The Refuge: What Inspires You to Design Your Board Game?

Board games are becoming more and more popular by the day. There are more board games than ever before, giving us board gamers a variety of new and never-before-seen games to play around with! With the increasing popularity of these games, there’s no surprise that there are also more people getting into board game design.

Even though every board game designer’s journey is different, one thing remains the same, which is that every board game is created from an idea, an inspiration, and a passion. In this article, we explore how Floyd Lu designer of the board game The Refuge, was inspired to create his vision.

What is The Refuge?

The Refuge is a survival strategy board game for players who love zombies. It is fun, easy to pick-up, but difficult to master. It is a unique fifteen-minute zombie race to the finish, where you and five other friends compete to reach the finish line. But beware there are plenty of challenges as you get closer to the door of the refuge. While on your journey other players will move and block you and they will spawn pesky zombies that surround and get in your way.

What is your inspiration for designing this board game?

To me, every game experience is magical. It takes you away from your monotonous day, and puts you into a different world with characters, stories, ideas, and things not possible in the real world. I wanted to share that magical moment with family and friends in a way they would enjoy it. I knew that they did not have $200 to spend on a hobby nor did they have the patience to read hours of rules. I wanted them to feel the immersion of a big miniatures game in a game they could learn and teach in 5 minutes. That is where the idea of the refuge kicked in, it was purposely designed for entry level players to enjoy the tabletop world, with tons of miniatures, great gameplay, and all in an affordable price.

How did you come up with the idea and theme?

Developing the idea was not simple, I had the concept back in 2014 and it took me nearly 2 years to execute. At the time, Zombies were pretty hot, yet there weren’t enough zombie board games available. I thought it was a great theme to work with.

Mainly because I was not experience. I spent too much time trying to nit picking at details, like the art, logistics, finding a play-testing group, developing the game, and developing a business structure.

What lessons did you learn along the way?

My design took me almost 2 years to develop mainly because I was not experienced. I spent too much time trying to nit picking at details, like the art, logistics, finding a play-testing group, developing the game, and developing a business structure.

During my delay, big titles came out such as: Zombicide, Dead of Winter, Zombie Dice. By the time my game was ready for the market, it was saturated with zombies. Though Our Kickstarter did decent grossing $30,000 we missed out on it’s true potential. We would learn this because over 3 years, the game grossed $170,000 which, unfortunately, would have looked better as one campaign on Kickstarter. Theoretically speaking, if The Refuge did $200k back in 2016, my sales would be in much higher demand today.

In 2019 we decided to reboot the refuge and add a bunch of things the players were looking for, so we are introducing a new theme and much better art and sculpt. So, a big lesson in this is to find a team and quick. I ended up doing everything myself, and it cost me greatly. Hire a developer to help you run your play tests and make changes in your game. Hire an art director with a great eye to approve and reject art. Hire more than one artist so things are faster, hire a KickStarter campaign manager to help you build the site, hire a marketer to market your product on social media, and there are so many more people you can hire. But always hire freelancers, my first mistake was getting locked down with a few employees.

Many thanks to Floyd for spending time with us to let us into the inspiration to his journey as a board game creator! It’s great to hear these great stories, as it provides others with similar aspirations to push forward knowing that we are not alone in this adventure!

Please check out Kickstarter for The Refuge: Terror from the Deep!

Article published on www.fourtato.com.

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Tiny crew of board game designers! Four potatoes trying to make their ideas come to life!

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Fourtato Games

Fourtato Games

Tiny crew of board game designers! Four potatoes trying to make their ideas come to life!

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