Hello again, welcome back to Gaming Respawn for another in depth discussion with an independent gaming developer very much on the up. This time it comes in the form of US based developer Dicey Ventures who have kindly agreed to answer a few questions despite their very busy Kickstarter schedule. So, let’s meet Dave, William, and Brittani from Dicey Ventures and hear what they have to say.
GR – Tell the Gaming Respawn readers about Dicey Ventures and how the company came to being.
DV – Dicey Ventures started as an idea to take things that I had not seen before and try to make them a reality. First with the zippered dice bags that we did last year and now with the 3D printed Elemental Village. The design and the implementation of everything we do is an attempt to bring something new to the gaming world.
GR – What’s your history with the board gaming hobby, and is there a particular game that you return to on a regular basis?
DV – Board games and tabletop games have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. While I’m not necessarily a board gaming junkie, I do have some favourites that over the years I keep enjoying again and again. The stand out there would probably be Red Dragon Inn. I’m an avid roleplayer as well, and I love the premise and gameplay of Red Dragon Inn.
GR – Your first Kickstarter successfully funded in 2015. What did you learn from it, and what difficulties did you encounter?
DV – The most significant challenge that we had to learn about was communication, and how a company needs to better convey messages and information to customers. Production for the Venture Dice Bag Kickstarter was probably the easiest part of the process, and we learned a lot about how to better approach marketing and communication in the future. It’s something we’re still learning about, every day.
GR – What impact do you feel that Kickstarter has had on the gaming industry, and how far do you think it can go?
DV – Kickstarter for the gaming industry, in general, has turned into a pre-order service for the most part. I don’t have a problem with that. Time was that a company could go on Kickstarter, show off some concept art and rough gameplay, and they’d get funded to finish the game. Now that just doesn’t seem to fly anymore. Kickstarter consumers are advanced and want to see quality pre-production and proof that games are ready to go before they will back a Kickstarter. I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily, it just means that companies don’t come to Kickstarter until they’re at a much later place in the development cycle.
GR – I know that you’re into your 3D printing, do you think this ‘make it yourself’ method has had a big impact on the Indie Dev scene, and where do you think we can go from here?
DV – 3D printing technology is only going to get better, more affordable, and easier to use. I often speak with colleagues and other 3D printing hobbyists about where the industry is going, both in relation to gaming and not, and the consensus usually lands somewhere around that soon 3D printers will be as common as ink jet and laser printers in the home. This means that manufacturing obstacles that usually negatively affect smaller companies are becoming less and less of a problem. We’re still quite a few years away from seeing a huge impact that rocks the industry, but the foundation is certainly already there.
GR – I understand that you’ve just launched a new product on Kickstarter. Tell us about it, and what made you choose gaming terrain?
DV – Yes, we just launched a Kickstarter for the next model in the Elemental Village line, the Earth Brewery. I’ve played tabletop games for well over half my life. They’ve been a big part of my hobby and recreational activities, and that’s where it came from. Shortly after I picked up 3D printing as a hobby, I realized the potential for what it could mean for gamers and for gaming. The main obstacle for any tabletop group that I’ve ever been a part of has been the terrain tables. Dicey Ventures wants to help make that final obstacle to having a great tabletop experience disappear, and that’s what the Elemental Village is all about.
GR – How are you getting the word out about the Kickstarter? Can we expect to see you attending any upcoming conventions?
DV – Social media is the short answer here. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great outlets to contact and interact with fellow gamers, hobbyists, and potential customers. Growing organically in that respect is big. Paying to get clicks might look good in the short term, but we like the idea of building relationships instead of hiring click farms. Our 2017 schedule is not set yet, but we are looking at where we might make some appearances. One place I know where Dicey Ventures will have a presence is the Kings of War tournament circuit here in the south-eastern US. The guys that run that circuit are great about coordinating support and highlighting new companies who want to make their gaming experiences better. Other than that we’ll be announcing in the coming months which conventions we plan to attend in 2017 either as vendors or in an official capacity.
GR – Before the interview started, you mentioned that the retro video game idea was strong when designing the terrain. Until recently Gaming Respawn focused solely on video games and related tech. Are you three big into video games? If so, what genre?
DV – The cartoony design philosophy behind the Elemental Village can be found a lot in the video games that some of us have played over the years. World of Warcraft jumps out as the first obvious one, with exaggerated proportions and whatnot. Other inspirations for the line came from games like Grim Fandango, Banjo-Kazooie, and others. I think of it as kind of a modern Nintendo 64 style of art.
As far as what games we’re all into here, we go all over the place for interests. Even starting the list would be an interesting prospect. Suffice it to say that while we’re a tabletop gaming company, we’re no strangers to the world(s) of digital gaming.
GR – What can we expect in the future from Dicey Ventures?
DV – We’ve got more for the Elemental Village lined up for 2017, including a queue based 3D printing service that will launch soon after we fulfil the Earth Brewery Kickstarter. Moving past that I can’t say a whole lot for now except that we’re looking for ways to make the next few ideas work. When we find a way to make one happen, we’ll let everyone know.
That was the people at Dicey Ventures talking about their latest Elemental Village Kickstarter and making some good points on Kickstarter in general, I feel. Has the crowdfunding site turned simply into a pre-order service for the large, established companies, and are indie dev’s now suffering for it? A conversation for another time perhaps, but for now be sure to check out the Elemental Village Kickstarter through this link.
Still to come from Gaming Respawn will be that Tolkien classic I promised as well as two, perhaps even three, brand new releases. Until then, take it easy and happy gaming.