Boss Monster: Past, Present, and Future

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Yesterday was International Siblings Day, today is Tabletop Day, and Monday will be the launch of our next Kickstarter. So this feels like the perfect time for Brotherwise Games to reflect on the past and look toward the future.

A Brief History of Boss Monster

As most of our players know, Boss Monster owes its existence to Kickstarter. We designed Boss Monster as a game we would like to play, and put it on Kickstarter because we got a kick out of the idea that other people would play a game we created. We set our original goal — $12,000 — a few thousand dollars below the absolute rock-bottom cost for a minimum print run with Panda Game Manufacturing. We figured it was worth losing some money if we could get our game into the world.

Fast-forward to the end of our campaign, when we’d blown away that goal and realized Boss Monster could be more than a hobby. While most of the funds we raised during the initial campaign went to covering production and fulfillment costs for nearly 5,000 copies of the game, we had enough to keep working on more Boss Monster. We released Tools of Hero-Kind in early 2014 without an additional Kickstarter, and funded new print runs of the original using the money we made selling the game through game stores around the world.

Boss Monster has continued to pleasantly surprise us, and has become one of the best-selling titles in specialty game stores. We’ve been lucky enough to become one of the “gateway games” for the hobby, with a theme and game style that makes it approachable to new tabletop gamers. Along the way, we’ve sold enough copies of our first two releases to justify a full 160-card sequel. After two years of design, we’re ready to release Boss Monster 2: The Next Level.

Back to Kickstarter

We will be returning to Kickstarter for Boss Monster 2, and a few people have asked us why. After all, most people agree that Kickstarter is at its best for garage projects like the original Boss Monster. But we have a few reasons for one more round of crowdfunding:

It’s fun. Many of our players missed out on our original Kickstarter campaign.Ever since then, we’ve heard people asking when we would have another campaign with cool extras for supporters. We appreciate the idea that people want to support us directly, and running a successful Kickstarter is a feel-good experience for everyone involved.

It lets us do cool stuff. While we could pull off a vanilla edition of Boss Monster 2 without crowdfunding, a Kickstarter will allow us to make The Next Level as cool as we want it to be. A successful Kickstarter will allow us to print a Limited Edition with an awesome box sleeve and holofoil Boss cards. It will allow us to create a Collector Box for sleeved cards, and to get a sense of how much interest people have in that kind of “accessory” release. Our campaign will also have some neat stretch goals dependent on how much we manage to raise.

It spreads the word. There’s nothing like a Kickstarter to drive buzz for a new game. Unless you’re a major publisher like Wizards of the Coast, it’s very hard to pull of a big “release day” in friendly local game stores. Copies of Boss Monster 2 will ship to distributors, then to independent stores, which means they’ll pop up on store shelves over the course of a couple of weeks. A Kickstarter gives us a big event to let everyone know a new version is coming, and reaches people who have never heard of Boss Monster. During our Kickstarter for the Boss Monster app, we saw a big increase in sales of the physical game at stores, and we expect this campaign to also reach new players.

It’s practical. While Boss Monster has been a success, we are still a totally independent family business, run by two people who are also juggling busy day jobs. Printing thousands of copies of a game is always a risk, and a Kickstarter helps us print with confidence while giving us a sense of how much interest there is for a new set.

All that said, we expect only a small fraction of Boss Monster 2 players will pick it up on Kickstarter. We’re only running our campaign for 15 days and we will ship to distributors right after we ship to our backers. We’ll be doing a lot to spread the word as the game reaches stores, and our business is based on making our games a hit for game store owners. Assuming a successful Kickstarter, the Collector Box will hit retailers this Fall and the Paper & Pixels Pack will make a great stocking stuffer this Winter.

What’s Next?

Boss Monster has enough momentum that we hope to keep supporting and expanding the game for years to come. We have a long pipeline of ideas, but don’t want to flood stores with too many releases and want to make sure anything we release is carefully playtested.

More importantly, we are eager to publish entirely new games! We have several projects in development and look forward to releasing more games that bring a wide range of players to the table. It’s too early to make announcements on any of these, but expect more tidbits at Gen Con and beyond.

Thanks to all of you who have made Brotherwise Games a reality by buying our games, supporting our campaigns, and spreading the word. Happy Tabletop Day, and happy hero hunting!