, oh gosh, no. I haven't, I need to look at the, so I'm chewing through their stuff that you're like, Hey, well, here's how I think about marketing. And, production and companies and stuff like that. So it's all been pretty much like referrals and videos and people telling me, oh, you need to make sure to look at this person or these people's content in order to like successfully think through all different facets of your game.
Which is the best way to do it, because I think oftentimes if you do it off of Google search, who have no idea who the folks on the other end of that search are. And so for you to kind of assemble that both by saying, I like how this looks. I'm gonna find out who did that, which you did for the illustrations and the video, plus then asking them for further referrals is a very smart approach. So if you don't mind, talk us through the numbers because. You have 1400 people, over 1400 people on your Kickstarter pre-launch page, eagerly waiting for the chickens. How many emails are behind that?
Yeah. Right now our Facebook group sitting about 150. Our Kickstarter pre-launch page is sitting about 1450 and our email list is about 210. So I've I haven't gone the really traditional route. And we'll see if it pays off.
So you have fewer emails than you have kickstarter prelaunch page subscribers.
How does that work?
So I was talking to Brendan from OOM games. The guy who did Stone Saga, they raised like 1.6 million in like January, February. And I was like, so how did you build like an email list? You, like direct people with your kickstart pre launch page. It's yeah, I just directed all my traffic to my Kickstarter pre launch page. And I know the, the traditional advice is, you gotta get an email list, you gotta build that up because you know you need, they say seven contact contacts with them about your product for 'em, be interested in buying it. You can get them excited. You can talk to them about Hey, this just came out, my prototype just came in. Check out those pictures. And from there you can direct them with a welcome email to your Facebook group and me from there to your kickstart pre-launch page. That's kinda like the traditional thing which I am pursuing that at the same time. But and because we're launching the fall, I've directed some of my earlier efforts at just putting the traffic straight to the Kickstart pre-launch page. Because the numbers that I've seen I mean I've heard from, The Crowdfunding Nerds that you know about the percentage of people who have an email who convert from the email list versus the Kickstarter pre-launch followers is a little bit higher. Yeah. And because anyone who signs up, they have to have a Kickstarter account. It's not like I get a whole bunch of people who are like, we love your product, but what's Kickstarter? Yeah.
I think specifically with our game, having such a high production value Kickstarter is definitely the niche for us. Yeah. So we need people who are familiar with Kickstarter trying to just have the lowest bar possible for the on-ramp. Yeah. So it's people who are familiar with Kickstarter, people who sign up for that. And then if an email pops up in their mailbox six months from now, it won't be from a website. They don't know. It'll be from Kickstarter.
Yeah. Yeah. And we are building an email list. But. So a lot of the super fans that we found have seen. Either the ad that we're running through is from Sea Cow Games. They'll go to our page and see that we have a Facebook group and then they'll, yeah, they'll check out the Facebook group. And when they join, I have the question like, Hey, are you on our email list already where you like to be to see more content and stuff? And we've gotten a lot of emails that way. But a lot of people, when they join they say oh, not yet I'm not ready, or, we'll see. And so those people, if I'd asked for the email, I wouldn't have gotten it. But because they're driving the Facebook group, they're going to see all the content we have there first, and that'll be like a gateway into trying convincing them to be part of the community that way.
It's interesting. I've never heard of this strategy, but I think it's very smart because also, yeah, you're laughing. I've never heard of this, but doesn't mean it's clearly working out really well. Yeah.
Hopefully, hopefully the, the strategy dates Well, we'll see. Yeah.
No, don't, I mean, don't listen to me. I mean, but no, but I think it's really smart because. If you get people to kind of hop from one place to the other, whether it's traditionally from email to the pre-launch page, but in your case, for example, from an ad to a Facebook group or from a Facebook group to the pre-launch page or from the pre-launch page to email, which is the other way around, it doesn't really matter as long as people show this willingness. They're so into this game that they're willing to like, have multiple touchpoints and go through multiple steps. That's all that matters at the end of the day. A little bit of friction can be good, if they're willing to pass over a bit of a barrier, it means they're really interested. So I think that's super smart. In terms of pricing and reward strategy. You are ways out with your campaign, but have you thought about and have you communicated anything about your pricing and reward strategy so far?
Yeah, I'm in the process right now where Panda Game Manufacturing is gonna be our manufacturer. I love everything. They make super high. They're awesome. Oh, they're great. And so I'm not exactly sure on the cost of manufacturing yet. I know it's ballpark around like the low twenties, so it's pretty expensive as far as games go. And so I haven't gotten quite the shipping down, but you know, we're aiming about $79. Gotcha. And we're also gonna do something that, it's not unheard of, but it's not the norm is to not do on any expansions or. Probably any stretch goals with the campaign. Okay. Just the game. So yeah just the game. One tier and that's it. Yeah. I'm I know a lot of it is great for, building hype. But I. I've seen some campaigns who maybe it seems they artificially withhold part of the game to make an expansion when comes out, or do kind of the same thing with stretch goals. But you know, I was like, okay, you have the whole game. There are 11 playable characters in the box, 11 of them. You'd, I mean, and they're all chickens. Yeah, they're all chickens. And so you have to play the game like. A good handful of times just to even hit all the characters. You could hit, you could play. Yeah. And I'm really high on, on aesthetics. I want really good quality. High as, as good as it can be, so the only thing that's cardboard are the predator counters. Everything's wood, silk screen, both sides. There's only one version of the game and it'll be the best one. All the eggs are resin, so they're really heavy. As opposed to like classic or wood. So just thinking through all the different things like that. It's I want the best game possible and they give everybody the best game without saying, okay, well if we hit this part, then I'll give you the best game. No, you're gonna get the best game from the beginning. Yeah.
I love that. Honestly, I think it's so smart. I think it's smart for multiple reasons. One, it's just a nice thing to do, just to make a good game. People are buying it. But the other thing is since this is your first time at the rodeo, A lot of things can go wrong, might go wrong. I don't wanna jinx it, but things happen whether it's with shipping or customs or whatnot. And if you have very complicated SKUs and if you have multiple things and those backers get those expansions and you have this, and you have that. The risk for you to overpromise and underdeliver is much greater than if you do what you're doing now, which is just making one game. Once that one box and those parts in there are great, you just ship that thing out and you know how to ship in. There's no variations in packaging sizes, and it's just, maybe you just have one or multiple of them, and it's so, so smart. We had a project out of Uruguay locally called Cursed Goblins, and it's a card game. And essentially what they did was they did the smallest campaign ever. It's a card game they just raised about, $4,000 and people were like, ah man, were they not bummed out? They only raised $4,000. And I sat down with them the other day and they were like, we are so happy we only raised $4,000 because something got messed up with they fulfilled through Amazon. And Amazon messed something up and they might have to sort of repackage or destroy part of their inventory, and they were like, we are so happy. This is just like the damage is like 500 bucks if that happens, because they want to do a bigger game ultimately. Instead they just tried it on a small scale. So I. I love that strategy and I think it's so smart because it means people will just have a great experience with your product the first time around, and then the second campaign will be so much better. So let's talk about some more specifics. When is it launching? If you know what's going to be your funding goal? Do we have any dates and numbers?
Yeah. So this fall I'm not quite sure what month. And as far as funding go al I'm not quite sure on the exact number because again, I have to we've made a few changes with our latest submission for Panda, and we're gonna get those prototypes in sometime in the next few weeks. But I'll know a final number then, but I'm thinking about 60 k. I want a realistic funding goal. Again, just part of, I wanna be upfront when people say, Hey, here's how much it would take to produce, the minimum number of units of games. And I don't wanna have one of those fake funding goals at the beginning and then, I'm over 500% funded and we have to cancel. Well, why you funded didn't. She's well, that was a fake mingle. I was like, no, I wanna be upfront, honest with everybody. It's Hey, here's how much we need to make the game happen and go from there.
Matt and Savannah are keeping it real. No stretch goals as like half the game, like no fake, funding goals. It's like this is the real deal and you're in or you're out. I think it's I think it's very straightforward. It's, that's great.
I was gonna say, one thing we've been thinking through is as a company, what do we wanna be represented by? For people to know what to expect, what kind of game is gonna come from Sea Cow Games and there's not, we are what we seem to be, there's no hidden thing happening here. Yeah. Yeah.
It's such a great strategy and again, I think if you just deliver an excellent game. Nothing crazy that goes wrong. People are just gonna like it. That's just what people want at the end of the day. Great game, good prize, have a good time, good quality, and they'll just come back for the next one. So yeah, I think you're doing everything right. You said you're working with Panda, so for those listening and who are not familiar, Panda is one of the big board game manufacturers. They have an office in Canada, I believe they have their factory out in Asia. Really wonderful people. We have a lot of projects and going back and forth with them on ideas on how to, improve the whole experience for creators. So we know them well. We think they're great. Can you speak a little bit to what the process has been like with them from a creator perspective?
It's been great. So, one thing that's great about Panda is they'll, they're a little bit more expensive, but you get someone to hold your hand through the whole thing, which is what I wanted. So I, I first reached out to them and got a project manager. I got someone named Clark. He's been amazing. He started sending us a couple sample kits so we can look through papers What kind of printing we want on our meatballs. How many millimeters do we want them? What kind of liners do we want on the boxes? How many millimeters thick do we want our boxes to be? 1.5 or two? Of course we're going with two cuz it's better. And so, and throughout the process you're like, okay, well here's things we want. Oh, you can do a liner on the inside. Well it was great, Parks did that and we think that game is, produced so well by The Master Games. Okay we gotta do this. And meeting with him, thinking through okay, well he could do it this way, he could do it that way. And we got some samples sent out to us, everything like, okay, well for food tokens we wanna do a variety of different, like animal meatballs. We silk screen both sides. What would that look like? What about if you laser engrave him? And he's Hey, we'll get that sent out to you. He got, sent out both of them to me. Oh wow. So you have to like, think through and. He's been really quick about, updating the quote as it goes through for different components. Okay. If you wanna, add the liner, it'll lead this much. Or if you wanna add a wire binding on your cards, it'll cost this much. And dual layer. Yeah. dual layer boards, like it'll cost this much to upgrade it. And of course we're going for that cuz who doesn't love a good dual layer player board
it's been a developing process and they've been very kind to go with us there and back and forth and update it.
And also what I'm hearing is for you guys as first time creators, it's just great to, because you may not have some of that expertise, right. Or knowing what all the different options are. And so they're really helping you discover what is possible and then helping put that together in terms of cost. And I think that's great. I'm so happy to hear that. Yeah. They're. They're such a great choice. And I think the other nice thing is that I know if you're thinking of mention mentioning them on your page, but I feel like the hardcore board game fans and the hardcore like board game Kickstarter community, if they know that the game is being made by Panda, that can kind of help your campaign as well in a way because they'll just they'll know that the quality is going to be there. So I always think that's kind of an added benefit of Panda. All right. So Flock together is coming out in the fall. We don't have a fixed launch date yet. What's the best way for folks to follow along? You have your landing page Sea Cow board games.com. Is that the best place to go and register interest?
Yeah. Yeah, they can. From that page, you can sign it for email notifications. See some cool stuff like Andrew Bosley did a like a time lapse of him doing the cover. Like a blank page to sketch, to color, to finalizing it. Like that's that's some of the content we've sent out through our email. Our Facebook group we're regularly posting something every couple days, like some new, card art or some bios that we have had written for the game. Cuz story is really important to us. We're gonna have a good story. And so any of those things we'll connect you with us.
Amazing. We'll link everything into show notes. A small tip for me from anyone who's listening, if you go to the landing page, SeaCowBoardGames.com/art. The chickens, man, they're so good. My favorite is White Chirp. It's a white little fluffy chicken with a top hat. Yeah, man, it's so good. It's just putting a smile on my face is just browsing through the artwork. So definitely I encourage everyone to go check out and the villains as well.
Yeah. And so the part of the way the game works is it takes place over three seasons. And so every villain you, you don't end up inch defeat by the end of the, that season levels up and come and becomes stronger. Likewise, you, yourself start out as a chick and can level yourself up as one of the mechanisms. So all the art that you see there is tripled all the art on that page is, are the adult versions, and you have the children versions of all of them, the adolescent versions involved and all that art's done.
Are you gonna release a little bit more before the launch or is this
Yeah, we're release, release. We're not gonna try and keep it all secret, all the arts done. The game is pretty much done. We wanna go to the kickstart with the game done, so no one's wondering if they're gonna get the last 10% done or not. All the arts finished we're releasing it, bit by bit on the, on our Facebook group.
I can't wait. You have my pledge already for this project. Super good. Thank you both so much for your time and sharing your learnings with the rest of the community. I really highly appreciate it. I wish you all the best. I am gonna definitely join your Facebook group and yeah, good luck guys. This is such an amazing project. Thank you so much.