Duncan went to university to study creative writing, but has always loved concept art and game design.
After Uni, he spent years chasing junior roles at games companies which needed more experience than he had, but no way to achieve it. This lead to freelance work with a couple of games studios across Europe, but nothing steady. So one day he said: "I should just start my own games studio!"
The focus of the studio was going to be narrative based digital games. But after a sleepless night, an idea for a cooking competition game changed everything. Recipe for Disaster was born; at least in Duncan's imagination. It just wasn't a complete idea. Basically, he wanted to create a cooking game with frantic creativity. So, these were the ideas he came up with:
Starting with hand drawing and gluing prototypes onto real playing cards, then ordering bells and timers, play testing started. And boy, did we play test. Sharing the game with friends and family as well as colleagues in the digital games industry confirmed that it had all the ingredients to create a great frantic game. Everyone from 8 to 80 had fun and everyone had creative spins on the rules. The two elements we found people loved were dumpster diving and presenting the dish (after initial nerves).
We knew we wanted more than a rough idea to bring to Kickstarter, so we attended the London Toy Fair in the UK and Spielwarrenmesse in Germany (remember those pre Covid days?). We contacted manufacturers and distributers and left with more options than solutions.
Our first designs needed some honing, but we finally hit on a combination of frantic, painterly and messy. Alex did an amazing job on capturing the essence of each ingredient!
Next step was to crack on and get some prototypes made. We found MakePlayingCards in Hong Kong were willing to do small batches, so had 8 sets printed. What an amazing job they did, quick response, easy do it yourself uploads. The quality was great, and it was a real pleasure to do more play testing after our homemade sets.
We finally reached the time to launch ourselves to the world. We had been posting and growing a following on Instagram, but the real test was KickStarter in July 2020.
The Kickstarter campaign went so well--we did more than 300% of our target, achieved a "games we love" status, and were in the top 12 games during the whole campaign (usually in the top 3!). In the end, we sold more than 725 games, so now the real work begins.
During our trip to Spielwarrenmesse, we identified a European and a Chinese manufacturer we could work with. As a small batch developer, we ended up choosing Long Pack Games to do our initial printing and haven't regretted the decision.
In addition, we choose Fun Again Games from Oregon in the US to help us wade through the morass of Logistics and Shipping. And if you thought it was the same thing, well, they are totally different.
The printing and boxing was done by the first week in Nov 2020, but due to Covid and Christmas, our first deliveries started landing in early February 2021 in the US and Asia, Europe followed in March 2021 and the UK customers (go Brexit!) were the last to get theirs the first week in April.
Due to the success of our kickstarter campaign we were able to order 1500 games in our first batch, which is opening the door with wholesalers and retailers. Our US wholesale partner is HitPointSales, and they have found us 5 games stores to trial Recipe for Disaster. Additionally we are now on the look out for direct introductions to other retailers, as well as selling here on our own site, and via other webshops like Amazon, Facebook/Instagram, and Board Game Geek.
We are so looking forward to forging these relationships, so if you are in the industry, please feel free to contact us!
We are now hard at work to bring you the next level frantic and exciting game play opportunities. Our hope is to launch a kickstarter campaign shortly, so follow us on Instagram to keep updated on all the news.