Interview: The Connecticut Festival of Indie Games

Interview: The Connecticut Festival of Indie Games

If often extolled the wonders of the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and now a sibling has arrived; at the end of April, the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games will be launching in it’s inaugural celebration of independent tabletop games and the creators behind them.

The Connecticut Festival of Indie Games will take place on April 30th, at Elm City Games / The Grove in New Haven, CT. (UPDATED 3/3/16 with a new, bigger and better venue that the CT FIG secured!) It cost $10.00 for an attendee, and Indie Exhibitors registration is between $40 and $80, depending on booth size and other options.

I’d be remiss if I did not also mention that the CT FIG is launching a special promotion starting today where the first 100 tickets sold in March at half price ($5 rather than $10). You can order tickets and register for the event here.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jason Miceli, the festival’s co-creator, and he agreed to answer a few of our questions:

 

“Have fun and connect with people in the same room! Bring your family and friends to the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games!”

CT-FIG_1

 

First of, introduce yourself! What’s your role with the Connecticut FIG, and what is your history with Indie Games and Indie Game Development?

Hi! I’m Jason Miceli, co-creator of the new Connecticut Festival of Indie Games. The core team consists of myself and my two partners, Matt Plourde and Tim Mierzejewski. We are each indie game designers, now joined officially under the Geek Fever Games brand, and we have been developing tabletop and (very few) digital games for the better part of 20 years. Matt and I first attempted to launch something back in high school, long before today’s online tools for crowdfunding and publishing existed – it was an interesting and decent sized tax write-off. Thankfully we came back together about 5 years ago and said, “this time… for real!” That’s when Geek Fever Games was born, and now with Tim added to the team we have collectively fulfilled 5 Kickstarter campaigns and published 6 tabletop games and 1 PC game.

How did the Connecticut FIG start? What role did the Boston Festival of Indie Games play in this venture?:

In short, BostonFIG was the start of CT-FIG! Somehow we stumbled upon this event called the Boston Festival of Indie Games a few years back. We had a solid prototype for Mars vs. Earth at that point, and we were actively running its Kickstarter campaign to raise money for better artwork. We figured it would be worth the (rather low) cost for an “indie booth” to get us more involved with the gaming community. The experience was amazing. We had dozens of people playing our game all day, providing constant and tremendous feedback. The next year we went back, this time featured in their Tabletop Showcase and with inventory available to sell.

After experiencing what BostonFIG offered to small design studios like us, we eagerly sought out other similar cons in driving distance across New England. While we’ve found a couple other interesting ones, none have been as dedicated to indie designers or offered the intense spirit of community, creation, and sharing we experienced with BostonFIG. A couple months ago I asked the guys about starting up CT-FIG to help fill this void. We chose April 30, 2016 as the inaugural kickoff event, our way of celebrating and giving back to the community on International TableTop Day.

BostonFIG truly gave us the core idea of what an indie focused event could be, and for us as indie game designers it, alongside TheGameCrafter, set us on our own incredible and rewarding journey. We are extremely thankful to both these great companies for offering their support and partnership as we now kick off the first ever FIG in Connecticut. The first year will be notably smaller than the sizable BostonFIG has become, but we do expect it to grow and evolve in its own right. We may echo more of BostonFIG’s structure, with judged showcase entries, a digital showcase, and side panels and talks. However, we also intend to think different and unique. We’re not sure yet what that will mean exactly, but we know we each come from different backgrounds with different skills, and we’ll look forward to seeing what that can mean for the growth of CT-FIG. Given my wife’s profession, I have actually wondered about some form of joint fitness, or at least morning stretch, program integrated with the event. Most of us geeks shy away from those *evil* words, yet we’re smart enough to know we shouldn’t – might be interesting!

What is the mission of the CT-FIG?

We haven’t had a chance to word-smith this yet, but I would offer that CT-FIG’s mission is, at its core, to support indie game designers in their passionate journeys to bring their creations to light. There are so many great tools available now that enable small teams with limited resources to have a real shot. True, there’s a massive amount of competition in the space, and these tools are only increasing that competition among the “little guys,” but that doesn’t change the persistent and relentless need that each one of us has to grant our babies a chance to grow up and become something amazing. CT-FIG will be a vital tool along this journey.

Some Games that will be at CT-FIG

CTFIG_Games

 

What kind of Variety of Games do you have being shown now? What’s the ratio of Board to Video games like?

We’re very pleased with the variety of games already registered to be shown. We have deep dungeon-runner type games that cater to hobbyist gamers, and on the other end we have a simple marble maze creation game that children will love. Some games support 1 to 2 players, and some support 10+ players. We have some party games, and we have hard-core gamer games. We have simple games with little to no theme, and games incredibly rich in theme, such as one where players take on the role of one or more guarding angels seeking to restore virtue in a world growing darker with vice.

For this first year we are not highlighting digital games, but we do see that as a potential evolution for future years.

Any stand out games so far?

Of course I am a lover of all games, but there is one that continually stands out – a game that is literally played in the dark! The hero characters hold little flashlights that shine down the 3D halls, illuminating some of the terrain and potentially enemies, while the hunters wear night-vision goggles and can see the entire game-board at all times. Now that’s unique!

 

To other people out there; any advice on starting a festival like this from the ground up?

Well… there are several key elements. First and foremost, know what you’re getting into. I have organized many large events throughout my career, so the notion of starting this didn’t scare me from a logistics standpoint, but make no mistake – there are a TON of logistics to deal with. Use the many great inexpensive or free tools that are available, such as tabletop.events (a great new events registration and management platform about to be released by the guys behind TheGameCrafter). Create a unique and distinct brand for the festival – while the Geek Fever Games team is behind this event, the con is its own entity and must live on its own, with its own mission. Network network network! Reach out to organizers of other similar events (such as myself – reach out anytime!) to gain support, insight, and perhaps some cross-promotion. Make sure you know there’s an audience for this in your geographic area – in our case we’re clearly filling a gap in CT, but there would be no way to build something new like this in Boston since it already exists.

A question we always like to ask: What game/games have you been playing lately?

Aside from my own prototypes we’re always tweaking and refining, I have been enjoying Splendor, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Tesla vs. Edison, and King of Tokyo (WITH expansions!) of recent. We always try to get Galaxy Trucker to the table, and Innovation and Red7 are also frequently played.

 

Our thanks to Jason for taking the time to answer our questions, and for helping to create another venue that’s giving independent game developers a menas to spread the word and collaborate with both player and other developers. For more information on the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games, head to festival’s website at http://www.ct-fig.com/.

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Written by
Editor-in-Chief of IndieHangover.com. With a soft spot for epics, sagas and tales of all types, Jacob approaches games as ways to tell stories. He's particularly interested in indie games because of the freedom they have to tell different stories, often in more interesting and innovative ways than Triple A titles.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks so much for giving us an opportunity to speak out about this great event!

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