256: TZ Interview – Nathan Hawkins / Conjure

Jason talks with Nathan Hawkins about his new (TCG) trading card game Conjure, what it took to create it and how they’re bringing it to market.

  1. Jason says:

    Here’s a review of Conjure that was just published:


  2. Dylan Roy says:

    I am disappointed in myself, I overlooked this episode for a whole day…

  3. Nathan Hawkins says:

    Thanks for taking the time to interview me, if any of your listeners have any questions I will be more then happy to answer them either through this website or privately through email.

    Thanks again, it was a pleasure to speak with you and I am sure our paths will cross in the future hopefully next time in person.

    If your listeners are interested I have the link to our Kickstarter project – less then a week to go plus you can check out the art work

    Nathan Hawkins

  4. Nathan Hawkins says:

    The first TechZing listener to make a pledge – thank you Michael Hunt!

  5. Matt S says:

    A new interview! What a pleasant surprise 🙂

    Nathan’s story was really interesting and it was fun to see behind of the scenes of how a non-software start up does things. The “stick figure cardboard” cards was funny and definitely fits the line of thinking that an MVP should be minimal enough to be embarrassing 🙂

    I don’t play TCGs but it has been interesting seeing the shift from physical to digital. Scrolls (by the same folks that made Minecraft) had an interesting launch plan – you could buy the game while it was in Beta for $20 (vs the typical $50-60 for a retail game) and they were able to start building a community, get lots of play testing done before their actual launch, and get a cash injection/market validation. Additionally, the TCG model of booster packs fits perfectly with an in-app purchase/DLC model so I think we will continue to see growth in this area in the next few years.

    Something else that I found insightful was Nathan’s comments about the art quality. He said that people would judge it for a few seconds and as long as it was “good enough” they would put it out of their mind. I think this lesson certainly applies to bootstrapping software as well.

  6. Nathan Hawkins says:

    Hi Matt, thanks for the kind words. To be honest the response has been amazing, still feels odd people complimenting the way in which I have tackled this project.

    It has been a journey and the more we achieve the more we seem to find things that need to be done.

    It is never ending but in a good way as despite some tough moments we have really enjoyed the experience and also made some pretty awesome friends.
    Nathan Hawkins

  7. Jon says:

    >Additionally, the TCG model of booster packs fits perfectly with an in-app purchase/DLC model so I think we will continue to see growth in this area in the next few years.

    In the physical space the random booster model is pretty much dead. The only games that can make it work are the ones that already dominate the space — they are grandfathered in essentially. But all the attempts at making new CCGs, and there have been many, failed.

    Instead these card games have moved to a non-random model. This is sometimes called LCG: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Flight_Games#Living_Card_Games

    You just buy a set of cards and get all the cards in that set. That’s it. Netrunner and the Game of Thrones card games use this model and it’s been quite successful. Personally this got me back into deck building games as I am long past the age where I am ever going to buy random sets of cards looking for the right ones, collecting things, etc. I just want to get to the game.

  8. Still in mid-interview. Sounds great so far, although I can’t even get through a game of Monopoly so…

    Just a note – I found a typo on the site under Types: “Ancient beings from long ago have return.” Also each blurb ends without a period but I assume that is by design.

  9. Doh! Never mind my monopoly comment…as 40% percent of the conversation is about how to make the game “anti-monopoly”.

  10. Nathan Hawkins says:

    Anti Monopoly haha! For regular TCG players the board is a little daunting. Overall the response has been fantastic. It is amazing how something as old as a gridded board is considered drastically new for a TCG. More then happy to answer any questions, thanks for picking up the typos!

  11. Jon says:

    Monopoly is a classic example of a ‘bad’ popular game among board game enthusiasts. It’s not actually THAT bad (any game with players trading has a lot of interaction and room for fun) but there’s a ton of things it does that are considered really bad practices in modern games.