The board game hobby has been growing like kudzu next to a Georgia freeway. Board gaming has seen exponential growth every year for over a decade, largely driven by Kickstarter and the fact that humans are wising up to the fact that board games are awesome.
This has resulted in a tsunami of new board games to the market. Honestly, there are more board games than a non-cybernetically-enhanced earth human can target lock. That’s why creative, trust-worthy, engaging companies that produce consistently high-quality games and products are a winner in this market.
Following such a company these days is helpful for us nerds. With so many titles, it’s helpful to be able spot a company logo on a box and be assured that the product you’re dropping your cash on will be held to a high standard.
Renegade Game Studios is one such board gaming company.
So, we smuggled Scott Gaeta–Founder and President of Renegade Game Studios–back to Nerds on Earth HQ. He was questioned thoroughly, then released (mostly) unharmed. Read on.
Board Game Market Report: Renegade Game Studios
Clave: Scott, thanks so much. Right out of the gate, what makes a Renegade game a “Renegade Game?”
Raiders of the North Sea is an excellent Viking-themed worker placement game. It is one of my favorite games and I've taught it to several brand new board gamers.
Scott: Bottom line: we want to be known for making great games for our customers and be great collaborators with our partners. Everything is important to us; game design, graphic design, art, editing, packaging, and production all need to be top notch.
We also want our games to be productive parts of their respective communities. They should bring something new to the table in their space.
For example, Overlight is a fresh take on fantasy in RPGs. Fox in the Forest does trick taking in a new way. Spell Smashers makes word games fun! (I’m not a fan of word games in general, if you couldn’t tell). Power Rangers bring a new experience to the table top that Power Rangers fans have never had before.
All these games have something new and exciting about them for their intended audiences.
Clave: Related, what are your company values?
Scott: That’s not very complicated. We want to work with good people. We want to treat people as best we can. If we mess up–and we will–we’ll fix it the best we can.
Spell Smashers is a brand new word game that has quickly become a favorite of Nerds on Earth writers.
We are also conscious that games don’t always reach every segment of the population. Representation matters and if we can reach new gamers through good representation, then it’s good for everyone.
Internally, we want to place greater value on our people too. People should have lives and not fear to live them.
Clave: Renegade has such a wide range of products. You have board games of all types, plus RPGs. How do you focus your products when you have such a wide range?
Scott: We really consider ourselves a few different game companies in one. Players who buy specific types of games will see us as a RPG company and someone else as a family game company. A heavy euro gamer may see us another way.
So we manage our lines by community. It’s all about our customers. This is something we’re actively growing. The challenge is more on the retail side. We’re also actively educating our retail partners that we don’t make just one type of game. We make games for lots of different gamers that they sell to.
Clave: I like that. It puts the “studio” in Renegade Game Studios. What does the Renegade team bring to the table?
Scott: Honestly, we have some of the best people in the gaming and pop culture product world on our team. If you look at the resumes of many of our people you’ll see some pretty big-brand experience. Most of our team has 10+ years’ experience in hobby gaming so they know their roles very well and are experts at them.
Clank! In! Space! is a deck building card game with a space theme.
Plus, we just get stuff done. We don’t waste a lot of time. Meetings are rare and when they do happen, they’re pretty short (except maybe when we are goofing off). This is the best team I’ve worked with in the 20+ years I’ve been in this industry.
Clave: That shows. You have a wonderfully aggressive catalog. I also love the creative stuff you are doing with marketing. I’m obviously not the core audience for different lipstick colors, but I love that you are creating things like that to accompany an RPG. Can you tell me a little bit about your approach to fun in marketing?
Scott: Marketing is a big focus to us. It takes many forms, but community and brand building are among the most important to us. The Overlight nail polish and fragrance is a perfect example of a brand extension that can help us reach new fans and also makes a statement about who we are as a company.
We want to be a part of your lives. We want to be the FUN part of your lives. Stuff like nail polish for a game based on color is one of those things people would talk about, but would never imagine actually happening. When we had an opportunity to make it happen, we had to jump on it. When someone says “you will probably think this is crazy or weird,” our ears perk up.
We’re also not afraid to fail. “Fail safely” is a mantra of mine. Try it out and as long as you’re not betting the company, it’s OK. As you get better and better, your bets and experiments have a greater degree of success.
The other is meaning. We reflect on the specific reasons behind doing something. If there’s not a good reason or call to action, we might not want to even do it at all. Too often our industry falls into the trap of doing something just because that’s how it’s always been done. I’m not a fan of that way of thinking.
Scott gave a nice look into Renegade Game Studios. Now run over to their website and look at all their great games!