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Alumni create board game through crowdfunding

Chase Layman created a board game through his company Rivals, funded through Kickstarter. Photo by Abby Bellow.
Chase Layman and his brother Sean Layman (not pictured) created a board game through Chase’s company Rivals, funded through Kickstarter. Photo by Abby Bellow

After growing up interested in playing and creating board games, Chase Layman’s childhood games became reality with the help of the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

Chase, an Oklahoma Christian University alumnus, began his board game venture with a line of art toys under the name Rivals in 2012. The toys come in two types: painted and do-it-yourself. According to Chase, the do-it-yourself toys are the favorite of the two.

“A lot of people actually go for the DIY toys because it gives them a platform to create art with,” Chase said. “The paint schemes that we provide are cool but we really like to see people create their own.”

Chase said he knew he wanted to create a board game using the toys, so two years ago he and his brother, alumnus Sean Layman, began Rivals: Masters of the Deep.

Masters of the Deep is an underwater-themed tactical miniature warfare game combined with a typical board game style. In Chase’s game, the board consists of tiles set up randomly, which create different options each game.

However, unlike many games in this genre, Chase wanted to simplify the usually complicated tactical warfare set-up.

“It’s something you can jump into and understand a lot easier than a lot of these miniatures games out there,” Chase said. “So really it was trying to simplify it to where you can bring in younger audiences.”

Senior Bryan Leftwich said he appreciates the game’s usage of miniatures as game pieces.

“It’s just really fun to have a little character on the board besides just like a token that looks super boring and not fun at all, like in Sorry,” Leftwich said. “These are cool, they’re really detailed and I’m sure a lot of time went into designing all of those and everything, which I really appreciate.”

Chase began creating art toys before he started on his board game. The toys come in painted or DIY. Photo by Abby Bellow
Chase began creating art toys before he started on his board game. The toys come in painted or do-it-yourself forms. Photo by Abby Bellow

Chase and Sean worked together to create the plot and characters for the game, as well as developing the game play. The two brothers went through rounds of play testing in order to work out the kinks before hiring people to help create the actual pieces.

Once the game was ready to be produced, Chase went to Kickstarter for the funding.

“Truthfully, it’s almost dumb not to do Kickstarter anymore because you can create a product and not have to put up any money,” Chase said.

Chase has had more than one successful Kickstarter campaign for his Rivals toys before he began his most recent campaign.

Rivals: Masters of the Deep launched on Oct. 15, 2015 and funding completed last week on Nov. 14. However, the Rivals team did not need that much time, as they reached their goal on the second day.

Chase wanted to raise $40,000 – enough to cover all the costs of creating the game, but he ended up with $53,157, allowing him to add a couple extras for the backers including an extra miniature and a histories and stories section in the rulebook.

“It’s really impressive,” Leftwich said. “Designing games is always something I’ve wanted to do but I’ve never even tried to do it, but it’s something I’ve always been interested in. I just really respect Chase for putting a bunch of effort into this, I know others who have made board games and I know it’s a lot of work.”

Chase said he encourages people to keep up with their progress through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He also said he hopes to have another Kickstarter next year for an expansion to Masters of the Deep.

Masters of the Deep can soon be purchased for $90 on their website and includes 54 plastic miniatures, a rulebook, 15 dice, 52 game board tiles, 60 tokens and cards. Plays two to four players, ages 12 and up.

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