Kickstarters are like buses. You wait ages for your friends to do one, then two come along at once. Worst. Intro. Ever. That said, it is kind of surprising that two companies that are platinum friends of RedMonk both announced kickstarters today.
The first is Beasts of Balance, which is pretty much the most fun you can have stacking animals and elements – with some aspects of Jenga, but also fun digital/tabletop intertwingled gameplay, where a phone or tablet reflects what’s happening in the physical world. Alex Fleetwood, the founder of Sensible Objects, the company behind the game, has been a fixture at RedMonk events for a couple of years. We like to have fun evening social events, and introducing people to games is a great to do just that. Beasts of Balance is really hard, but not so hard that kids don’t love it. It’s just as good for families as it is conference attendees. We have found it goes well with curry… Anyway – so the new kickstarter will fund delightful new animals to play with, but also a new BATTLE mode, where deities of earth, air, and water compete. Competitive gameplay is the basis of almost all games, so it’s an obvious move for the platform. There can be only one! Alex is almost comically ambitious behind his cuddly British exterior, so the company is definitely worth following and encouraging. So about the kickstarter… Obviously one reason I am writing this post is I wanted to help the company reach its funding target. Well that’s redundant, because the company hit 50k within about six hours. Apparently I am not the only one to like the game. But stretch goals are sure to be interesting. I highly recommend you back them now, so that you can get the new game as one less Christmas present to worry about for your kids, significant other, or anyone else that likes great games.
But life isn’t just about play. It’s also about hops. Company Drinks is such a great community idea. It brings people together from all walks of life, of all ages, to pick hops and or forage for fruit, which it then makes into drinks. It’s a cooperatively run company, and has found a great location for community bottling operation – Barking Pavilion. Kathrin Bohm, the founder, is an artist and a powerhouse of ideas and positivity – she also runs regular workshops teaching people to harvest hay with scythes. The hop-picking story is particularly touching. It used to be common for Londoners before and between the wars to head to Kent for a “holiday” to pick hops. Get out of the pollution of the East end, enjoy freedom with the sun on your back, maybe even have an assignation under the stars if you’re lucky. Why touching? Because Kathrin has found older people that used do this, and introduced them to a new generation of interested people, that want to pick hops and make beer. There aren’t enough good inter-generational activities out there. Company Drinks really is a grassroots community project worth supporting. It won’t just make beer though – also sodas that are healthier than your usual colas and lemonades.
While I am talking up Friend of RedMonk kickstarters I should also mention that our friend Joanna Montgomery will shortly be shipping Pillow Talk, which she presented at Thingmonk 2015, and is now going into production. It’s a sweet idea for the Internet of empathy – being able to feel the heartbeat of your loved one over distance.