Friday, November 16, 2012

Dice Rings Interview

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to be joined by the founders of CritSuccess, the company behind a fun new concept in dice, “Dice Rings.”  Thank you for joining us, Aaron and Sam.  

It looks like you guys have stumbled upon one of those products that resonates with a large number of folks.  With over 30 days to go you already have over 3,000 backers who have pledged over $100,000!  Did you ever think you would be this big a hit?  Is that why you came to Kickstarter and not a dice company or jewelry company?

Aaron has always been the optimistic one, while Sam has been more reserved about the project. Kickstarter has a huge community of tabletop gamers, and so we thought it would be the perfect place to test out the idea. This way, before investing any money into large quantities of ring styles that may not even be popular, we can build up money and discover which rings are in demand from the beginning. That’s priceless. 

Honestly this product seems to sell itself, but your video just adds extra layers of goofy fun to the process.  Who’s idea was the video?  

We all came up with different elements during one of our underground brainstorming sessions in the Crit-Cave. The jokes and ideas grew as we talked it out, and even more during shooting, based off of the script written by our Marketing Director. We have even more video ideas that we’d like to produce to spark more interest in our product.

After seeing you making the product it seems so obvious.  Spinner Ring + Dice = Win.  Though obvious in retrospect it isn’t obvious ahead of time. Who came up with the idea and how did it come about?

Sam and Aaron were driving, and Sam started playing with his spinner ring while we were talking about gaming. Aaron saw him fidgeting, and said, “How awesome would it be to have a d20 wrapped around the ring, so when you spin it it’s like rolling dice”. At that very moment, an angel descended from the dome light of the car and said, “Let there be Dice Rings!” Sam loved it, but thought it was just one of those off the hip ideas that no one really expects to go anywhere. But a couple months after that, Aaron showed him renderings of many of the dice that are currently in the project, and Sam and Aaron joined forces that night. Aaron didn’t even know that Kickstarter existed until Sam suggested it as a possible avenue to get the Dice Rings started.

(Laughs) There’s another video right there! How hard are these to manufacture?  How long a delay from end of campaign to on my finger are we looking at?

We should be able to get them to our backers in Feb, just like we promised. Since we won’t know specific orders details until after the order needs to be placed, we are going to send out a survey to get general statistics and place an order with a lot of cushion to cover what the real orders may or may not contain. This simply means we will make sure our backers come first!

By blowing away your initial goal how complicated has your post-campaign planning become?  

No, it hasn’t been complicated at all. Thanks to our backers, who haven’t been shy about throwing out awesome suggestions, we have an ample supply of ideas for stretch goals. Currently, we are working on adding half sizes, a life counter ring, and various possible new styles such as the r24, r30, 3r6, and the coveted Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock ring. The hardest part is making sure the budget covers each new addition, and the we are not thinning out the quality of our rewards with new goals that people don’t really have a demand for.

So what is the long term goal of Dice Rings?  Do you plan to get Wil Wheaton to wear them on Big Bang Theory or something?  

Dice Rings is the first product brought to you by the company Sam and Aaron founded, CritSuccess. So far we are living up to our name. We have a few more gaming-centric ideas we would love to bust out.

I don’t know if “plan to” is the right phrase. I mean, we could set up an elaborate ring catapult tripwire on some frequently visited trail. But instead of risking a lost eye, we would rather just give him a freebie in exchange for a shout out if he ever expressed interest. Though now we might have a mysteriously large amount of Wil Wheatons contacting us for Dice Rings. Seriously, though, anyone from the cast of Big Bang Theory or The Guild contacting us for Dice Rings would be awesome. We love those shows. The Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock ring idea was embraced mainly because of Big Bang Theory.

Aren’t dice rings even easier to cheat with than dice since all it takes is a minor squeeze to slow down the spin?  

Maybe if you’re The Flash. If players want to cheat, they’ll cheat, dice or no dice. There needs to be some integrity in your players for any random number generator to work. If you want a fair outcome from our rings, just give it a good initial spin and let it come to rest on its own. A DM can hear it spin, and a spin that lasts at least 2 seconds can’t really be fudged. Even if you slow it down, the numbers are distributed in such a way that you won’t be able to predetermine the outcome. You can stop a spinner ring on a specific number about as easily as you could make a 20 sided die land on a specific number off of a decent roll (not easy).

That’s good to hear! One of the keys of a successful Kickstarter project is backer participation.  How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

We try to involve our backers in deciding what will come next by using surveys sent out with the project updates. Their comments and messages are the biggest inspiration for where our project goes. For example, I never would have expected us to be making our rings in half-sizes, but that’s one of our priorities now.

We have been happy to participate in any interviews that people want to do with us. We are working on doing a halfway marker video letting people know how much their current support has meant to us and how it has shaped CritSuccess’s immediate future. Also, I want to put together some Dice Ring “commercials” to inspire interest during the second month of our project.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to help things along?

The word so far has been spread by our fans and by word of mouth. We go on podcasts and interview whenever they’re offered, but we haven’t been aggressively seeking them out. We have a Facebook page and Twitter hashtag that spreads updates, and we have been mentioned on quite a few great table top gaming sites as well as

Do you have any tips/advice you would give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Do it! Don’t hesitate. You never know what will become a huge success. That’s what Kickstarter is for. If more people use it, more great ideas will see the light of day.

Also, make your video fun! People will see how you feel in your video. If you’re enthusiastic and care about your idea, they will too.

One more thing. An animal doing something cute in the video seems to really light people up, too [thank you to our guest star, Cricket the Cat].

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Steel yourself for adventure!

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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