By Lindsey Chastain
Tabletop games have had a drastic rise in popularity over the last few years as people look for forms of entertainment that do not involve screen time. According to NPD Group Inc., U.S. sales of board games in 2017 were $1.1 billion, up 7 percent from the previous year. Many of these new games are made possible through crowdfunding sources like Kickstarter.
Skiatook resident Billy Miller, along with his brother, Jonny Hinkle, is now among the ranks of those with a successful Kickstarter campaign for a new board game. The duo started IION Games and developed Battle for the Universe in 2017. The Kickstarter wasn’t funded and as the two brainstormed to rework the game, Goblin King is Angry was born.
“The premise, turning a tower defense game on its head, started out as a bit of joke, but before we knew it the game had rules and a theme and six pages of world building,” Miller said.
“We ended up altering Battle for the Universe significantly before relaunching it as the Convergents for a third attempt at Kickstarter. While that Kickstarter was running we went to a BGGCon in Dallas to get more eyes on our game and The Goblin King is Angry went along with us.,” Miller said. “We were trying to focus on Convergents, to push the Kickstarter we were in the middle of but everyone wanted to talk about the Goblin King is Angry. So, we got home from BGGCon, failed our third Kickstarter and we started pouring all our time and energy into The Goblin King is Angry!”
Designing board games wasn’t something Miller ever thought he would be doing.
“I think ten years ago if you would have told me I’d be designing and publishing board games, I might have laughed at the idea. I have a degree in computer science and Jonny has two, one in computer animation and another in sequential art. The idea to develop Battle for the Universe came from both of us working in comics and loving competitive card games. From there we fell in love with game design and now we’re trying to make a career of it,” he said.
Goblin King is Angry is brilliant in its simplicity. It appeals to a wide variety of age groups from children to adults. It’s a game that is perfect for family game night, but also more serious gamers. It is intended for fantasy fans who love books about hobbits and wizards.
“All too often in fantasy settings goblins are a joke. They’re the dimwitted lackeys, disposable shock troops and in Dungeons and Dragons experience points with legs. A lot of first level adventurers have crushed entire cave systems of goblins just because they’re green and they stink! This game lets you get a little revenge for the years of cruelty the Goblins have experienced,” Miller said.
The game started as a list of ideas in 2017 and took about two years to develop with one year in serious development. The Kickstarter campaign had a $10,000 goal and is now funded with over $12,000 pledged in support of the game. Funds will be used to produce the game. You can still join in the campaign and be among the first to receive the game, expected in December 2020, as well as some extra goodies just for supporters, but visiting The Goblin King is Angry on Kickstarter.com.
“I think there’s this myth of the overnight success and because of that myth when someone fails they feel like they’re alone in that failure. You’re not alone! What’s going to make you a success isn’t avoiding failure, it’s learning from it,” Miller said.
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E-mail lindsey.chastain @skiatookjournal.com