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ZineQuest Meet the Publisher: Gaming Ballistic

Douglas Cole, the owner of Gaming Ballistic, is wrapping up crowdfunding for Old School Solo Adventures, a collection of four adventures written for OSE and designed for solo gameplay.

Question: Give us the elevator pitch for your project.

Answer: Four solo adventures for Old-School Essentials, covering level 2 through level lots. Each one is a choose-your-own-adventure style branching paragraph adventure with multiple paths to victory and defeat.

Q. Have you run any crowdfunding campaigns in the past? If so, can you talk about what you've learned and what you may be doing differently this time around?

A. This is my 16th crowdfunding campaign; 15 on Kickstarter proper, one that went straight to Backerkit even before they were rolling out their crowdfunding function. The biggest things I've learned have been on the execution side, in terms of product readiness, shipping and logistics, and the like. The "hot newness" for my particular project this time is really around a reach into the Old-School Essentials/OSR market, or reach back really, since my first few projects were also in that space.

I could probably go on for a while about how I approach crowdfunding, though I still can't give the seminar on "how to deal with a break-away success," which I hope to one day do! Even so, I plan conservatively using lots of spreadsheets, keep my plans updated through the course of the campaign, and make sure I pay myself as well as my collaborators when I set goals. I don't favor stretch goals if I can avoid them, but I've used them often enough and I will again. I like shorter campaigns, but also see the utility in straddling a month's end and beginning to allow for folks paydays. International shipping is still horrible but I have found some limited ways around that. Communication and outreach are key, and always will be. I try and be very open with where the company, the project, and my games are going (especially with shipping and such), and try and make my plans such that deadlines are "the latest you can expect the game." Mostly I'm on time or early over 16 projects, so it's worked out OK.

Q. Tell us something that excites you about your project.

A. The cool thing about this project is the branching-path solo format. It really allows a new player to learn and experience the game at their own pace according to their own learning styles. Based on the number of "starter set" pledges, this seems to have some appeal. But you can also use them for limited-prep game sessions, especially if you know the rules and want to give new players, both to OSE but even roleplaying in general, a taste of it. You can hand out a pregen, and have at it, and the branching path format removes "choice/decision paralysis and lets the table experience the types of things you'll see in a full campaign without all the overhead.

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