Author Archives: Pat

Tak: The Final Day, Final Questions, and Final Announcements

We’re in the final hours of the Tak Kickstarter.

As I write this, our total stands at a staggering $1,100,000, and we’re so close to 10,000 backers that I can taste it.

Thursday night(It tastes like sweat and peppermint, if you were wondering.)

Almost immediately after I posted up the Tak FAQ earlier this week, I started thinking of other questions I wish I’d answered. So I’m going to do those now.

  • How much time is left?

The kickstarter ends TODAY (Friday the 20th) at 8:00 PM PST. That’s 10:00 Central. Or 11:00 if you’re in New York.

So odds are there’s only hours left if you’re reading this.

Here’s a link if you’d like to jump over and back it right away.

  • AAAAHHHH!!! Some of us don’t have credit cards, and Kickstarter doesn’t take Paypal! I know I can buy the game later, but I want to buy it sooner. And some stuff is kickstarter exclusive, it sucks that I’m going to miss that!

Ah hell. I’m so sorry. I thought we’d already set something up to fix this. I’ve been doing a lot of things lately in addition to the kickstarter, and I’m guessing this is one of the things that slipped through the cracks.

Here’s what you can do. Email us at tak [@] thetinkerspacks.com. We’ll take your order as if you were part of the kickstarter, except we’ll let you pay with paypal. That way you can grab the kickstarter-exclusive stuff like Devi’s the double-sided Devi’s Board…

1a5e006cecaa06cf2593880636d5887a_original

…or the full-blown Devi’s box with the Bloodwood pieces. You’ll also be able to order the stuff that isn’t going to show up in game stores, like the cloth board, the travel set, the Arcanist’s board, Crazy Martin’s piece set, etc etc.

Does that sound fair?

  • How cool is it that you broke a million dollars?

I’m not going to lie. It’s pretty cool.

But the truth is, the thing I’m most excited about is how much people are enjoying the game. I’m excited because y’all are excited.

But it’s also fun to be number 1.

Screenshot_2016-05-19-20-31-27(Courtesy of Kicktraq)

  • Do you have any more stretch goals lined up?

First off, you can get the best, most detailed information about the stretch goals over in the kickstarter itself. A lot of them have been unlocked, and it’s really leveled up the content and quality of the hardcover companion book that’s part of most of the backer levels. There will be a lot of information about the culture that surrounds Tak. How it evolved through the history of Temerant, and how it’s played in different parts of the world.

But do we have any more big stretch goals we’re looking to spring on you right at the end? No. We really don’t. James and I decided early on that we didn’t want to constantly dangle carrots in front of you like that. We just wanted to make a good, quality game, and let you come in and buy it.

That said, once it became pretty clear we were going to hit $1,000,000, we decided to add some things to the Classic Set to let you know we appreciate you. A bit of a present to thank you for helping to get us here.

Some of the Bonuses:

1. Everyone who comes in at the Merchant level or Higher will get an extra, kickstarter-exclusive capstone.

Right now, we’re calling it the Royal Capstone. It will be from Renere, and it will be a different shape, shade, and possibly a different wood than the other capstones.

There will be more in the companion book about the culture surrounding capstones. But one of the big upshots is that what you pick for your capstone is a matter of personal pride. People have special capstones made, or they play a certain capstone to indicate a political orientation or show that they’re from a cerain culture. It’s not uncommon to collect them, or win/lose them when you’re playing a game.

And there’s no small amount of personal flair involved, too.

2. Something secret.

I’m not allowed to talk about yet because we haven’t worked out the details. But I’m hoping it will work out. And it will be cool. Just trust me. Seriously.

Edit: I just confirmed with James that we can do the Secret thing. And that thing is that we’ll be including rules for a Tak predecessor game that *I* came up with on my very own. It won’t be as elegant a game as Tak, but I’m honestly proud of how the gameplay works as a historical precursor to Tak.

So Yeah. We’re doing that thing.

3. We’re making the gameboard in the Classic Set double-sided.

This is more expensive as it requires extra printing costs and extra art. But we’re springing for it. One side will be the relatively simple tavern board, while the other will be more ornate, decorated with selas vines and flowers.

“But Pat!” I hear you cry. “How can you possibly have Selas flowers on the board? Aren’t they fictional? Haven’t people been asking you what they look like for years, only to receive frustrating and vague replies?”

Well, yes. All of that is true. I’ve tried to come up with a good representation of the Selas flower for years and failed for many reasons.

But that was before chatting with the fabulous Echo Chernik.

Selas(She did this.)

I want to say that she pulled this out of my head. But that’s giving me more credit than I deserve. I didn’t have anything this cool in my head. This is a perfect version of the selas that lives in my heart. I’m so happy to finally see it.

So. Yeah. Even though you didn’t know, the game you already backed just got cooler in a couple different ways.

  • EEEE! I don’t have the money to back the kickstarter right now! I don’t get paid for another week!

I’ve heard this from more than a few people. For some folks it’s the end of the semester. For others it’s just a tight time between paychecks.

But here’s a potential way around the problem. If you don’t have the money now, you can back the kickstarter at the $5 level. Then, in three weeks when the pledge manager comes out, you can add what you’d like to buy to your order.

Yes. Even the kickstarter exclusive things. Easy peasy.

  • Are you going to make an App for Tak?

Probably not.

We considered it. But creating a *good* app would cost a lot of money. And, generally speaking, people don’t pay for apps these days. That’s a bad combination. So we decided to just focus on making the game itself available.

What’s more, there’s such joy to be had sitting down and experiencing a game with another human being.

Don’t get me wrong. I love video games. I’ve played apps. They’re convenient and fun.

But they’re also solitary. I really want people to be able to sit down and enjoy this game with a friend. To talk and laugh. To feel the pieces in their hands and hear the sound of the pieces as they touch the board. To look at someone’s face.

It’s easy to forget it these days, but we are physical creatures. It is good for us to exist in the physical world sometimes. There is much joy to be had here, and that’s where I think this game really belongs.

*     *    *

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for coming on this ride with us.

Last chance to click over to the kickstarter before time runs out….

Be good to each other,

pat

Posted in cool things, FAQ, gaming | By Pat23 Responses

The Tak FAQ

Well folks, we’re in the home stretch of the Tak kickstarter. Since my last blog on the subject we’ve launched some new stuff, like a much-requested cloth board and the opportunity to buy Devi’s board separately from the boxed set, so that more people can afford to pick it up.

1a5e006cecaa06cf2593880636d5887a_original(Also available in the appropriately-named Gaelet’s Pack.)

As I write this, we’ve just topped $800,000 in the kickstarter. Almost 7,500 people have jumped in to play with us, and there’s only four days left for people who want to get in on the action. So if you know of anyone who might be interested, this would be the time to ping them.

Since we started the kickstarter, I’ve been fielding questions here in the comments of the blog and on twitter. But some of them have come up enough that it feels like we’re overdue for an FAQ.

  • So… I thought Tak was just a different name for Go.

Nope. Sorry. Different game.

  • Is this game accessible to the blind?

A little, but ultimately, not really.

When this question first came up, I thought we were pretty good. The pieces have different shapes, so you can tell them apart by touch. What’s more, the Arcanist’s board has grooves, so you can even feel the squares.

But then I looked into it, and saw what a game really needs to be usable by the blind. Among other things, it requires pieces that can’t be accidentally knocked over. And that would involve us prototyping some sort of pegged pieces and a pegged board to go with it. And there just isn’t enough time.

My suggestion? Maybe start a conversation in the Tak subreddit and see if someone has and idea about adapting the pieces. Or if you have a 3D printer, you could design and print your own pieces that are more blind-compatible. There’s a plethora of options.

  • Can I make my own set?

If we weren’t cool with that, we wouldn’t be encouraging people to do it as a stretch goal. We know if you play the game you’ll like it and probably want to pick up a copy. But to play it, you’re going to have to make up a set.

Luckily, you can throw a set together from almost anything:

ChL3heKVEAAFBdn(Like Post-its.)

And play almost anywhere:

ChmDkW-W0AAfrxG(Like the Great Wall of China.)

Some folks have gone really crazy making their own sets:

CiRg7EqXEAIsaFj(Like this one made of iron. I think of as the Anti-Faen set.)

And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, if you want to see a bunch more photos, you should check out the #Takgamephoto hashtag on twitter.

  • Can I make sets and then sell them?

Well… no. You shouldn’t do that. Because that’s kind-of a dick move.

Remember the kickstarter we’re running? Where we are… y’know, selling the game that we made? Selling something that belongs to someone else isn’t really a cool thing to do. Above and beyond the legality it’s just not respectful. James hammered this lovely, elegant game out of the pure awesome in his brain. And you know how he makes a living? Wait for it…. he sells games.

So yeah. Don’t do that. Kinda rude.

  • Why does it cost actual money to ship this thing? Don’t you have a magical teleporter to Europe?

Okay I know that’s not what you guys are actually saying, but the truth is, it kinda *sounds* like what you’re saying when you complain about how much international shipping costs.

I know it’s pricey. But please keep in mind that international shipping requires a box being carefully packed, then moved thousands of miles. This requires multiple planes and trucks. Multiple people. It is complicated and hard, and hard things cost money. I mean, there’s a *reason* spice used to cost so much, and it’s not just that the Fremen had a monopoly.

That said, we are sympathetic to your plight. And we were wondering if there was a way for multiple people to order games together and save on shipping. So we asked Carol, the true Mistress of Shipping Questions over at Cheapass, and here’s what she gave us.

I’ve fielded a few direct messages from people, and explained that all they need to do is back for one person (at even just the $5 level), and then do their add-ons through the pledge manager for up to another 10 games. That lets them see the exact postage as they go, and select the precise collection of products they want for their friend-group or buying club.

So there you go. Just team up with some friends and everyone saves money.

  • I have an idea for a rule change!

We’re pretty confident in the rules at this point. We wouldn’t have launched the game if we weren’t sure that the game was good.

  • I AM FROTHY WITH RAGE THAT YOU’RE MAKING THIS GAME AND NOT THE ONE I JUST INVENTED IN MY HEAD.

1. That is not a question.

2. I am happy you have a game in your head. You should make that game.

  • How can there be an Edema Ruh board or University board if Kvothe has never played before?

There’s a game I’ve played my whole life called euchre, and I’m guessing that 90% of you haven’t ever played it. Most of you have never played Go even though there’s probably group of devoted players in your nearby college or town. Ditto with bridge, or Sheepshead. Or any of  number of very common games.

Relax. Kvothe was only 12 when he lost his troupe, and he’s been kinda busy since then. Most importantly, not everyone experiences everything a culture has to offer.

  • I still don’t really understand how to play the game…

We have a video that will help with that.

  • How high do you think the kickstarter will go?

I honestly have no idea. Before we started, I was kinda hoping we’d get past $500K, but we passed that more than a week ago. I really don’t know where things are going to end up.

At this point, I’m just trying to be happy that so many people have been enjoying the game.

CiTPYTIUYAAJIhS

That said, I *have* been spending a lot of time over at Kicktraq. There’s a bunch of graphs and charts that juggle the kickstarter data over there, and I’m mildly addicted to it. Here’s a link if you’re the sort of person who likes graphs.

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment here on the blog, or drop them over on the kickstarter itself, where James and his crew will tackle them.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

P.S. And a final link to the Kickstarter, for those of you would like to go check it out directly.

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, FAQ, side projects | By Pat54 Responses

A Beautiful Game II: Kisses, Blood, and Lavender

So, for those of you who missed the first announcement I made on the blog a couple weeks ago, we’re a little more than halfway through the Tak Kickstarter.

TakFPBanner1

As I write this, nearly 6000 people have joined up with us to produce a game that previously existed only as shape and shadow in my head. Over the last couple weeks, we’ve raised more than $550,000, and that is strange and wonderful to me.

As the kickstarter gets bigger and bigger, we have more and more resources available to add and improve things. And as a result, there have been a lot of additions to the kickstarter over the last couple weeks. Too many for me to go over here, especially as they’re all covered in perfect detail in the updates on the kickstarter page itself.

But there are a few things that I’m especially excited about. Things that, much to my delight, make this beautiful game even more beautiful. I can’t help but show them off to you….

*     *    *

Let me tell you a true story. And yes, I know that all stories are true. But this story is a little extra true, because it really happened.

I’m in LA right now (typing this update in a hotel room). Earlier today, I met up with Clint Evans to hang out a bit and chat. At some point, the subject of Tak came up. I mentioned I had a prototype set in my bag, and before too long, we were playing a game in the hotel bar.

(Actual footage.)

At one point the waitress comes over to bring us some drinks. She asks what we’re doing. We say we’re playing a game. What’s it called? Tak.

Then she says, “It’s really beautiful. I mean aesthetically. I just like looking at it.”

And I beam like a proud father. “Thank you,” I said. “We worked really hard on that.”

Part of what made the game we were playing a little extra beautiful is the fact that I had a early prototype of the wooden board with me.

WoodBoard2(We’re calling it the Arcanist’s board.)

It’s a little silly how much I love this board. You might think it’s because it’s pretty. (And it *is* pretty) But for me the real appeal to it is how it *sounds.* When you put one of the wooden pieces down on the wooden board, it makes the most *marvelous* sound. It’s the auditory equivalent of being given a sharp, sweet, kiss.

I’m not saying the basic game isn’t lovely. It is. What’s more, the boards in the boxed game will have levels of graphic coolness in them this wooden board simply can’t match. I love them both for different reasons.

But seriously. The sound of wood on wood. It’s like being kissed.

*     *     *

Lastly, here’s something that we really weren’t sure we were going to be able to do at all until just a coupe weeks ago.

Devi's Box1A complete wooden collector’s set of the game. The cover/board is be two-sided, so you can play in whichever way you feel is the most beautiful….

Devi's Box2It’s made primarily of walnut and maple. I say primarily because that reddish wood you see in the diamonds and on the border of the board? That’s called bloodwood.

Also? One of the sets of pieces is made out of bloodwood.

Devi's Box3

Which is only appropriate. As this is Devi’s Tak set.

James and I have been trying to figure out a way to make a posh, all-wooden box set for a long while. Something you’d be proud to have on display. Something that was a joy to touch. But up until now, every prototype we saw was either shoddy, clunky, or would have ended up costing more than a thousand dollars…

But much to our delight, the folks from Wyrmwood came in and knocked it out of the park. This is the most attractive prototype I’ve seen so far, and while it is spendy, the lovely folks at Wyrmwood have worked with us so that we can make it available in the kickstarter for less than half of what some of our previous options were.

devi's box pieces(I’d never even heard of Bloodwood before. Isn’t it gorgeous?)

We’re still finalizing certain elements of the design, including the piece shapes and the capstones. This is mostly for me, because if we’re saying this is Devi’s set, I need to make sure all the details are perfect. But the folks at Wyrmwood have been amazing so far. (Hell, they’ve already figured out a way to make the set smell slightly of lavender.)

So yeah. This prototype is already amazing, and the finished version will be as perfect as I can make it. But because the clock is ticking on the kickstarter, James and I decided to pull the trigger on this set and make it available for people to buy sooner rather than later.

And part of the reason for that is:

  • Fair Warning: Devi’s set will only be available through the kickstarter. So if you want it, you’ll need to pick it up by during the campaign, or early on when finalizing your kickstarter order.

You can find more details about Devi’s set and other cool things over on the kickstarter page.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

Posted in Beautiful Games, cool news, cool things, gaming | By Pat36 Responses

Kubo and the Two Strings

Okay folks. I just needed to share this with you. I’m guessing a lot of you haven’t seen it yet.

It is not possible for me to be more excited about this movie than I already am. I couldn’t be more excited if they announced they were bringing Firefly back.

I love Laika (the studio making the movie). Nobody does what they do. It’s entirely stopmotion animation. They are absolutely insane, and I love them for the depth and breadth of their insanity.

I got to visit their studio last year, and got to see them doing work on this movie before they’d made an announcement about it. It’s going to be so good. Everything they do is so good.

Please watch it. Come be excited with me.

pat

Posted in cool things, geeking out | By Pat30 Responses

Tak: A Beautiful Game

Today we have some exciting news….

CgbaD78UYAAedhF

Here’s the short version: We’ve just launched the kickstarter for Tak.

If that’s enough for you, you can head right over here and check it out.

For the rest of you, a story….

    *     *     *

Long ago, James Ernest and I were working on the Pairs kickstarter, brainstorming new stretch goals we could add to the campaign.

“We could agree to make Tak at some point in the future,” James said. (Note, I’m paraphrasing here.)

I didn’t want to do that.

“How about a stretch goal where if we hit it, the two of us agree to work out the rules?” He asked.

I didn’t want to do that either.

“How about we agree to do a live google chat where we just talk about the game in general?” he said.

And I agreed that fine. FINE. We could do that. We could talk about it. And we did. It was okay.

Later, James told me he wanted to make Tak. He wanted to invent it. He wanted to build the whole thing from the ground up based on my descriptions from the book, and the unwritten stuff he knew I had hidden in my head.

Again, I said no.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Tak is supposed to be my world’s version of Chess or Go or Mancala,” I said. “I can’t ask you to make a game like that. It’s like saying, ‘you know those games that have stood the test of time for hundreds or thousands of years? The best games ever? Do that, but in my world.’ So first off, it’s unreasonable for me to ask. Secondly, you can’t do it. No one can. And thirdly, if you did somehow manage to pull if off, nobody would give a shit. We’re living in the golden age of board games right now. Nobody cares about strategy games like chess anymore.”

(If you haven’t already noticed, I can be a curmudgeonly fucker at times.)

“Just let me try,” James said. “Let me take a run at it. If you hate what I come up with, we’ll never speak of it again.”

So I told him, fine. Fine! Do it. Whatever. Jeez.

So he asked me a bunch of questions. Then he went off and made a game. Then he brought it to me….

Now you should know that I’m telling you this story so that you know where I was coming from on the subject of Tak. Simply said, I wasn’t eager to pursue it. I was the opposite of eager.

And it wasn’t because I don’t like James Ernest. James Ernest is fucking brilliant. I’ve been playing his games for twenty years. I loved Pairs and was delighted to incorporate it into my world….

Pairs_Faen_Card_Art_1024x1024(Actual footage.)

But I knew that Tak was a purely mythical game. And while James was great, I knew that nobody could just sit down and create a game on par with chess or Go. I was going to politely look at whatever he brought me, smile kindly, and try to let him down as gently as possible.

Then James brought me his game. And I played it.

And it was amazing.

I was stunned by the game. Stunned that anyone could make something like this. It’s more elegant than chess. It’s more enjoyable than Go.

I learned to play it in about five minutes and had a blast. More than a year later, the game is still unfurling for me like a flower, as I understand more and more about the play of it.

It is, in brief, a beautiful game.

*    *     *

TakFPBanner1

(Is that enough gushing? If so, here’s a link to the kickstarter.)

*     *     *

For a while now, I’ve been working with James on the production of the game.

If you’ve ever bought anything from our online store, you know I’m obsessively careful about merchandise. I never want to sell you anything I’m not proud of. This is doubly true with Tak. It’s such a lovely game, the last thing I wanted was for it to be some crappy thing made out of pasteboard and plastic.

So we’re using wood pieces, even though it’s harder. And we’re getting everything ethically sourced, because that’s important. And we’re getting as much of the work done here in the US as possible, because while it’s tons cheaper to get things done in China… well… I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you why it’s nice that your friends and neighbors have jobs….

I’m really pleased with what we have here. I’m excited for you guys to play it. I want to show you how it fits into my world.

(Have I mentioned the kickstarter is over here?)

*     *     *

I’ll be honest with y’all. The first couple days of a kickstarter are really important. If we have a strong start with a bunch of backers, it’s a hundred times easier to run a successful campaign. And here’s the key, the more successful we are, the more raw awesome we’ll be able to pour into the game and the book we’re making.

Did I mention the companion book yet? We’re doing a book, too. It will talk about strategy, delve into the history of Tak, and explain in some detail the difference between courtly Tak and Tak as it’s played among… rougher elements of society.

If the campaign takes off, we’ll be able to add more stuff to the kickstarter, too. More levels. A high-end set with metal pieces and a wooden board. Custom capstone pieces. Maybe alternate boards. Maybe even stone pieces. If we get enough interest, cool things like that will be forthcoming.

With that in mind, if you’re interested in this, please consider jumping on board early. As I’ve said, these first couple days really shape the performance of the kickstarter. Most importantly, if you sign up now, you’ll get our updates when we *do* to roll out some of the new coolness. So if you’re hoping to grab one of the specialty sets, signing up now is the easiest way for you to stay in the loop. That way you’ll be the first to know when they come out.

So… yeah. That’s all. There’s a lot more information on the kickstarter. I’ll let you read it there.

If you have any burning questions that aren’t answered over there. You can ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to either find answers for you. Barring that, we will at the very least create some amusing lies to ease the sting of your not-knowing.

And, one final time, the link.

pat

Posted in cool news, gaming, geeking out | By Pat88 Responses

Question Bedtime – Mornings Come and Go

It’s really not surprising that I’m a fan of M.C. Frontalot. We run in the same circles after all. We have a lot of the same friends, go to the same conventions…. I think we’ve even performed in the same shows a couple of different times.

What *is* surprising is how long it took for me to become a fan. I’ve known about him for ages, seen him perform, sat next to him at signings….

But here’s the thing. You can know someone, know about their work, and even enjoy their work without being a fan. For me, being a fan isn’t the same as just occasionally buying, listening to, or liking someone’s art.

The line between being a fan and a guy-who-enjoys-your-art can be blurry. But I know I’ve crossed that line when I feel compelled to spread the art around. For example, I regularly buy copies of Peter S. Beagle’s Last Unicorn to have handy when I want to give it away to people. That’s not something I do for every book I just enjoy.

This is what pushed me firmly into the fan camp for Frontalot:

MC_Frontalot_-_Question_BedtimeIt’s hard for me to express in words how much I adore this CD.

You know when you love something like a TV show and a new episode comes out? And you’re excited because you get more of that thing you love?

Finding this CD wasn’t like that for me. At all.

Listening to this CD was like finding something I loved that I never even knew I wanted before. It’s like it filled a hole in my soul I never knew existed.

It’s a collection of songs that retell classic folk stories. From the familiar little red riding hood to the delightfully obscure  Wakjąkága.

Do I even need to tell you how delighted I was to be listening to this collection of folktales and run into one that I didn’t even know? Do you know how rare that is for me? But here I am, already enjoying twelve colours of awesome out of these songs, grooving along, and suddenly *bam* Wakjąkága. Eating his own butt. And I’m like, what? Seriously? Did you just out-obscure me mythologically? While rapping? 

Okay. I gotta calm down a little.

Last year at a convention, I go up to Frontalot and gush to such an extent that I’m probably lucky he didn’t signal security. Later on, he asks me if I’d be interested in helping him spread the word about the album by helping him debut one of the videos he made for it.

Which brings us to today.

The Song is Mornings Come and Go.

Watch it. Watch it ten times.

Here’s some words from brilliant, crazy brain of Frontalot himself:

I drew mostly from a Norwegian fairy tale called The Mastermaid, which I had been enamored of when I was little, reading it in my mom’s large illustrated copy of Idries Shah’s World  Tales. I think this text is identical to the one he used: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/norway120.html

I also pulled details (the tasks that the ogre assigns to the boy, the magic obstacles the maid throws down while escaping) from other countries’ versions of the story, including Nix Naught Nothing and Lady Feather Flight.

The Norwegian version has three acts: the boy protected the maid in the house of the beast, the obstacle flight, and the forgotten fiance, all of which come, I think, from even earlier folk tale traditions (forgotten fiance even figures into Hindu myths of Rama and Sita). I end the song at the very beginning of act III to emphasize what a terrible cad the ostensible hero of the story is.

The video is by Cheyenne Picardo. She decided that the story matches up well with the John Hughes movie Some Kind of Wonderful, with Stoltz as the boy, Thompson as the ogre, and Masterson as the mastermaid. Then she re-cast that as an OKCupid nightmare with local NY personalities: Bob the Drag Queen (officially announced to be on the upcoming season of Ru Paul’s Drag  Race, though appearing out of drag here), Hye Yun Park (star of “Hey Yun“), and Melissa Roth (NY stage actress). The big rotating kiss scene is a shot-for-shot from SKoW.

So… there’s a lot going on! You can explore that as deeply or as shallowly as you like.

The other videos from Question Bedtime were:

And all my other official music videos are in this playlist.

So there you go. I’ve been waiting to gush about this album for *months* now. But I had to wait until the video was done.

If you’d like a copy of the album for your very own, and you like supporting artists who make awesome things, you can buy it on Bandcamp or iTunes.

Myself, I’ve already bought six or seven copies. One for each car I drive (yes, I still use real CD’s) and others to give away as presents.

Share and enjoy everyone,

pat

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, music | By Pat40 Responses

Worldbuilders 2015: The Wrap Up

As some of you can guess by the fact that I’m posting blogs again, I’m mostly recovered from our big end-of-year fundraiser, followed by the holidays. What’s more, the Worldbuilders team has recently finished shipping out the last of this year’s prizes.

One of the things we do when we’re wrapping up the yearly fundraiser, is look back over the previous year. We look at our numbers, sift through data, we assess our current projects and think about where we’re going to focus our attentions in the future. (More about this later.)

This is oddly dangerous ground for me. Because, the truth is, every year before we launch our big End of Year fundraiser, I worry about Worldbuilders.

You see, I always want Worldbuilders to be better than the year before. I want us to be bigger, raising more money, working with more people, doing new and exciting things. I want us to continue growing and being a force for good in the world.

But on the other hand, I know the key to happiness is reasonable expectations. 2014 was our first million-dollar year. It’ a level of success that would’ve seemed unattainable to me a couple years ago. So for me to demand we do even *better* than that… it seems somehow arrogant, if not just downright silly.

The problem is my brain. For me, it’s a short step from this:

Two Million Dollars sketch1

To this:

Two Million Dollars sketch2

This is a constant dance I do mentally, I want the charity to be awesome, but I also want to be emotionally healthy. What’s more, I want to be a good boss, and reasonable expectations are a huge part of that. How awful would it be if we ran a fundraiser, made a million dollars, and felt like we’d failed?

The truth is, Worldbuilders raised a million dollars in 2014. And if we never, ever got bigger than that, we would still be an awesome charity.

That said, in 2015 we *did* raise more than two million dollars.

worldbuilder(1)(Which is kinda awesome.)

This is counting the our mid-season Geeks Doing Good campaign on Indiegogo. And our completely-impromptu fundraiser for the Syrian Refugees. We had a huge outpouring of support from the community that caused both of those to be delightful successes.

So, let’s look at some graphs. Because as much as I love the words, sometimes it’s easier to grok this stuff graphically.

WorldbuildersPlusMatching

 

That’s almost a mind-numbing amount of money. Because of it, villages will get clean and reliable water for the first time. There will be a ton of fruit trees planted, to increase air quality and provide healthy food. Parents will be able to feed their kids milk and eggs. Families will be able to generate income that will give them control over their own lives, letting them have better homes, education for their children, and a brighter future.

This also shows very visibly that y’all are willing to come along with us to support other worthwhile causes like helping with the Syrian refugees.

But that’s not the only cool thing going on. Check this out.

PieChart_DonorPercentage

This is a really cool piece of data for me. It means people who donated $60 or less made up 22% of our total for our big End of Year fundraiser.

Every year I hear people say, “I was only able to give $20….” as if they felt guilty about it. As if they weren’t *really* helping.

So check out that graph. That proves what I say every year. There really aren’t any small donations. And it’s by working together that we are mighty. If you’re one of the folks who helped out with 20 or 30 bucks, I want you to know that together with your brethren and sistren, it added up to a huge piece of money.

Individual-Donors_Final

There were 3,824 new donors this year who have never participated in Worldbuilders before. Considering we had 7100 unique donors, that’s a RIDICULOUS number of new donors. More than half of you stepped up and participated even though you’d never done so before.

Unique Donors_Final

Across all fundraisers, we had almost 14,000 unique donors. We are growing every year thanks to you guys. This was the first year we shipped prizes in January. We also finished shipping prizes last week, which is by far the fastest we’ve gotten prizes out.

It’s almost like we’re getting better at this stuff.

*     *     *

On that note, we’re already looking toward the future. We’re constantly trying to improve the fundraiser, deciding where to devote our energies.

To do a good job at that, we need as much data as we can get. We’d like to know what you like about the fundraiser, how you’ve participated, and what you think about some ideas we have for the future.

If you’re willing to help us out, the survey is right here. It won’t take too long, and it’ll do a lot of good in terms of helping us make good plans so we can keep growing in the right direction.

Thanks everyone. You warm my bitter old heart.

pat

Posted in Achievement Unlocked!, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat21 Responses
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