Showing posts with label Crowdfunding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crowdfunding. Show all posts

Thursday, September 17, 2020

10 QUESTIONS TO: Jodi Black

Jodi Black is COO and Managing Editor of Pinnacle Entertainment Group, and she’s also president of Carolina Game Tables.

But who is Jodi? Jodi is a mother of two, a spiritual person, and dog enthusiast. She also sings in two choirs!

1 Hello Jodi. Tell us about Savage Worlds as if you were trying to sell it to my aunt!

I tell people our games are the best kind of game—the kind where you get to take a break from being yourself! You come to the game with your worries (the bills, health problems, real world drama) and leave them behind while you pretend to be someone else for a little while. After you’ve saved the day in game, your own problems seem more approachable. Our game, Savage Worlds, lets you “play pretend” in any way you want. Fly through space in a rocket ship? Sail the seven seas? Flounce in a gorgeous Renaissance dress as an assassin for the Queen? Ride off into the sunset on your trusty hoss? However real—or not—you want your scenario, our game can give you the framework for your imagination to build on. And if you’re not feeling particularly imaginative, we’ve got wonders of worlds for you to explore. 

2 Tell us about your job! What do you do at Pinnacle?

As Chief Operations Officer I work with Simon and Shane on a daily basis, helping to keep track of production. I work with Christine (customer service and website), Scott (news), Ron (community), Danny (licensing), and the Con Crew for our Official Events program. I manage our official social media accounts and try to keep tabs on things on Discord and Reddit, too. I write a lot of the marketing copy for PEG, but not all.

My main thing is big detail-oriented projects like Kickstarters. From getting the best prices for shipping internationally to marketing to setting up the post-Kickstarter “survey” and making sure backers receive their rewards. It’s a lot to keep track of, so I’m the point person for projects of this scale. I also try to do a final pass on everything we send to the printer. Our backers are amazing about catching most glaring errors, but I got where I am for my keen editorial eye (read: grammar nazi).

3 We are talking about tabletop games, and you happen to also make tables…

Why yes, we do! Thank you for asking. :) Clint and I started the furniture company Carolina Game Tables in 2015.

We’ve developed seven table designs and delivered “Game Tables for Real Life” to hundreds of families across the United States. Our game table design philosophy is a LOT like the re-useability of Savage Worlds. Each of our tables is designed for everyday use, with a dining top included in the price ($999-$2799). The tables are sturdy, solid wood, very DIY friendly, easy to keep clean, and a classic design for formal dining rooms. Plus ready for gaming, anytime you want! We work with a manufacturing facility so our tables are built in six months. We’ve built up a stock of our most popular designs, so Express Program tables can be ready as fast as two weeks. TWO WEEKS.

4 Kickstarters have become more and more important for Pinnacle Entertainment, and for many other RPG publishers. Do you see that changing anytime soon? How would YOU like things to change?

I love Kickstarter, and I don’t see PEG leaving it entirely anytime soon. We’ll probably keep using the platform for our major releases simply because of the marketing boost it provides (we have tried releases without it, and they just don’t do nearly as well). We keep an eye on the market for trends and there are other platforms growing out there. One of the great things about being a small company is we can pivot quickly to take advantage of these (I hope).

What I would love to see change is for more people to sign up for our Pinnacle newsletter! If we announce anything—for example to switch from Kickstarter to another platform—it’s the easiest way to get the word out. We only send an email once a week, and that digest format seems to work best for most people.

5 Are you currently working on something? Can you tell us about it?

Yep. Not really. ;) Most of what I do is keep tabs on the truly creative people around here. Creative people need an organized person and the processes in place to make their creativity shine. I try to do that for PEG.

6 If you could buy any franchise/IP and make it a Savage Setting, what would it be? Tell us about the franchise and the game you’d make.

Funny you should ask! One of the trends in RPGs is a “duet” game for couples: one GM, one player. This is easy in Savage Worlds, and Clint and I have been gaming this way for the past couple years. We even game while driving to conventions!

Our latest duet game takes “Nick and Nora” from Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man book and movie series (1934), where we’ve translated them into characters in Deadlands: the Weird West. I don’t think we need a Thin Man licensed setting, but it would be cool to see special Setting Rules released for duet gaming. Maybe someday Clint will get around to writing some of these ideas down. But basically our game works because my character has Curious and Heroic, and is able to get Nick and Nora into trouble even the GM doesn’t see coming!

7 Let’s see how good you really are as a role player. Now you are a Hollywood screenwriter, and you must write a short email to convince Mr. Warner Bros to produce a movie based on a Pinnacle adventure or setting. Which would it be? Go. [Please also consider doing this for real as soon as possible]

LOL. Isn’t this Q&A long enough? Seriously, though, we have contacts in the industry. Shane handles that. I only get involved when it’s a done deal. :)

8 Family games. Any experience or tips you want to share?

I love promoting games for the whole family! I’ve seen how games can bring together families for over 20 years now, inside my own experience as a mother and professionally. I’ve written a chapter on starting a game club in the Savage Worlds World Builder and Game Master’s Guide, which was actually cut in half of all the tips I had accumulated. Instead of filling up this space, I’d rather talk in person or on a panel about the topic. Here are few tips off the top of my head--things that seem relevant to the quarantine status many of us find ourselves in:

Let kids talk. Treat them with respect (Adults speak for kids TOO MUCH).

Play their games. Don’t always insist they play *your* games. If their games bend the rules, let them.

Games are but one point of interaction with other people; the benefit of a game is there are rules. If you’re trying to reach out to a stubborn teen or rebellious toddler, offer them a choice of two games. They may open up in other areas too. 

9 Talking about Savage Worlds, you are quite the authority. Which are your top three Pinnacle settings? What about licensee settings?

Oh goodness, how can I choose between my children? I always love the one occupying my time the most at the time. Right now that’s Deadlands: the Weird West, Rifts® for Savage Worlds, and always Necessary Evil (necessarily). For our licensed programs (including the Fan license, Media Content Network, Aces, and Savage Worlds Adventurer’s Guild) right now I’m in love with Battle for Oz: Pirates, streamers like SavingThrow and CFTRPG (using Rippers to play Ravenloft!), and daily there’s something cool to check out at the SWAG portal on DriveThru. And there are releases I get to hear about from our translator licensees, which aren’t released in English but sound so cool! There’s so much to keep track of. And I really love it all.


10 You are a woman in the tabletop game industry. That used to be very unusual until some time ago, but it’s becoming more and more common (thank God!). RPGs still seem to be a male hobby, for the most (hurry up, God, and change that too!). What’s your take on this? Have you got any suggestions for women who would like to get into the tabletop games industry?

Great question! I would love to see more representation by minorities in the professional game industry, but it’s not enough just to hire people for their skin or gender—they need to be good at what we’re hiring them for, too. Title VII already makes it illegal to discriminate in any facet of employment. Neither are we looking for “perfect people” who don’t exist. Everyone has room to grow + skills to offer. All employers are looking for are more of the skills and less of the need for coaching.

So my main recommendation to ANYONE, regardless of background, is to BE GOOD at what you do, and don’t be afraid to specialize.

If you’re looking for a job in marketing that means a presence on pretty much all the socials we’re on, and a clean profile which shows you’re in touch with gamer interests. Want to be a writer? Write well and not just often—letting your words pour forth like a fountain—but concisely! Edit yourself before publishing anything, be it a tweet, blog, or a One Sheet. If you’re trying your hand at game design for our system, the SWAG program will let you test your skills and get feedback from the amazing Savage Worlds community. In Savage Worlds, if the rule is not simultaneously Fast, Furious (Exciting), and Fun, then it’s probably not right yet.

Finally, go where the people are. If you want to be known to the PEG team, for example, participate in the Savage Worlds Facebook Group because that’s where most of our staff like to hang out. When conventions happen again, introduce yourself and play with us.

Old fashioned networking isn’t about “who you know” it’s who knows you and that they know what you can do for them. That’s not the good old boys network. I learned that in college from my sorority (technically we’re a fraternity of women and they introduced me to DnD). :)

11 I know, they were supposed to be 10, but I have one more question before we say goodbye. Please point us to a song you think we should listen to.

Just one?! I want to let people know about choral composers like Dan Forrest and Ola Gjeilo!

Not all choral music is “sacred,” but that is what I love about it. I experience a connection to the divine when I sing or hear it performed especially well, and that’s something I hope everyone finds for themselves, at some point in their life. I welcome conversations about faith, and my faith does not judge. :)

Here is a secular choral piece I’m working on with the Hickory Choral Society currently. Our concert is October 25, 2020, and I hope people will join my watch party.

This is Undivided by Karen Marrolli. Even if choral music isn’t your thing, check out these amazing-touching-timely lyrics:

When darkness drops an anchor

In the fearful oceans of our minds,

And when the world is preaching rancor,

I can choose to be kind.

And maybe more will find the quiet rivers, Where we'll lift a peaceful melody,

And undivided we will stand,

Stand together, hand in hand.

And when hatred shatters silence,

And each one clings to each one's will,

And when the world bows down to violence, I can refuse to kill.

And maybe more will join in sweet resistance, Singing chords in gentle harmony,

And undivided we will stand,

Stand together, hand in hand.

And when anger breeds division,

We can choose to stand side by side,

And when the world exalts derision,

We can choose to lift each other high.

And maybe then we'll join in one big chorus; Singing songs of peace and unity,

And undivided we will stand,

Stand together, hand in hand.

This is a brand new piece, so for now, here’s the virtual choir soundtrack with score:

Thank you Jodi! Bye!!

Monday, September 7, 2020

KS Watch! The Majestic Fantasy RPG

 The Majestic Fantasy RPG crowdfunding project is in this final hours!

TMFRPG is an old school ruleset, largely compatible with the early editions of Dungeons and Dragons.

What's cool about it? I won't tell you about the many little differences and adjustments this particular system offers because you can read about it on Robert Conley's blog.

I will tell you my completely personal take on it. Rob has been into the hobby for 40 years, and has been running an OSR blog for ages. He's authored a lot of gaming supplements, with a true indie spirit.

A blog I love, one of the blogs that got me back into RPGs after a long hiatus, and that made me fall in love with the OSR. The ethic of the die and random table, the real sandbox play, these are values I've learned from his blog.

His ruleset currently on Kickstarter is the system he's been using for years, and I think it is the kind of experience any OSR enthusiast should be delighted to delve into, and a lesson into the "there is no holy text of rules, the game is there for you to enjoy it and make it your own".

It is also a crowdfunding with a true indie spirit, with no flashy art, but true gaming value. Check it before it ends!

Saturday, September 5, 2020

KS Watch! For Coin and Blood Second Edition

 For Coin and Blood Second Edition is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

The project has already been funded, and the campaign goal achieved, with almost 600 backers and still four days before the campaign ends.

Immagine del progetto per For Coin & Blood: Second Edition

So what is it? For Coin and Blood is a grim old school fantasy game designed by Alan Bahr (with several contributions by other authors) where tropes are turned upside down as players take on the roles of the bad guys. The really BAD guys. Cutthroats, cult leaders, assassins, necromancers, and so on. You get to play the villains, in short!

Seriously, these are the classes available: Assassin, Blackguard, Cutpurse, Diabolist, Executioner, Knight, Machiavellian, Magus, Priest, Sellsword, and Witch Hunter.

The game features a solid old school ruleset, with a few modern mechanics. Most rules are the type you may expect in any BX/OE retro-clone: no skill list, just six core attributes, for example. But there's also room for an Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic, and things like class-based melee damage. And since the game is about villains, characters have an Infamy score, and there are rules for gangs and organizations.

This is a second edition as the game has been expanded and streamlined, with extra options and better editing, and more art, and the crowdfunding campaign's only goal is to make an offset print run, so this you won't find the usual, endless lists of backer options, stretch goals, and add-ons. 

I've had the opportunity of reading the pdf before release (because yes, the game is ready and the funds are only needed for the print run) and I must admit I find the rules intriguing and, strangely enough, fresh.

The book is a complete game so it also includes spells, monsters, and magic items. These I found particularly delightful, with wonders such as the Belt of Oppression, the Blade of Hero's Bane and the Rod of Rebellion.

The final section is The Port of Perchoir du Corbeau, a 15 pages city setting written by the well known freelance writer Darren W. Pearce!

Friday, September 4, 2020

KS Watch! New Bristol: A Campaign Setting for your Supers

New Bristol is a superhero setting currently campaigning on kickstarter.
It will be available in two versions: one for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition version and another using the Endless Realms rules engine.

The project is lead by Andrew J Lucas, freelance author and game designer with several contributions under his belt, and involves a solid group of writers and artists.

So what is it about? New Bristol is a city setting and a campaign. Here's a bit from the KS page that really intrigued me:

And here's a nice piece of art from the KS page, captioned "The Valiant Captain Daring":

So... I'm a curious person. I contacted Andrew and asked for something cool to show here, which hadn't been revealed elsewhere. and this is what I got!

Nessuna descrizione disponibile.

A cool piece of art by Akira Luca, portraying "The Metranome", an alien probe which serves the setting's main villain Baron Faustus.

And I was also allowed to share the current (because the stretch goals might boost it quite a bit) Table of Content! If you're curious what a Triceratops Rex looks like, check it on the KS page!

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