Beasts of Burden Gameplay video!

We’re two weeks into our Kickstarter campaign for Beasts of Burden,  our sweet card game about managing encumbrance!
You can get a copy mailed to you for just $20!

We made a totally jawesome video of Dioxin Dump HQ explaining the rules and mechanics of Beasts of Burden!  Give it a watch!

Here’s a breakdown of the rules, for those of you who ain’t got time for youtubes:

  • Play item cards (tools, weapons and treasures) in front of you.
  • Play encounter cards (monsters, puzzles, quests) in the middle of the table.
  • Play traps, effects and containers on yourself or others!

Here’s some constraints!

  • You can’t carry more than 10 weight!
  • You can’t place more than one encounter per turn!
  • You can’t solve more than one encounter per turn!
  • You can’t solve an encounter if you have a trap in front of you!
  • You can’t solve an encounter on the turn you place it!

That’s it!



PRESS RELEASE: Beasts of Burden Kickstarter Launch!

For Immediate Release

For Further Information Contact
Rebecca M. Schranz (314) 504-3532

Dioxin Dump Games Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Card Game Beasts of Burden

June 23, 2014: Dioxin Dump Games started their month-long Kickstarter campaign this morning for their second game, Beasts of Burden.

Beasts of Burden is a quick-playing game of treachery and debauchery that happens to center around constantly swapping items in your inventory. In the game, players must carry around weapons, tools and treasures, each with separate weights, values and uses in order to defeat monsters, avoid traps and solve puzzles in an absurdist dungeon.

“I love pen and paper RPGs, but I hate managing encumbrance,” said Stuart Keating, the game’s designer. “So, creating a fast, fun card game around what kind of junk is in your backpack was an interesting challenge, and I think fans of Munchkin, Fluxx and Kingdom of Loathing will appreciate the aesthetics, pace and mechanics.”

After their first game, Three Days until Retirement, raised nearly $10,000 on Kickstarter, Dioxin Dump is quickly gaining a name as a producer of unique, interesting content throughout the gaming community. While Three Days met the demands of a niche RPG-based group of gamers who love 80s cop action films, Beasts of Burden is a simpler, faster game designed for a much wider audience.

The campaign’s $6,000 fundraising goal will allow Dioxin Dump to professionally print the game and will result in over 100 custom illustrations by the talented Nikki Burch, while also producing additional physical goods.  Campaign funds will also fund professional editing and fulfillment services from project manager Rebecca Schranz, ensuring a timely release of a high-quality game.

At all funding levels, backers will receive an instant PDF of the beta game rules, as well as instructions for creating the cards at home. From there, it’s all gamer gold: $10 buys a digital copy and $20 a physical copy; Higher-priced tiers include “fan club packs” full of physical goods as well as tank tops.

Many tiers are geared towards group purchases to make purchasing easier for stores, international purchasers and game clubs. “Two of the driving forces behind Dioxin Dump are collective action and that feeling you get when something weird shows up in the mail,” said Keating.  “We want to make sure people can get together with their weird friends, order cool, weird stuff through the mail, and then do cool, weird stuff with it.”

The Kickstarter campaign for Beasts of Burden runs until the morning of July 23, 2014 and can be found at http://kck.st/1puDv1p.


Kickstarter Post-Mortem: Three Days Until Retirement

Last fall, we ran our first-ever crowdfunding campaign to fund our first-ever game, Three Days Until Retirement.  The project was incredibly successful, raising $9,925 on a $3,000 goal.  We ended up with 351 backers, 253 of which received physical goods.

Having fulfilled the Kickstarter (with the exception of a tiny amount of physical content shipping separately to about 30 people) and amassed the numbers, I now have a much better idea of the margins and cost and hopefully a few ideas/lessons worth sharing.  Here goes:

The numbers

  • Gross:  $9925
  • Top line: $9100 ($8900 after KS cut, Amazon cut, failed payments, plus $200 for additional payments from paypal)

Wow, $9100 seems like a lot of money!  It is a lot of money!  But, if you’re in the indie publishing business, that money has a lot of claims on it.  Let’s break down the expenses.

  • Art:  $4279 ($3579 for illustrations, plus a pre-paid $700 for the logo and “sample” art for the KS page).  Art was the single largest expense, which is fine with me.  Nikki Burch is an amazing artist and her illustrations are integral to the feel of the game.  I’ll talk some more about art down below in the “lessons” section.
  • Editing:  $200 and a damn steal.
  • The game book:  $940 (approx) for 300 copies. Copies were $2.55 a piece from Ingram spark, but then there’s a $70 print-readiness fee, around $100 in shipping, a $1.50 handling fee and $31 sales tax.  On the plus side, I have an extra stock of 50-100 to sell, which is AWESOME.
  • The handbook:  $753 for 600 copies.  This was tremendously more expensive than I had planned.  The short lesson here is “if you’re going to offer four copies of something to your backers cut it way back from 50 pages).
  • Patches: $548 for 350 patches.  That’s about twice what I needed, but the price break was good and I wanted extras for later sales.
  • Coozies:  $322 for 900 coozies (500 of one run, 400 of the other).  I planned on spending about $300 on coozies so I did, vastly overordering.  I like coozies as promotional products and have lots of them left over for distribution and sale.
  • GOLD TIMEX 1:  $242 for 200 copies (90 cents a piece plus sales tax).  Supply Concepts Inc in Fenton did a great job on these, I will use them again for small runs.
  • GOLD TIMEX 2:  Probably $75 for 50 copies.  Printing these next week.

So our production cost was $7,359, and I have approximately $1000 (cost value) in merchandise available for sale/distribution.  Not too shabby!

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM TIME  How you gonna get all this shit shipped to your delightful backers?
Not going to lie, shipping kept me up at night once or twice.  I ran a few estimates but had no real idea what to expect.  I’m going to help y’all out though and give you weights, costs, etc.

  • Domestic Shipping: $954.32 (approximately) in postage.  I anticipated about $5 a package, which was a low-ball because of the coozies/patches as well as the weight of the deluxe packages.  Since the fan club kits had things other than books, I couldn’t ship them media mail, immediately increasing their price of the $25 tier from $2.69 to about $3.80.  It raised the price of the $40 tier from $3.19 to between $5.89 and $8. OUCH!
  • International shipping:  $487.11, which wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought (primarily due to printing postage online).  I will lower my international shipping rates in the future.
  • $100 (ish) in packing supplies, labels, gas to the post office, etc.

That brings our total cost to: $8900.43.  Subtract that from $9100, and I got to LIVE THE HIGH LIFE on $199.57!

So what did we learn today?

  • Kickstarters are for launching and developing products, not for paying yourself to do so.  Granted, I was rather profligate with my stretch goals and and generous with my art budget.  But the absolute takeaway here is don’t expect to live on kickstarter proceeds.  Instead, use the money to finish a product you can sell professionally, then live on that money.
  • Buy a nice printer and then print all of your postage online.  Since the $40 packages weighed 21 ounces (holy crap!) I could have saved a lot of time and a lot of money (easily an extra hundred) printing their postage online.  I saved over a hundred on international postage as well.  The $25 packages I think I could have shipped for slightly cheaper, but the savings would have been somewhere around $40.  That’s $250 saved on mailing 250 packages, and you can get a decent office printer for less than that if you find a sale.
  • Figure out your highest quantity item is, then make that fucker small and cheap. I figured the book would be the most expensive thing to produce, and in a way it was, since it cost $2.55 a pop to do a print run of 300.  BUT since I had 600 copies of the zine to ship, I should have focused more on dropping the cost and weight of the players guide.  Fewer pages would have easily done the trick.  I like the Players Guide as is, but the margins on it are terrible relative to everything else.
  • Don’t promise content if you don’t have a plan for making it:  I offered two expansion content booklets, and their production were the single biggest contributor to the delay of the kickstarter.  Had I outlined them in advance I would have been more cautious about offering them, or I would have pushed the deadline out further.
  • Be careful with your stretch goals.  Or maybe don’t: I would have made more money at $3,000 than I did at $9,925.  BUT the gamebook for Three Days Until Retirement is much, much better as a result of the stretch goals:  three times as much art, a fully-illustrated color cover, all sorts of weird fan club physical goodies (I’m a sucker for tangible things), two pieces of expansion content, etc.  Almost every stretch goal ate up a significant portion of the money involved in getting to it:. A huge amount of the “earmarked for Stuart” post-production cash went to extra art, more/better content, physical goods, etc.  I regret nothing.
  • The overall lesson here is: Know why you’re running the kickstarter.  You’re not running it to get rich.  You’re not running it to make a living off of your creative juices (bad mental image, but whatever).  You’re running it to produce a high-quality product for people who believe in you enough to give you money in advance.  My kickstarter backers are among my favorite people on the planet and I am proud to have spent virtually all of the money they gave me on a beautiful, fun, interesting game that I know they will enjoy and that they can’t get anywhere else.  Thanks, backers!
  • Figure out how to sell outside of kickstarter.  Since you’re giving your backers a great deal, you need to figure out how to sell your creation online, at cons and in stores. That’s when you, the creator, finally get paid. Hopefully.

Will I do it again?  OF COURSE.  I’m launching a kickstarter for our next game, Beasts of Burden right… about… NOW!

GOLD TIMEX 1: Suburban Gothic

GOLD TIMEX 1 is the first expansion content for Three Days Until Retirement.


Instead of playing as grizzled cops in an over-the-top metropolitan area, players assume the role of “special investigators” with unique powers, personalities and drawbacks that must explore some mystery happening in Mapleton, Metro City’s weirdest suburb.

An homage to the “surreal suburb” genre (Twin Peaks, The X Files, etc), this expansion to Three Days Until Retirement will open up a whole new can of adventuresome worms!