A New Springboard for Board Games

As all you dear readers know by now, Dice Hate Me fully supports the efforts of fledgling and independent board and card game designers. After the recent series on notable Kickstarter projects and our last State of Games podcast all about how to succeed on that platform, it felt prudent to take a closer look at an up-and-coming alternative for raising funds: Springboard, from GameSalute.com. And, so, Dan Yarrington – the CEO of Game Salute – was kind enough to answer a few questions about the whole thing for the full Dice Hate Me treatment.

Before we get to Springboard, can you tell those who may not be familiar with Game Salute what you guys are all about, and how you came together?

Game Salute is dedicated to serving the tabletop games industry through providing information services and promotional tools to help make game businesses more fun and profitable. We work with game professionals including gaming media partners, retail stores, publishers, and game ambassadors worldwide. Members pledge to work together to provide better service and a brighter future for the entire game community.

Supporters of Game Salute proudly uphold to the following pledge:

“I pledge to do everything I can to help better enjoy, share, and promote specialty, tabletop, face-to-face, unplugged games as fun for one and fun for all.”

I serve as CEO for Game Salute and I’ve been in the industry since 1997, working in event coordination and retail store sales and management.

Our CTO, Russ Wakelin, has been involved in the industry since time immemorial (or so he claims), he founded DakkaDakka.com, owned the Dakka Dakka retail store, and currently hosts The D6 Generation.

We’re enthusiastic about making gaming better by providing the tools, services, and information the industry needs to thrive and grow.

Now, Springboard: the platform is similar to Kickstarter, but with a focus solely on analog games. What sets Springboard apart from Kickstarter? Why should fledgling developers come to Springboard with their projects over Kickstarter?

Springboard has a few big benefits over other crowd-funding options:

  • It allows stores to participate in supporting the game since customers can select Free Local Pickup from their favorite stores.
  • Also, stores themselves can pledge bundles and get special benefits including Launch Parties and other perks.
  • Springboard integrates with Game Salute’s Featured Fulfillment services. Featured Fulfillment handles all the logistics of bringing a game to market (receiving, warehousing, secure storage, picking, packing, shipping, tracking, active promotion to stores, etc).
  • Finally, we here at Game Salute help guide the titles that go into Springboard, filtering out a lot of the less professional projects that are not yet ready to go to market.
You mentioned that potential projects are vetted by those at Game Salute to filter out the projects that aren’t ready to go to market. What is the gaming background of you and others who vet projects?

We love games of all types – board games, card games, miniatures games, tabletop games, video games. We eat, live, and breathe games. We’re evaluating a game looking for good quality mechanics, solid components, and tons of other aspects that can make or break a game. We’re not so much interested in games that we love (there are so many different types of games and each person has their own favorite elements). We’re looking for games that can make for an awesome game.

Do you work with those publishers and designers that don’t make the cut to mold their products into a more marketable form?

We provide constructive feedback to publishers who do not qualify for Springboard. We’ll give them our frank, professional opinions on what they need to do in order to make their game more appealing and marketable.

Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to successful projects. What is Game Salute’s take on Springboard projects?

Since Springboard integrates with our other services including Featured Fulfillment, Game Salute only requires 2% to handle the processing of a Springboard campaign.

With Kickstarter’s success, do you think that Springboard’s entrance into the crowd-funding market might dilute possible backer funds between the two services?

I don’t believe so. We actually provide services for publishers that use Kickstarter as well, like Alien Frontiers and Eminent Domain. Springboard was designed to provide a more integrated, custom solution that better fits the games industry. Most projects will not qualify for Springboard, but those that do can gain better support from the entire industry. And when you support a Springboard campaign, you can rest assured the end result will be a quality product. I think that the number of projects may grow, but there will still be a relatively small minority that are worth the concerted attention of many individuals, including those select titles that are approved for Springboard campaigns.

Are there any notable potential projects in the pipeline for Springboard in the next month or so?

Our first Springboard project is Leprechaun’s Castle by True to Life Games. Leprechaun’s Castle is an awesome board game about chasing leprechauns around Ireland across rainbow roads in search of pots o’ gold and magical shamrocks! This light-hearted game is for 2-6 players that plays in 20-60 minutes and combines tile placement, card drafting, and set collection. And it includes wooden shamrocks and Meeple-Chauns!

[As for other projects] we have several submissions we’re considering at present, but we do not disclose titles that have been evaluated and did not make the cut. We do not plan to have a ton of games up on Springboard at the start, since we want to feature only the highest quality projects.

Besides backing projects on Springboard, what can the boardgaming community do to ensure the success of this platform?

In addition to pledging to support for Springboard campaigns, you can also encourage your favorite stores to get involved. Have them visit GameSalute.com and sign up as a Game Salute Select Store using the Select Store Sign-Up Form. This will provide local stores the option to offer Free Local Pickup locations for Game Salute Select Stores Exclusive and Springboard items as well! If you have a store to recommend, you can email us through GameSalute.com or call our offices as well.

Thanks to Dan Yarrington for taking the time for an interview. Dan has sent a preview copy of Leprechaun’s Castle to us in order to take a closer look, so watch Dice Hate Me for our impressions, coming soon. For more details about Springboard and Leprechaun’s Castle visit www.GameSalute.com/Springboard

Related posts:

  1. The State of Games, Episode 9 – The One About Getting Kickstarted
  2. Inside the Big Top: An Interview with Artipia Games
  3. Kickstarter Profiles, Part 1: Dark Horse
  4. The State of Games, Episode 3 – The One About the Death and Life of Monopoly
  5. The State of Games, Episode 6 – The One About Alf
Comments
4 Responses to “A New Springboard for Board Games”
  1. Franklin says:

    I love and play all kinds of boardgames with my friends, and I’m very excited to see a site that will help more games get to market. Leprechaun’s Castle looks fun, and I’ve already put some coin towards it’s future!

  2. Marc Specter says:

    I just checked out Springboard. At the risk of being negative, I have to say that this venue has a long way to go before it rivals Kickstarter. Where I found Kickstarter to be very intuitive to navigate, I found Springboard to be more difficult. I had to search for the pledge levels and benefits, and with Kickstarter, they are just right there. Philosophically, I totally get what Springboard is trying to do. However, in the interview, one of the key points was that they were going to vet projects that were not yet ready for market. I think that the website itself is not yet ready to compete with the Kickstarter web experience. That said, I will keep an eye out for the projects that appear here and hopefully the website can keep up with its lofty goals.

  3. Thank you for the feedback, Marc. We’re always looking for ways to improve the interface for Springboard, so we appreciate your input! Once you clicked the Pledge links on the main page at http://www.GameSalute.com/Leprechaun , did you find the interface where you can pledge to be easy enough to navigate? We had previously had the Pledge level information all on that main page, but had separated it in response to suggestions that it was too cluttered.

    - Dan Yarrington
    CEO, Game Salute

  4. Checkout the new layout at http://www.GameSalute.com/Leprechaun

    Is this more what you had in mind?

    - Dan Yarrington
    CEO, Game Salute

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