Designer Diaries: Dan Letzring

As a Kickstarter creator it is always fascinating to talk to other creators who have been around the block a few more times than we have. Letiman Games has had seven Kickstarter campaigns so far. Their current project, Dino Dude Ranch Hatchling expansion is already funded! We interviewed the owner of Letiman Games, Dan Letzring.

Enjoy!

Hey Dan, what got you started in the board game industry? How long have you been a part of it?

I had played hobby games prior to becoming part of the board game industry but the turning point really came when I decided I wanted to create a board game that reflected my experiences in grad school, so I designed a game based around doing just that and the rest as they say, is history.

The Dino Dude Ranch Hatchling expansion is already funded! Congratulations! What marketing approaches did you take to get such great early traction? 

So far, the best marketing has been sharing images and being in constant contact with my previous supporters. I knew there was a large fan base from the base game kickstarter that really enjoyed it and wanted more. I just had to make sure our timing was right and that we made a good and appropriate expansion. Once we knew we had a good expansion on our hands we made sure to show it early and often to our community.

This is your seventh Kickstarter campaign. How do you feel Kickstarter has changed from your first campaign to now? 

My first two campaigns had minimal art and were incomplete. The first game had no final art completed and the second had only half of its final art. These days, there are so many great campaign out there that I think you need to have almost all if not all of your art out there from the get go with a completely polished looking final product. What's hard for new publishers is making that initial investment for all of the art required (but it will be 100% worth it in the end!)

Do you use constraints when designing games?

Sometimes? I like to have objectives in mind. Dino Dude Ranch was made with the desire to create a GOOD family game. Gadgeteers was designed with the idea of a small sized inexpensive but interesting filler. Mint Julep was designed because I wanted to create an 18-card game. Groves was designed because I wanted a Worker Placement game. And I had very clear objectives in mind for the Dino Dude Ranch Hatchlings Expansion when we started on it. So we did not always have very strict constraints but we usually had a clear idea of what we wanted the end product to be like when we started all of these projects.

Why do you use Kickstarter for your projects?

I do not have the money to front for a whole print run without it. It also is invaluable in the amount of reach it has into the board game community. I am able to reach far beyond my own community thanks to kickstarter.

Do you design all of the games for Letiman Games or do you work with other designers as well? 

I have only solo designed one of my games, the base game Dino Dude Ranch. Dirigible Disaster was designed by Daniel Grek. Gadgeteers, Groves, and Hatchlings were co-designs (with Michael Cofer, Steven Aramini, and Daniel Grek respectively). AND I have a really awesome announcement coming soon that is going to be super exciting. This awesome announcement is going to be for a game we are publishing that is designed by another designer who I am super excited to be working with!

Have you co-designed any of your games? 

Yes, Groves (with Steven Aramini), Gadgeteers (with Michael Cofer), and the Hatchlings expansion (with Daniel Grek).

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to design a game?

Go For it! The only thing stopping you is you. Get the game to the table as early as possible and show it to a lot of other player sand designers.

What would be your advice for someone who wants to self-publish their game through Kickstarter? 

Talk to a lot of people who have done it first. Build your audience. Do not rush it. Once you feel you are ready, wait a few more months. Don't get down if your first try fails, we all have unsuccessful campaigns!

Is pineapple is an acceptable pizza topping? 

Yes! Although it is not my favorite, I do enjoy a good Ham and Pineapple Pizza (Who am i kidding, I enjoy pretty much all things pizza!)

If you were a superhero what superhero would you be?

I was always a fan of Batman. He does not have any super powers but he has trained hard and is really smart. I have always been a big fan of that.

 What is your favorite food? 

100% Pizza

Thanks for reading!

Signing off for now,

Andrew

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