Today we are joined by Will Stateczny of Topwise Games to discuss his recently Kickstarter-funded game Monkeys Need Love Too. In the interest of full disclosure I did back this Kickstarter.
You mention in your Kickstarter video that games like Munchkin and Killer Bunnies inspired you to make Monkeys Need Love Too. What made you choose the theme?
If I remember right (it’s been 7 years since MNLT was first created), I believe it was just purely from my imagination. A lot of the times my best ideas come when I’m not even thinking about them. I like to think of myself as a very creative and imaginative person.
How did you get connected with artist Rick Menard(artist for Monkeys Need Love Too)?
I actually found Rick Menard on a website called Freelanced.com. It’s a site where you submit a job, people with those trade skills offer their services for the job, and you then choose who you’d like to work with. Rick was one of about 25 illustrators/artists who submitted their services. I visited his website and found his previous illustrations to be right in line with what I had envisioned in my head.
What was the Kickstarter process like for you?
I would say it was a grind. The only reason I say that was that I had to work the entire length of the campaign to get every single backer. I unfortunately didn’t have the luxury of getting my name out via conventions as most game companies do before firing off their Kickstarter. So because of that, I was up late almost every night working social media and searching for new avenues of advertising and backer acquisition.
Will you use it again?
I will definitely use Kickstarter again, but I plan on building up my company’s name a little better before I do so I have a somewhat easier campaign next go around.
I think my hopes for Monkeys Need Love Too, or any game that I plan to put out for that matter, will always be the same. I would love for it to be that one that just takes off like wildfire and gains popularity at an exponential rate. I got word from a lot of people at the last convention I attended, including the convention manager, that they heard nothing but good things from those that had visited the booth. That gives me great encouragement that I’m doing something right.
I know you don’t want to reveal to much about your next project, A Bad Day For Donuts, but it looks like it will be a board game…? What made you want to do a board game instead of another card game?
I didn’t want to limit myself to just one type of game. When you limit yourself, you reduce your potential customer base. As of now, the only common theme that all our games will have is that they are intended to make you laugh, whether it be by the flavor text, the artwork, or just how the game is played. Aside from that, I don’t plan on restricting myself to one specific type of game.
Where did you come up with the name “Topwise” and what are your hopes for Topwise Games?
Topwise comes from growing up watching the Simpsons. Most Simpson fans will know exactly what I’m talking about and where the reference comes from. My hopes for Topwise Games are to become a self-sustainable gaming company. Right now my day job is a great one and it pays the bills, but I’m a gamer at heart and would love to both design and sell games full time while also having more free time to spend with my family and get a good night’s rest each night.
Other than Munchkin and Killer Bunnies, what games inspire you?
Fluxx has been a good one lately. What The Food?!? is actually a fan favorite right now in my household. Carcassonne is one that my wife and I like to play together. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The range of games is actually quite large. My friends and I are avid MTG and D&D gamers when we can get together. I’ve also built my own crokinole board to play on and plan on making a carrom board and wall-mounted chess board before the year is over. You have to have a wide range of games to play if you want to create games yourself. And it’s not only just about what games you play, but also about the variety of people you play with. You can play a game a hundred times with one person and then learn something completely new as soon as a new player sits down.
What do you think makes a good game?
In my opinion, the main component to a good game is if everyone walks away happy. If you’ve achieved that goal, you’ve got a winner. You’ve also got to keep the game flowing. I have many friends who can’t stay focused on a game if they aren’t constantly involved. It was a lot easier to stay focused when everyone didn’t have a smartphone that they needed to check every 10 seconds. That’s why I’m not a big fan of playing games where you’re constantly having to reference something in the rulebook. It just slows down the pace of the game.
What do you look for in a gaming experience?
Again I’m looking for a game where I can walk away happy, whether it be by winning the game or by having a good time with the people I’m playing with.
What games are you playing right now and what games are you excited about?
I’m currently playing my game (of course), What The Food!?!, Magic, D&D, Tichu, and a few others on a regular basis. I’ve got about 10 kickstarter games that I’m backing that are still live, and another 24 that have successfully funded that I can’t wait to play. One of the live ones that I’m psyched about is Dumpster Brawl by my good friend Dave Killingsworth. I got to play this one night up at WaCon and it was a pretty cool game.
If you were a monkey, what kind of monkey would you be?
I would probably be one of the super tiny monkeys that you can get as a house pet. They always amuse me when I see them at the zoo and they seem very entertaining when you see them on tv. Plus you never know exactly what they’re thinking. I think I possess that similar trait.
The Kickstarter for Monkeys Need Love Too is over, but you can preorder your own copy at http://www.topwisegames.com/online-store/by