NottaPizza: A Game for Young Children and their Families.
NottaPizza: AMAZING FUN FOR EVERYONE! Cooperative or competitive game for the very young and their families.
NottaPizza: A Game for Young Children and their Families.
NottaPizza: AMAZING FUN FOR EVERYONE! Cooperative or competitive game for the very young and their families.
NOTTAPIZZA IS AMAZING FUN FOR EVERYONE
"Nottapizza is the best game I've played with my kids in a long time. We were all impressed by its versatility and the fact that we could play it in so many different ways. I think it's the only board game I've ever played that allows my kids to blow off steam so effectively. After playing it, they were mellow and relaxed and I was, too! "
"I can't believe this! What's going on in this car? If you don't start making some noise I'm going to pull this car over! It's not natural for kids to be so quiet. Do you understand me? Now make some noise" That was a common statement in our car when my children were young. Not surprisingly, they would shout and scream --- and laugh. The laughter is what I really wanted to hear. It meant they were happy!
An early version of the story about the little blue engine that could had a big engine that helped the little engine learn how to get up the mountain. My belief is; that version of the story is a better story than the "try harder story." Too often I see unhappy people who can't try any harder and still won't make it up their own personal mountains.
Two versions of the game NottaPizza are provided. One is cooperative. The players are trying to beat the game. By cooperative I mean that players can help each other. It's a team effort. Children need to know how to function on a team. Children need to know how to rely on other team members. Further, it's good to help children, children need help, they're children!
When my daughter and son were three and four we played a simple matching game. They were good at it but they got bored easily. We would play for two or three minutes. Additionally, I didn't enjoy the game at all.
NottaPizza can be played by the very young for up to thirty minutes and they don't get bored. Its designed to be played by two to six players and is very simple. Interestingly, the adults playing with the children have said that they enjoy it too. Did I mention that it's amazing fun for everyone?
Play is the work of young children. Through play children learn. Structured play with understandable rules let children learn how to implement direction. The key word here is learn. Let me ask you a question. If structured play is really fun, does that make learning really fun? I think it does! That belief forms the basis of the serious side of the game I call NottaPizza.
Sometimes, when my children were young, we would go places that required us to wait. I would say "Okay, small walk" and they would walk with a smaller than usual gait. Then I might say "big walk" and they would switch to extra large steps. "Tall step" and "sway walk" were other options. The step they liked the best was "silly walk!" They would flail their arms and legs as they moved about the available space. Other people, both adults and children, would see us and frequently chuckle and sometimes join in. Once again my children would be smiling. They were happy. In my mind it's good when children smile and are happy.
There were other things my children enjoyed. They really liked a television show with a dinosaur. One day, before they were able to talk clearly, the tune from that show's introduction was unmistakably being mumbled by the two of them. They were at peace, and singing. That meant they were happy and content. In my mind it's good when children are happy and content.
I took a note. The designers of that matching game had passed on a real opportunity. That matching game could really have been something if it incorporated some action and music. Alas:I had no capital to put a game together, no knowledge of the industry, and no time to work on a project. The note was destined for obscurity. I keep a lot of notes like this. But the ongoing experiences with my children grew my vision of the game. That game vision is now called NottaPizza. It's a game with music, silly walking, laughter, yelling, jumping and even tasty treats. It would be so cool if life were always fun but that's not what happens. Games are models. A scientific model has elements that match the environment being explored. NottaPizza is a slice of life. Sometimes in NottaPizza, a player might want to sing but instead is directed to jump up and down. In life we might want to sing but we have to go to the Social Security office and jump through hoops. Sometimes everyone is singing and at other times everything just gets mixed up. That's true in NottaPizza and in life. The direction of NottaPizza is governed by game disks hidden in containers and randomly placed on a game tray. The youngest goes first and picks a container. After opening the container the player reveals the play disk and performs the act depicted on the disk. In NottaPizza there is a goal. The goal is to get the container with the treat. But it's the stuff you do while trying to achieve the goal that provides the fun. You sing and shout and walk about in a silly way. Once a task is performed the disk is returned to the container and the container is returned to its original location on the tray. The play continues with the next player who draws a container of his choice and performs the task. Eventually a disk that affect the game play is found. This isn't a "How to play NottaPizza summary" so I'll leave some details to the directions. A bit more information won't hurt though. Not all game disks have fun things. Sometimes the players move to different seats and the players need to remember the location of the containers that have already been opened. As I mentioned, in the cooperative version, all players can help each other. A little well timed assistance can help everyone after changing positions. It's a spacial thing and the younger players often need assistance with this aspect of the game. Funny though, I've seen young players get it right and the adults get it wrong.
Sometimes, in life, we might want to do something but we have to wait. The same is true in NottaPizza. There are disk without and assigned tasks. Other times, in life, we have to move on before we do what we want. In NottaPizza there is a Stop Sign disk. If any player get the Stop Sign before someone gets the treat the game is over and there is no treat awarded. The players have lost; beat by the game. A player might not have gotten another disk they wanted. Maybe the player didn't get a chance to sing! Oh well that's life. Of course you can play again or everyone can have a treat or sing after the game. But no treat is awarded as part of that game. On the other hand, If the treat container is found, and the players are paying attention, each player, in order, can pick that container and enjoy. Once every player has had a treat an automatic rule is invoked. The containers are mixed and no one knows where the treat is. Maybe it can be found a second time. Did I mention that it's amazing fun for everyone?
I've elected to use line art and stick figures so why is there a stop sign? Accidents at stop signs cause loss of life and kazillion's of dollars of property damage. Perhaps, if children recognize the significance, shape, and color scheme of stop signs while they are very young, they will be less likely to get in accidents when they become drivers. Is that a stretch? Sure it is! But using a stop sign in the game cost near nothing and I can't imagine how it can hurt anything. Maybe this game will save a life. I'll never know, but the potential is enough for me. That's why I've used a stop sign.
The lessons of NottaPizza are:
- following directions can lead to fun and reward
- performing arts are fun
- music is good
- laughter can induce happiness
- you don't always get exactly what you want but what you do get can be good too
- sometimes you just have to wait
- You won't always win but trying is worth it and can be fun.
In my mind mutually enjoyed play time involving children and adults is good for both. From my not-really-scientific testing I can say that it appears as if everyone who plays this game enjoys it; even a fourteen-year-old. (I really didn't expect that!) NottaPizza won't make you the best parent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, grandparent, or caring adult. On the other hand, playing NottaPizza helps develop good relationships and that's entirely positive. I believe that playing NottaPizza is a step in the right direction!
What do I want? Why am I doing this? What is my strategic position?
- I want to help generate happiness in families and children.
- I want children to be emotionally healthy.
- I want children to want to learn.
I've designed NottaPizza to assist in achieving theses goals.
Earlier I mentioned the note I took many years ago. It was tucked away in a computer disk in a file I call my "Opportunity Register." As I mentioned, I thought it was destined for obscurity. But something else happened. I was being considered for a position with an early learning educational non-profit organization. The Executive Director, and a controlling number of board members, were considering moving the organization to my geographic region. I mentioned this game to the Executive Director during one of our meetings. He was looking for additional products to add his offerings. He has a PhD in education and he liked the the lessons within the game. Since I was out of my element I considered his endorsement to be positive sign of the value of the concept. He wanted me to resurrect the game and prototype it. I thought it might have a positive impact on families. That's a good thing! WOOT WOOT!, win win! So I began the work. After toiling on it for a bit I became concerned. The contract for my new position didn't arrive and I wasn't able to reach the Executive Director. I called a friendly board member and found out that the Executive Director was in the hospital and the nonprofit probably would not be moving due to the Executive Directors failing health. (Side note, I hate cancer!) Prototype in hand and proforma budget 85% developed I decided to move forward. Hence, here I am. I need art. I need marketing. I need to lock down the factory contracts according to international law. I need back-up suppliers, freight forwarders and /or freight agents and pick and pack fulfillment. I'd like better product testing and a pricing study. Although I'm experienced in product roll out I'm the product champion for this project. That makes my testing suspect. Most all of these needs can be covered by the minimum amount sought. I think of the minimum as being akin to hitting a single in a baseball game.
If, instead of resembling a baseball single, this project generates financing that would be considered a double, the game platform can be expanded. There are at least seven games that can be played on this platform. The pricing will drop due to reduced international trade cost and logistic scaling. Some of the game options are educational and some would involve older players. Still a double is a good hit and it should be worked. Of course, this at bat could also result in a triple. If that is the result the game will be expanded and my opportunity register will be reviewed for other children's products. I know they are in there. They will be brought to market and I'll be a businessman running a children's products company spending my days focusing on budgets, margins, operation plans, marketing and the well being of an accumulation of dedicated like minded employees. Of course at some point I'll consider selling if the right offer comes along, but it would have to be a good offer because I'd be happy working that type of business.
Dare to wish! A home run! I'll expand the game but not raid the opportunity register for additional products. Instead I'll knuckle down. There is an education project I want. It requires scientific research, STAR or SBIR or other grant money and a few years of development. Home run and I'm going for it. It won't fly with VC's because the system can't be protected under existing IP standards but it might positively affect literacy by multiple percentage points. I'll put my nose to the grindstone and my feet in the fire and make it happen. (note, it won't fly here either because it might best be structured as a non-profit and there really are no conceived rewards to offer that relate to the project. Lots of science is needed.)
Let's say this "at bat" is a grand slam; then what? Well that can't really happen because NottaPizza doesn't open a new category, but pretending it could, I think would I would aim for the same results as I would from the home run. Only I'd direct the action from a resort where I'd be sipping a highland single malt scotch. I'd hire someone else and put their nose to the grindstone and their feet in the fire. I'd chum with Bill and Melinda and drill some water wells in populated but arid locations. Perhaps Warren and I could talk equities, or put together an education foundation.
So that's the plan, in its short version.
NottaPizza: AMAZING FUN FOR EVERYONE!
Risks and challenges
I mentioned that I've been involved in product roll out. I worked as a senior executive for a manufacturing company that made near net parts primarily for companies in the automobile industry. We rolled out auto air conditioning parts to a Japanese automobile air conditioning manufacturing company. We rolled out specialty steering components to Ford for emergency vehicles, lifter bodies for GM, and parts for track lighting. I was also involved in the roll out of a new stretch die tooling system to the aircraft industry. That's all B to B and I've been involved in other similar roll outs in that arena. I've also been involved in the roll-out of time sensitive novelty items and children bath products. I was involved in the roll out of a new coffee machine to North America. In some cases I've led the effort in some I've been on a team and in some I've been an expert in narrower aspects of the projects.
I'm a lawyer and qualified as a high school science teacher. One summer when my children were little I became licensed as a day care provider so I could spend the summer with them. I know accounting and, in my mind, to know it is to hate doing it. Still I like the data that's generated and the security that proper controls provide. I've got more than a bit of knowledge about most components of marketing and economics.
I can bring on others as team members if I need them. One you might be interested in is an accountant.
For this project, at the minimum dollars sought, I can do the pick and pack myself. Should the orders go 20 fold I'll use a local fulfillment company and I'll need additional people working the back office. Adding others into the project is a risk point. Should funding go 50 fold I'll probably use a national company with regional fulfillment centers. That would significantly reduce the cost of shipping to the donors and the per unit freight to fulfillment center cost. That extra profit would result in a model change and me considering the project to be an extra base hit or perhaps a home run.
At the minimum financing goal the product should be able to have products liability insurance commencement with retail standards. I would prefer factories' payments to be in escrow or under L/C terms. At the minimum order sizes I'll likely be dealing with D/A, D/P and maybe TT terms. There are risks associated with these methods. Another risk point is with the freight agent. I am relying on a known agency to build the load from all suppliers. If the loads aren't built properly it could mean trouble at customs. The agency has been vetted and is of top quality. Realistically, because of the low quantities involved, and the cost of recovery, each shipment will be quite risky. That would not be the case if funding greatly exceeds the minimum sought. Freight from factories, pick and pack, and shipping from fulfillment to donors are some of the biggest cost and largest risk. This project is a teeny-tiny speck in the international trade arena. Should freight go a muck or should USPS increase too much the product will not be able to ship as currently planned All of the game components can be replaced by other suppliers. Switching suppliers could also result in economic infeasibility. In some cases the initial quotes were eight fold the current pro-forma pricing. Proforma prices are based on current quotes or proforma invoices but at least one will expire prior to the close of the Kickstarter funding round. The components, when received, might be out of specifications and we might need to re-order one or more components. I'm one guy and I could get crushed by a bus or otherwise decimated. I've got a passport and I could move to Argentina. (That's not going to happen though!) The banks could go under and take all the money. (that's much more likely than the Argentina thing.) We could be at war and the supply chain could be disrupted or the ships carrying components could be sunk and the insurance companies could be bankrupt. Congress could shut down the government. Someone could produce a similar game under a big label as a result of simultaneous development or a better product that plays the same way. An inferior similar product that is aggressively marketed could grab the market share but that's not an issue for the rewards. My point is, there are risks and I haven't even come close to listing them all out! If you donate you're betting on me.There are always obstacles. It's just a matter of avoiding the stop signs and finding the treats.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)