Taking Root

A startup is kinda like raising a child. It had a romantic beginning. I still recall the first time I saw the prototype of Shoudo resting on a concrete floor in a campground cabin. Trip Gauntt had begun to craft a board game using chess pieces and a deck of cards. He brought his new game to a freshman college retreat outside of Waco, Texas. Sitting across from one another in a gas station bakery, Trip and I spent the night rattling off potential names for the game, drawing from Old English words and pretentious-sounding fantasy terminology. We were determined to craft the most appealing and suitable name for a two-player strategy game.

At the honeymoon phase of the game development, we added Nate, Ben, Garrett, and JR to the mix. The next weekend, we crammed in hours of gameplay of the new game (at the time called, Sigil) well past 2:30 AM. It was at this moment, that JR suggested that we take our game to the next level. He believed that we could turn this deck of cards and chess pieces into a true-blue Kickstarter tabletop game, and to make a Kickstarter, we'd need a startup company. To continue the metaphor and take a jab at one of the worst lines in Arrival, JR was effectively suggesting, "Let's make a baby". And so, six college freshmen made an initially hideous, and eventually polished, child.

We can't see the end of the tunnel yet, but we know that we're getting close.

We can't see the end of the tunnel yet, but we know that we're getting close.

All jokes aside, our Kickstarter journey thus far has been quite complex and unique given our status as undergraduate college students. Although there have been a few weekends during which the HPG team has gathered together and worked intensely on refining Shoudo, we've had to gracefully balance our college workload with the challenge of launching a full-fledged Kickstarter campaign. We know the joys and freedom that come with undergraduate life, but we also hold ourselves to high standards when it comes to work and academics.

I may have told you certainly an interesting story, but why the blog? The blog has a few thoughtful purposes.


Our blog should help us and our readers to see the significance of games in our life stories.

Our blog should help our backers, friends, and family track the progress of our campaign, production, and post-production.


Our blog should inspire and inform Kickstarter enthusiasts about the challenges of crowdfunding a tabletop game.

Our blog should express some of our artistic and philosophical interests to help us connect with our crowd and readers.


So I invite you to follow along with Houseplant Games. We want to tell an even richer story about the way games have shaped who we are, the development of Shoudo over the past year, and the perspectives of undergraduate board game designers. If you stick with us to the end, we are confident that you'll receive an energetic and thougtful examination of life as well as a terrific two-player strategy game.