Monday, October 17, 2011

Kickstart the Week: If I'm Going Down... - A Zombie Themed Dying Card Game by A.J. Porfirio (INTERVIEW!)

This week we are featuring a Zombie themed card game, If I'm Going Down... by A.J. Porfirio of Van Ryder Games.

Click here to visit and support the project on Kickstarter!

Read more about the project and my interview with creator, A.J. Porfirio after the jump.

If I'm Going Down is a zombie card game where you know you are going to die, and you're trying to take down as many people with you along the way. The cards have have really nice artwork and layout, and the rules are quick to learn. Also, the game can be played solo or co-op, which is very interesting.

The base game is $25, but you can pledge less if you would like. There are also pledges that start at $70 and provide a pretty cool game mat to help with the card layout. A.J. is doing something a little different with his pledges and giving backers a vote for every $5 they pledge. The vote goes towards promo cards, scenarios and other game bonuses. This is a very cool idea and I expect we will see more of this on Kickstarter.

A.J. needs $6000 to produce the game and is currently at $5,204.00. There is still some time (18 days) but he's very close. There is a good chance that if you back this game, it will be a success! 

I've briefly spoken with A.J. on Board Game Geek about my own game, but now I got a chance to ask him about his game and his thoughts about the Kickstarter platform. Here is the full interview. 

Tell us about your history in designing games prior to "If I'm Going Down"?

Van Ryder Games has self published Organized Chaos a 2-4 player card game I designed and a limited release of Componegotiate, a sort of set collection component trading game that was a finalist in a small game design contest. “If I’m Going Down…” has always been the flagship game and will (Kickstarter willing) be the first game produced in large quantities.

How did the "If I'm Going Down" initial concept come about?

Last Christmas, I had gotten “Last Night on Earth” but couldn’t play because my family that was in town was not much into games… much less zombies. Thus the concept for If I'm Going Down... was born! I would venture to design a compelling solo game where a player could sit down and kill some freaking Zombies! I'm sure there are solo zombie games out there, but I couldn't find any that met my satisfaction. That said, the game is not just solo, you can also play co-op with a friend.

What else can you tell us about "If I'm Going Down" that we might not now from the Kickstarter listing?

That’s a tough one. I really have tried to share everything about the game so that potential backers can make an informed decision as to whether it is something they’d like to support.
I guess I would probably point to the Designer Diary I wrote on Board Game Geek for a view into some of the design elements. It can be found here:

What are your next plans for the game if you reach the funding goal?

Well, first to work with the manufacturer to produce the best game possible with the funds provided. 
After it is produced and folks are playing it, I really want to explore the game with the fans and particularly any fan created scenarios and/or scenario stories. 
I also have several ideas for how I would like to expand the game that I really think will add another dimension of game play. So I would like to pursue that as well.

What are your next plans for the game if you don't reach the funding goal?

That’s something I don’t like to think about; it gives me anxiety! It could certainly happen and honestly I would be devastated. I’m not sure exactly what I would do, but it would likely be to shelf it for a bit until I think of a way (come up with the money) to produce it.

Did you have any history with Kickstarter prior to launching your project?

Not really, other than backing several other wonderful projects, mostly games, and the countless hours spent studying projects to figure out what the differences were between the successful and unsuccessful ones.

How has the Kickstarter journey been so far? It's a ton of work, right? Have you had issues going beyond just friends and family as backers?

It has been an exciting roller coaster of a journey. The project got off to a good start and then sort of slowed down and began the steady climb. The first time a few hours went by without any new backers I started to freak out… I had to realize that my expectations were a bit ridiculous and now I do much better with the lulls. Still it is certainly an emotionally draining experience and I don’t think I will really be able to rest easy until the 100% mark is reached.
It being a ton of work is an understatement! Especially with the sort of campaign I’ve decided to run, which is a highly interactive one, where backers get to vote on what their own rewards will be.
As far as friends and family as backers, I am extremely happy with how my friends and family have rallied behind me. I knew they would be a big part of building the momentum for the project. Many other backers I don’t know have also got on board and I am just as thankful for them. I know virtually all projects use the cliché that no pledge is too small, but it is absolutely true. I’ve made it a point to personally thank each and every backer using Kickstarter’s messaging system whether I know them or not.

Kickstarter is evolving every day. With Board Games we're seeing a big shift to pre-orders from semi established designers/publishers. Do you have any ideas on how to improve Kickstarter, or how to expand on it?

I think it is clear that Kickstarter knows what they are doing and they do it really well. But everything, no matter how good, can be improved. I think to take less money from the project owners would be good. Currently it sits at about 10% or so of the funds from a project go to Kickstarter and Amazon. Also allowing credit cards, paypal, and other methods of funding would really open the flood gate of pledges for projects.

After your experience so far with Kickstarter, would you use the service again?

For me it depends. As far as the site and the service, absolutely! It is wonderful! But, my goal is for my company to be able to stand on its own and I believe if we can produce a game from the profit and/or capital we have then that is what we should do. If it is a question of using Kickstarter or never producing the game, then yes I’d go with Kickstarter.

Finally, what would you be doing right now if Kickstarter (and similar funding websites) didn't exist?

Wow, what a great question! Honestly, if Kickstarter did not exist I would probably sitting at a bank trying to convince them it was a good idea to loan me money to make a cool Zombie game! I don’t know really, I am just glad it DOES exist. Thank goodness for Kickstarter so we can put our project out there and let folks decide if it is something they would like to see become a reality! 
I hope everyone will consider visiting the Kickstarter page for “If I’m Going Down…” and making a pledge!
Yes, please check out the Kickstarter page at and help A.J. produce If I'm Going Down...

..and just a quick update on our previously featured Kickstart the Week projects.

The Myachi Battle Paddle Project is 22% funded with 16 days to reach it's $2,500 goal.
The Celebrity Card Game, Famous Missions is 9% funded, with 8 days to go to reach it's $5,500 goal. 

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