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TechnologyIAmA first time inventor that went from 0 to fully functional prototype and Kickstarter campaign in 1 year. AMA!

Mar 9th 2018 by flypdeck • 6 Questions • 36 Points

EDIT: Time to sign off! Thanks for all the great questions. Happy International Women's Day and I hope everyone has some great adventures lined up in your future. Hi my name is Hilaree Nelson O’Neill. For nearly two decades, I’ve been a professional ski mountaineer and alpine climber. My first ski expedition to a remote area in the Indian Himalaya ignited a passion for adventure that has taken me to some of the most remote corners of the globe. In all that time India, and more specifically an obscure peak by the name of Papsura, aka the Peak of Evil, remained one of my most beloved places. I recently was selected as one of National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year for completing a climb and ski descent of that same Peak of Evil. I’ve been on upwards of 40 expeditions, and I was the first woman to climb two 8000 meter peaks in 24 hours, Everest and Lhotse.

Check out my climbing adventures: - http://on.natgeo.com/2oPPMWc - http://on.natgeo.com/2tpKzcs

Proof: https://i.redd.it/p6gc1fqcndk01.jpg https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/971810302785478656

Q:

Cool invention! Is there a way to invent a new trick?

A:

How did you investigate producing the game when you first decided to dive in?


Q:

What are your legislative priorities for Missouri? How do you feel about the alleged misconduct of Governor Grietens?

A:

What's a common misconception about the ocean that annoys you?


Q:

I work in healthcare as a FF/EMT and have worked in hospitals. I have noticed the industry uses a blanket type coverage to bill patients. Even I have been to the emergency room and later received a bill which included medication I did not accept at the time of the service. I also know if a patient goes into the ER for cardiac related problems and the “crash cart” is needed, even if they only use one medication from a drawer it could end up costing the pt tens of thousands of dollars. How has the effect of outrageous medical costs caused people/organizations/government to rethink the structure of billing? What would be the most common sense approach to make this a reality today?

A:

Asking for a friend. Denny, how’d y’all get that corn so damn mellow?


Q:

How did everything start?

A:

There is not currently, but that is something that we have on the back burner. Thank you, it is a great idea! How would you want that to play out, exactly?


Q:

I went to a local game convention and talked to a lot of game makers who were a few years ahead of me. The community is super helpful in pointing new creators in the right directions in terms of manufacturing, logistics, etc.

A:

What are your legislative priorities for Missouri?

Focusing on education, primarily. Modifying the foundation formula to be more generous to schools to provide updated equipment, as well as better salaries for teachers. I'd also like to see Missouri move to a ranked-choice voting setup, to allow people to accurately represent themselves without feeling like their vote is powerless.

How do you feel about the alleged misconduct of Governor Grietens?

I'd like to see the judicial process move forward on it, and keep the politics out of it. The House is currently doing an investigation; that's fine. I feel like trying to set a trial date for November 5th was stupid. If he broke the law in this manner, he should be subject to the appropriate punishments as set forth by Missouri law.

I don't know the guy, I don't know anyone involved. This is something worth investigating, absolutely. I don't know (or have an opinion) on whether or not he actually committed the crime, as I don't have enough information available.


Q:

Its indestructible and bottomless resources… it’s quite the opposite and we are finding out the hard way

A:

Two thoughts on this, mostly on the front of how people can and are rethinking billing structure:

1) This is where we come back to being a sharp consumer. Even after an ER visit, you patients can – and probably should! – try to negotiate, see what was actually provided, what other health plans pay for this care, etc. You can probably end up paying less than appears on the billing statement.

2) KHN is actually diving into the very question of medical billing. We’ve been partnering with NPR to crowdsource patients’ medical bills and then try to investigate what actually happened, why they cost so much, and what sort of weird charges and such get added on. It’s a fascinating project – our first story is the one about the $17,850 urine test, and the next will come out later this month. If you want to help us answer this very question, please send us your crazy bills! https://khn.org/send-us-your-medical-bills/


Q:

It’s a combination the high corn recipe and the used barrel. With a lot of the flavor extracted from the barrel in its first use for Bourbon it stays so deliciously mellow!

A:

It all started for me when I moved to Chamonix, France at 23 years old. I've skied my entire life but didn't start climbing until I was 19. In Chamonix I learned how to put all of it together, the glaciers, ice climbing, rock climbing, route-finding skiing etc. I lived there for 6 years. It was like a second university.


Q:

Not sure exactly - I just imagine myself trying to pull off a dope trick, making a mistake, and thinking that mistake is actually a dope trick in and of itself. Could be an opportunity for the user to name the trick too for increased user engagement!

A:

Are you now or will you in the near future bring us a balanced version of the Cones of Dunnshire?


Q:

I'd also like to see Missouri move to a ranked-choice voting setup, to allow people to accurately represent themselves without feeling like their vote is powerless.

I'm a Missouri resident, and curious as to how you plan to introduce this to the state. Do you have a plan, or is this truly just a "Hey we should do this. Somebody do it." kind of thing as most people who present the idea on the internet bring it up as?

A:

Do you think in our lifetime we will see a permanent settlement underwater? Not a base or research facility, but a place where the average person could live?


Q:

I'm a little confused by this. A lot of the discussion around inflated medical bills has demonized hospitals and healthcare providers, but a lot of cause of this seems to be based on historical negotiating practices by managed care plans, and gross charges aren't relevant to most of the population (true self-pay may be the exception, but in my experience there is a sliding scale or self-pay discount policy already in place for most facilities).

If the hypothetical ER visit statement was for charges, then almost everyone is by default paying less than that because your insurer has already negotiated that for you, and if you are true self-pay then there is almost universally a discount or sliding-scale policy already in place by the facility. Are you suggesting that patients should try to negotiate further?

A:

Hi Denny! I'll start us off simply. Based on all factors including price, what's your favorite whiskey? If it's one you make, what's also your favorite that you don't distill?


Q:

Was there a point you ever just wanted to give up?

A:

Right on, I get it. I can think of a few ways that we could implement something like that!


Q:

If I had a dollar for every time people asked me something about Cones of Dunnshire :) I am totally Ben Wyatt in so many ways. Haha, we even made our last Kickstarter video using stop motion I just realized.

I'll see what I can do!

A:

So, I believe (I could be wrong) that Chapter 15 of Missouri's Statutes covers all of Missouri's election laws. If elected, making modifications to that through House Bills would be my first tactic. If that doesn't work, (or I'm not elected) a constitutional amendment could be put on the ballot with enough support which would require Missouri use Ranked Choice voting.

Thanks!


Q:

It is technically possible. Even more so than a colony on Mars… Hence why my grandfather experimented with this premise in the early 1960s with Conshelf habitats

A:

This is an important point to consider. Hospitals have what's called the Chargemaster rate – which is the list price. This is a far higher price than what insurers pay or what Medicare pays. If someone is simply paying for a service out of pocket and a) doesn’t ask a question and b) doesn’t get financial assistance, that person could easily be billed the full Chargemaster rate. (Hospitals are required to offer financial assistance for lower-income patients, but many don’t discuss it until the patient asks.)

My editor, Elisabeth Rosenthal, wrote a series on this when she worked for The New York Times. It’s great. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/health/paying-till-it-hurts.html


Q:

There’s not one that is my favorite, just depends on the occasion. If I’m sitting at home watching a movie or going to a football tailgate, it changes and that’s the beauty of what we do! There are a lot of different options at a lot of different price points. For example, if I’m going to a tailgate I’m going to bring Larceny - it’s a crowd pleaser and you can enjoy it anyway you want, like neat, on the rocks, classic cocktail. If I’m sitting at home watching a movie, I’m going to have some Elijah Craig Barrel Proof or Henry McKenna BIB. For options I don’t distill, probably Makers where I worked for seven years and was Assistant Master Distiller.

A:

Wow- yes! Many times in my life I have wanted to give up. It's a lot to juggle a family and a career involving so much travel and risk. The hardest time for me was after a Nat Geo expedition to Myanmar where I experienced a lot of difficulty with our team dynamics and incredibly difficult climbing. I came home feeling inadequate and frustrated. I missed my kids terribly. Ironically, it was their influence, and my own passion for the mountains that brought me back.


Q:

Are there plans for an online component to see highscores across the country and planet?

A:

That's it!? I thought it'd be longer!

No, you don't understand! I was proud of that!

I compared it to the next Avatar!!


Q:

What are your views on Gun laws considering the recent mass shootings?

A:

Could you take that shape of water guy in a fight? What would be your strategy against a man-fish?


Q:

For as long as I can remember, we've been talking about the outrageous costs of health care. As far as I can tell, there's near universal agreement that health care costs are ruining lives, holding back companies from growth, and crippling state government. Yet nothing ever seems to get done.

From your research, are there a few relatively simple changes we can make to the system that would give us meaningful improvements? Or is the only solution to scrap the whole thing and start over with some form of single payer or nationalized health insurance?

A:

Hey Denny-

big fan of heaven hill brands. elijah craig barrel proof, in particular. i have a few questions:

  1. do you have any favorite independent or small distilleries you think we should be watching? people who are doing it right and not rushing product to market?

  2. any chance of barrel/high proof offerings of other heaven hill labels?

  3. what is heaven hill doing to stymie the oncoming pop to the bourbon bubble? does heaven hill even think this is a bubble or does hh see the current fervor as a sea change for the whiskey world?


Q:

On this International Women's Day can you talk about how you've been influenced by female mountaineers like Stacy Allison (first US woman to summit Everest)?

A:

Yes! Currently flypdeck is stand alone. For our next version we plan on adding a Bluetooth shield to connect to mobile app. That way you can play your friends no matter where you are, and there can be global leader boards, tournaments, etc.


Q:

Haha so classic. I'm going to watch that episode today.

Edit: Also, I just realized I'm married to a girl from Indiana...

A:

Ooh, a tough question. On the one hand, I would hate to be singled out by the NRA or any other group as being anti-gun. On the other hand, I could lose all support if I don't come out in favor of gun control.

Thanks! This is the kind of tough question I was wanting!

I think the time to talk about guns, and their affects on peoples lives is whenever someone wants to have the conversation. I think asking people to "wait" for the "appropriate time" is just a way to never have the conversation. If you're afraid to have a conversation, you shouldn't be working for the public.

That said, I own two pistols myself. I recognize the emotional plea for wanting to ban firearms; I don't think that's a good answer, and there are several studies that show the effect of bans on guns are not directly attributable to a drop in gun violence. Other policies and initiatives that went along with the 1994 AWB were more helpful.

Still, it's too easy for someone to decide they're going to kill a large number of people. Law enforcement agencies should have tools, (such as the Red Flag laws being discussed right now) to proactively intervene when there's a threat to others, or a possibility of self-harm. This should go through the courts, and there should absolutely be a pathway to regaining those weapons once the danger has passed - whatever the criteria for that may be.

Closing the gun show loophole is another good idea. I have an idea, I'll float it here. Tell me what you think:

In Missouri, if you're a private gun seller, selling at a gun show, you are only allowed to sell to Missouri Citizens. (That's my understanding; I could be wrong. Feel free to correct me and cite a statute!) If Gun Shows were responsible for issuing a permit-to-purchase, you'd have background checks for every firearm sold at a gun show. (Gun show dealers, to my understanding, who are Licensed Shops, still have to follow NICS rules for background checks, even at gun shows.) The gun shows would work with the local sheriff's department to run a MULES background check to ensure the person is safe to buy a firearm. If they pass, they get a permit; they show the permit (and ID) to the guy at the gun show, and they get to buy the gun.

That's an idea, anyway. I'd also be in favor of raising the age of purchase to 21, or examining, (I haven't fully dived into it) a revival of Missouri's permit to purchase program that was removed around 2007.

Thanks for your question!


Q:

Did you see me change into my aquaman suit?

A:

Great question. Health care costs are a big, big public policy concern, and they have been for quite a while! But alas, in health care, nothing is ever simple. (The ACA was more than 900 pages!)

A lot of wonks have studied this: The big issue is that, compared to other countries, we simply pay a lot more for hospitals, for outpatient care, for prescription drugs, etc. Some people say single-payer, or an expanded public option is a good way to address this.

The ACA also pushed some experiments to try to pay hospitals for better outcomes, or to penalize them if people kept coming back sick. It also built an “innovation center,” whose whole job was to experiment with new ways to pay more efficiently for health care – moving away from the so-called “fee for service” model and instead “paying for performance.” We have seen some results start to trickle in, but nothing revolutionary yet. This week, though, officials from the Trump administration signaled they’re interested in trying to continue those experiments. So that could be something.

Drug costs are also of course a big concern – but so far, no one really knows WHY drugs cost as much as they do. (This is why states are pushing “drug price transparency” laws.) Other nations, like Canada, have cost controls, but those also come with their own tradeoffs.

Tl;dr: there are no “simple” changes to fixing the cost of health care. It’s a big issue, and one that lawmakers could tackle, but it requires lots of serious thought, effort, and time!


Q:

1) do you have any favorite independent or small distilleries you think we should be watching? people who are doing it right and not rushing product to market?

Love what Pat and Shane are doing at Wilderness Trail in Danville KY. Those guys are top notch and true experts. They have not released any of their whiskey yet but it’s coming and it will be good.

2) any chance of barrel/high proof offerings of other heaven hill labels?

Once again, will never say never.

3) what is heaven hill doing to stymie the oncoming pop to the bourbon bubble? does heaven hill even think this is a bubble or does hh see the current fervor as a sea change for the whiskey world?

As I said in a previous answer, everyone has their own perspective on this, but from my position I don’t think Bourbon is going anywhere any time soon. We’re only halfway to where the industry was in its peak in the 1970’s. And we have huge growth potential in the international markets. As the second largest holder of aging American Whiskey, we’re in a better position than most to prepare for the future.

A:

I must say that I was not influenced by Stacy Allison. I think her career in climbing has been amazing but I was just never familiar with her story. My roots were in skiing and I was originally influenced by the likes of Kristen Ulmer and Wendy Fisher. As I got into climbing, I greatly admired Lynn Hill, Catherine Destival and Arlene Blum.


Q:

would be interested to know this as well.

A:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OepXFbP5Zr8

I love the game box aesthetic. I hope we can have a whole shelf for you on the Kallax at some point :)

Salem to Tortuga to Deadwood. Where are you headed next?


Q:

Clarification. You can buy a gun from a gun show if you live out of state, however, you would have to pay for them to transfer it to a FFL in your state of residence.

A:

How was your diet down there? What kind of food were you eating for that time?


Q:

Do you believe there could be merit in eliminating medicine from being advertised, through media or through doctors, making it illegal for doctors to take money to recommend a certain pill?

I cannot see how it possible contributes to the state of health of people in a country, while pharmaceuticals spend gigantic amounts of money on this. Then they feel justified to recoup that money by hiking prices to unrealistic amounts, screwing the people in need over some more..

A:

We have the same last name. You get a lot of Harry Potter references anytime someone notices your name?


Q:

How even? did you have a team?

A:

Not yet. Don't play flypdeck by the pool for now :)


Q:

We're not revealing Volume 4 just yet, but we're hard at work on it. But whereas the first 3 are all in the Americas, the next one will not! So many possibilities though for the series. Pick a city and a year and build a game around it.

A:

Huh; the guys I talked to made it sound like that was not at all possible. Maybe something the Gun Show told'em when setting up, or maybe just something they didn't want to go through.

Thanks!


Q:

Really Really AWFUL!!!!! We ate freeze dried “astronaut” food morning noon and eve… 3 times as many calories yet lost over 18lbs after 31 days

A:

Direct-to-consumer advertising is such a controversial issue, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals.

We’ve seen drug companies use this to market drugs when they aren’t universally recommended or needed. Meningitis B is one example I’ve written about – it’s an uncommon disease that can be deadly (but is also treatable!). The vaccine is not universally recommended, because it’s such a rare disease (and such an expensive vaccine!). So its manufacturers (Pfizer and GSK) have pumped up advertising. It’s made doctors and some industry watchers pretty uneasy, and some experts argue that this kind of approach bolsters sales of health care that maybe isn’t necessary.

Many pharmaceutical companies and doctors would argue that money / donations don’t influence prescribing decisions. But it’s controversial, and there have been steps toward addressing it. The ACA created an Open Payments database that requires drugmakers to report what they give to doctors and hospitals, and it publishes them online.

There’s also been some really good journalism on this. ProPublica, another nonprofit news outlet, did a fantastic project called Dollars for Docs: If you want to see whether your doctor has gotten money from a drug company, I recommend their database! https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/

I’m also linking to two stories KHN did on direct-to-consumer advertising – my meningitis B story and another by my colleague, Julie Appleby: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/business/meningitis-b-vaccines.html https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/business/media/pseudobulbar-affect-drug-advertising-sales.html


Q:

Yes, I get that question all the time!

A:

In regards to Papsura, it took me nearly two decades from when I first saw the mountain to actually successfully climbing the peak and skiing the west face. I had years of gathering experience and the skillset to undertake that expedition. I tried in 2013 with a larger team and we were not able to get far on the mountain. In 2017, I was able to learn from the earlier failed attempt and went with a smaller team, a different time of year and climbed via a different approach.


Q:

I really like the concept of a portable game that has the simple competitiveness of playing horse or poser without needing a hoop or a couple of skateboards, two dudes could play this in the airport waiting for a flight. Was a nostalgia for quick and fun competition with a definitive winner and loser the main inspiration for the invention? Also what is your lifetime record in the types of competitions across all mediums (horse, poser, shooting trash into a trashcan in an office, and now obviously Flypdeck)?

A:

Great until they betray you.


Q:

issuing a permit-to-purchase

That's a different Idea I haven't heard before and certainly has some merit! It's refreshing to see someone not toe the party line and want to force bans on everyone. Maryland has a couple great Democrat candidates running for Governor right now but they all support the idea of bans and that just pushes people to vote for our Republican Governor once again(And in his defense, he's done a great job).

A:

What was the coolest thing and the hardest thing about living underwater? Would you do it again??


Q:

The money they steal from the tax purse in loss deductions is enough for taxpayers to pay for those who can’t afford healthcare, that’s how it works in every other developed country.

A:

Hey Denny! Thanks for opening your doors to Heaven for a little bit.

Can you speak on the Bourbon industry and where you think it's going. Everyone claims the bubble is about to burst.

Also, can you explain the farm to distillery relationship and where you might get your corn, wheat and rye from? I've heard that a lot of distilleries, HH included use GMO products to keep up with demand. Any shift towards organic!


Q:

When, if ever, did you feel like you were in the most danger, and how did you handle it?

A:

Great question! That's pretty much right on with what the main inspiration was, but sprinkle in the fact that we also love to challenge ourselves. We grew up always trying to get high scores in games, even if it meant beating our own high scores.

I get crushed by Bryce in Flypdeck, and Pat and I usually split games. I'd say I'm probably 987 - 764 all time in these types of games/competitions. What about you?


Q:

Yes.

A:

I believe in finding solutions that bridge divides and can gain support from everyone. I don't like the idea of bans. I do like the idea of responsible, safe gun ownership.

Thanks!


Q:

Coolest thing was the being given the luxury of time underwater by becoming an aquanaut. It is the biggest obstacle and limitation coming from the surface. We broke the time barrier! The reverse is true too- we had a ceiling from which we could not rise above. To do so would create major DCS issues including potential death...

A:

So I don’t know a lot about this specific case, and I would be hesitant to weigh in on particulars. But this latter idea has always been the argument advocates use to tout expanding health insurance – the idea is that if more people are covered, then there’s less uncompensated care, and the cost burden is more evenly shared.


Q:

1) Can you speak on the Bourbon industry and where you think it's going. Everyone claims the bubble is about to burst.

Everyone has their own perspective on this, but from my position I don’t think Bourbon is going anywhere any time soon. We’re only halfway to where the industry was in its peak in the 1970’s. And we have huge growth potential in the international markets. As the second largest holder of aging American Whiskey, we’re in a better position than most to prepare for the future.

2) Also, can you explain the farm to distillery relationship and where you might get your corn, wheat and rye from? I've heard that a lot of distilleries, HH included use GMO products to keep up with demand. Any shift towards organic!

All of the corn comes from four local farmers who we have worked with for generations. We typically get our wheat from these same farms since they will grow the wheat on the same property once the corn is harvested. Our rye comes from the Northern US and Canada. We just cannot grow it economically here in KY. As for GMO, we do not dictate to the farmer what they should grow. They know what is best to grow on their land. That being said, no GM material makes it through distillation thus the reason why we do not mandate what the farmer must grow.

A:

Most recently would be on the ski descent of Papsura in India. Our ascent took much longer than we'd hoped, the weather was a terrible white-out and we were exhausted. I handled it by trusting my teammates, behaving an internal focus to stay in the moment. I chose not to look down whenever possible to quell the fear of the exposure, and I forced my mind to compartmentalize and break up the descent into small pieces so as not to be overwhelmed. Breathing helps a lot as well. I find it keeps the panic at bay.


Q:

Is it true that the entire Flypdeck team subsisted solely off of Vigilante Coffee and beer during those 12 months in the garage?

A:

Was the stop motion scene comparable to Avatar?

Seriously though. If you were to make The Cones of Dunnshire I would find it very, very difficult to not throw money at you and your family : D


Q:

I want every politician to support funding CDC research on gun violence. Surely studying the factors and outcomes can help lead to a decrease. Gun violence should be treated like drunk driving in the 70's and 80's. We weren't removing cars, we had a campaign and studies to decrease the impact and occurences, with ads and awareness and studies.

A:

I'm totally jealous, it had to be such an amazing experience! Were you ever afraid of the potential death factor? Metal groans in the middle of the night hard to get used to kind of thing... What kind of sea life did you get to see??


Q:

Thank you for doing this! Do you feel that the insurance industry, as a whole, contributes to the rising cost of healthcare through the process of re-insurers, malpractice insurance (which could also be blamed on our litigious society), and the such? Meaning, do you believe that there are significant factors outside of the primary service of healthcare (a nurse or doctor treating a patient) that contributes to the overall cost and if that cost has escalated at a faster rate than say the cost of the primary business of healthcare?

A:

Hi Denny,

Any chance we’ll see a brand extension of Larceny? Maybe a barrel proof someday? Older age stated ones like Elijah Craig 18 year? Thank you for such an amazing portfolio of whiskey.


Q:

Hi Hilaree. Congrats on being named a Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year! You have done some amazing expeditions, but what mountain is still left on your bucket list?

A:

Thanks for the question Chris!

For electronics, we would have done much more Surface Mount Technology (SMT) design where possible - that's where electrical components are baked directly onto the circuit board. That way there is less manual soldering and wires involved.

We also would have done the speaker holes differently, if you don't leave enough space between the holes you can have issues when your injected mold pieces cure!

If you're a first timer, my recommendation is to just start building! There will always be things you could have done better, but you won't learn what they are until you try.


Q:

Haha, noted :)

A:

If the Dickey amendment could be affected by the Missouri State House of Representatives, you better believe I'd be all aboard allowing the CDC to research gun violence.


Q:

Anything worth doing has some risk. Explorers mitigate what they can, plan for any contingency and “go for it” knowing to expect the unexpected. Death is an inevitable part of life. Living life is what we must never avoid.

A:

That’s a really great and interesting question. And we know that we spend more on overhead than do other countries with less complex health insurance systems. (I went on a reporting trip to Canada last fall, and that was a point that came up again and again – their billing and admin just costs a lot less than ours, because they need fewer people.)

BUT the issue economists point to again and again is the price per unit of medical care. It’s just higher here than it is in other countries. And if we’re interested in addressing health care costs in the United States, that’s the key area to emphasize.

A lot of health care journalists point to this famous paper, by a bunch of rock star health economists: It’s called “It’s The Prices, Stupid,” and I think it still very much applies today. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.22.3.89


Q:

I’ve been on record saying that I feel Larceny is our next Evan Williams. Evan Williams is the #2 bourbon in the world and Larceny has all the tools to be right there some day. We released Larceny in 2012 in very select markets. This time last year we were only in 19 markets across the U.S. We wanted to grow the brand the right way which was making sure we had enough Wheated Bourbon to support true organic growth. By the end of 2017 we were finally to the point that we could fully distribute nationally. Right now that is our focus. Once we are comfortable with where we are as far as supporting the growth of Larceny we might take a look at some of the things you mentioned. And lets also not forget our announcement of Old Fitz BIB just last month, which is the genesis of Larceny http://blog.heavenhilldistillery.com/old-fitzgerald-bottled-bond-series/

A:

I would really love to still go to the antarctic. For me to ski on the peninsula and to climb and ski around the vinson massif has been a dream of mine for years.


Q:

Wow, that's amazing! I've always been curious though, when you want to invent a new product, how'd you know which manufacturers to go to or where to even start?

A:

-What finally made you quit your job? -How far were you into the board game business journey when you quit your job?


Q:

The "gun show loophole" does not exist. It's just another way of saying background checks aren't needed for private sales between individuals. There are states that require background checks for sales between individuals but it's impossible to enforce. The only way it would be possible to enforce background checks on private sales would be to later implement registration, and this wouldn't stop criminals from doing illegal private sales.

As a side note, the strict wording of the law in some states that require a background check for private sales actually requires it not just for sales, but for all transfers of ownership or possession, even temporary ones. If I'm walking through the woods with my buddy and we come across an obstacle of some sort, the safe thing to do is for me to hand him my gun, then I go over the obstacle, he hands me both guns, then he climbs over. That way, you aren't holding a rifle while trying to climb over something. In some states, that safe procedure would be considered a transfer of possession and would be illegal. Hell, even something as simple as trying your buddy's gun out at the range or borrowing it for a weekend if your hunting rifle is broken would become illegal in some states. In very serious cases, if a person who owns a gun is going through personal difficulties and wants to give the gun to a friend or family member (fear of an abusive spouse using it, or they want to get rid of it because they are suicidal, for example), it adds an extra barrier and makes it much harder to take the gun off of someone else's hands. Now, there are very few police officers who would actually arrest someone for simply holding their buddy's gun, but the fact that some states technically make it illegal is a problem, and it can be tricky to word the law in such a way that it doesn't criminalize these acts.

A:

Have you seen the floating patches of trash while out at sea?


Q:

I had an MRI a week ago, with insurance it was going to cost$2000 without and out of pocket it was $850. Why such a huge discrepancy for something like that?

A:

Thanks for this AMA! I have a question specifically about the discontinued NAS Old Heaven Hill BiB (red, gold, black label). What was the approximate age of whiskey going into these bottles? I find it quite extraordinary for the price and tastes (certainly noses) well above four years. When I find these I make sure to buy them, as they’re nearly unbeatable for the value. Thanks again!


Q:

Thank you! Great question - For the electrical and software side of things - start with Arduino. The resources and community there is awesome. Once you're ready to branch off of arduino into other electrical components, you can get started on hubs like AliBaba and DigiKey.

For the casing and other pieces of your product, look into 3D printing and try to find a Makerspace type of place in your area. We've found that people are very friendly at our Makerspace and love to help fellow makers learn!

A:

We were lucky that our first game did really well right out of the bat. It had made $100,000 on Kickstarter, so some of the risk of leaving was mitigated. At that point I ran another side gig of digital marketing for small companies. When we launched our 2nd game and it also did well then I started doing only games full time.


Q:

I answered this elsewhere, but you're right about it being about private person-to-person sales. However, if you're going to an event, setting up a stall, and laying out things you want to sell, you're pretty close to a business, and I think it'd be okay to have the gun show facilitate background checks before people buy those guns.

No law fixes every problem; expecting a law to fix all issues would be, in a word, silly.

Thanks for your input!

A:

Yes- in every ocean. There is an average of 34,000 pieces of plastic per square mile of ocean… A testament to our complete disconnect with the impact we are having on our ocean


Q:

So I can’t tell you about your specific insurance / hospital. BUT this is a pattern the Wall Street Journal has looked into, and their report is very much worth reading. It seems that some hospitals and health care providers are discounting services if patients pay cash upfront, rather than waiting for insurance to pay. One reason that I find particularly interesting: It cuts down on the administrative work of processing an insurance payment or collecting money later on.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-cut-your-health-care-bill-pay-cash-1455592277

A:

Old Heaven Hill BIB was 4 year old whiskey. Today, I drink our Evan Williams White label when I’m looking for a 4YO BIB.


Q:

What sensors did you use and how did you figure out which ones to use and how to actually use them?

A:

That’s amazing good to see people taking risks to pursue a passion. I see the third game in the Kickstarter link. What are the first 2?


Q:

Permit to purchase is a great idea! Run with this as a demonstration of your ability to find meaningful and productive compromises! Good work!

A:

What kind of equipment did you live/travel in during project 31? How long did descent/ascent take at the beginning/end?


Q:

Do you see the future of American Brandy exploding in popularity much like Bourbon has in the last decade? If so, does Heaven Hill have any plans for this?

A:

We use a 6-axis gyroscope/accelerometer chip. We read their documentation and did A LOT of research in the Arduino forums to learn how to use them!


Q:

The first two are referenced in the 3rd campaign. You can also see them on our website, facadegames.com

Our games are:

Salem 1692 (originally called Salem)

Tortuga 1667

Deadwood 1876

Edit: Links added

A:

I floated it past a few friends first; they liked it. I'm hopeful that seeking compromise and listening to both sides of an issue, and trying to find common ground will be more prominent in Missouri Politics.

Thanks!


Q:

Watch the Mission 31 videos and all will be revealed: https://www.youtube.com/user/Mission31channel

A:

With the popularity of Bourbon, we continue to see people trying other brown spirits like Brandy. Heaven Hill currently owns the number-two selling Brandy with Christian Brothers. We just launched the first Bottled-In-Bond American Brandy two years ago, Christian Brothers Sacred Bond. I get to work with our distilling partners in California, O’Neill, which is an interesting collaboration as they are managing a different production process using grapes and copper pot stills.


Q:

Hey there! If you had to recommend two books [one fiction; one nonfiction] that you love, or had some impact on your life, what would they be and why?

Also, where did this idea come from?

A:

I just visited your site, and in a shot of one of your games there's a character called Will Griggs. Surely he's named after international footballing legend Will Grigg?


Q:

As one of your former professors, I'm curious - how are you going to support education in Missouri? Specifically the funding of the A+ program and the new "Core 42" mandate that allows students to graduate with a Bachelor's degree and never take a basic computing course.

A:

did you miss the stars? and how was your sleeping schedule... did night remain night?


Q:

My SO has taught me a considerable amount about wine and I've taught her a lot about bourbon. I've really grown to appreciate wine and I feel like my experience with tasting bourbon has made it easier to pick up tasting wine.

Do you find that bourbon has expanded your palate while tasting other things? Other than bourbon, what other types of alcohol do you enjoy in your down time?

A:

Fiction: I love Jitterbug Perfume. Mainly because every few pages there would be a passage that I had to stop, re-read over and over again, and be in awe about how powerful the message was.

Non Fiction: I really enjoyed Steve Jobs' biography by Walter Isaacson. It proved that no matter how successful you are, everyone is human and has [sometimes major] flaws.

Bryce came up with the idea by flipping his remote controller non stop while watching television. All three of us grew up skateboarding, which also helped inspire us to create flypdeck. We used to play S-K-A-T-E, which is like H-O-R-S-E, just flipping a remote control or anything else we could find. Now we've built that concept into flypdeck as F-L-Y-P-S.


Q:

Haha, he is not. He was a guy who actually lived in the town of Salem during all the witch trial madness.

A:

Hi! Thanks for the question!

First, I think computer education should start in grade school. And I want to see teachers make higher salaries. I was speaking with the president of East Central Community College in Union the other day. His name is Dr. Bauer.

(I really wanted to call him Jack. Okay. Bad joke. Moving on.)

He was talking about how higher education funding has been slipping. A few years ago, it made up 33% of their budget. It now makes up something like 22%. (Rough numbers; don't quote me on those.) He also said that A+ is not being fully funded. I'd like to reverse that.

I'll be honest - I need to read more about Core42. I know my fiancee has mentioned the program (not by name, but close) and has been enthused by it, but I need to know more about it before I can talk about its benefits. I will say, if you don't know how to use basic productivity software or work your way around a computer before you graduate middle school, I think we're failing our students.

Thanks!


Q:

I didn’t because the stars were everywhere on the sea floor.

Considering we dove 10-12 hours per day sleep was surprisingly not a problem. The Clayton Sleep Center was disappointed I’m sure ;-)

A:

Yes, tasting American Whiskey over the years has certainly helped expand my palate, or at least improved my ability to explain what I’m tasting. As for other types of alcohol, I love aged rum. I actually ran a rum distillery in the Caribbean for 3 years and fell in love with the rum making process and the people that make it happen.


Q:

Looks cool, like a Tech Deck/BopIt hybrid. Do you need to skate to know the tricks or is there a tutorial?

A:

I love your themes!


Q:

Yo. James. I'm in MO. What do you think of this porn bill trying to get passed in the MO legislature? Also, does Greitens have to go?

A:

Do you believe in sea monsters?


Q:

What is your absolute favorite part of your job?

What about your favorite part of a day at work?

A:

Thanks! We do say it's a mashup of the water bottle flip challenge, Tech Deck, and Bop It, so I love your description.

You do not need to skate to know the tricks, we've named them in a way that we think is easiest to learn for non extreme sports folks. There will be a manual with the game and we also have how-to videos on our website flypdeck.com and YouTube channel.


Q:

Thanks!

A:

Haven't read any porn bills, so I don't have a stance on it. I vaguely remember hearing something about one, but no details. Sorry.

I think the judicial process should figure out what did or did not happen, and punish or acquit as appropriate. I think the House committee should do it's job without press interference, and work quickly to move past this in as honest and straightforward a way as possible.


Q:

Yes- people underwater qualify

A:

1) What is your absolute favorite part of your job?

The relationships. Relationships with co-workers, suppliers, consumers…..you name it. The people tied to this industry are fantastic and make this work a ton of fun.

2) What about your favorite part of a day at work?

Hmmm…...I always enjoy the first hour at work. Our distillery runs 24/7 so when I come in in the morning there is usually someone near the coffee pot that can give me the scoop on how things ran during the night and how things are currently going. And that conversation can easily move into discussions about college basketball, crappy winter weather, upcoming vacations, etc. Just love that first hour.


Q:

looking bad at what you guys created, if you could go back in time, what advice would you offer to yourself?

A:

Do you physically make the cards and game pieces?


Q:

Thanks, and...

I noticed that you don’t mention in your intro that you’re a Democrat. On your campaign page you talk about how this is your campaign and not a campaign for the Democratic Party.

Can you list some of the issues you’re not aligned with on the Democratic Platform?

A:

Hi, what’s the hardest thing about conveying your experience under or at the sea via film? Thanks! You have the most incredible job.


Q:

I love the special releases from HH. I have heard that Parker’s heritage collection may be ending. Is there any truth to that?

A:

If I could offer some advice to my one year younger self it would be:

  1. Be patient, building a product from scratch takes time
  2. Get organized and stay organized
  3. Learn everything there is to know about arduino
  4. Learn everything there is to know about 3D printing and mold making

Q:

We do not. We work with factories in China to manufacture the games. There is a lot of sending designs and samples back and forth to get everything just right.

A:

Gun reform is probably the biggest one. I don't want to call for a ban on the AR-15 or associated weapons, I don't like the idea of talking about an "assault" weapon's ban because it's too easy to get lost in the muck around the conversation.

I probably wouldn't vote for a ban unless there was overwhelming evidence that it would be beneficial, too. That's one of the primary ways, I guess.


Q:

Ocean is such an alien world, alien concept, alien sensory input, that conveying to someone who hasn’t pierced the blue veneer the beauty, fragility and importance of our life support system is very difficult. It’s like trying to explain the properties of a super nova to someone who never took astronomy

A:

Absolutely false. This has been a rumor that has circulated, but it did not originate with us. Even though Parker is no longer with us, he has had a direct impact on many things that are currently aging and might become a Parkers release. This collection will continue because of that and also because we need to continue to honor him for years to come for what he has done for Heaven Hill and also our industry. It is also important to point out that the Parkers release every year donates a significant amount of proceeds to ALS research and patient care. That is reason enough to keep things going in the future.


Q:

Will the hokies win the ACC next year?

A:

Is there a website or vetted resource to point people in the right direction, if they want to find a Chinese manufacturer of an idea or product that they have?


Q:

I don't think that this has been asked but what are your views on abortion. Also what do you think about the legalization of weed? Thanks for taking your time to respond in advanced

A:

While you were underwater, what where your experiences with Noise Pollution; how does your research intersects with Noise Pollution?


Q:

What's your favorite flavor Gatorade?

A:

Well, since they already lost, the answer is no.

Will they win the NCAA this year? 100% yes.


Q:

Boardgamegeek.com is the place to go! There are lots of forums there to ask all kinds of questions. This guy also always has lots of really helpful tips on the logistics: https://stonemaiergames.com/about/jamey-stegmaier/

Edit: We've also just made this little guide for aspiring publishers: https://facadegames.com/how-to-publish-a-board-game/

A:

I don't think that this has been asked but what are your views on abortion.

Another toughie. You guys are great and on fire with these today. Thanks for your question.

Gonna give you the TL;DR answer first; I hope you read the whole thing, though.

tl;dr: Abortion should be legal, and it should be rare.

The long answer: I'm not a fan of the idea of abortion. Not from a religious or ideological perspective, but from a human emotion perspective. Nobody likes having an abortion; anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is using the experience as a shield to keep themselves from hurting. I've talked to people who have had abortions; it is not a pleasant experience, and it is a tough, hard, trying time in their lives.

And the decision is never made with any flippancy. (Which is the most common way I have seen it portrayed.) When an abortion happens, it sucks. It's one of the worst experiences a person can probably go through, and a lot of people go through it alone. Ostracized by family, and friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Better sex education, better access to contraceptives, and focusing more on getting men to be more responsible about their sexual health and practices is the key to reducing abortions. Not making them illegal. They were illegal once upon a time. They still happened, and they caused a lot more heartbreak then.

RE Weed: I signed the petition, I wouldn't vote to criminalize it; I'd be in favor of decriminalizing it and releasing those who are incarcerated solely on a possession charge.

Thanks!


Q:

Boat noise, machinery noise, living in a sort of echo chamber makes these things even more evident. Imagine what that does to sea life, especially those animals much more sensitive to noise than we are, such as cetaceans ...

A:

I don't drink a lot of Gatorade anymore, but Lemon-Lime is my go-to.


Q:

I was talking football but I'll happily take the winnings in the annual March madness bracket!

A:

Was just out of curiosity. The games look amazing by the way, very elegantly put together.


Q:

Hello, thank you for doing this AMA! Could you tell me a little more about your stance on Healthcare? I had a look at your website but was a little confused on your stance.

I'm an American and Canadian citizen living in Canada, so healthcare is rather important to me. Cheers!

A:

When people say the majority of the earth’s oceans are unexplored, what does this actually mean and do you think there are as to yet undiscovered creatures that will shock and amaze the world? I’m thinking dinosaur level here.


Q:

Oh haha I get it now. Yes, of course.

A:

Thank you! Having cool components are super important to us. We try to avoid typical cardboard punchboards as much as possible :) So it's a lot of communicating with the factory about what is possible. I've found that manufacturers can make almost anything that you can envision.


Q:

So, there are a lot of memes going around about healthcare. I've got friends all over the world, and they both extol the virtues of our healthcare system, and berate the problems. It's interesting to hear praise and condemnation in the same breath!

I look at it this way: Societies are generally judged on a few things, but one of the most important, to me, is how they treat their sick and feeble. In the wealthiest country in the world, with some of the brightest minds on the planet, and with the most entrepreneurial spirit, how is this not something we've solved already?

I want to see (and promote) more access for healthcare. The US seems to be moving towards a single payer system with insurance taking a "more cosmetic" method for dealing with things.

But there's no "magic key" to fix healthcare issues. We have bad eating habits in the country. We have people working too many hours, in dangerous situations. We have poor people avoiding doctors until a situation is dire, and we have people who just don't understand what their options and choices are.

I don't have a bright enough mind to fix it myself, but I'd like to see us put more focus on patients, and less on profits. Obamacare has some benefits, but insurance isn't healthcare - and requiring it for access is just another barrier and red tape that we don't need.

A:

Less than 5% of our ocean world has been explored to date. Perspective: the ocean represents over 99% of our planet’s living space, some 3.4BILLION cu2 of volume… even if you take the entire scuba diving layer into account as well as all the bottom exploration in modern history including my grandfather’s pioneering exploits, thats >5%


Q:

During the process of creating Flypdeck, what was the most exciting revelation about not just your product, but of the process of life itself?

A:

Are they an ethical company?


Q:

Are you hesitant to support Medicare for All?

A:

What is your favourite memory of your grandfather?


Q:

This sounds like a question one of my very interesting and enlightened friends would ask. I'm not equipped to answer this right now, but I'll come back to it!

A:

As far as I know! We talk with dozens of factories for each game and look into their practices and what other games are using them for production.


Q:

It's a federal issue, but no. I wouldn't be hesitant to support it. I'd say we'd need to look at the funding structure of it to ensure we can afford it, but the idea that it would bankrupt our country is kinda silly. Lots of countries offer a similar system and aren't collapsing into anarchy with riots in the streets.

A:

Away from the cameras, the crowds, the events… when we spent time alone as a family or on expedition. Taking time over lunch in the carre of Calypso during lunch to have a laugh and chat about philosophy or non expedition related topics


Q:

What was the most difficult aspect of your journey? And how did you tackle it?

Also, I love the skateboarding inspiration. Got any sick videos of your skating days?

A:

Do you have a translator?


Q:

Hi, James! I'm a St. Louis county resident interested in politics, especially in this blue-red-blue state.

What are your thoughts on merging St. Louis city and St. Louis county? (That's always a fun question to ask to start.)

Now, a hard one: Let's say the people of Missouri voted for A, but you very, very strongly believe B. The polls are close, and you hear a lot of good arguments for both sides, but the people ultimately decide A and you VERY strongly feel B. How do you vote?

A:

I'll ask several questions, it'd be awesome if you could answer them all, if that's not the case, I'd be satisfied with getting one responded at least 😅

I. What's the rarest encounter that you've had with an animal?

II. What's something that should be common knowledge about the sea?

III. Which one's your favorite mythological underwater beast and why is that your choice?

P.s: You have an amazing life and it sounds like you enjoy what you do, that makes me happy for you 😄


Q:

To me, from a technical standpoint, the most difficult aspect was designing and executing the casing for the flypdeck. None of us had ever done anything like that before, and knew nothing about molds! Bryce I'm sure would have a different answer since he spent a TON of time figuring out the electronic component side.

It was also challenging to stay positive at times. We've worked very hard on top of our day jobs to make flypdeck for the last year, and sometimes you get burnt out with putting so much into something without seeing results. It will all be worth it in the end, though, and running the Kickstarter campaign with the support of our friends and family has been an amazing experience!

A:

Nope - the factories in China (or at least the main liason) actually have good enough English to communicate.


Q:

What are your thoughts on merging St. Louis city and St. Louis county? (That's always a fun question to ask to start.)

Not living directly in St. Louis or the STL County area, I don't know the nuances of the problems. I know it would make managing the city easier, as some of the laws would be relaxed. (Like officials having to live in STL City itself) but I also know that benefit would be offset by tax-related issues.

Let's say the people of Missouri voted for A, but you very, very strongly believe B. The polls are close, and you hear a lot of good arguments for both sides, but the people ultimately decide A and you VERY strongly feel B. How do you vote?

I love the tough questions. First, let me tell you right now: When I vote on something, you'll have every reason why I vote for something. It'll be on Facebook, it'll be on my site, and it'll be on Twitter. I won't shy away from detailing exactly why I vote for something.

Secondly, if the data and arguments weren't enough to sway my opinion, (and I like to try my hardest to keep an open mind on any issue, and argue it from every side. I'm a human, though, so bias exists.) then I would probably still vote B. Your situation seems to imply that the vote was close, so I feel my obligation as a leader in the community would have necessitate that I lead with my values, and explain it as such to the voters. We are a republic; we vote leaders to make decisions on our behalf because we trust their approach. I would hope my constituents would feel that they could trust me, and listen to my explanation.

To put it simply, I'd vote B, and explain why.

That might get me voted out of office - but that's okay. We should elect people that represent our ideals, and if I don't represent them, then I'm not the man for the job.

Thanks for your question!

A:

I. Nose to nose with 2 orcas in PNG(Papua New Guinea) playing with and eventually feeding on a 7 foot shark.

II. The ocean is life. No blue no green. Without it we do not exist. If the ocean isn't healthy neither can we , neither can our economy… simple. … The ONLY thing that makes our planet special is the water on it

III. The kraken of course! Because the thought still scares the living cr-p out of people even today… LOL

P.s: TKU! I do. It's one of the most difficult jobs out there but the experiences are priceless and I cherish each moment!


Q:

What are your short term/long term goals with Flypdeck?

A:

Who would you contact to have some chinese factory make something?


Q:

Hey James, I'm curious about the challenges you have faced so far, and the steps required to run for office. Specifically, what steps have you taken to drum up support and build your constituency, and what financial hurdles have you had to overcome up to this point?

A:

What does undergoing decompression feel like?


Q:

Short term is to finish out our Kickstarter campaign and get the first manufacturing run of flypdecks to our amazing backers ASAP.

Long term is to build out the next generation that will connect to a mobile app and allow people to play others thousands of miles away and have global leader boards and tournaments.

Finally, our ultimate goal is to be able to afford to make cool products full time!

A:

An easy place to start is alibaba.com. You can request quotes on there for things and then several companies will start up dialogues with you about specifics.


Q:

First, thanks for the question! I really appreciate it. I'll try to give you as complete an answer as I can!

I'm curious about the challenges you have faced so far, and the steps required to run for office.

Well, first and foremost, there's a large amount of paperwork that ends up going into it. I chose to file as a Democrat, although I lean more independent than I do to any given party. The first thing I needed to do was head over to the Missouri Ethic's Commission and create a candidate committee. That required filling out a form, getting a treasurer, and creating a bank account for the campaign. (That was a whole other problem; the bank wanted proof I was running from the State, and the State wouldn't give proof until I had a bank account. Commerce Bank was really good about working with me on getting it all set up!)

Then, once I did that, I had to file for office at the state capitol. That was a kinda neat process: First, I filed some forms, (an affidavit saying I didn't owe back taxes, and a receipt from the party stating I'd paid my filing fee of $50.) Once that was done, I went up to the 3rd floor of the Secretary of State's building and created an envelope for my documents. I was lead down a long hallway, met the Secretary of State briefly, and drew a number from a Fishbowl.

That number determined ballot placement; every day after the 27th, it's first come, first serve; but on opening day, placement is random, determined by a random number. I got a fairly low number. (In the 300's) and moved on to the next area. It was a long hallway with offices off it. I went into one of these offices, and an assistant filled out some forms in front of me. I verified they were correct, and signed some forms. That officially put me on the ballot!

I then walked around a corner, got my documents officially stamped and filed, received my copies, and left! It was super awesome, everyone was really friendly and helpful.

I still have a financial disclosure form to fill out; that will be done soon!

Specifically, what steps have you taken to drum up support and build your constituency

So far, I've been going to local meetings and introducing myself, letting people know what I believe in, and asking them to reach out with any comments or concerns they might have. I have some business cards printed up that I give out, which have all of the campaign's contact info on it, too. I've given those out door-to-door in my neighborhood.

As soon as I have more fundraising completed, I'll be purchasing access to a likely-voter network application, (costs about $500 for my area) which will help me focus my attention on getting voters turned out for the election.

and what financial hurdles have you had to overcome up to this point?

Well, financially, I've loaned $200 to my campaign, spent $50 of personal money on filing, and did $575 worth of free-work that I have to mark off as an in-kind contribution. Raising money can be a bit tricky, until you start moving. There's a quote used by Emily's list that is very true: Early money is like yeast!

That said, I'm working with some local printers to try to cut the costs down so I can get some yard signs up. Fundraising is literally the hardest part of running for office; I hate asking people for money. I wish I were wealthy enough to fully self-fund.

It's worth noting that I don't have any contributions from the Democratic party, and do not anticipate getting any. They offer some tools, (training, mostly, and the ability to purchase access to their likely voter network) but there's no financial support from them. That gives me an incredible amount of flexibility for creating my platform, too.

Hope that answers your questions!

A:

A lot of waiting… in the case of M31 it was 24 hours of it...


Q:

When will you invent a functioning lightsaber?

A:

I am super intrested in getting into this. I usually have a lot of ideas for the design and mechanics yet I really suck at creating artwork. Any Idea how to roll with this? Hire someone? Do you think a bigger budget is required before financing it on kickstarter?


Q:

Hey there! If you had to recommend two books (one fiction, one nonfiction) that you either really enjoyed, or feel had a major impact on you or your life, what would they be?

A:

AS an avid scuba diver myself, I used to love just sitting on a patch of sand at 80-100 feet and just watch quietly the reef for an hour. I imagine living underwater that long you had quite a bit of this enjoyment?


Q:

Haha, that will be our 17th product to be exact. Coming at you Fall of 2031.

A:

Don't worry so much about the artwork at first. Make sure the game is super fun to play and is "flawless" in terms of mechanics.

For artwork, a good place to start is upwork.com. They have lower cost artists who do good work.

Here is some other advice about getting the project ready for Kickstarter that we wrote: https://facadegames.com/our-advice-to-kickstarter-creators/


Q:

Two books?! That's a hard sell. Right now, non-fiction? Phew, I'm reading "Founding Rivals" by Chris DeRose, and it's a pretty great book.

Insofar as fiction goes, probably cheese out with Monster Blood by RL Stine. Or maybe The Demon Awakens by RA Salvatore. Both of those books were big for me, for different reasons. (Monster Blood gave me viciously cool nightmares for a while; Salvatore's book got me into reading Fantasy novels.)

Thanks!

A:

Its home. I imagine you might feel the same. Sitting at the bottom watching the soap opera unfold in front of you is such a joy every time. Always different, always new characters, always surprising and wonderous.


Q:

They say a good invention has to be either something that exists now, done better or something that doesn't exist on the market. How did you find your niche in the latter category? Was it just a lightning bolt of genius striking the tip of Bryce's inventor-bone? When did you know this product had enough legs to take the leap of faith?

It seems like your only competition in the space is the flipping water bottle game. When I googled "flipping toys" on the internet machine, a bunch of dog toys populated the page. Does this make you hate small dogs? Are you concerned about the inventor of water suing?

Also, rumor has it that celebrity endorsements are killer for a brand. Have you ever considered cold calling Shaq? If so, please post his number in the thread once you track it down.

Last Q. How did you come up with the trick families? Lizard, Storm, Fire and Space are all individually tight, but I gotta know about the background. If all of you were animals, weather patterns, elements or planets, which would you be. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION, SO PLEASE GIVE IT EXTRA THOUGHT

A:

How many times have you playtested each of the games you made?


Q:

I love your Carpool Karaoke and you're great on Ballers. How's life?

A:

What was the set up in order to accomplish that?


Q:

From the water bottle flip challenge we knew that people loved to flipped stuff just like us, and through some research we knew there wasn't anything like it on the market. That was enough for us to start devoting our time to it.

We love all dogs, even small ones. The inventor of water does not have a lawyer to my knowledge, so we are not concerned or looking out for a lawsuit at all.

We have cold called Shaq but he said Gold Bond hates flypdeck because the exec's kids play it all day and the sounds annoy them. I also tweet at celebrities on the daily. Both Pharell and Rob Dyrdek have seen my tweets and have began to execute the retweet, but still waiting on them to push the button.

There was no rhyme or reason to the trick families, we just started throwing out names and went from there. I would absolutely be a weather pattern - humid and overcast.

A:

Our current game is on Version 74 :) But each of those versions also has had about 3-4 tweaks along the way and 3-4 playtests. So literally hundreds. It's my favorite part of the process though!


Q:

My last name is going to be the bane of my campaign, apparently.

But life's okay. Getting married next year, so that's cool. Running for office is neat. Thanks!

A:

Top secret and extremely difficult. Think NASA training and living in the Space Station… just underwater...


Q:

how did you come up with the name? what were some other names that you guys tried out?

A:

As a follow-up, what’s the lowest-quality prototype you’ve thrown together? Quality in terms of components at least


Q:

How do you feel about marijuana legalization and dropping charges against those currently in prison for small possession charges?

A:

Did your sleep patterns remain the same while living underwater? I've heard that people devoid of normal stimuli will eventually settle into a different pattern than most of us are used to.

Also - what's it sound like down there?!


Q:

I wanted the word Flip in the name and Bryce wanted the word Deck in the name. Flipdeck was taken, so we took a page out of lyft's book and went with flypdeck. We were thinking of calling it Corkscrew for awhile there.

Some other names thrown around were Acro Block, Jyro, Digi Flip, Flipboard, and a ton others. There is an old text floating around somewhere that had hundreds of names thrown (flyped) back and forth :)

A:

Literally cutting up paper and writing what cards/boards do with pen. Prototypes don't need to be pretty to figure out if they work in terms of rules and game play. The design and illustration are the last thing that comes together once the game is already really fun.


Q:

I signed the petition to get it on the ballot this year; I think voters should have a say on it in this state. I've never done any form of recreational drug, and I personally don't like being around people who are high. But the evidence suggests that it is not a gateway drug, and it is no more dangerous to a person's body or activities than alcohol. So, just like I don't go to bars, I won't go to places where people smoke pot.

Releasing and dismissing charges of those in jail for marijuana possession makes sense to me. I know the local police chief doesn't agree with me, but he sees things through a different lens than I do, and I completely respect his view point. It is a nuanced, and well thought out position from his perspective. I just don't agree with his interpretation of the overall picture.

Thanks. :)

A:

Sleep? What sleep? (See above)... Mission 31 was run just like any extreme environment mission ie NASA… Military training and preparation and precise schedule are essential for everything to work. We had sleep schedules so we could keep up the grueling pace.

Sound- it’s not the silent world at all! Between the echo of machinery, the snapping shrimp on the hull, the booming and clicking of fish and other sea life, it was a cacophony of underwater symphonies


Q:

Do you enjoy video games? If so on what platform?

A:

Do you have a group of gamer friends who are willing to play test the games with you?


Q:

I wish that was the mentality of politicians when I used to live in the show me state.

A:

What was the biggest surprise inconvenience that you didn't expect, when spending SO much time underwater?


Q:

Yeah we have all played and still play our share of video games. I play xbox for the most part and the other two guys are more so PC gamers.

A:

We do, yes. We've found that a lot of people love being on the innovative side of things and helping create the game. A lot of fulfillment in that.


Q:

Well, we can hope for some changes. :)

A:

People- ie visits from surface dwellers. Funny how one gets used to and defensive of home. We started getting bothered by the drop ins even if they were for our benefit.


Q:

How do you find playtesters?

A:

What are some little things you'd like to see done that would benefit America's farmers?


Q:

Please tell me you got your career inspiration from my favorite childhood movie

Edit: ah, I see you are Jacques Cousteau's grandson! Cool! Yeah, that probably had more to do with it than the movie...

A:

There are often board game clubs at universities, or just local community groups. Also, friends of friends. Everyone has a friend who plays games, so it's just a matter of asking for introductions and getting new people over for game nights.


Q:

I mean, a simple one would be this: Fix Missouri Roads. It's dangerous to haul cattle on roads full of potholes and that are falling apart.

Thanks for your question!

A:

Life Aquatic was cool too ;-)


Q:

How did you navigate the legal aspects, like intellectual property right to your game, copyright, etc. Were legal fees built into your original business plan?

$1 million in revenue, but how much in profit if you don't mind me asking. Obviously feel free not to answer that if you don't want to.

A:

What are the biggest issues facing Missouri's 109th district as you see them? Can you name a specific way you aim to address one of these issues?


Q:

I grew up watching and adoring your grandfather. I know he invented the SCUBA system, were there any other inventions?

A:

There's actually not too much to do since natural copyrights are built in. You can't patent game mechanics, so there's that.

So much of the value of games is actually executing them right. Making it all come together. So someone who "stole" the idea of the game would still be years behind. Also the game community is very protective- if they see a copy of another game, then they will point out the faker and won't buy the new one.

Profit is about 50% after all the manufacturing, shipping, advertising, illustration costs.


Q:

The biggest issues would be, in no particular order:

  • Our voting system
  • Infrastructure
  • Local Economy

I'll do you one better, and give you three ways to address these:

1.) Improving highway 47, (which cuts straight through Union) It should be a 4 lane highway, not a 2 way highway. At the very least, it should have wide shoulders for accidents. 2.) Working with the county commissioners to better plan projects. One of our roads, (Denmark) was completely shut down for some of our residents because the bridge was closed before improvements to the other half of the road were completed; residents were stuck, for varying amounts of time, without a means of egress. 3.) Switching to ranked choice voting. Not everyone agrees, but I feel it provides a more accurate representation of what people want. 4.) Starting an incubator. Our local community college has expressed interest in it; they just need some support. That means local investors and infrastructure improvements. The state can help with part of that, and I feel like good negotiating with investors, (St. Louis is nearby, with a lot of investors) could help with that.

Thanks for your question!

A:

Thank you! He and Emile Gagnan (his engineer friend from Air Liquide) co-invented the aqualung(SCUBA). My grandfather also had to invent the tools necessary to explore since none were available: underwater camera housings, the first underwater habitat, the first submersible for science research, helped develop modern side scan sonar, underwater lights, and more… It was by necessity that he did this.


Q:

Did you have kids at the time you quit? Serious props to you if you did, as that would make most people second guess themselves.

Your games look really fun

A:

Thanks for your thorough reply. I wish we had someone with as much concern for the job in my district. What is ranked choice voting and why do you feel it better reflects the people's will? Bonus Q: what are your thoughts on those three rather provocative billboards outside Ebbing, MO?


Q:

What is the best way for someone to make a career out of ocean conservation? Is it something you need to get into from the beginning or is it possible to transition mid career?

A:

We did not at the time. Hard to say what I would have done if we did, because it is something to consider.


Q:

Who's running in your district? Maybe you should run. Think on it.

Ranked choice voting allows you to number your candidates from most liked to least liked. Here's a video.

As for the billboards, I have to be completely honest: I know nothing about it. I'm sorry. :(

A:

Although there are opportunities, it is still a difficult journey due to our continued neglect of the value our ocean brings. Hybrid carriers are often innovative, solution focussed, and you can make a living at it ;-) . We can always use more marine experts and conservationists, just giving you the heads up.


Q:

What are your margins?

A:

The billboards are a reference to this movie. There is no actual Ebbing, MO.


Q:

Did being underwater for that long take a toll on your body? Did you notice yourself more reactive to sunlight afterwards?

A:

Depends on the avenue. Generally about 50-60 percent goes towards profits for our living expenses, and to reinvestment into the company and other games. But yeah, the cuts that Amazon takes, that distributors take, that retailers take, that Kickstarter takes, all vary.


Q:

See? I knew nothing about it. :p

A:

Reactive to sunlight not so much. We had full spectrum light in the habitat which helped… I lost weight despite the additional calories. Lost sense of taste during and a few days after. Air was thicker to breath down below so coming back up seemed like air was thin. Took time to get back to normal sleep patterns and food. I personally didn't see any permanent effects so far except for wanting to go back ;-)


Q:

Thanks - congrats on your success!

I work with a guy that is very into the board game culture. He and his wife go to the conventions, play in clubs, spend hours testing them, etc. That community seems to be very passionate about it so prob great opportunity to find success making good games.

A:

Hi James! I live in Texas so I doubt that most of your policies will affect me personally, but I’m a young person interested in politics. I follow the news and keep my eyes and ears open. Especially via Twitter and Reddit, but I’m too young to really do much about the things I hear about (too young to vote, too awkward to call state reps.)what do you suggest I do to help make my voice heard?


Q:

did anything feel different or alien to you after coming back to the surface?

A:

Yes, it's a super passionate community. Lots of great, helpful people!


Q:

Tweet, E-Mail, engage in conversation on Reddit and in person with your friends. Seek out opinions that are different than your own, too. That's important.

I really like this chart. If you recognize where your own bias lies, then you can use this chart to help find opinions that are different than your own, and stay informed on them.

Mostly, keep an open mind. And practice talking to your local state congressional reps. Talk with your city reps, too. Mayors, City Admins, Ward leaders, this is where the real governing starts.

Thanks for your question, and stay engaged! Make your voice heard!

A:

My sinuses seem to feel a little different. I also think I grew gills behind my ears (joke)


Q:

How do you handle the artwork of the cards and boxes? Also is their any website coding knowledge internally or do you use a basic template? Do you have paid game testers or volunteers/ friends

A:

What are your qualifications for entering politics? What education and experience makes you an informed and effective fit for the job?


Q:

What's the first thing you eat when you get back on land? I always crave Mexican food when I dive or surf for some reason...

A:

My wife does the graphic design in Adobe Illustrator, and we hire an illsutrator to draw the pictures.

We have a weekly playtest group that comes to our house. We also have a network of a few other groups around the country that we send print and plays to test out.


Q:

Insofar as qualifications go, I meet all of Missouri's minimum qualifications for the job.

As for why voters might want to vote for me? I'm a straight shooter when it comes to answering questions. I'm working on a BS degree in Software Dev; I've been a data analyst and software dev for the past 10 years without the degree. I've done data analysis for Hewlett Packard, and I have a lot of ideas that I feel people will resonate with.

If you're looking for a law degree, I think you'll find a number of politicians don't have one. If you're looking for a degree of any kind, I'd point out that I've had a successful career without one. If you're looking for me to be similar to the other people who've run for office before, I'd hope that I fail that particular test.

I don't want to be another "Politician" that's just like every other one, so I hope that, using that measuring stick, I won't measure up.

Thanks!

A:

We all wanted a good fresh organic burger and fries… was very disappointed as I still couldn't taste much that day


Q:

How did you find/choose your illustrator? How much do you pay him/her? How did you decide on a salary for you and your wife versus reinvesting? Where do you plan to go from here? More board games? Thanks.

A:

What’s your actual slogan?

And what’s your drunk slogan?

I hope if elected, Trump doesn’t make your job Missourible.


Q:

Describe your aquanaut suit. How was it? How did allow you to brush your teeth, eat, drink, sleep, and expel feces? You know, everyday stuff.

A:

We found our artist on a university job board. For the first project we offered a percentage of whatever we made on Kickstarter, since we didn't have a lot to pay up front that first time. Since then we've tweaked it for each project.

You can also find artists for good prices on places like upwork.com and fiverr.com.

Deciding on salary is a lot to do with taxes. We pay ourselves more or less depending on how much we have made that year. On "up" years we'll increase our inventory and put more towards retirement.

And yes, more board games from here!


Q:

Your pun is amusing. I give you one upvote.

My actual slogan: Ready to work for you.

Because I am. This job is important, and you have to be willing to work for people. Absentee politicians harm our society; we need engaged leaders.

Drunk slogan? Hrm. I dunno. I don't think I have one. I get a bit sarcastic when drunk, though. So maybe just that: #SarcasmFontsAreTheFuture

??? I dunno though. :p

A:

An aquanaut suit is no different than commercial or scuba depending on needs of the task at hand… Once done with the particular dive, you take the suits and helmets or full face masks etc, take a shower, and put on team clothes ie tshirt shorts etc… it's like coming home after work, just in a habitat 20 meters under water. The Mission 31 videos on YouTube can best illustrate this


Q:

Do you think board games will still be popular a few decades from now?

A:

You may want to think of a slogan that hasn't been used thousands of times. Just a thought.


Q:

A lot of my questions have been answered, did you wear a dive watch? Which kind? What piece of equipment do you think people here would find interesting?

A:

I do. They are actually growing in popularity- I think because people are needing a retreat from technology because it is advancing so much. Something about sitting around a table with friends and touching physical pieces that really can't be beat.


Q:

I'm open to suggestions. This is the one that best reflected how I feel.

Who else used this one? I'm always curious to learn!

A:

I always wear a mechanical dive watch. In this case for saturation diving it was my go to since most computers aren't build for saturation diving, much less long stays… Lots of interesting tech- The PAM (pulse amplitude modulated florometer) was an interesting piece of kit (see youtube video) as well as the Ditson hand held acoustic imaging device.


Q:

What are your top 3, not made by you, board games? Where do you draw your inspiration from? How do you see the board game genre developing in the coming years with the advancement of technology?

A:

Missouri? How about Histouri

Cave?! We've got plenty, but I won't!

In the middle of states, but on top of things!

Standing for what You believe!

It's up to US!

Give Me Another Beer!


Q:

What is the status on the rebuild of the Calypso?

A:

I am awful at picking favorite board games, because it always changes on my mood. But my most recent favorites are Code Names, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo, One Night Werewolf.

Inspiration comes from testing our games a TON, playing other games, learning about history (our games all have historical tie ins), and traveling! Traveling really jogs the brain for creativity.

Honestly I think the advances in technology make people want to go back to the basic cardboard and paper and tangible pieces in their hands. They need an escape from their phones and the mess of the internet. I think board games are getting more popular because of that.


Q:

You're cheeky. :)

A:

Sadly none as far as I know, but the original Cousteau family is not in control of this


Q:

How does it feel to be Lily's dad from How I Met Your Mother?

A:

Hi James; I'm not from Missouri but it's very exciting to see someone with a sense of humor running for office. One of the questions I would have for you is this: What do you think your state does well? What do you think the state does poorly?


Q:

Hey there! If you had to recommend two books [one fiction; one nonfiction] that you love, or had some impact on your life, what would they be and why?

Also, what did you do to keep from getting bored down there?

A:

Oh it feels good :)


Q:

Thanks for your question! What does my state do well? Farm. Agriculture is a huge part of our economy, to the tune of $88 billion. Our small farmers are fantastic people, and they are great stewards of the land.

What could we do better? A lot of things. I think communicating might be a good goal. I've got family that shuts down when they hear the name "Obama", and other family members that shut down when they hear the name "Trump". I think if we could open our hearts and listen more, and empathize better, our state would do better.

A:

Jules Vernes- 20000 leagues under the sea

Erik Seedhouse- Ocean Outpost

Never had a chance to get bored… its the sea after all! 10-12 hours of diving and research, 1-3 hours of interviews and SITC a day, dry lab research, managing a aquanaut team as well as a film team …. No boredom here… no sleep either


Q:

Do you need someone to help you test out games? Lol. I love seeing more non-traditional board games (read as Hasbro repackaging a 50 year old game). What gets the idea for the game started, do you find the theme first then figure out gameplay mechanics or try to figure out what kind of interactions you want players to have with the game/others and go from there?

A:

What are your view on immigration? Do you support DACA? Do you support the wall? Do you support the Muslim ban?


Q:

First of all, I must say I am incredibly jealous. I am enamored with undersea life, aquanautics, and the unknown, and it would be my dream to do what you get to do.

My question is, after spending a long period of time underwater, are there any roadblocks now to increase that number to a longer period of time. If so, what are they? If not, when can we see a mission for a longer period of time?

A:

It really varies. Sometimes there's the idea of a mechanic that I build around (like in our 2nd game I built the game around the idea of a mutiny- working with a captain and then betraying him), and sometimes it's a historical setting (like in our current Deadwood game I learned about the town a lot before building the game around it). Really depends! Every game is a conglomoration of lots of inputs from life.


Q:

You'll be hard-pressed to find me in favor of pretty much any ban unless there is a high-bar of evidence suggesting it would be beneficial in the extreme.

That said, no, I absolutely do not support a Muslim ban. I support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients; the sooner the better. If they've been here for 20 years, and they've been good citizens, that's enough for me.

Walls invite ladders and tunnels and lots of time spent washing off graffiti. There are better uses for $24 billion than a wall. Let's go to Mars, or back to the Moon, or some other cool, fun, crazy project that will bring people together.

A:

Yes, human physiology, human psychological limits, accidents, economic, technology, supplies, support, etc are just a few of the obstacles. I believe it is possible depending on addressing those and other issues...


Q:

How hard was it to come up with the concept/theme/idea? What do you do with concepts/themes/ideas that just don't work? Are you afraid of running out of game ideas?

A:

How’s it going, James? Just life in general. I live in California, but I wish you good luck in your campaign.


Q:

Have you ever read the Rifters trilogy by Peter Watts?

A:

The ideas for the games really just snowball from one little thing. We think of some core concept, or some city and year from history, and then build from there. We test a ton and keep improving as we go.

Not worried about running out of ideas :) There are infinite ways to play a game, and infinite themes to pull from.


Q:

Oh, pretty good for the most part. I've got a lot on my plate, but I think that's good.

Thanks for asking; I appreciate it!

A:

Unfortunately not. I’ll add it to the pile of over 135 books I’ve accumulated and promised myself I’d read ;-)


Q:

Any big plans now that you have a million in revenue? Other business interests or personal interests outside gaming you would go after? Just looking to live vicariously through you haha.

A:

Farmers should find it easier to sell the product of their toil in marketplaces, without fear of large corporate farms undercutting them and driving them out of business.

In your mind, are large corporate farms undercutting them through unfair advantages of some sort, or is it simply economies of scale? And if it's happening due to natural advantages of large operations, how do you intend to change that?


Q:

Good question! We want to keep making games! It's so much fun and it lets my wife and I work from home and not work crazy hours. So why mess up a good thing?

That being said, I'm interested in innovating in this world a bit. Creating cool interesting apps out of our games, inventing new genres of games, building on the worlds our current games are in, etc. There's so much room for creativity in the game world so it brings a lot of fulfillment.

A:

Like most things, it's a bit of both. Giving small farms access to larger markets, (through better roads and internet) we can help offset some of the large vs small situations.

There's a discussion in Missouri right now about large out-of-country owned businesses that are given tax-breaks and loans by their country-of-origin to go to other countries and supplant local businesses; there should be good ways to track that, and impose fines/restrictions on access to our markets. In the long run, allowing that much "free market" access (when Governments get involved, specifically) you'll drain local markets of all the cash, and then you're in a dangerous place.

It's a very difficult scale to balance, and requires a lot of input, ideas, and solutions from every side of the problem.

Thanks!


Q:

Nice, yah does sound like the dream to me. Be able to put my energy towards my own pursuits. Best of luck with your future endeavors!

A:

Heya James! I know I'm late here, but I went to school with you! It's Spencer, we played D&D at Jordan's and Patrick's houses in high school. I didn't expect to come home from work today and see your name on the main feed of Reddit!

Here's my question: how much are you going to pay me to hide all your dirty secrets? All of your DMing techniques?

Joking aside, it's great to see you involved in politics. I was a district delegate for Bernie myself.


Q:

Thank you!

A:

Hey Spencer; great to hear from you! I was talking about your rather unique approach to High School and life after it to some people the other day! Are you still in MO?

Feel free to reach out on Facebook or in PM's so we can catch up! (And please keep my terrible DM secrets to yourself. :P)


Q:

Where were you when you got the first idea of making a board game?

A:

Can you tell Frito Lay to stop putting pretzels into Munchies bags?


Q:

Alaska!

I was up there working for a summer and my friends and I designed a "Harry Potter Mafia" game that tweaked the traditional mafia/werewolves idea. That morphed into a game called "Cities" and then it became our first game "Salem." It was all just for fun of course, but then when it went big we found a way to keep making games.

A:

Sure, but it won't work. I'll tweet about it for you.

Here you go.


Q:

What would recommend to someone for making a board game? Like what sort of skills and resources would help with making games?

A:

Do you see your drunk Christmas cards being used against you in a campaign smear?


Q:

Check out boardgamegeek.com and look around those forums.

Don't be afraid of criticism! Print out a game and test it over and over again. Just jump into it and you'll pick up skills as you go.

A:

Maybe, but I mean, here's the deal with it.

I don't drink much at all. Once a year, I invite some friends over, and I do some drinking, and write some free cards for people around the world. I get messages like, "My friend's wife just died; he could use some cheering up" or "I have nothing to look forward to this year; this will really help out" and "You're a terrible person for doing this, let's be friends."

So I don't see it as a negative. I drink responsibly, not to excess, and I want to help other people have a great holiday with something to look forward to. If people want to judge me negatively for that, I don't think I would ever be able to change their minds. :)

Thanks for your question!


Q:

What kind of instruments, software, hardware, pencils etc, do you use to design the boardgames?

A:

How do you like your steak??


Q:

Lots of cardstock for printing off prototypes for games.

For software I just use Powerpoint for the non-designed prototypes for figuring out the game mechanics. Then when we design our illustrator uses Phototshop, and my wife (as the graphic designer) uses Adobe Illustrator.

A:

Medium rare, grilled over an open fire.


Q:

Do you think you'll have "made it" enough to not use kickstarter someday? What do you see as the advantages to using kickstarter even after getting a couple of hits under your belt?

A:

Hi James.

Long story short-ish: I met James when I was just in high school playing an online game. I had a horribly tough time throughout those years and even through college. Over each summer away from college I was homeless (I’m not sure he knew that), later after moving to California I had been in a car accident, I had been assaulted by my older brother, and I had then been homeless again in NYC for a short time before before I finally found a job and returned to school full-time, where I finally graduated with my associate’s degree.

Eight years later and I am in a much better place and life is not so much a huge struggle anymore. But what is important is that throughout those years, James always put forward the effort to stay in touch with me. And almost every birthday and holiday, he’d send me something, if even just a nice card with a message that cheered me up and made me feel valued and worthwhile, even during times when I felt the exact opposite of that. When I was trying to make it through my graphic design program at uni one year he even sent me my first pack of Prismacolour markers - supplies I couldn’t afford but really needed at the time. He knew my passion for art and he always tried to help me harbour it.

I was ashamed all those years for it, but I could never afford to send much in return besides cards. And even then I was flippant and flighty and unreliable in terms of being a good friend. But it didn’t really matter to James. He always sent one for Christmas or something from Amazon for my birthday, wherever in the world I happened to be.

Since this here seems as good a platform as any, I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell the world how great of a guy, and an influence on my life, James has been to me - and how outstanding of a person he is in general - to everybody really. I am where I am today, in some small part, because of James.

It’s really good to see you here. And I’m not sure why we fell out of touch, but that is OK. I hope you achieve your goal because you deserve it. You deserve everything you’ve given out to the world to come back to you tenfold.

Oh and I guess I have to ask you a question to post, sorry if awkward turtles since I’m no longer as clued in on U.S. politics:

Do you accept drunk birthday cards? :)


Q:

I think that's a possibility for sure. But I love Kickstarter for several reasons beyond just funding. It does a great job marketing the game since thousands of people see it and get excited about the idea of a campaign. It also lets us know how many games we can produce. If we made a game and then nobody bought it we would have a lot of lost money in sitting inventory. Kickstarter lets us know how many we can order, and bring down manufacturing costs accordingly (since ordering more brings the cost/unit down).

A:

Well now, I didn't expect to see you pop up. I would gladly accept one; send me a PM! And omg thank you for the kind words. <3


Q:

You can do your own marketing and preorders to achieve that, though, right? You mentioned you have to give kickstarter a cut of your revenue. If it's a convenience thing then maybe giving up that cut is worth it to you still.

A:

As a Missouri resident, I'm concerned about the Zhentarim's growing influence over government officials. The Harpers get some floor time, but when a member of the Emerald Enclave speaks up, they aren't given the same amount of consideration.

How would you bring a balance to a state where the densely populated cities lean left and are located at the extreme East and West borders with so many conservative leaning counties in between?


Q:

Yes, but it would mean putting in a LOT in place on my website, marketing channels, etc. Kickstarter makes it super easy. Also, about 70% of our sales on Kickstarter come from internal Kickstarter traffic. They have that audience of people that we wouldn't be able to pull in otherwise.

A:

I literally laughed out loud at this.

I'd call on Elminster to force the representatives of all factions to the table and have a good long conversation.

Thanks! :)


Q:

How do you start designing the game when you just have the idea and nothing else?

A:

Question here... Where the Fuck is my Christmas card?! Because I never got my secret Santa Gift!


Q:

You just start! You get something printed out and test it. It's always awful the first 20 times, but you take little pieces of each version and keep making it better. But that's the key- test test test and don't be afraid of feedback and admitting the game sucks for a long time.

A:

Did you sign up for one? :( I sent a ton out this year; I can look through the database later, if you like.

I'm really sorry. :/


Q:

What software do you use to design your games?

A:

I'm just being an asshole! Im pretty sure you were not my secret Santa! Dont worry, just had to make a comment! But thanks for caring! :)


Q:

Our illustrator works in Adobe Photoshop, and my wife primarily works in Adobe Illustrator doing the graphic design

A:

Oh. Well, cheers then. :P


Q:

A couple of friends and I are a little over a year into creating a board game, aiming to have a finished product to start looking to sell (on kickstarter or to an existing company) by the end of 2018. I think we're on version 5 or 6 of the rules at this point. Do you have any recommendations for who to work with once we get to the printing stage? What parts of the design process are pitfalls to watch out for, in your opinion? How did you balance players who want to do nothing but betray in an initially cooperative game vs players who don't ever want to backstab?

A:

Have you ever been to Bobby's bar? I went there once and was very pleased with the cost effective beer. 1$ bottles!!!! That's like 6.50$ here in Canada. Keep up the great work in Missouri and keep the golden liquid flow. Also treat Nortek good because they bring you guys lots of money :)


Q:

We used Panda Games for our first game. They are a little more costly, but make it easy for first time creators. pandagm.com.

One thing to watch out for in the design process is to not fall in love with your baby too much. Don't be afraid to hear points of criticism or recognize that your game might be clunky or flawed. Rip it apart to its core!

For your third question, just make sure incentives line up correctly. Reward them for staying just enough that they think about staying. But reward them for leaving if the opportunity comes up. Our new game Deadwood actually does this a lot.

A:

I have not been to Bobby's Bar, but I now am imagining Bobby Hill owning a bar, and that thought frightens me.

Because that boy ain't right.

:)


Q:

Hey 'a dad'! I'm a huge fan of boards games and so I very much respect and envy you!

Where would one go to patent their own board game idea or to get the ball rolling?

A:

stance on electoral reform?


Q:

Hey! Thanks!

We don't worry about patents, since it's really tricky to "patent" an idea of a game mechanic. So honestly don't worry too much about it. Just start making a game, testing it out, getting art slapped onto it, and then getting it out there!

But make sure you're making a game for the fun of it, not to make money. Most games don't make a lot of money. But if you passion shows through then people will see that and it may get big.

A:

I'd like to see Missouri switch to "Ranked choice voting", which, in my mind, would form a more representative government of the population.

Thanks!


Q:

Since you were presumably not running a business before, what advice would you give to new business owners that could make life much easier now knowing the potential pitfalls?

A:

Do you think that violet video games cause violence among kids and teens?


Q:

Start using accounting software right off the bat to keep track of all income and expenses and taxes and such. Makes all the "boring" stuff easier in the long run so you can focus more time on the fun stuff of the business. Wave is a free software you can use. Quickbooks is what many people use.

A:

No. There are some interesting studies about losing games and violent games and the way we trash-talk and interact with others afterward, but there is no long-term evidence from any study that such things lead to violent behavior.

Well. Other than throwing the controller.


Q:

What’s the process like starting a new game? Like what’s the process from ideation to shipping the games out. :)

A:

California here. What is your stance on gerrymandering? Are you for it, against it, and what would you do to push your position forward?


Q:

Ah man, tough question :) Short version: come up with basic idea, test test test test test, get illustrations, get graphic design to put all designs together, proof rules, create kickstarter page, do Kickstarter campaign, manufacture game, freight game across ocean, ship out game. For longer version read more of this whole AMA.

A:

Good question! There are some good reasons for some of the ways some districts are drawn; unfortunately, most districts are drawn for partisan advantage.

There was a study done, (don't have a link handy; it was shown to me by someone I work with; he had a printed copy) that showed redistricting done by a computer would have only shifted one federal seat, so that makes it seem like a trivial issue.

I'm for logical drawing of legislative boundaries with good justifications that don't rely on party. I think it should be non-partisan, and focused on ensuring that citizens are properly represented.

Thanks!


Q:

How does the work life balance compare to your previous job? Do you work more hours now?

A:

Hey! I'm actually a KC native, and I'm going to school in Rolla for computer science! In fact, I recently had an interview with KnowledgeLake about a week ago, so now I get to turn it around! Out of curiosity, where are you going to school?


Q:

It's great! I work less now, and I get to be home all day with my wife and daughter, which is awesome.

Sure, it's harder to "clock out" since I never "clock in", so sometimes I have to force myself to not check emails over weekends. I also have to set hours for myself so that I will indeed "clock out" on some days. I really love what I do so I need to make myself stop.

But yeah, it's great being able to travel whenever we want and take days off whenever we want.

A:

WGU - it meets my flexibility needs, what with running for office and working full time. Plus my bowling league. That's important.


Q:

I've been thinking about a game that is mainly card based. Where do you get to get your cards produced?

A:

What do you hope to accomplish as a state representative? Are there any strong stances or claims you'd want to make on behalf of the state?


Q:

We use makeplayingcards.com for prototype decks. Then when we actually manufacture we use factories in China.

A:

Oh, a few basic things. Some infrastructure upgrades badly needed in my district would be a start. I'd like to fix voting in Missouri, but that's a pretty lofty goal. Maybe the loftiest.

Thanks!


Q:

How exactly are the 3 games different from eachother? All it says on the kickstarter is that each "have a dark, mysterious, or secretive element in its gameplay". I don't want to get into a Forbidden Island/Forbidden Desert situation where the games are almost identical

A:

What is your stance on tax cuts for the rich?


Q:

They all play very differently.

Salem: a group trying to find the witches. The witch team spreads during the game so it's a race against the clock. Lots of lying.

Tortuga: two hidden teams, so you have to figure out who your teammates are. Trying to get the most treasure for your team. Some lying, lots of strategy and using turns wisely.

Deadwood: work with a team to get the most gold, but at the end you have to kill your own teammates! Balance of teamwork, and self-preservation.

A:

It's a big question; I don't begrudge anyone their success, and I don't mind paying high taxes myself even though I'm not "rich". (My fiancee and I fall within the "middle class" range). I feel like tax relief is best applied from the bottom up, as those at the top of the income range do not spend nearly as much money locally. But it's not a one-size-fit-all answer; so few answers in life are.

Thanks!


Q:

Hm, it sounds like your games involve a lot of lying and betrayal. Do you still trust your wife?

A:

Anything you can do to help enable direct-to-consumer auto sales?

Having dealt with dealerships in the past, they add nothing of value to the buying experience. And as a consumer, I can't tell you how great it was not having to mess with a dealership when purchasing a Tesla. I felt the same way again when I bought another one.


Q:

There have been many a game night where she doesn't speak to me for a good hour after we play :) We have lied to each other A LOT during our games.

A:

You know, I'm not sure where Missouri's laws are on this one, so... maybe there is something that could be done in MO to facilitate it.

That's something to look into. Thanks.


Q:

the kickstarter page says 2-9 players but the FAQ says 4-9 players- which is it? i'm seriously considering getting the 3-pack!

edit: 3-pack secured!

A:

What was the catalyst that made you want to run for office? Which issue are you more excited to get working on first, if elected? :)


Q:

Nice! Salem is 4-12 players, Tortuga is 2-9, Deadwood is 2-9. That's why we say each game in the series is "at least" 4-9.

A:

I've been interested in local government for quite a while, and the fact that this is an open seat makes it competitive. However, I was not planning to run; a woman named Patricia Schuba was planning to run, and I was going to offer her my support. She had to back out, though, so I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak.

Ranked choice voting is probably the first bill I'd work on, but education reform is where the bulk of my attention is going to be.

Thanks!


Q:

Mr. Cordrey,

As someone with farming experience, how do you feel about the massive CAFOs being built across the state literally adjacent to other people’s private properties? (Callaway Farrowing, Tipton East, Valley Oaks Steak). Would you support increased DNR regulations about these?

A:

Being a farmer/raising livestock/growing crops/however you want to slice it and dice it should be about two things: Growing/producing good product, and being a steward of the land. CAFO's do neither of those things well in any sense of the word, and they go a step further by hurting local economies by moving money out of state, generally. (Not in every case, of course, but Callaway Farrowing, for example, was registered by a guy from Iowa as a local LLC to run these farms.)

So, we need to look at them carefully and make sure that they aren't abusing our laws to make it harder for local farmers to farm. That could include reducing tax-loopholes for these kind of agencies, or increased regulation.


Q:

Window open or closed when it is raining?

A:

Depends on a few things. If it's a light rain with no wind and the day is cool but not cold? Open is great. I love the smell of rain. If it's going to make the house hot and muggy, or if the wind is blowing hard, or if it's raining really hard, closed.

But TV off and curtains open so I can see the lightning. :)


Q:

Excited to make my first post on reddit. Anyways, what is your favorite kind of toothpaste? What kind do you have at home right now?

A:

I'm enjoying Crest sensitive teeth tooth paste; it's pretty great. It's what I use! Thanks for caring about my teeth!


Q:

How did you come up with the idea for "Carpool Karaoke"?

A:

That would have been a cool idea to have had. :( Alas, I cannot take credit for it!

I could totally do some, though. (Nobody would vote for me if they heard me sing, though.)


Q:

He's thinking of James Corden. I think it was sarcastic. Knowing reddit...definitely sarcastic.

A:

Yeah, it's a common theme through the thread. ;) I was just trying to make fun of my singing skills.

Thanks!


Q:

What's your drink of choice?

A:

What's your drink of choice?

Generally speaking, I like caffeine free diet coke with some lemon or black-cherry flavoring added. :)


Q:

Spiked? I meant adult beverage but aight.

A:

Nah, I don't really drink that often!


Q:

What is your position on gun control and the second amendment?

A:

Thanks for your question. I answered something similar here. If that's not enough information, let me know. :) Thanks!


Q:

Hi! I'm a fellow Missourian here. Do you plan on doing anything about the roads if you're elected? For example the ones where I'm at have already had several fatal accidents this year, and nothing's being done about it.

A:

Through our area there's a road, highway 47, which is a big pain point. I would definitely like to see it expanded, and to fix some of the issues we've got with our infrastructure projects. We need good roads to improve education access, (there's an open-enrollment bill for an area nearby, one of the congressional reps for that bill cites road safety as a concern. Instead of fixing the problem, he'd rather ignore it.) and improve our economy.

Thanks!


Q:

Hello James! I am a native of Missouri, I was just wondering how you feel about our states Capital and our Governor being indicted?

A:

Hi! I liked Jefferson city; the Capitol Building is gorgeous, and the city is pretty nice too. I had a great pork chop at a soul food kitchen; it was amazing. Good corn bread, too.

As for the indictment, let the judicial process do what it does. I don't have enough information to have an opinion on it; but I'd like to keep the politics out of the court room as much as possible. Let the judge and prosecutors and jury do their thing, let the House do its investigation (as is appropriate) and let's all take a collective breath and let them do their work.

That's not a popular opinion in the Democratic party, either.

But thanks for your question!


Q:

You mentioned doing something about the farmers being ‘undercut’, but what if I , as a consumer and private citizen (or more importantly someone who couldn’t afford to pay more for groceries) wanted to go for a cheaper product? Would you essentially try to limit choice on what people eat or are you talking about cutting agricultural subsidies?

A:

I don't want to limit anything. I want to keep large organizations from pulling money out of our state. CAFO's are an example of this; they come in, take advantage of Missouri markets, and bleed our economy dry while only contributing a small portion of it. There has to be a balance, because like you said: You need to eat, and you need to be able to afford to eat.

That's why I want to focus on education and the local economy in my district, and bring in new jobs that will help pump money into our local economy. Cutting subsidies harms your ability to buy low-cost food, but it might also make it less cost-effective for a large farm to pull money out of our economy.

These are big problems where small tweaks can make big changes. Thanks for being engaged and asking a great question. :)


Q:

I was born and raised in Missouri, and I’m excited to see a candidate who is passionate about education! I went to school at Mizzou, and graduated with thousands of dollars of student loan debt despite many scholarships I acquired and the job I had on top of my schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

How do you plan on making a college education legitimately affordable for the average student? Even better, would you consider relief for students who have already graduated with significant debt, such as reducing or eliminating loan interest rates, allowing students to pay for student loans pretax (like you can for FSAs, commuter benefits, etc), or increasing tax benefits for those paying towards their loans? This is impacting my future, delaying my goals for marriage, savings, and buying a house, and any help would be beneficial towards reaching those goals faster.

A:

Student loan debt is crippling. Finding ways to pay for it are important; I think the Federal government is going backwards when it comes to education financing. (But that's not a surprise given who currently runs the department of Education.)

A good start is the Core42 option; we're helping kids get college credits in high school right now to help supplement what they need when they get into a college environment. Fully funding the A+ program would help. Improving work-study programs in colleges would also help, and finding ways to reduce tuition costs would be beneficial. There are some ideas for how to do that, (including rolling certain types of colleges into the K-12 model, which I'm not fond of.) but I'm not sure which is the best model. I'm open to suggestions, and talking about it. But I don't have a concrete or well thought out solution for everything.