Alyce Cannot Believe This Fruit

Peach and Blueberry I told Alyce to look at the fruit as if they had just said something incredibly offensive, and this is the fantastic face she gave me. Alyce made the fruit that she is holding there, nicknamed Happy Blueberry and Angry Peach. They remain in my possession. I plan on taking them out someday to wander around the city having the kind of adventures only knitted fruit can have. I have already done this with Angry Peach, but I’m sure that having Happy Blueberry will add a whole other level to the affair.

Next month, I’ll be launching my Kickstarter for Shelter in Place, and I’m very excited, and a little nervous. I want the Kickstarter to be a success so that Shelter in Place can do well. I have been going to panels about Kickstarter, listening to talks about Kickstarter, and looking at successful campains to try to figure out what makes a successful Kickstarter, all the while understanding that the success plan of previous projects may not be the plan that would make Shelter in Place a success.

From my research, it seems that successful Kickstarters have certain things in common. Of course, these appear to be like ingredients to a cake – not every cake has flour, but many of them do. A flourless cake can be delicious, as can a cake without butter, but it’s an ingredient people use. Your recipe may differ, but it’s good to know about the existence of flour, and what it does in a cake, even if you choose not to use it.

1. Reputation:

The creator, publisher, artist or collective has a reputation in their community. This can be a reputation for making great stuff, having great ideas, organizing events, or even just being a good person. Having another person vouch for your ability to do stuff helps create a sense of trust that what you are promising will actually happen.


Shelter in Place has this in that of the six people who have worked on this project, four of them have run successful Kickstarters and put out professionally made games. Though I have not put out a game before, I’m known for finishing stuff, from book covers to fiction, so I have a certain reputation with those things. However, this is my first game, so that is somewhat shaky ground. I am being published by Galileo Games, which has a reputation for beautifully made, excellent games, so on this one, I am relying quite a bit on their reputation for producing quality materials.

2. A Fanbase:

This might sound a lot like “reputation” but it isn’t. Having a reputation is about the history of what you’ve done, having a fanbase is having a group that likes that thing. It’s helpful if the creator, publisher, artist, collective or even just the KIND OF PROJECT being produced has some kind of pre-exisiting fanbase. This fanbase could be small or large. This existing audience doesn’t have to be attached to the creator, it could just be attached to the idea – perhaps your town has a lot of swingdancers, but no place to meet to swingdance – your project to get that space could get their support, even if they aren’t into you particularly.

This one is tricky. It’s difficult to  measure my fanbase. Certainly there are fans of Zombies and RPG fans, but I’m not sure how many fans I have of me. I know that there are people that follow my photography with interest, but this is not a photography project, it’s a Zombie game. What I am hoping here, is that I can appeal to people who like Zombies and games, and those people who want to play a zombie game to invest in this project.

Peach and Blueberry3. A Completed Project:

This is not to say that the Kickstarter itself is finished (though it helps if it is, or is halfway finished, or just needs some final element  – color for illustrations, an orchestra to play at the opening of the show, etc) but it does help the audience to know that something has been make. It can even been helpful just to know that the creator has, in the past, produced a completed piece of work. Something they can show and point to as an example of what the audience can expect.

This Shelter in Place has in the bag! We have already put out a very small run of special edition hardbacks. The book is complete, laid out, art in, playtested, and ready to run out into the world.

4. Attractive Rewards:

Rewards need to be attractive to the audience it’s aimed at, and usually rewards that are physical are more attractive than electronic rewards. It helps to have a range of reward levels. It seems that physical rewards – a USB, DVD, book or painting is attractive – something to hold in your hands.

I am working up some special awards for Shelter in Place. I have a t-shirt design, which I gave out to folks who came to the Thursday game of Shelter in Place at GenCon, adorable plushies of Fred, the little Zombie who stars in the book, and, of course, the chance to get your hands on the actual book!

I am totally open to reward options here. If anyone has ideas of something they would pay money to get from me, I am totally open to your thoughts.

5. A decent video/picture/description:

Something to catch the attention of the viewer and something to motivate people to show it around – even as just a great example of a good video!

I am not a video maker. I do have some nice video of Zombies chasing me around, but it is going to take some time to put together a video I can be proud of that can really sell the book. I want to make sure that my video lets my potential supporters know what Shelter in Place is, and why it’s worth their money.

About Shelter in Place

Galileo Games

4 thoughts on “Alyce Cannot Believe This Fruit

  1. For #5: Since you are a superb photographer, why not have a slideshow? You could intersperse zombie video for effect.

    #4: Ideas for rewards:
    – Signed Zombie photo.
    – Portrait of you as a zombie.
    – Shelter in Place comes to you/your office.

  2. Those are great ideas, Joe, thanks! I think a photo slideshow would be a good way to do a video. I do have lots of photos.

    I really like all of your reward ideas. I think I’ll have to pitch them to my publisher. The last of is my favorite – I guess the trick is, how to price point that one. I mean, traveling anywhere in driving distance is easy – traveling to California, however, might be more expensive.

    Great ideas though! I’m going to have to make them happen.

  3. Well, you could have three tiers of Shelter In Your Place:

    ‘Regional’ (~400 Miles from Philly) .
    For that you get some aggregation of the lower level rewards, and JR to supervise for the day. You supply the place, the cast, and the zombies.

    ‘Continental US’
    Same as Regional, but JR flies in a day early, runs through the game, and the next day you play while JR takes pictures.

    ‘Anywhere in the World – we bring the zombies’ as The Top Reward.
    Some outrageous sum that would allow you and a cast of hand-picked ‘expert zombies’ to descend on a place. You a few days ahead, to do a run through of the game with the participants, with the game happening ‘unexpectedly’ a few days later. You’d take pics and have a videographer along as well.

  4. I really like those ideas Joe! That last one is something I would just love to do. It would have to be a high price though, if I were bringing a troop of Zombies! Man, that would be fun though. Super fun.

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