With less than 2 months until launch I wanted to share some of the background behind Micro Dojo and how it came to to exist. Some of you been following along since the very first ideas and prototypes, whilst others may be newer to the growing community around the game, so here’s a little bit of background to what Micro Dojo represents.
I was inspired to create a micro game after some advice from Dan Alexander of Lander: The Game – to start with something small and build trust with backers, as well as building some experience of running a campaign, before moving on to something larger. Immediately I thought of Province, a micro game that was given to me as a gift from a friend back in 2015. Province was portable, cheap, shipped inside an envelope on a single punchboard, and delivered a good two player experience in a tiny package. From that point on I had my design criteria (or constraints) to build the mechanics, theme, production and logistics around.
Micro Dojo is the first Kickstarter campaign I’ll be running. Though it’s not the first game I started designing (that honour goes to TwinStick Pirates) it’s the first that has been fully developed and produced. I intend to keep creating and sharing games as Prometheus Game Labs in the future, and so Micro Dojo needs to deliver not just a good play experience but also a good overall experience (more on that next).
The more that the Micro Dojo campaign became fully realised, the more I identified some key criteria that I wanted the product to adhere to. I say product here specifically rather than game – whilst the criteria for the game is presented through the play experience, this makes up just a part of the overall experience.
- A ton of game for a very low price. I wanted to fit as much variability as possible to keep the game fresh after multiple plays rather than a micro game that very quickly becomes ‘solved’. As time has gone on I’ve been able to add even more to the game through advanced game mode variants and development of a solo mode.
- Immediate fulfilment. One of the downsides of backing a Kickstarter is that you can be waiting months and even years to actually receive the thing you’re so excited to play with! I wanted to cut that time as short as possible by making Micro Dojo complete at launch and ready to send to backers right away. This also means no complicated or overambitious stretch goals that could delay the project – all the work has been done up front.
- Simple to produce and cheap to ship. Micro Dojo comes on a single sheet of token punchboard. That’s it. No chance for mispacks or lost components. The sheet is sized at 220x150mm, which is just the right size to fit into an envelope and ship with Royal Mail as a ‘Letter’. This is the cheapest shipping category possible to keep costs down for backers – no one wants to pay more than the cost of a game in shipping.
- Reach as many people as possible. Leading on from the above, this also makes International shipping to anywhere in the world a possibility. Some of the amazing members of our community have also volunteered translations of Micro Dojo into (currently) 8 other languages to make it more accessible to non-native English speaking players.
- A positive experience from start to finish. Backers (and their friends) enjoying the game is crucial, but so is their experience with the quality of the product, the clarity of information, their experience interacting with other members of the community, timeliness of communication and resolution of issues and so much more. I want to run the campaign in a way that way I would feel respected and valued if I was a backer.
It’s tempting as a (first time) creator to think of the Kickstarter as the end point. It is after all the largest milestone of a very long build up, and the culmination of a ton of effort. But really a Kickstarter campaign is just that – a kickstart to begin something. For the game this could be something like the beginning of future expansions, mobile app versions, big box compilations and so on. More importantly though this is the beginning of my interactions with hundreds of people across the world that I hope to be a long and happy journey.