Editor’s Note: I’d like to introduce our first ever guest writer this week. His name is Brandon Rollins. He is a designer, and fledgling publisher hailing out of Chattanooga, TN. If you’re ever in town, make sure to go check out the Aquariums.
You can bet that Brandon won’t be there right now, because the Kickstarter for War Co. has just five days left. Check out the Kickstarter page, check out the lore of the War Co. website, and, if you think it would be a good fit for your gamig group, back it. He’s created a world around this game that immerses you in its lore before you’ve even played it.
So, let’s start the show.
It all began with me hunched over my laptop, on the toilet in a workroom stall, the words all of this has happened before and it will all happen again passed through my mind like a stock ticker. There was memory of another time, but I shook it away. There was the telltale white and green text and accents of Kickstarter. Launch Project. I clicked and sat back as I was overcome by this new Frontier.
I had visions of a seven-figure future.
“Are you sure you want to launch now?”
“Are you really sure you want to launch? The act of clicking this button will determine how your destiny unfolds, having a cascading series of effects on the universe at large.”
I was so excited that I immediately stood up and went out to tell the world. I left the restroom with a look of accomplishment. I was proud of what I’d done in there.
“I did this. I made this,” I said, waving my laptop around wildly.
I gazed out on the people. I worked with these creatures but they had turned on me and they looked hungry. Most had stopped what they were doing to watch some moron walk out of the bathroom with pants around his ankles, and laptop held up like a stone tablet. There would be reports about this incident.
Hitting Twitter, Instagram, Board Game Geek, and Discord. Texting my mom, my brother, and my friends. Press releases. Then it was back into the cubicle farm again, the room a vast sea of early 90s, nicotine yellow stained, gray metal walls and desks.
I hadn’t even made it to my cubicle when my email started blowing up with Kickstarter notifications. It soared to $2,000 within an hour. How was I supposed to work when I have a Kickstarter to manage? I turned around and went home. It was too quiet in that place anyways.
I watched the screen until my eyeballs were cracked and the total was $3,500 before I passed out that night. It was up to $4,000 by the time I woke up the next morning. I awoke during the night to check my notifications for any new backers but it turned out to be a dream. I awoke again from that dream and checked my notifications again. What if I’m dreaming right now? I might never know.
The next week blurred together. Night and day had no meaning. I stayed up 19 hours a day, barely eating. My stomach was full of knots and my hand trembled. I was in a continuous state between waking and sleep like when you sit on a cramped Transatlantic flight overnight and try to sleep but remain aware of your surroundings for an entire week.
I was constantly pimping my game. Saturday night, I live-streamed, a chaotic battle of wits on Twitch playing my own game and exercising my unfair advantage.
One night I worked—perhaps with too much desperation in my voice—to get the audience to fund me up to $5,555 so that one of them would get a free copy of Tabletop Simulator. It was that night a mysterious entity—possibly made entirely out of some money-like, organic fiber—donated at that very moment $4,000 into the stream for no apparent reason. My campaign shot up to over $9,000 that night, just six days in and past the 90% mark.
The night I reached $10,000, some horrid villain withdrew his pledge, knocking me down to $9,992. He sent me a message saying, “you’re terrible and I want your dreams to crumble” or something to that effect.
“My God,” I said to the empty air of the hazy, gray cubicle farm where I found myself.
“I’m eight dollars shy of my goal. Where am I going to get that kind of money in the next twenty-three days? The task is too great, failure, almost certain.”
Then my email rang out, as someone bumped up their pledge by $9.
The campaign dripped and crawled the next week, sporadic pledges of twenty-five and sixty and one-hundred giving me the dopamine drip which I was so addicted to after a week-long bender of Kickstarter highs.
“I’m a failure!” I screamed to the campaign page funded over 100% in 7 days of a 30 day campaign.
“I’m unloved!” I shouted to the three-digit figure showing my number of backers.
“I’ll never be able to try again!”
I’ve failed. I’m left with nothing but an embarrassing first attempt. I had the stark realization that a nightmare had merged into my dream world. Both campaigns were one.
I awoke. My Kickstarter had funded. My previous failure to launch was no longer locked away somewhere in that fleshy computer brain. It’d been set free. I’m still not sure if I’m in a dream or reality. But I know that I failed the first time. Then, I came up with a way to succeed the second time, and that’s progress.
Editor’s Gary’s Note: Thanks very much to Brandon for joining us. I appreciate you coming to visit my little corner of the Internet and share your time twisting tale of adventure (doesn’t that sound like a great name for a game?) with us. Good luck in these, the last five days, of your Kickstarter. Maybe once it’s all finished he can come back with a final assessment.