Koen Pijnappels (right in the photo), Niels Janssen (left in the photo) and Sjoerd Loenen (unshaven) got to know each other while they were studying at Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, respectively. Together with friend Dennis Beemsterboer (chairless), they share a love of hiking, learning about cultures and, above all, card games.
One evening during their vacation in Switzerland last September they decided, with their feet up and a beer in hand, to devise their own card game. “All through the vacation the game was tweaked every day. It became more and more fun and got more exciting. We lack the words to explain the game briefly but suffice to say, the aim of the game is to get as few points as possible by sabotaging your friends and outsmarting them. The rule here is: Knowledge is power!” Fortunately, Beemsterboer has filmed a clear guide to the game.
“On the last day of our vacation we decided that the game is funny enough and sociable enough that other people would want to play it,” says Loenen. “And we saw it as a good reason to set up a little company together, one of our other wishes.”
Easier said than done is not a phrase in the vocabulary of the four friends, but developing the game was a time-consuming business that took up many of their evenings. “During the process hidden talents came to the fore,” says Loenen. “Koen turned out to be a master at drawing, Niels built the whole website, Dennis discovered his enthusiasm for video and design and as for myself, I learned the intricacies of Adobe Illustrator.”
Using their savings, they invested in the production of prototypes so they could put the game through extensive testing. Telephone calls with factories in China, Germany and Poland were part and parcel of the process, says Loenen.
And now things are hotting up. Today they are launching ‘King Fridge’ or ‘Koning Koelkast’ on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding page. If you are looking to launch a game commercially without any major investment, crowdfunding is a great way to go, says Loenen. “Crowdfunding is the principle that buyers let you know in advance that they are interested in buying a particular product. This gives entrepreneurs the chance to capitalize on market demand without needing to secure major investment.”
But if the game designers have their way, Kickstarter won't be the end of the process. Big plans are afoot for King Fridge. “The sky's the limit,” says Loenen. This month the team is going all out to make the Kickstarter campaign a great success and they are going to be working hard to make the game available through retailers like bol.com and amazon.com, to get the game into physical stores like Intertoys, and to put on live promotional activities in Dutch cities. “We've got a busy time ahead of us, but there's also going to be a breathing space for a good King Fridge vacation in the mountains,” concludes Loenen. “And who knows, perhaps there will even be a sequel to King Fridge.”