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Space Goat Productions: Bringing franchises to the tabletop



A board game is already hard enough to create, you have all the ideas but getting them down and turning it into a working, interesting and fun game is difficult. Imagine having a world-renowned franchise thrown into the mix as well!

My other hobby is video games and most games based on a well-known franchise turn out to be rubbish. This is down to the licence holders being the main decision makers and at any point they can take away the creative control if they don’t like the direction you are going in.

The latest DC movies have been accused of limited success due to this very reason. With all the potential hiccups making things difficult, the reward of getting it right can be such a big achievement. Imagine turning your favourite film franchise into the hobby you love! Money aside, that alone would be enough for people to try.

Space Goat Productions

One company that tried to do this very thing are Space Goat Productions - the name alone is enough to make you like these guys! They had an idea to bring the Evil Dead franchise to life in the form of a board game. If you think about it, the number of fans that this movie has is enough to sell the game and make a profit, but board gaming was going through a changing time and if they thought it would be easy they were mistaken.

Using Kickstarter as the platform to get the game shown to the masses was a master stroke. The fans of the film and people who liked the ideas they had dreamt up could back it and then help shape the ideas into a working game. As my other article explains, Kickstarter and the backers, if used correctly, are a good way of refining the project and getting it to market in a more ‘tested’ state.

When I spoke to Space Goat they had this to say about the experiences they learnt from the Evil Dead 2 Kickstarter:

“We learned so much from the Evil Dead 2 Kickstarter. We learned about how passionate backers are, and the valuable input they have. With backer feedback, we could make a much cooler game. We learned a lot (and are still learning!) about the Kickstarter community and what sort of things they expect and enjoy. Then finally we learned just how awesome Evil Dead and horror fans in general are, and we couldn’t be happier making cool stuff for them.”

Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2 had a rather large goal of $70,000 however it managed to rake in over ten times that at a whopping $722,622. This goes to show what a positive effect a franchise can have. Without the license behind it, would it of made that much? I doubt it.

The game itself was sold as a table top experience that Evil Dead 2 fans have been dying for. It featured miniatures with art depicting the characters from the film. A game for 2-6 players, who must work together to collect pages of the Ex-Mortis whilst trying to survive demon attacks and events. After such a successful Kickstarter the main question on everyone’s lips is would they be able to do it again?

If they would do anything different would have been my question here but they have just wrapped up another successful KS campaign using another loved film franchise, The Terminator, so asking them about this seemed appropriate.

Evil Dead 2

The Terminator

The Terminator game’s headline on the KS page, an asymmetrical strategy game played across two boards based off of the iconic 1984 James Cameron film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, goes to show how much trust Space Goat have in this game selling itself.

A higher target to reach until it successfully funded $120,000 and a much lower current amount pledged $196,411 (correct as of 11/3/2017) means another successful campaign looks very likely.

The game's miniatures look awesome, as does the premise of gameplay (see below for a description). I for one am very keen on trying this game out and the whole host of extras (the dice look cool) are a neat way of adding things to the game for the collectors out there.

The official description is as follows:

"The Terminator™: The Official Board Game is an asymmetrical strategy game for 2-5 players played across two boards: one in 1984 and one in 2029. One player takes control of all of Skynet’s forces: Hunter Killer machines, Terminator cyborgs, and more. The rest of the players take the role of the human resistance, struggling against the impossible odds of the machine uprising.

"Each of the two game boards play differently: 2029 focuses on light troop and resource management in a lopsided battle for dominance. 1984 focuses on personal missions with high stakes and intense pacing. Missions arise through the course of gameplay, and have players make decisions in 1984 that will affect the future, erasing and adding components in real time."

Space Goat's Key to Success

Some Kickstarter campaigns struggle to fund because of poor research, game design, art or even designers not listening to feedback. A few people have been critical towards Space Goat and think they've had it easy as game with a successful name behind it will fund no matter what.

This may be slightly true, but if a normal KS campaign can fail due to backers support, or lack of, then what chance did they have with the people holding the license thrown in to the mix. The fact Space Goat had two sets of people to please shows it’s amazing how they managed to fund both projects. I just had to ask them what was the key to their success.

They said: “I don’t know if we’re super successful, but there’s a few things we try to do to maximise success. Firstly we always believe in our products, we don’t make games that we wouldn’t buy ourselves. Secondly we always listen to our backer’s feedback, comments, and messages.

"While we can’t incorporate all the feedback we get, we always try and use as much as we can. While we aren’t the biggest company, we try our best to always do these two things and that has helped us achieve the success we’ve had so far.”

To The Future

After talking to Space Goat about the future of their games they seem very level-headed and know they must complete both games before moving forward with any current ideas, but I am sure the success they have had will land them in good stead and when the new game hits KS ‘I’ll be back’-ing for sure.