Interview with Mothership designer Peter Sanderson
Peter Sanderson, the designer of the hit game Mothership that combines miniatures, strategy and dice games into one, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. Well into the final stretch of the campaign for the 2nd edition of Mothership 2nd Edition Kickstarter, Peter shared with us some of his experiences, learning moments and other things to pay attention to when running a Kickstarter.
– This is the 3rd Kickstarter campaign you’re running for Mothership, first of all congratulations! What would be the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the course of these campaigns?
Peter: Thank you! I’ve learnt so many lessons over the course of these 3 campaigns (plus one failed!). But to narrow it down, these come to mind:
1. Have a good, well playtested game
2. Present the Kickstarter well
3. Love your backers
That last one is really important. Kickstarter is a community, not a store. The backers on kickstarter are giving you their hard earned money because they believe in your game. You need to show them love and appreciation back.
– A lot of publishers that run Kickstarter campaigns name the backers as one of the most fulfilling albeit it challenging parts of the process. Any fun stories of backers that really made an impact on you?
Peter: The single most fulfilling part of this process is reading messages from fans who love playing the game with their friends and family. When backers tell me they spent the weekend playing Mothership with their kids…it’s truly satisfying. One amazing backer even sent me a photo of him playing the game with his sister and parents. To think my little game can bring together a family for game night! It’s pretty good.
– You’re an avid blogger, recording a lot of the major milestones as well as the overall development and later production process on your website, mothership-game.com . Do you find that being transparent and informing people helps build a more loyal fanbase?
Peter: Yes! 100% yes. While you need to present yourself as professional and capable, backers really connect with you when you ‘level’ with them and explain when things don’t go right. That trust and reputation you build is worth all the effort and pays off with loyal fans who love your game.
– We’re very excited that you’re printing this expansion with us again. What are the things you pay attention to in particular when selecting a board game manufacturing company to work with?
Peter: I come from a graphics and print background, so my focus is print quality. When you have a piece of artwork in your hands presented beautifully, it really makes all the difference. It’s also what gives boardgames that ‘wow’ factor.
– Your game has it all: boards, cards, custom dice, tokens and more all the way up to custom shaped plastic miniatures. Any components that stood out as requiring extra attention to get them to come out just the way you wanted? Any components you haven’t done so far that you have your eye on for future projects?
Peter: Haha, yes it is a lot isn’t it? I think the plastic tray is something that needed a lot of attention. Gamers have come to expect the plastic inserts to be designed well and be more than functional. I would like to continue to design trays that can be used for more than just storing the game in the box, such as taking the tray out and using it in the game.
…and one component that I would like to try in the future would be neoprene game mats. Very premium!
– What is one thing that you’ve struggled with regarding the manufacturing side of things that you wish someone warned you about beforehand? Information that wasn’t available to you that would’ve helped out tremendously?
Peter: Make sure you explain what you want to your manufacturer clearly. This is more of a personal issue than anything that the manufacturer does wrong, but, just because something is clear to me doesn’t mean it will be clear to the manufacturer. Boda Games has been fantastic with this though. My project manager Yuki does an excellent job of keeping track of all my crazy ideas and last minute changes. Thanks Yuki!
– Any tips for us as at Boda Games, being a board game manufacturing company, on how we can make it easier for you to run your Kickstarter campaign and help you be successful?
Peter: Being flexible and willing to try harder to get things right. There was a few times where samples didn’t come back looking good…and I felt bad asking for more changes…but when I asked Yuki to do it again and try harder to get the desired result, she did it and the results were fantastic. I really appreciate her and the team’s hard work.
– Anything else you want to tell other game designers and publishers who are looking to successfully run a Kickstarter campaign?
Peter: This is a great quote to live by: “Nothing in the world can take place of persistence.” You will fail many times. And there will be many people with better art, better games, bigger budget…but persistence overcomes them all.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for us Peter! Be sure to check out the Mothership Kickstarter campaign that is currently running, the Mothership homepage where Peter posts a lot about the process as he goes through it and finally to like and follow Mothership on Facebook.