A Chat with Dylan McCusker of Tidbit Games, Creator of Crumbs

What makes a good game? When is your game crowdfunding ready? What should you prepare the campaign? Its easy to think that one you have a somewhat good idea, toss it up onto Kickstarter and people will literally just give you money. Wrong, all creators put tons of time, effort and work into ensuring the success of their campaigns. We ourselves don’t have much experience, as such its only right to ask someone that knows more right?

Introducing Dylan McCusker of Tidbit Games! He is slightly further down the road on their campaign for Crumbs and thus, we are here to interview him on preparations that he has done, marketing, dos and don’ts and any advice he has to give.

Crumbs

Launch Date: March 26, 2019

Game Description

Crumbs is an area control game about ordinary park animals waging war over tasty, tasty breadcrumbs. Each player takes on the role of either the ducks, pigeons, squirrels, or chipmunks, and uses their unique abilities to fight each other in order to conquer the most territory before the crumb drop each round (in which 20 crumbs are dropped over the center of the board, spreading out randomly).

The game is a romp. There is definitely strategy involved that can make a player do well or poorly, but it is mixed in with a lot of chaos and (if you get into it) a lot of emotions. Many people have asked me if it is a “kid’s game” because of the theme and art. I just think the juxtaposition between the theme and what is actually happening on the board is what makes everything so silly and fun. I wouldn’t say it’s a “kids game”, though it can be totally enjoyable to play with kids for its simplicity and approachability, or without them for its ferocity and backstabbyness. It is very much a “take that” sort of game that doesn’t need to be taken too seriously, where the more the players are excited about the theme and the lore of their personal army of critters, the more exciting and fun it can be for everyone. It fits in quite well with a few beers, or as part of a larger game night (perhaps fostering a unique player dynamic that will show up later in the night).

Who are the people behind Tidbit Games?

Just me! Sort of. My good friend Jackson Boerner worked with me right at the outset of Crumbs (and what would eventually become Tidbit Games), and helped with a lot of the fundamental design of the game. Eventually he moved on to work on other things, and my partner, Acassia Ferreira da Cunha, helped out with a bunch of things in the latter half of the development. She helped me see a lot of things from a different perspective, and ultimately make things more user friendly.

How did you come up with this game concept?

Well, one day Jackson and I were talking about what games we would want to make, and he was just like “I like pigeons. I want to make a game about pigeons.” You see, pigeons are a truly underrated animal, they’re always getting the short end of the stick. Everyone is always dismissing them as dirty sky-rats, which may have some truth to it (perhaps rats are a bit underrated as well, ey?). So I suggested pigeons fighting over breadcrumbs, wait, how about other generic park animals fighting over breadcrumbs as well. I messily sketched a park map on the chalkboard and Crumbs quickly became all about delivering a ferocious battling game in the cute unassuming guise of everyday critters.

In the brainstorming stage, did you start with the theme(animals in the park) or mechanics(dropping crumbs) first?

I would say they sort of happened nearly concurrently. It just made so much sense together! It is the board game equivalent of literally tossing breadcrumbs to live animals (although I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I do not condone feeding wild animals bread). I suppose we had the theme, setting and idea of animals fighting over breadcrumbs, and what we needed to figure out was a way to spread those crumbs around. Dropping seemed the most obvious and apparent method, so that’s what we went with!

Your videos have really good quality compared to most Kickstarter videos. How can other creators achieve the same quality?

Haha, thank you. Well, it probably helps that it is a big part of what I do for a living! At my day job I take care of a slew of creative responsibilities including videography, video editing, photography, graphic design, and illustration. I would say the video is one of baskets you should put a good amount of your eggs into. I was lucky to already have a relevant skillset to achieve this cheaply, but for others it may not be so easy. However, I think with the quality of modern smartphone cameras, if creators spent enough time learning how to film and edit, many of them would be able to successfully do so on their own.

What have you been doing to build up your audience for Kickstarter?

I’ve been doing a ton of things in an attempt to get the word out, so much so that it’s been hard to keep track of everything! I’ve been reaching out to a lot of people, reviewers, podcast hosts, journalists, retailers, you name it. I showcased the game at the Boston Festival of Indie Games in 2018 and it won Best in Show, which I was very humbled to receive (and unfortunately unable to receive in person as I had to catch an international flight that night!) I’ll be demoing the game at PAX East in a few days, as well as demoing the game at several game shops and game cafes in Boston and NYC in the coming month.

As much as I’ve wanted to post about it a ton, I’ve only posted on reddit about it once. I waited until a week before launch, and until I had my most appealing content ready to share (the trailer video). It was pretty successful in garnering attention and interest. You have to strike that balance between sharing your passion with the world, and annoying the hell out of everyone with your constant self promotion. It is a tricky thing to do!

As of writing this article, it’s 4 days until your Kickstarter launch. What are you doing to prepare for the launch?

Yes it is very exciting and nerve-racking. I’m preparing my newest prototypes to be ready to demo at PAX East as well as at a launch party I’m throwing on Tuesday evening. Other than that I’m editing some playthrough video content, and a how-to-play video for those who may want to watch rather than read the rules. And of course I am reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading through the campaign description and all of the reward level descriptions to make sure everything is exactly how I want it.

Conclusion

It is not as simple as one might think to become a creator. Every detail must be completely flushed out. Every preparation must be made. It is great to know that the fellow board game community is friendly enough to share their tips and advice. Thank you Crumbs for the insight that you have given to make this article a reality. Your experiences, lessons and advice will definitely help with our campaign and hopefully everyone else’s too!

BACK CRUMBS NOW ON KICKSTARTER

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Check out Crumbs

Article published on www.fourtato.com.

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