…Do you want the short answer? Of course you don’t! You clicked on ‘About Us’ for a reason: you’re the type of person who craves lore. Well, let’s begin at the beginning…
It was Christmas in Germany. The year was 2019, when Justus Meyer and his brother Andrew were on vacation with their family. They were joking about coming up with the ideal game that both their mom and their friends would play; some type of hybrid that would bring gamers and novices to the same table. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were about to stumble into the adventure of a lifetime…
Doomlings was never supposed to be a real game. Originally, it was a fun little hobby that Justus and Andrew worked on; a special project that would bring them closer together. (The Brothers Meyer live 1700 miles apart.) Then the pandemic hit, and the world shut down. Until this point, Justus had been working as a commercial director in Los Angeles, with his partner Eric. (You can see them making fools of themselves in the video below.)
With the entire world on pause, Justus was wholly unemployed. With nothing but time on his hands and a desperate need to forget about the outside world, Justus threw himself into Doomlings, which allowed him to escape his one-bedroom apartment to the far and distant lands of Enderas...
Justus embraced his obsession with the end of the world, and began building out hundreds of traits, ages, and catastrophes. Andrew, the group’s “rules lawyer” worked tirelessly on the mechanics, playing every player’s hand, in countless game scenarios, by himself.
It was about this time that Chris Svehla, a dear friend and brilliant comedian, got involved. Chris began lending his wit to the flavor text, while also helping develop mechanics with Andrew. At this point, it started to become apparent that Doomlings could become, ya know, a thing? Justus, despite his confused directing partner begging to see the game, had been reluctant to share Doomlings with Eric. Not because he didn’t want Eric to play, but because he felt he had to make a good first impression. (When Eric gets aboard a project, it’s like a locomotive being driven by a rabid beaver: the train is going to make it to its destination, and something about beavers… Admittedly, that metaphor went off the rails.) In any case, when Justus finally showed Eric the prototype, it was clear to everyone in the room: Doomlings needed to be played by the masses.
The whole crew was assembled. Eric dove in, researching his eyeballs out on Kickstarters, acting as the campaign's manager. The group set a date of March 2nd, and worked every day for six months towards the big launch. They hired three gamers—Jim, Christine, and Patrick—to act as their backer support and unofficial Kickstarter Landmine Sherpas. (There are so many things you can do incorrectly on Kickstarter. These three came with countless hours of experience backing and playing tabletop games.) It should also be acknowledged that this “Bullet Dodging Dept” had an unofficial member: Gregory Frank, a consultant who had previously worked on 126 Kickstarter campaigns. Though Greg had recently transitioned out of the industry, for some reason, he graciously agreed to continue taking the group's phone calls. (The team is still humbly befuddled.)
The morning of the launch finally arrived. Justus and Eric, in true artistic form, were working on the Kickstarter page right up until the minute the team agreed to press LAUNCH. Then they waited.
They’d emotionally prepared for three options: people might hate the game, people might like the game, people might be indifferent. What they didn’t prepare for was to be funded in 49 minutes!
Doomlings. Blew. Up. Day 1 raised 340% of their goal. By the end of the week, they had a thousand backers. The community grew faster than anyone could keep up. People from all over the world were coming out to participate in the weekly livestreams, they were baking Doomlings in their kitchens, and crocheting Doomlings on Facebook. The campaign blew through every stretch goal in the first ten days.
The wildfire kept spreading. By the end of the month, the game had been supported by more than 10,000 backers from 80 countries around the world. When the campaign ended, Doomlings finished on Kickstarter in the top tenth of 1% of Kickstarters of all time. The next day, the pre-orders started rolling in. Three weeks later, Doomlings had grossed a million dollars.
None of this could have (nor should have) been prepared for. This was the most insane version of likely outcomes imaginable. What began as a hobby, evolved into a thriving business that gave everyone purpose in the darkest of times. It’s ironic that a game about the end of the world was exactly what the team needed to take their minds off of the events of 2020.
There’s so much of this journey that has yet to be written, but you made it this far, so pat yourself on the back. As for us, we’re pinching ourselves every day, wondering when we’re going to wake up from this dream. Until that happens, we’ll be working every hour of every day, to get these games onto the tables of every single backer who supported us.
To those of you in on the ground floor: THANK YOU for supporting us, for encouraging us, and for believing in our vision. It means the world that you would back our first Kickstarter campaign, and help us along in our journey. We won’t let you down. Here’s to the road ahead, for all of us; embracing each day, one delightful catastrophe at a time…
Justus, Chris, Eric and Andrew (not pictured, but always watching. Always.)