I call BS
I was asked why I decided to get involved with a project like Brain Sandwich Games, the answer is simple… “Bullshit” I remember the first time that I called “bullshit” on my mother-in-law. Every year my wife’s family does a get together vacation somewhere in the mountains. They are fantastic times, filled with great food, a lot of alcohol and family. The mornings are spent hiking, the afternoons sampling local vineyards, breweries and distilleries and the evenings sitting around drinking that day’s haul, talking and playing games. The first time I called “bullshit” was during a game of Sheriff of Nottingham. (A great game by the way that can be somewhat aggressive in a mostly good way). It is a fond memory of mine and like many of them, has its roots in board games. Board games seem to be the setting for so many great memories.
The first time I opened Robinson Crusoe, never having played a co-op game before, uncertain of a game that I couldn’t “win”. My wife and I spent 4 hours that night watching ourselves starve to death on a deserted island, eaten by tigers, watching the ship that was meant to be our salvation pass us by. It was an amazing night of just us, together.
There are so many games over the years that form the anchor of so many great memories. Times spent with old friends and new ones or with family. I have been gaming in one form or another my entire life. I never grew up. When one speaks of someone with Peter Pan syndrome, they are talking about me. I have a group of close friends who I have known virtually my entire life and the one thing that we have always gathered to do, is sit around and immerse ourselves in a tabletop game of one form or another. Those friendships have survived decades, adulthood, long distance, and yes, Catan.
Mat Weymouth approached us about an idea for a game called Fray that he had been developing for some time. The concept was great, the potential was great. He was full of ideas and excitement. Mark and I were full of both experience and excitement. Mark and I are serial entrepreneurs. Our risk tolerance is freakishly high. He is also my “all but in blood brother”. When we first discussed the idea of “making games” for a living, I was skeptical. Between the two of us we have worked to open, or opened for ourselves a dozen or more businesses/start-ups. We love games. Could we really marry the two? Should we?
I thought about it for a long time. What if all of those times that one of us had said “There should be a game where…. “, could be the start of something instead of the end of it. What if WE, could create those anchors that would allow others to sit around and enjoy their friends and family. What if WE could facilitate laughter… fun… excitement… memories. It didn’t take long before we were both sold on the idea… we didn’t know it yet, but Brain Sandwich was born.
There were plenty of things that we didn’t know enough about yet. As it turned out, that was almost everything to do with board games from the creator side of things. Kickstarter would turn out to be an unforgiving mistress, but we did it. In 2019, Per My Last Email (an office themed card game) successfully launched on Kickstarter. We dragged that game across the finish line… but we crossed the finish line. Despite years of experience, researching everything we could, and a great concept, we struggled. The 28 days that Per My Last Email was on Kickstarter were stressful, sleepless, frustrating, exciting and all of the things that you could possibly imagine. I swore to myself that this was all a horrible mistake. Then day 29 showed up. We were funded, we were making our first game. We were no longer aspiring publishers, we were publishers. We had learned so many lessons, and most importantly… I couldn’t wait to do it again.
Next up will be the game that Mat originally approached us with – Fray. At the time I am writing this, we are closing in on Fray’s Kickstarter (May of 2020). We have sworn to do everything better, to apply the lessons we learned the first time around. We have amazing artwork, playtested rules, beautiful miniatures. We made a game that we would (and do) love to play. Hopefully, Fray is #2 of as far as the eye can see on the list of Brain Sandwich’s catalog. Hopefully everyone else loves Fray as much as we do. Hopefully, I can get just a little bit more sleep in the 28 days that are rapidly approaching, than the 28 days that seem so far behind us now.