Can you introduce yourself and your company to those who might not know?
Hi my name is Jack Darwid from Indonesia. JackD Games is not really a ‘company’, it’s just me and my board game hobby, with help from my friends and families. You can find my games (including some free print and play games) here.
Your games often pack a lot of game play in a tiny package. How do you develop these games? Is the small game design a design principle of yours?
As I’m sure is the case with with other gamers, we have limited shelf space. So I’m always annoyed when a cool board game box has a lot of air inside – because that means my shelf has a lot empty air, instead of real board game components 😛
I always love compact games (that’s why I was really thrilled by Love Letter, WOW!). That’s why I always try to design with A.C.A.P. – As Compact As Possible – in mind. When I can remove some components, making games more and more compact, I always feel satisfied.
Less is more! 😀
Your game Goblins vs. Zombies is from a theme perspective very similar to the popular PC game Plants vs. Zombies. Did the creators of that game ever contact you because of GvZ?
I designed the game when my family and I were having a big crush with PvZ in 2013. I had the urge to make a fun card/board game version, just for fun. After a lot of hard work, I showed it in BGG, and it was taken down quickly with a warning from PvZ publisher.
I sent an email to them and wanted to show them my game, but they didn’t want to.
Then I met a friend who is very good with art (look at those lovely Goblins and Zombies!), and Kickstarter was on the rise at that time, so I thought it will be an exciting adventure to try!
(So yes, GvZ is inspired by PvZ but if you play the game, you will see that GvZ is not PvZ.)
Can you tell us a bit about the board game scene in Indonesia?
When I was a kid, all I knew was Monopoly, Snakes and Ladder (Ular Tangga in Bahasa Indonesia), and maybe checkers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered BGG back in 2003 – it’s like finding a treasure chest!
As far as I know, only a few publishers have the courage to publish board games here because the market is very tiny, and not many people only Monopoly or Snakes & Ladders. I can still remember my mother in law gave me the ‘you play with children’s toys?’ look when I told her that my hobby was board games 😀
In the last 2 or 3 years, though, there have been many new board game publishers. Now, about a dozen new board games are released here every year (I don’t have the data, but that’s my guess), and there are new board game libraries/cafes in some cities.
Are board games on the rise in Indonesia? I hope so.
You used Kickstarter to finance most of your games. How is your experience with this platform and would you use it again?
After publishing free print & play games, I tried to self publish Adventure of D in 2010. It was well received and sold out now (a new version is in the works, and will be released by a US publisher in the future).
The I tried Kickstarter for Goblins vs Zombies. It’s an exciting but exhausting adventure at the same time. If you want to have a successful KS a lot – no, a LOT – of work is needed.
With all that work, I wasn’t sure about doing it again. However, I returned to Kickstarter in 2015 for Soccer 17 since I thought a 17-cards-soccer-themed game would have a small, niche market and fit perfectly for KS. The game got funded in the last few days (phew!) and will have a Brazilian edition soon.
In the future? I don’t know. Many times I’ve been about to KS a game, but I just take a deep breath and say ‘let’s rethink this’ 😀
What would be your advice for someone who wants to start a board game publishing company?
Board game designing: if you’re doing it for the love of board game, do it! It will be hard work, but when you see your name on the box, it’s priceless! Just be ready for haters, since not everyone will like your game.
If you’re doing it just for the money… stop right now before you are disappointed 😀
Board game publishing: since I haven’t really doing the ‘publishing’ part (only KS and after that I put it in my website with almost no marketing), I can’t comment much…
I guess that would be the usual business stuff, and I don’t want to do a lot of marketing here. I just prefer designing.
Any new games on the horizon?
I design board games for a hobby, and finishing a game really takes a lot of time and energy. I have some projects in the works and one, or maybe two, are in the final playtesting process.
I enjoy the process, and don’t know when/if those games will be ready. Just enjoy the ride!