Fire and Flora: A seriously fun card game ... FOR SCIENCE! project video thumbnail
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$4,778 pledged of $23,000 goal
By Tim Handley
$4,778 pledged of $23,000 goal

Twenty-eight hours to go

Or, looking at things the other way, that's thirty days down. I don't know what your last thirty days have been like, but mine have been cray-zee. And that's not the half of it, as this campaign was really just the tip of the iceberg.

For the first year and a half, Fire and Flora was a part-time project. I printed up drafts on an office printer, cut the cards myself, and did playtesting with friends and family. When the design matured, I recruited some teachers, and drove out to eight different classrooms, where I ultimately tested the game with over a hundred very different kids. One of those visits was neutral, but the other seven were clear wins, where a good time was had by all. 

About that same time, I left my job with the National Park Service to be a full-time game designer and developer. YOLO - right?

That was seven months ago. Being self-employed meant that I could devote my full attention to creating a business, and turning quality ideas into reality. With the additional time, I redoubled my design and playtesting efforts, and began working on outreach, collateral, and my second game (TBA).

I began reaching out to respected voices - teachers, scientists, parents, and bloggers. My goal was to build a foundation for a successful Kickstarter campaign by recruiting ambassadors to spread the word about this project. 

I also began brainstorming for collateral materials: poster designs, t-shirt designs, and video scripts. In this, I was fortunate to have help from three skillful groups. Matt Lieberman, who did most of the poster design; Mark 3, who created the Fire and Flora title logo; and VISCOM, who polished the poster design, revised the card layouts, and created the campaign video.

All that came together just about a month ago, when I launched this campaign. In the first few days, my social circle chipped in to create a seed of support, and helped to spread word of the project among my extended social network. In the following days, several bloggers spoke up in support, as did a number of folks that I'd reached out to during my months of playtesting and outreach. With the addition of these outside voices, total strangers began to take note, joined the campaign, and thereby showed their support for this vision of games as a means towards a better world. Awesome. I am thoroughly grateful and encouraged.

With just a little over a day left in the campaign, there's still a long ways to go. There are several examples of folks who have launched game-type Kickstarter campaigns, and found themselves in similarly daunting situations. Some of them chose to cancel the campaign, take a few months to reorganize, and try again. Most of those people had outside funding sources that allowed them to delay and retool. It happens that my personal finances are such that I can't afford to retool and try again. This here campaign is the only opportunity that we will have to finish and publish Fire and Flora, at least for the foreseeable future. 

Given that we've only got one shot at this, it's important to go the distance. Win or lose, I want to make sure we've got no regrets.

Please keep your fingers crossed, and keep spreading the word. Come Friday morn, we'll see where we've ended up. On Friday evening, I'll send out another update. I'll give you more details about future plans for Fire and Flora, and tell you more about some of my other ideas. I'm excited to move forward with both school and with games, and work towards a better world through play.


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