Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Going Cardboard has launched

It's been one hell of a week, but the long-awaited day has arrived.  Going Cardboard is completed, in stock, and available for sale!  You can purchase the film either directly at, or, if you are putting together a combo gift, you could order a board game along with it via, our partner distributor.

As Kickstarter backers started to receive their copies this week, I held my breath. Would they like it? What would the feedback be like? The designer board gaming crowd can be quite critical about their hobby, and I was really hoping the film would live up to expectations, and be worth the wait.

It appears that so far, they like it. They really like it!

Here are a couple initial reviews:

A Kickstarter Christmas: Going Cardboard — a documentary about board games

and a video review!

New screenings continue to pop up, and I've just added 3 new dates to the screenings schedule - two in Nashville (one's coming right up, March 9), and one in St. Louis! More to come. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Children vs. Designer Games

I've seen blog articles from time to time from moms who tried introducing their young kids to designer games like The Settlers of Catan, only to have the experience end badly when one child or another throws a fit related to losing the game. These entries are borderline accusative in tone: "You all led me to believe that board gaming would be a rewarding experience for my child, but it was horrible!" They conclude that gaming is a bad option, that their child is just too young (which maybe true in some cases) and that the wisest course of action is to retreat to the tv room.

I want to share my own experience, because I almost fell into the same trap, despite everything I know about the virtues of designer gaming as a teaching tool.

We have a 4 year-old boy and a 6 year-old girl, and we've been teaching them to play designer board games. A few weekends ago, we broke out Incan Gold. This is a press-your-luck style game where you venture into a temple, Indiana Jones-style, and try to collect as many gems as you can while getting out before the expedition's untimely end at the hands of snakes, rockslides, spiders, and so forth.

So my 4 year old son is the last one in the temple, and he just keeps pressing his luck for the sheer joy of revealing the next card and amassing more riches. We keep warning him that he better get out soon, but he didn't comprehend the reasoning of why. So when the spiders got him, and we broke the news that he would keep none of the treasures in front of him, it happened. He burst into tears, and ran off to hide behind the couch and cry. I tried to bring him around, but it just wasn't happening, so the game pretty much ended there.

It was not a good experience, not for anyone involved.

The following weekend, we announce we are going to play a board game again. His first request? "Incan Gold, Mommy, can we play Incan Gold?" Now I was a little surprised at this, and we'd had a secret conversation a few minutes before where we'd decided we would play Ave Caesar instead since Incan Gold had been a bust last time. I didn't expect he'd want a rematch. But of course I was happy to encourage it, thinking to myself that this time I would be more explicit about the risks involved, so at least he understood his choices more clearly.

So we played again, and on the first round, his big sister was the last one in the temple, and got buried under a rockslide. She'd observed the whole affair last time, and to my delight, she took it in good spirit, flipping her stuffed puppy upside down and declaring, "Butterscotch got buried!"

Colin also met some bad ends during the course of the game, but he too took it well, and at the end of the game, who was the fair and square winner? COLIN. You should have seen his face.

I can't even count the ways this was a good learning experience for both of them. And it was a learning experience for me too. Look what I would have denied them had I quit at the first sign of adversity, just thrown up my hands and said, "Oh, that was just no fun, we can try it again in a few years when they're older." and left him with just that initial experience, the feeling of not only having lost, but of having ended the game for everyone else? What kind of long-term memory of gaming would THAT have been?

Compare that to the triumph of the second session, even if he hadn't won it, and it's just night and day. One thing we do not want to teach our kids is that when the going gets tough, it's time to walk away. Now granted, for some kids, they ARE too young, but it reminded me not to give up after one initial bad experience, because a golden growth moment could be just around the corner.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

See you at PAX East

Just a little update to the screenings list I wanted to mention; PAX East.

Yes, it's official. Going Cardboard will be screening at PAX East. It's tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 6th, at 9:30 PM in the Arachnid room (how thoughtful, they clearly know of my intense love for spiders). I will be there, and I hope to see you New Englanders there too! I'll continue to add screenings as they are booked, of course.

Last night I did battle with mailmerging the Kickstarter mailing lists onto shipping labels. This morning I woke up at 5 and couldn't sleep, so I went downstairs and started assembling more components packs. It's like how chickens know when an earthquake is coming; the DVDs are being printed up this week, and are going to be shipping out VERY soon (on the scale of hours from now more than days, and definitely not weeks).

Here it comes, Khan...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Going Cardboard Has Gone Gold

This is the part where I get to make the long awaited and super-clever announcement: Going Cardboard has gone gold!

Yesterday afternoon, the final proof copy of the DVD arrived. I tested it out on the XBox and PS3. Today it was tested on a regular DVD player, a PC, and a Mac. All systems go. They also ran a triple-check test to ensure that the DVD is also Region-free.

A little while ago, I gave the official green light to the manufacturer. The word is given.

So within a week or two, the DVDs will be here. And then we cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!

Oh, and guess what else happened today? The official IMDb listing for Going Cardboard went up! Don't get TOO excited; there's nothing there yet but the most basic of information, but I'll change that in short order.