This is a follow up story for Facade Games. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Travis Hancock and I’m the founder of Facade Games. We have published 5 board games, 4 of which are disguised in book boxes.
Most of our games focus on a city and year from history and have some kind of lying/backstabbing involved in the gameplay. Our games have raised over $1 million on Kickstarter, and we’ve sold over 100,000 copies of our games around the world. I work full time from home with my wife Holly. We love inventing and publishing games!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
We recently launched a Kickstarter for a new game called Bristol 1350. In the game, the dreaded Black Death has descended upon the town of Bristol. You are racing down the streets, desperate to escape into the safety of the countryside. If your cart is the first out of town you and your cart-mates win! Or do you? Some villagers on your cart may secretly already have the plague. If you leave town with a plagued villager on your cart, you will catch the plague and lose! What will you do to make sure that doesn’t happen? And who will you trust (or betray) along the way?
The game is on pace to raise around $1 million dollars on Kickstarter.
We also launched a party game called Trophies at the end last year and we are working to get it into mass-market stores (Target, Walmart, etc).
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Here’s a small thing we’ve learned about Kickstarter this year. We’ve learned the value of making Kickstarter exclusive items and exclusive Deluxe items available.
Focus on doing what you love, and focus on standing out. It’s tougher and tougher to “do things differently” than those around you, but that is how you will float to the top and be seen.
It seems like people come to Kickstarter to get cool exclusive things, and catering to that has helped us raise more money than past campaigns.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We are on pace to release 1 game each year, alternating from our core Dark Cities games (a little more involved) and our smaller party games. This pace lets us enjoy our life while still giving our community something to look forward to it. It also allows us to stay small (husband/wife team) and not have to worry about overhead or employees.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
This year I’ve been reading more fiction, which I think is great for providing an escape, and generating ideas (especially for games). A few of my favorites have been A Man Called Ove, A Gentleman in Moscow, Station 11, and World War Z. Some great true stories have also been inspiring to me lately: Unbroken, and Endurance.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Focus on doing what you love, and focus on standing out. It’s tougher and tougher to “do things differently” than those around you, but that is how you will float to the top and be seen. Also, worry less about making money and more about being awesome, and often the money part will take care of itself.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Not really, but if you are someone who is incredibly awesome, has a business sense, a love of board games, and preferably some skills in graphic design then I’d love to hear your pitch!
Where can we go to learn more?
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