Badult brand Odious on the success of 'adult gaming' and its return to Kickstarter

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

January 14th 2016 at 2:08PM
UPDATED January 18th 2016 at 12:11PM
Badult brand Odious on the success of 'adult gaming' and its return to Kickstarter

Last year, Ken Goff and Bekka Sakks triumphed on Kickstarter with its first 'badult gaming' title, Odious Lists. 2016 sees the team return to the platform in its effort to expand the brand with Odious Censor.

Can you talk us through Odious Censor – what’s the idea behind the game?

Odious was founded on the idea that mixing classic party games with dirty and potentially offensive content is a recipe for hilariously inappropriate fun.

In that framework, Odious Censor is essentially a dirty version of Taboo. The object of the game is to get your team to guess a specific word or phrase, but the catch is that you can't use any of the "censored" words in your description of the guess word. For example, you might have to try to get your team to guess the word "Diabetes" without saying "Obesity / Insulin / Sugar / Foot" or to describe "Fetish" without using the words "Sex / Weird / Foot / Into".

You have one minute to get your team to guess as many words as possible, earning a point for each correct answer. But if you use one of the censored words, the other team rings the cowbell at you (which is quite unpleasant) and you'll lose a point.

Why have you decided to return to Kickstarter with a new project?

Kickstarter has become the industry standard for where people to go to learn about new board games. We've found users of the platform to be highly engaged and supportive of independent publishers, and they seem to be willing to help with things like feedback, reviews, and spreading the word.

We feel as though the quick delivery time on our last campaign helped build goodwill with our customers, and that asking them to check out our next Kickstarter is preferable to sending them a link for a new product on Amazon.

Our campaign for Odious Lists was a big success, so we're hoping our follow up campaign will help drive some press (or at least social media) coverage. Alternatively, we could just put the product up on our website / Amazon and try to drive people there. But we believe there's a benefit to the excitement that can build around a Kickstarter.

What have you got planned for the Odious Censor project?

The campaign for Censor will only be live for two weeks (as opposed to the month-long campaign we did for Lists).

Most of the activity for a standard campaign happens in the first three days and the last three days, and we found that having three weeks in the middle was a bit of a slog, especially given how hectic that time period can be (and how draining it is to spend a full month begging your friends to post things about your campaign).

Our hope is to maximize the press, excitement, and funding in a short period of time, then quickly turn around and have Censor available for purchase for customers who might prefer not to engage with the crowdfunding model.

How much are you looking to raise on the platform and are you confident in the project having already seen success on the platform?

We're setting a relatively low funding goal of $2,000 for this campaign (our goal for Lists was $10,000). At this point, we are better able to manufacture quickly and cost-effectively (relative to when when we launched the campaign for Lists). We also now have an existing customer base to leverage, and the fact that Lists is currently available for purchase means that we have supplemental cashflow to help cover some of our costs .

What has reception to Odious Lists been like in the US, what retailers have you now got on board with the game?

The reception to Odious Lists in the US has been great so far. We saw surprisingly strong and consistent sales through the holiday season without any marketing spend, so it's great to see that the game has some viral reach.

We have a five star rating on Amazon, and have had a couple additional celebrity purchases since Neil Patrick Harris. One of our Kickstarter backers even told us that she brought it to her grandfather's funeral, and playing it helped her family cope with their loss. Because Odious is here to help people heal, one fart joke at a time.

While we've made it into a couple smaller stores, retail hasn't been a big part of our strategy to date. Our plan has been to hold off on trying to build a retail presence until we have multiple titles. We believe it will be advantageous to pitch retailers on a suite of products that can be ordered and displayed together. 

We think focusing on one game at a time will build a track record that proves the overarching concept of the brand. Once we're armed with a couple successful Kickstarters and prototypes for a couple additional games, then we'll turn our attention more towards retail distribution and larger scale marketing spend.

What is the plan for the wider Odious name, will this be the new ‘brand’ in the badult gaming sector?

We certainly hope that Odious will be the - or at least *a* - brand in the badult gaming sector. There's clearly an appetite for dirty games, and the market still appears to be relatively underserved.

There are a number of Cards Against Humanity clones out there, and a number of new games that have been developed with dirty content, but we see the sweet spot of familiar mechanics mixed with immature and offensive humor as still very much in its nascent stage.

Cards Against Humanity has become a cultural phenomenon by making a dirty version of Apples to Apples. We are fully convinced that if they had done the same thing with other classic games (making Lists Against Humanity, Censor Against Humanity, etc), given their talent, reputation, and distribution network, they could have easily seen huge success and taken full ownership of this space.

However, instead of rolling out this same playbook across multiple titles, the creators of CAH seem to be focused on developing new games that lean more towards strategy than lightweight party mechanics.

Our goal is to take the joyful innocence of games we all played as kids and pervert them into immature and offensive entertainment for adults. We think there should be a "badult" section of every store that sells board games, as well as a "games" section of every adult/novelty store.

Our work won't be done until you can match every classic game with its Odious equivalent. Or until we run out of money. Either way.