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This much-awaited (much, much, MUCH awaited) Kickstarter project is the brain child of my friend Clay Gardner (with gorgeous illustration work by Niko Geyer) and pretty much SHATTERED its goal within hours – JUST hours. It’s called OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game and I am so excited to start playing this game. I love anime, and I love tabletop RPGs, so I feel like this was made for me. And it seems, a lot of people feel the same way. The original goal was $7,500 but at the moment of writing this, they’re sitting pretty at $90,728. Holy crap, right?

“OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game is exactly what it says in the title, a tabletop RPG lovingly crafted to capture the diverse worlds of Japanese animation. Save the princess (or prince!) from a fire-breathing dragon, tackle invading squadrons of giant robots, or find true love amid campus hijinks—everything you need is inside!”

Clay was sweet enough to take a moment of his time and answer a few questions about his awesome Kickstarter campaign. I figure the man behind the project would be able to tell you a little more about it than I can. So let’s start!

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The Interview: with Clay Gardner

01. Tell us a little about your Kickstarter. Where did the idea for it come from and who is all working on it?

I wrote the beginnings of OVA around ten years ago. I was just getting into anime heavily, and I wanted to represent the shows I was enjoying in role-playing form. But at the time, I felt constrained by most games available. Many great and fun systems existed, of course, but nothing seemed to let me create the character I wanted to. Even point-buy systems, which on paper were supposed to open up possibilities, always seemed to punish making cinematic decisions. Having a character good with both a gun and martial arts had very little to do with a character’s effectiveness in the game, but almost always resulted in a crippling reduction in available points. And so too with multiple flashy attacks, or really anything done for the sake of “being cool.” I wanted a game that embraced doing things for the fun of it, and soon, OVA took shape. I released it as a PDF in 2005, with a print run following the next year.

This Kickstarter is for a new, revised version of OVA. The game holds onto the same ideals I had a decade ago but is improved with all the experience I’ve gained in the time between. A brand new layout, art done by a single talented artist Niko Geyer, and many refinements and expansions to the rules make the game better than ever before. It’s OVA as I knew it always could be.

02. What was the hardest part about putting together a campaign like this?

I hope it’s not too much of a cop-out answer, but I feel like getting the whole thing together was the hardest part! By itself, each element was a lot of work, but being able to juggle creating a video, the page graphics, all the groundwork for promoting the kickstarter, and all the text the project required at the same time…well…I’m glad it’s all done!

03. What has the process been like getting OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game together? What came first – stories, characters, worlds, etc? How do you keep it all organized?

Because OVA already existed in some form, working on the new edition sort of jumped between everything in no particular order. I’d spend some time creating a new character, who’d inspire a new rule or revision. Or maybe a new rule would change the way I thought a character should be written. But I think it was always about characters at heart. That is why we play role-playing games, after all, and I wanted to make sure that every part of the new OVA was dedicated to making the process of realizing a character as simple and fun as possible.

As for how I keep it all organized, I tend to jot down all my ideas in text files before introducing it into the actual manuscript. After I had the manuscript more or less complete, I began typesetting the book while making small revisions I felt were appropriate. I guess you could look at each file type like a different draft, with the actual InDesign layout file being my last pass for the text.

04. What advice do you have for others who are thinking about starting their own RPGs or Kickstarters?

Take the time to make your page look as good as possible. While a solid idea will get support based on its own merit, a professional presentation instills confidence in a project and shows that you’re the kind of creator that is serious about bringing a product to completion. Show finished, polished examples of your work in action, and if possible, make graphics that spell out exactly what each of your pledge levels offers.

If you’re kickstarting a game (be it an RPG, a board game, or even a video game) give visitors a way to try it out. Whether you offer a print-in play version, a condensed copy of the rulebook, or just a demo, people appreciate being able to know what they’re getting and not just acting upon a sales pitch.

Oh, and plan to take the whole first day off so you can dedicate it to your Kickstarter. *laughs*

05. And finally! If you were to sit down at a table to start playing OVA, who would be your ideal/dream RPers to play with? Can be anyone, living or dead. Who would they play?

That’s a tough one! If we expand the “anyone living or dead” magic to include breaking language barriers, I think it would be fascinating to play the game with Japanese story-telling greats like Hayao Miyazaki and Osamu Tezuka. And of course Ryo Mizuno of Record of Lodoss War fame. I wonder how he’d feel about OVA’s rules in comparison to systems like D&D and Sword World that formed the basis of so many of his stories?

What characters would they play? Ones from their own tales? New ones whole-cloth? Hard to say…but it would be kind of magical if one of them took up the Game Master’s hat instead!

Keep Pledging for Rewards!

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Right now, the goal is to hit $100k and I fully believe they can do! Let’s help get them there – if they get there, a new reward will open up, and I would love to get my hands on it. So what are you waiting for? Go kickstart this project!

TableTop Day is March 30! GAME ON!

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GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! Y’all know I love me some video games, but did you know that I’m also an avid tabletop gamer? D&D is my forte, but I love Munchkin, and recently discovered Ticket to Ride as well as Fluxx, and I’m hoping to join the many who have been sucked into the epic Catan. Little known Nikki-fact: my favorite, more traditional, tabletop game is Yahtzee. LOVE it!

International TableTop Day!

Anyway, this Saturday happens to be International TableTop Day, put on by the amazing folks over at Geek and Sundry, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to participate in any possible way you can. I actually briefly met the producer of popular TableTop series, Boyan Radokovich, and he introduced me to this kickass international holiday. The rules are simple:

On March 30th, 2013 , we ask you to go to your friendly local game store, neighborhood coffee shop, school auditorium, community center, or host a game day at your home and play more games.

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You can find a TableTop Day event near you by heading over to the Official Website. The site also has downloads, details, and a blog to follow so be sure to check it out. I actually have a wedding to attend on Saturday but maybe I can get the entire wedding party to sit down and roll a few dice. Who knows. Make sure you use the hashtag #TableTopDay and share pictures!

Happy TableTop Day, everyone!

Day One of SXyote Sponsor: Embrace Pet Insurance

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Embrace Your Pet!

Well it’s Day One of the #SXyote adventures and while the majority of my day will be spent in the Gaming Expo for game reviews, demos, and a few sessions, I wanted to start off the day by thanking my Day One Sponsor: Embrace Pet Insurance! They are not only a sponsor this year, but they were one of the very first sponsors of the first fundraiser last year – so HUGE thanks to them for continuing to believe in my cause. You guys are awesome!

I now only love them because of their sponsorship, BUT they are also our very own Pet Insurance company! Most of our furkids are covered under their insurance so my shirt is pretty on the mark for us – “Don’t just love your pet, EMBRACE your pet!” We do! Do you!

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About Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace was created by Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik in July 2003. Laura and Alex spent several challenging years establishing Embrace. With a number of “one step forward, two steps back” experiences that often led them to wonder if they would ever get Embrace up and running, they persevered and laid the groundwork for Embrace today. Their core values are: We Are Open & Honest, We Believe In Customer Fixation, We Give Back to the Community and Help the Environment, We Take Personal Responsibility, We Seek Innovation, and Be Passionate.

We love Laura, Alex, and the whole Embrace Crew! Thank you again for sponsoring Day One of SXyote! Don’t forget to follow the hashtag #SXyote for lots of great livetweeting and pictures!

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UPDATE: ONLY 5 4 3 MORE SPACES AVAILABLE! 6 5 4 3 DAYS TO SIGN UP!

So you’ve got an awesome, growing business that you’ve put your heart and soul into. It’s your passion, your dream, your baby. You’re organized, you’ve got clients, but you want more. You want more people to know who you are and what you do. You’d love to get your business in front of a thousand eyes all at once. But how?

I’ve got an answer for you. Sponsor one of my days at SXSW!

You’ve probably already read my blog post about the Send the Coyote to SXSW Interactive 2013 fundraiser, but if you haven’t you should catch yourself up on it. This is the third year I’ll be attending SXSW, and the second year in which I’ve asked folks to help get me there – with lots of lovely incentives of course. This year is no different – except for this.

I love helping independent businesses grow. I love helping established businesses get better. And if you help me, I would love to help you. Which is why I’m offering this Daily Sponsorship deal to five lucky businesses. SXSW Interactive lasts five days, which means that the first five businesses who sign up for this opportunity will be getting their very own day to get lots of exposure at one of the biggest conferences in the US. Here’s how.

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How it Works

You donate $175 to the Send the Coyote to SXSW Interactive 2013 fundraiser and in the donation notes section, let me know that you’re in it to Sponsor A Day at SXSW. I will reply with an email within a day or two so we can start talking about specifics. Easy enough?

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What You Get

For a $175 donation, you get all of this, which would normally total to about $450.

  • I will hand out any business cards you send me.
  • I will slather the SXSW walls with any business flyers you want me to. (Imagine millions of eyes looking over the flyers and being drawn to yours!)
  • I will write up a short blog post on Snailbird about your business and how awesome it is. (With lots of traffic to the blog about SXSW, this will get you lots of eyes!)
  • You will receive two twitter shout-outs on @designcoyote – one in the morning, one at night.
  • I will write up one Facebook shout out for you.
  • When relevant, I will talk your business up to strangers until I’m blue in the face!
  • You get two months of advertising on Snailbird with a 125×125 ad on the sidebar.

Last year I handed out flyers, put branded bandanas on dogs, and even handed out a few branded snap bracelets for my sponsor. Want me to do the same for you or have other ideas? When you make a donation of at least $175, we can talk more about the details. But first, donate!

How to Sign Up

UPDATE: ONLY 5 4 3 MORE SPACES AVAILABLE! 6 5 4 3 2 DAYS LEFT TO SIGN UP!

Simple. Either go to the original post and donate, or click on the yellow “Give” button below and enter at least $175 and you’re good to go! But remember – you’ll want to sign up fast! There are only 5 spots and they will go fast!

Of course, as a sponsor, you’ll also get a nice big banner linking to your site on the SXSW 2013 Resource Site I will build that will display all the notes, videos, and photos I take while at conference. You can check out last year’s site here.

So what are you waiting for? SIGN UP NOW! There are five four THREE spots left!

Thank you!

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7 6 5 4 3 MORE DAYS TO DONATE! WE ARE FULLY FUNDED BUT FEEL FREE TO DONATE IF YOU STILL WANT THE INCENTIVE!

Remember last year when y’all sent me to SXSW Interactive and I livetweeted the whole thing and shared all my notes and pictures? Yeah? WELL LET’S DO IT AGAIN! This year’s interactive is going to be even bigger and better and once again, I want to go and bring you all with me! Of course that can only happen if you help me again. This year I have some even more awesome incentives to help send me to my third SXSW Interactive. Read on!

The SXSWi 2013 Snailbird Proposal

If you help to send me to SXSW Interactive 2013, I promise you I will bring to you all the latest, greatest news and education from the most awesome conference ever hosted in Austin, Texas. I will create a brand new SXSWi 2013 page (similar to the Design Coyote Resource Guide for SXSW ’12) where I will write up all my notes, post all my pictures, and share all the tweets (both on designcoyote and rescueanimals), and resources I find. I’m even going to revive my #SXYote hashtag for Twitter usage so all you have to do is follow it to see my SXSWi tweets.

This year I have a fun theme I’ll be exploring: Embracing the Geek Life! I will be covering gaming culture (specifically from the eye of a female gamer), the influence of social media on space travel, and the heart and mind of the creative entrepreneur! And of course there will be a bit of comics and illustration thrown in there for fun. Some of the sessions I hope to go to (which is also all the things you get to learn about as well!) include:

OH! And don’t forget I would totally take pictures and share notes from speakers like Al Gore, Neil Gaiman and Chuck Lorre, Matthew Inman, Rachel Maddow, and Tina Roth Eisenberg. Because hell yes, you know you want to hear from all those amazing people.

We all love learning. And you already know that I love sharing knowledge – on here, on @designcoyote, on I Love Rescue Animals, and on @rescueanimals – so you know that I’m only going to be bring you the best quality and create a stellar resource for those of you who can’t make it to SXSWi yourself. This is your chance to be a part of SXSWi for just a small donation (and some fantastic incentives). I will be sharing a ton of resources for social media, sharing positive causes, utilizing the internet and social media to raise donations, and how to market yourselves online, as well as design tips I learn, the newest technology for artsy folks, and other great education resources.

How Much Will This Be?

The total amount of money I’m trying to raise is $1,150 – which is JUST the price of one SXSWi ticket. Since I live in Austin, all the lodging expenses are taken care of, and I’ll pay for my own food and goodies. I just need help getting the ticket.

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What You Get For Helping!

Don’t worry. You won’t be walking away empty-handed either. Besides the shared knowledge of all I learn, you will also get an awesome incentive depending on what level you donate to. These are as follows:

$1 or more: Join the list of other donors on my SXSW page.*
$15 or more: The above and an individual shout-out on the designcoyote twitter (2,000+ followers).
$30 or more: The above and a pencil sketch of your pet/favorite animal (in The Family Menagerie style).
$50 or more: The above and the pencil sketch gets inked and colored with marker.
$75 or more: The above plus a 100×100 pixels digitally colored avatar of your choice (in TFM style), as well as a shout-out on the rescueanimals twitter (28,900+ followers).
$100 or more Be included on the donors page, receive a twitter shout-out (on both), a sketch of a pet/favorite animal, a 100×100 pixel digitally colored avatar, and 1 month of advertising on either the Snailbird or I Love Rescue Animals blog*.
$175 or more: Sponsor A Full Day and I’ll *bring your company to SXSW with me! (Does not include any of the above incentives.
$200 or more: Mention on donors page and twitter accounts, marker-colored image of pet/favorite animal, 100×100 avatar, 2 months of advertising on either blog*.
$350 or more: The $200 incentives AND a full-colored digital illustration of your choice.

$500 or more: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 1! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 6 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird*.
$950 or more: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 2! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 12 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird AND I Love Rescue Animals (and if you or your company has a blog, I will also write up a guest post about everything I learned because of your generosity that you can use on your website)*.

Interested in donating but looking for some other prize/incentive? Feel free to comment or email me and we can talk! I’m open to hearing your ideas.

*Being included on the donors page, as well as getting posted on Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals websites, means getting your name and link seen by artsy folks, nature-lovers, and lots of animal advocates, pet bloggers, and other activists. Snailbrd gets on average 5,000 unique visitors a month with 30k page/visits a month. I Love Rescue Animals receives an average of 6,000 unique visitors a month and 40k page/visits a month.

Donate to the Send-Nikki-to-SXSWi Fund!

7 6 5 4 3 MORE DAYS TO DONATE! WE ARE FULLY FUNDED BUT FEEL FREE TO DONATE IF YOU STILL WANT THE INCENTIVE!

So you can all help keep track of where I am in donations, I’ve set up this nifty Paypal Donation widget. Once you donate, you will receive an email from me/Paypal confirming the amount and I will follow up with a Thank You and a list of the incentives you get. Just click on the yellow button in the Paypal widget below to donate.

***Simply click the yellow “Give” button and on the next page, you will be able to fill in whatever amount you would like!***

****The PayPal widget is slow to reflect actual donations – we are fully funded at exactly $1150, but you are still free to donate until March 8th if you want one of the incentives.***

The Final Plea

Guys, I want to go to SXSWi a lot. It was an incredible experience last year, especially because I got to share it with all of you, and I want to be able to give that to you again. I learned so much, and I feel that this year is going to be even better. So for just one donation, you can help send me to this awesome conference full of great opportunities and in return you get to learn all that I learn and some (you know those incentives are pretty awesome). Pretty great deal, yeah?

So please please help, and share with your family and friends! I will be forever grateful to you and so very honored. Thank you! You guys rock!

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