A Conversation with Galliant Games, Publisher of 5Pax Casual Dice Games | Casual Game Revolution

A Conversation with Galliant Games, Publisher of 5Pax Casual Dice Games: Page 2 of 2

5Pax game box

CGR: As a fan of microgames and dice games myself, this campaign strikes a chord with me. How did you come up with these games, and how long have they been in development?

Dennis: We've had the concept for 5Pax for a long time, but development went pretty quickly because the games are so small. I'm a little nerdy (don't tell anyone), and I had an idea for a set of 8 hexadecimal dice that I wanted to produce. The idea was simple: make these 16-sided dice in the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBV) plus one black and one white die. Everyone knows how to put them in color order. So you could easily generate some very large random numbers. This is the sort of thing that gets me excited. I don't know why. Anyway, I was concerned that a Kickstarter for hex dice labeled 0-9 and A-F on their sides wouldn't have mass appeal, or generate enough interest. So, I asked Jonathan to come up with 1 or 2 ideas for little games that we could include as extras with my set of amazing dice.

Jon came up with a couple of ideas pretty quickly, but it didn't take long to realize that the games would have wider appeal if we just used D6's. So I gave up on my dream for multi-colored hex dice, at least temporarily, and set it aside for 5Pax. Jon and I came up with several more ideas before passing the torch to Ben to pick up where we started. I'd say we came up with the idea and a few concepts last year, and Ben picked up on the project maybe 6 or 7 months ago to iron out the mechanics and finish most of the initial offering. Game development and playtesting occurred in a series of sprints, where we developed and tested a few games in parallel each time. Then we'd go back and re-hash the original concepts to make them better. After all of that was done, we added some solo and multi-player variations too.

5Pax players

CGR: Do you have a favorite that stands out from the rest? Why?

Dennis: It really depends on my mood. If I feel like exercising my brain muscles then I'll probably go for a game of Football. But if I just want to clear my head between major decisions, then a round of Bowling is always fun because I can just stack and bash stuff for a few minutes before returning to whatever I was doing previously.

CGR: Launching and marketing a new game publishing company is no easy task in this competitive market. As a relatively new publisher, have you learned any lessons you would like to share?

Dennis: This is no easy task, and we're still learning. I come from an extensive online marketing background, and I can tell you that crowdfunding on Kickstarter beats me up. You can expect that running a Kickstarter campaign is a full-time job, in addition to whatever you do to pay the bills, and there are no guarantees. But, I like to experiment, and so I'm having fun with each and every project. One thing to keep in mind is that you can't be afraid to fail. I've been very lucky in that my first two campaigns were funded.

I believe that 5Pax presents a unique challenge to a new publisher like Galliant Games. Despite our lack of experience in this industry, our last game, Scrapyard Empire, had some amazing artwork. So, aside from not yet having a history of producing fun games consistently, there was no doubt that it looked beautiful, and I think that helped us tremendously. With our current project, the artwork is fun and simple, because that's the whole concept behind 5Pax. So now we have to woo people with our track record of delivering on what we've promised in the past, and we have to hope for that to be enough to drive the campaign, in addition to the ongoing marketing and advertising.

Another thing I'll share is that doing a deck of cards as our first project was absolutely the right move. There are certain rules to how playing cards should be designed, and people will either love or hate your artwork. There are no mechanics to worry about, replay value, or that sort of thing – it’s all about the artwork. In doing a deck of cards, any new project creator will learn a great deal about the production process, marketing, community management and the whole Kickstarter ecosystem. Doing a deck of cards eliminates a lot of variables that you find with developing a game, and is a great training ground for bigger projects. But don't get me wrong — that deck of cards took so much out of my team and me. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it sure was worth it.

CGR: Do you have any future games in the pipeline that you can tell us about?

Dennis: We do have a few others in the pipeline, but I'm not ready to announce everything yet. For starters, we already have several other games that have been developed for 5Pax, and are hoping to release some as stretch goals if we get funded. The rest will be curated into an expansion pack so that we can hit our goal of 25 total games using the same components. Outside of 5Pax, we have a really cool deck-builder that's been developed. We've just started the artwork for it and in a few weeks I might bring it to the surface after it gets closer to being a marketable product. Other than that, one other big project we're picking away at is a worker placement game, and we're exploring a few ideas for expansions to Scrapyard Empire.

CGR: Thank you for your insights and best of luck with your campaign!

Thanks Chris, this was a lot of fun and I appreciate the coverage! Casual Game Revolution is awesome and we're glad to be included! Anyone who wants to keep up with our progress can visit our website, follow us on Twitter (@GalliantGames), or like us on Facebook. There's even a free print-and-play of 5Pax available on BoardGameGeek.

5Pax is now seeking funding on Kickstarter from now until October 2, 2014. If you like what you see, be sure to check it out.