Week 3 [Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple]

Week 3 funding for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Front and back cover of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

This week's highlights include breaking 400% funding, completing the cover, completing edits to the text, the start of layout, and a reminder: If you want to submit a letter to the next Do supplement, send it to Fred (evilhat at gmail dot com). Midnight tonight is your deadline!

Ah, but the big news is three new prize bundles! First up: The Twin Dragons of the Cosmos: Two more bundles that include the custom dice bag, stones, and other goodies from the Turtle bundle that sold out in the first 24 hours.

Lastly, we added a super-exclusive $1000 bundle: The Reverent Keeper of the Exalted Tome: The big item in this bundle is a custom, hand-bound copy of the game crafted by book artist Dan Cetorelli. We're very lucky to get Dan's participation in this project. In addition to the super-fancy edition, you'll get the pouch, stones, an extra copy of the book (signed, numbered, doodled), a printed edition of Do: The Book of Letters, early download PDFs, and, of course, pledge before May 15th and we will describe you as your choice of citizen, creature or troublemaker in your donor credit.

These exciting items go to one very generous backer. Will it be you?

Full Cover for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Full Cover of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Click to embiggen!

Here's pretty much the final cover. The spine probably won't be this wide and the EHP logo will be updated when Fred gets back, but this is pretty much it! I'll post this as an update on the Kickstarter tomorrow, too. :D

For my thoughts on cover design, especially for RPGs, check out my conversation with Ryan Macklin in the links below. Since that conversation, I've taken a lot of lessons from board game boxes, too. I'll talk more about that in coming weeks.

» A Cover is a Promise (Part 1, 1A, 2)

I have a marathon on Sunday and I'm totally unprepared.

Daniel, collapsed after a 1st place 5k victory.

[Update!]

A brief interlude into my non-game life. Normally, about two weeks before a marathon, you're supposed to be running a LOT. Then you taper off for the next several days and rest a week before the big day.

In my case, I just completed nearly two weeks of work-travel across the country. (Literally, from Hawaii to the east coast.) The jet lag, restaurant food and climate changes gave me some weird flu-like bug the past couple days that is only now subsiding.

Needless to say, not much time for training.

Now, I was never planning to run the entire marathon. I planned to run about five miles and walk every sixth. Generally shooting for a 10 min/mile pace. Still, even with these modest goals, I am a bit concerned about whether I'm adequately prepared.

So talk me up! Gimme tips. Just don't try to talk me out of it, 'cause I've been wanting to do this for a long time. :)

Back Cover Progress

Work in Progress - Back cover of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Work in Progress - Back cover of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Work in Progress - Back cover of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
It's been a very travel-ful couple of weeks for the day job, so I haven't had a chance to get much done on the back cover yet. I'm still futzing with overall color palettes and getting the basic composition done.

I'm looking at Fire Nation and Air Nomad outfits for the pilgrims, but the bird is still problematic. It's very far away, so I don't want to get too detailed. But I don't want it to seem flat, either. Hmm...

Anyhoo, pushing onward!

The Podge Cast discusses Do, crowdsourcing and piracy

Interviews with Daniel Solis
For your listening pleasure, I present to you a conversation with the Podge Cast. These guys are the morning zoo crew of gaming podcasts. Always a blast, fellas. Click the link below to hear me stumble over my words as we discuss:

* The plans for passports and other trinkets
* Eric is a sucker for collector's editions
* Production schedule
* Mur Lafferty's Kickstarter for the Afterlife series
* Spending social capital at the right time for the right cause
* A brief history of crowdsourcing
* Eric asks loooong questions (and I give loooong answers)
* Do is part of Bits n' Mortar
* PDF pricing for RPG products
* Luke Crane's position on PDFs
* "What is the buyable object?"
* I just want people to play my game, so I want to make that easier
* I am my own pirate
* The special exception for Happy Birthday, Robot!
* WotC and Paizo's reaction to PDF piracy
* Baen's Free Library
* The common lizard's regenerative capacities
* Setting realistic goals
* Following-through
* The ad in the back of Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies
* Baby teeth

» The Podge Cast 136

Week 2 [Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple]

Hi there! Sorry for my voice I've been traveling and I caught a sore throat. So this is week 2! It's been an interesting week because I haven't had internet access, so I couldn't tweet links as often as I did the first week. We're still going on a very gradual slope, continuing our rising ascent. We're quickly approaching 400% funding. And I'm very pleased to say that Do is now the highest funded tabletop RPG product in Kickstarter history. Check the chart above to see some interesting statistics! Thank you.

Hi there! Sorry for my voice, I've been traveling and I caught a sore throat.

So this is week 2! It's been an interesting week because I haven't had internet access, so I couldn't tweet links as often as I did the first week. We're still going on a very gradual slope, continuing our rising ascent.

We're quickly approaching 400% funding. And I'm very pleased to say that Do is now the highest funded tabletop RPG product in Kickstarter history.

Check the chart above to see some interesting statistics!

What We're Learning: Share the Love


If you're marketing your game, there are few practices easier and more fruitful than marketing other people's games, too. We live in a very small sea and the rising tide lifts all boats. Take a look at the chart above for Josh Roby's Kickstarter campaign for his Houses of the Blooded supplement. Note the spike where Do's Kickstarter launched around April 9th. Josh explains it best via Twitter: "Lookit the curve, man. It had dropped down to nothing, coasting to the deadline, and then all the sudden Boom! I got a lot of backers through You Might Also Like links."

Amazon's On To Something: It shouldn't be surprising that a mega-retailer should know a thing or two about people's buying habits. When a shopper is in a buying mood, they like seeing other things that would complement their recent purchase. Thus, we have the "You Might Also Like..." feature. Get to know what other projects are similar to yours and promote them enthusiastically.

Make Your Project Easy to Stumble Upon: Yeah, this is where "SEO" rears its ugly head. Know what your project is and find the right key words that would make it show up in searches on Kickstarter. In my case, I categorized Do under Games, but I also used key words "storytelling," "evil hat," and "airbender," in the project description.

Share the Love with Greg: Greg Stolze is the most prolific creator on Kickstarter. Not an exaggeration, he's actually had more Kickstarter campaigns than anyone else in the history of the site. Few people have been in the game business as long as Greg who are still innovating new ways to promote and market their games independently. He was holding ransoms even before Fundable got its start. Now that Kickstarter is on the scene, that makes producing small, low-price, open-content PDF supplements that much easier. Toss a couple bucks his way for the new REIGN supplement. It's got giant monsters! Giant monsters! Yay!

You might also like... Amaranthine.

By the way, thank you to everyone who has RT'd a link to Do's Kickstarter. You've given us plenty of love to share.

What We're Learning is a series of lessons we've learned from crowdfunding and marketing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

What We're Learning: Crowdsource Early, But Not Too Often


Here's the thing about being an public person asking for crowdsourcing. It's all about social capital. In other words, you must first build faith that you are someone who can work and deliver. In my case, I designed small games and posted them for free on my blog. I made sure they're each uniquely branded with their own title, a bit of imagery and a compelling aesthetic. (In other words, I'm trying to be a John Harper of board games.) Here's how I pitched the first call for letters. Though that initial call was successful, I have since learned some better parameters to follow.

Prime the Pump: As you build a work history, others will be more likely to have faith enough to offer their own creativity to your project. Write about what work you've done so far, what challenges you face and why you need some help. So let's say you're ready to crowdsource something. First, outline very briefly what it is you want people to contribute and how you'll use their contribution. Post this on forums and on your blog.

Make It Easy, Specific and Fast: When you put out a call for crowdsourcing, set the parameters so each contribution is easy to submit. Allow people to enter their submission right on that forum thread or as a comment or on Twitter. In your call, be specific enough that people have a clear idea of what you need. For example, I recently called on my Twitter followers to come up with British-sounding names for Belle of the Ball. Lastly, make it fast by highlighting your favorite contributions in real-time. This last tip is why Twitter is such fertile ground for crowdsourcing. Just take a look at the next popular hashtag to see what I mean.

You Are A Curator of Solutions: I don't normally recommend crowdsourcing critical things like central mechanics for games. Still, I often spoke about my dilemmas with Do's early character creation process, for example. I eventually scrapped it altogether, despite many positive responses to it. I did this because chargen was too long and didn't let people actually play the game in the first session. Being open and specific about your direction lets others know their solutions were considered, even if they were not ultimately implemented. You'll get a million great solutions, but not all are great for your project.

Lastly, about "not too often." When you crowdsource, you're cashing in chips. You're trying to yield dividends based on your audience's interest in your project, your work history, and, yes, your popularity. When you crowdsource, know that you can't do it again for at least a couple weeks. Between now and then, work publicly, speak openly, offer help to others, respond to comments with civility (or not at all) and genuinely appreciate everyone's contributions.

What We're Learning is a series of lessons we've learned from crowdfunding and marketing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

» Photo: CC BY-NC-ND Matt Karp

What We're Learning: Develop in the Open


Many of the Kickstarter supporters mention how long they've waited for Do to finally be available for purchase. One thing's for sure, I've been developing Do off and on for a loooong while. From 2007, it's been an open and transparent process. Throughout that time, we've gone through many revisions, playtests, and brain-blocks. Here are some things I've learned about developing in the open and how that may have helped Do's Kickstarter support.

Progress Comes in Many Forms: My process of game development builds up many, many visual artifacts. I took pictures of scratchy notebook pages and index cards as they piled up, to keep myself accountable to the public at large. I also posted letters, actual play reports, and a TON of Liz Radtke's art.

Some Will Be Disappointed, More Will Appreciate The Progress: When you post any kind of document that gets people playing, and then later on you change a critical rule or mechanic, you'll get some disappointed people. This will make you question your current direction and lead to building a bloated, over-burdened game. Just remember to follow your vision. This game is not done yet and everyone knows it. You may lose some interest when you change a rule, but you'll gain more faith in yourself that you're really making progress.

Know When You're Ready: A couple years ago, I sent in a little ad for Evil Hat to insert in the back of Chad Underkoffler's Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies. I figured, hey, it's a game about big open skies, so there would be crossover interest for my game. Indeed, there was, but I was still very premature in sending out that ad. There have also been times where I called for playtesters before a playtest doc was complete and then had to delay or cancel those sessions. This made me anxious about Do appearing to be vaporware. Avoid those fears. Make sure you have goods to deliver before making any promises.

What We're Learning is a series of lessons we've learned from crowdfunding and marketing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

Week 1 [Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple | Where We're Learning]

On this day last week, Fred and I were chatting about the Kickstarter video, cutting length, and making edits to the animation. We were also deciding whether to launch Sunday or go ahead and push the big red button immediately. Boy, am I glad we decided to push.

The chart above shows our funding progress thus far. I also translated dollars to meters, just to give some perspective on how great the response has been so far. In less than a week, we have over tripled our initial fundraising goals!

After seven days of media coverage, preparing future rewards, organizing schedules for print production and, oh yeah, a very busy full-time job, I'm looking forward to hitting our cruising altitude. If we follow the same trajectory as the past few days, we'll end this campaign in the mid-$14,000 range. We may even surpass the current record-holder for highest funded tabletop gaming product (e20), but I'm more than happy to sit in second-place.

Anyway, over the next couple of days, I'll post some tips and lessons we're learning as we go. Look for more under the "What We're Learning" tag in coming days.

Promotional Flyer for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple


Click for a high-res 8.5" x 11" promotional flyer. If you're a game or toy retailer who would like to bring online momentum for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple into your brick and mortar store, contact evilhat {at} gmail {dot} com.

Many thanks to Chris Hanrahan and Endgame Oakland for helping get this online/offline blend going. He's already reporting pre-orders at his store.

Also, a big shout-out to Alliance for being cool with this experiment. Thank you!

Retailer Participation + New Expansion [Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple]

Do: Book of Letters, an Expansion for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
We're happy to announce that we're putting together a supplement, Do: The Book of Letters. It's a smaller booklet with advice for writing your letters, letters written by the dev team and some letters written by you! If you'd like to participate, here are the details.

Also, retailers can now participate in the Kickstarter. If you’re a retailer interested in making a pledge commitment to the kickstarter, to preorder some books for your store, please contact Fred Hicks directly via email at evilhat (at) gmail (dot) com. He will give you the details.

Current Buzz about Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple [4.2.2011]


Wired: Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple Tells a Story Worth Playing
"If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an hour or two with your tween-aged kids — or if you’re just looking for a cool storytelling game for yourself and your friends — please consider backing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple."

Kickstarter Blog: An Homage Done Right
"If M. Night Shyamalan’s misguided live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender made you want to hide your childhood dreams in a Hollywood-proof vault never to see the light of day again, then perhaps Do: The Pilgrims of the Flying Temple can restore those dreams to their proper place. Inspired by beloved animated classics like The Last Airbender, The Little Prince, and Kino’s Journey, Daniel Solis’s new cooperative storytelling game celebrates the coming-of-age narrative with humor, strategy, and adventure. Now that’s how an homage is done right."

Ryan Macklin: Pilgrims of the Flying Awesome
"I’m the principal editor on the project, and we’ve brought on the enterprising Lillian Cohen-Moore to help put that final spit polish on it. The art is gorgeous. And Daniel’s writing is…well, he’s become a hell of a writer. Editing his writing is still work — everyone’s is — but damnit, it’s fun work. A literal joy to read. I’m excited for y’all to see this book."

Jennisodes
* Setting goals for kickstarter
* Setting pledge amounts
* Meeting the goal and adding new rewards
* Kickstarter video
* Influences of the game
* Pilgrim Letters
* Pilgrim name
* Next step in the production process
* Conventions for promotion - GenCon and Pax East

Forum discussions are active on RPG.net and Story-Games!

REIGN Kickstarter: Enemies of Awful Scale


The REIGN corebook describes an enormous creature that survives centuries, leaps dozens of miles, levels towns with each landing, and sucks nutrition out of the living soil. Its cavernous innards are hot, muddy, filled with strange man-size parasites and riddled with precious metals that draw bloodthirsty mercenaries from around the world.

For all intents and purposes, these are living dungeons and designed as such. In game terms, this creature possesses attributes REIGN usually reserves for nation-states. The description got me interested in a dungeon-oriented adventure for the first time in ages and it was barely a few hundred words.

Now, Greg is raising funds via Kickstarter for a new REIGN supplement. I've contributed to a handful of these new supplements, but this one piqued my interest because of one article in particular: Enemies of Awful Scale. At last, more of these bizarre, alluring creatures to whet the appetite for epic danger.

But only if Greg gets enough pledges. Want to help bring more of these Godzilla-scale threats in your game? Pledge here.

On the overwhelming response to Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple


Wow, it's been an amazing weekend for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

On day 1, we met our fundraising goal, which we had expected to meet in 45 days. We quickly moved into Phase 2, where we could start affording a larger print run. This was our long plan, to last a few weeks. That phase was complete in six hours.

We've pivoted quickly to keep this momentum going. Jenn Wong of the Jennisodes caught me at the height of mania yesterday and posted the interview this morning! Here, I talk about setting goals in Kickstarter, respond to the response, and discuss our next steps. Listen at the link below!

» Jennisodes: Episode 38 (46:53)

Evil Hat Taking Pledges to Publish Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple


PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Evil Hat Taking Pledges to Publish Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
New storytelling game for YA and family gamers, set in new fantasy universe

Evil Hat Productions is excited to announce the start of a new fundraising campaign via Kickstarter to publish Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a storytelling game about helping people and getting into trouble, for 3-5 players, ages 12 and up. Players tell the story of young travelers who help people, but spend most of their time getting into trouble. They use creativity and strategy to create a humorous coming-of-age adventure in a universe of endless skies and tiny planets.

Do is the latest release by game designer Daniel Solis, creator of Happy Birthday, Robot!, a storytelling game designed for children and families. In Do, he continues blurring the lines between Euro-style board games and role-playing games to create fun, light-hearted games that easily build stories. This time, the game is designed for a young adult audience.

“I was inspired by Nickelodeon’s Avatar: the Last Airbender, The Little Prince, and the Kino's Journey anime series.” Solis says. “I combined those influences into a new storytelling game set in a weird new universe. I’m happy to say Do consistently produces a funny, creatively engaging and strategically interesting experience.”

Evil Hat Productions, publishers of The Dresden Files Role-Playing Game, has a long history of fostering independent game design. Now, Evil Hat is partnering with Daniel Solis to help bring Do into production by raising funds on Kickstarter, a crowdsource fundraising site commonly used to fund artistic endeavors like film production, novel publication and game development.

The goal is to raise $4,000 in 45 days. Kickstarter allows people to pledge whatever amount they wish, but no money is deducted until the $4,000 goal is reached, so it’s a no-risk way to help small-press games enter the market.

Relevant Links:
Fundraising Page: http://kck.st/fwk4DD
Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com
Evil Hat: http://www.evilhat.com
Daniel Solis: http://www.danielsolis.com
More about Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

---------

UPDATE: We're over 100% funded! Here's the next phase of the campaign.

Leo Lalande's Handmade Procession Wedding Favors


Leo Lalande made these great handmade Procession sets as wedding favors and posted the pics on Story-Games:

"A few details about its construction:

The takeout box is printed on 110lb cardstock.
The maids are 3/8" wood screwhole buttons.
The brides are made with a 1" shaker peg (with the dowel end trimmed off) glued to the top of an inverted wood flower pot (3/4' Ttall I think).
All the pieces are painted with typical craft acrylic paint. The buttons were dip painted in diluted paint for more even coat. [...]

I illustrated, to myself at least, that the mini takeout box can be a great delivery mechanism for many kinds of simple games. I can see making mini games in these takeout boxes as gifts for a variety of occasions."

Very cool, Leo! Hope the wedding guests enjoy the game!

» More from Leo Lalande
» Official Rules for Procession
» Download the takeout box template

I don't know what I don't know, y'know?


This forum post (Polish, auto-translated into google) mentions the layout video I did for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. I do videos like this to share what I know with others, but also to be transparent about what I do not know.

For example, the poster says "he committed many mistakes, how to manually assign attributes to the font and text passages..." This is what I mean. ;)

I know a lot about typography, design and layout, but I don't know what I don't know about InDesign. I hear terms like "grep" and "latex" tossed around. I know they could probably make some aspects of my process easier, but so far I've worked well enough without knowing them.

I must seem like an old man on Google who still clicks the 'submit' button instead of hitting 'enter.' I have much to learn about the technical side of layout. That's something I'll be working on in the future. Meanwhile, get those kids off my lawn, dagnabbit! :P

If you have any resources, tutorials or next steps I should look at, I'm happy to check them out! I also want to give a shout out to Mark Sherry, for helping set up some crazy XML stuff for me in the past. Thanks, Mark!

Stones for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple's Kickstarter



Besides the gorgeous custom pouch, we're also offering these stones as a high pledge tier award in Do's Kickstarter. These lovely stones have been through every playtest and convention game for the past two years. Lots of good mojo wrapped up in these marbled baubles. Soon, they can be yours. Soon. :)

Thanks for writing!


You answered the call loudly (and sometimes sketchily). Over the past day and a half, you've sent in about fifty handwriting samples in all kinds of styles. You're helping make this an excellent Kickstarter video. Thank you so much!

Custom Dice Bag for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple's Kickstarter






Here's a sneak peek at one of the high-end pledge tier rewards we have in store for Do's Kickstarter campaign. Lyndsay Peters of Dragon Chow Dice Bags is making a short run of these lush, reversible drawstring pouches perfect for keeping your Do stones or your gaming dice.

Click to embiggen these high-res photos! This bag is double-sided with a pair of gorgeous fabrics. One depicts a familiar-looking dragon and the other has layered clouds in a variety of patterns. It all comes together with a durable nylon strand and clasp.

Look for Do's Kickstarter to launch later this month!

» More from Dragon Chow Dice Bags

Could you write "Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple" for the video?



The Kickstarter video for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple opens with a montage of layered voices saying "Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple." I'd love to have a bunch of handwriting layered together on screen at the same time. Specifically, your handwriting.

If you have time over the next 24 hours, please write "Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple." Messy handwriting is okay. Swirly fancy handwriting is okay, too. I just need a big, clear photo of your handwriting and I can take care of the rest. (A scan is even better!)

You can see some examples of people's handwriting at the top of this post. Send yours to gobi81 at gmail dot com. Thank you!

Coloring the Promotional Art for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
[Click to embiggen!] We're gearing up a Kickstarter to fund the production of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. That means we need a promotional image. Something to use as a poster frame for the Kickstarter video, shared along side press releases, and, most importantly, something to entice pledgers' interest. Do was once called the fanfic game for a Nickelodeon cartoon that never existed. I figured I'd make this look like a promotional image for that cartoon, using cel-shading coloring and a slightly anime aesthetic.


I don't know much if anything about coloring art. So, I studied stills from Disney movies, Avatar: the Last Airbender and promotional art for the MMORPG Dofus. I practiced a bit with the Belle of the Ball illustrations, but I knew actually coloring the dragon and rider was a whole other realm. I started by getting the basic elements settled. I knew I wanted the title on the top-right, a red fabric border, and a paper texture in the background.


I started with the dragonrider. Figuring out her palette was the most difficult part of the process, actually. The dragon would have a strong cool blue hue, so she needed to stand off from him. That meant she needed browns, oranges, and earthtones. I also added greenish accents in the shadows, as if the dragon's scales are shining across the back of her head.


If those dreadlocks were a challenge, the dragon's mane was monumental. Oof. It took a while before I figured out how to best suggest that this was a furry, lustrous mane and not just rows of very large scales. Again, looking at animation cels was very valuable here. You can suggest hair and fur with simple triangular shapes. Layering darks and lights suggests movement.

In the final image at the top of this post, you can see the dragon's pupil is now dark green, his scales are ever-so-slightly suggested in the shadows and highlights, and he's now in front of the red border. All that was left to do was refine the title graphic and add credits. Now we have a solid promotional image to tie into the Kickstarter and send out with any press releases!

» Original line art by Liz Radtke
» Rules for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.