Today, we chat with Jesse Bergman, found of Punch-It Entertainment, makers of the card game Battle for Sularia. This is another in our #FriendsofFive24 series and friend here in Lincoln, Nebraska.
What is your story?
My name is Jesse Bergman and I’m one of the founders of Punch-It Entertainment. We are a small indie game developer/publisher in Lincoln Ne. I started playing board games early on in my life with games such as Risk, Monopoly, and Stratego. In my early adolescent I started playing games such as Battletech, Magic The Gathering, Warhammer 40K, and a few different RPG’s. I have GM’d campaigns as a young adult set in the Paldium universe of TMNT and Rifts. I also ran a Mechwarrior campaign.
When I got into my teens video games became a strong influencer on my life and lead me to pursue a degree in Game Design from UAT in Tempe AZ. I graduated in 2009 from UAT with a BA in Video Game Design with honors. I was a non-traditional student and earned my degree at 29 years of age.
In 2011, I began in earnest working on my own games and in 2014 I established Punch-It Entertainment along side my oldest friend John Kimmel.
What are you playing?
Currently I’m trying to reduce my shelf of shame, and have been attempting to play the many games that have been sitting in shrink. I have most recently played Rise of Tribes, Rising Sun, Lords of Hellas, and Aeon’s End. I also play a ton of card games and have most recently been enjoying Transformers TCG and Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions.
What game is a hidden gem?
Probably the game that I enjoy playing the most that many haven’t played Overlords of Infamy. It’s a fun little game where we as players take on the role of the villain and I just love the role reversal. Combined with a very Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, it’s easily my biggest hidden gem. Although I just got a copy of Shadowrun: Crossfire and can’t wait for it to kick my butt.
What are you backing?
I’ve been on a bit of a Kickstarter hiatus lately. I currently have 5 games needing to be fulfilled or currently seeking funding.
1.) Overlords of Infamy: Misery Loves Company! Expansion
2.) Tidal Blades – Heroes of the Reef
3.) ROBA: Radiant Offline Battle Arena
4.) SiegeStorm: The SiegeMode
5.) Penny Lane: A Charming Game of People and Pennies
What are you excited about?
I usually don’t find myself super hyped by many games. I tend to look at each game objectively and decide if it fits a space in my collection. With that said Wave 3 of Age of Sigmar Champions is launching the first of March and I am very excited to see the new cards and add some of them to my decks.
What is your next project?
While we don’t have titles officially set on either of the titles we are currently working on three different games.
1.) Sularia – A Deckbuilding Game
2.) Hunt – A Cooperative Legacy Dungeon Crawl
3.) Zen – A Tile Laying Game of Balance
What are your hobbies outside of board gaming?
I am pretty busy being a dad, husband, and entrepreneur. But when I do find time I enjoy watching shows on Netflix and playing video games.
What do you need help with?
Right now, I don’t have specific help needs. We are always looking for potential blind playtesters for our games and just advocates for our brand, as we simply don’t generate large revenue to massively promote our products in the world.
What tip do you wish you knew when you started?
There is a lot of advice out there regarding how to promote and raise funds for your game on Kickstarter. I wish I would have started building community earlier. When we were developing our first game we went around to conventions and collected emails. We would reach out to those subscribers once a month with development updates, but unfortunately many of those early convention subscribers lost touch with us by the time the Kickstarter launched. All of our KS backers came from conventions visited within 90 days of the campaign. If I could do it all over again, I would have put my energy into building a community through giveaways and various other outlets, instead of spending travel dollars attending conventions. I still believe conventions are important, but the larger conventions are very costly for an indie developer and I actually love the mid size cons of 400-1000 attendees.
What is one of your goals for 2019?
My goal in 2019 is to get one of our games ready to release and continue to foster an inclusive and open gaming environment here locally in Lincoln. We have been using a local co-working space called Turbine Flats to foster this environment and in three months we have gone from 6 regular attendees to around 25 per week.
What cons will I find you at?
Currently we are committed to Great Plains Gaming Festival and O Comic Con. If you are reading this and have a con that you think we should attend, please reach out and let me know!
Where can I find you online?