Alan Phan and his team recently launched a million-dollar Kickstarter for a trading card game called The Grand Archive. What’s amazing is that he and his friends had never made a trading card game before, so today we’re going to learn a little bit more about Alan and his story. Enjoy!

“We want to make something bigger than the card game one day, and this is a part of it, and if we don’t do this we won’t get anything close to what our dreams are.”

Here we learn about Alan’s background (something we get deeper into as the episode continues) and explore where Alan believes their success came from.

“One night we were just running through an idea at our local shop. we printed out some proxies. We were testing out some ideas that we had until we came across one that was like, ‘wait, I want to play this again—like, a lot.’”

Here we talk about how Alan and his group of friends built a prototype and a community using marketing tools he’d picked up earlier in his life. He goes on to speak about how to handle the risks of building a game with this kind of scale and cost.

“What I mean by viral is: we had about four people in the server (we were the only people in there) into probably six hundred people in the span of two hours. More and more people were joining. Friends bringing in friends, and groups bringing in bigger groups.”

This is incredible! In this segment, we try to hash out exactly what brought people into the Grand Archive community. We discuss how the anime theme and the artwork made the game enticing to the people within the trading card game community.

“We’re making a TCG. It’s a trading card game. A lot of people collect these games. […] People probably spend more money than you think on collectibles.”

In this section, we talk about how a relatively small number of backers (1.5k) contributed over a million dollars to The Grand Archive Kickstarter. I ask Alan about why he thinks the contributions were so high, and what it is about collectible card games that make people want to spend.

“What we wanted to remind people of were the good old days and the memories we had of growing up opening up these packs.”

In this last part of the podcast, we talk about how Alan and his team used the collectible aspect to build exciting rewards for their backers, making sure to give the game fun backer rewards that were collectible, while making sure the collectability aspect didn’t come at the sacrifice of the game’s integrity.