Love Board Games? Now You Can Invest in Them

Space Goat Productions
Space Goat Productions

The rise of crowdfunded products in recent years has been a boon to projects that might not have survived a long and winding corporate road to consumers. And while technological innovations, food, and film draw a lot of those dollars, it may surprise you to learn that the gaming category is at the top of Kickstarter’s leader board. Donors have spent a total of $813 million on nearly 38,000 different video and analog game projects, with board games dominating most of the market.

Starting May 1, board game and comic book publisher Space Goat Productions is taking that marriage of direct-to-consumer financing and entertainment a step further. They’ve launched a Wefunder campaign that will allow people to become equity investors in the company best known for its Evil Dead II, The Terminator, and Howling board games.

“We are the first publicly-owned board game and comic book hybrid company,” Shon Bury, Space Goat’s president, tells Mental Floss. “We have a foot in both niches.”

Equity fundraising was first made possible in 2012, when Congress passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, also known as the JOBS Act. The legislation allows companies to solicit investors for an ownership stake with the potential for a financial reward: The ability to sell to anyone online, not just private investors, began in May 2016. Bury, who had grown tired of seeking capital from banks reluctant to lend to small businesses, saw an opportunity for gaming fans to take on a larger role in the publisher’s efforts. Campaigns that people have a personal investment in—like the Beta Bionics fundraiser to back an experimental diabetes monitor, which raised over $1 million—tend to attract the most attention.

“Comic book and board game fans like the participatory process,” Bury says. “Something about that type of consumer wants to get involved in the hobby with creators.”

Visitors stop by a Space Goat Productions convention table
Space Goat Productions

By law, investors in Space Goat or any other company must invest a minimum $100 to obtain a future equity share with the company, which has been estimated at a $5 million potential valuation cap. While they don’t get to outvote Bury, who is the majority owner, they can—at certain pricing tiers—get involved in beta-testing games, offer feedback, and get discounts off Space Goat merchandise.

The money raised during the Wefunder’s 45-day campaign will go toward company overhead, production costs, convention expenses, marketing, license acquisition, and distribution of games to retail outlets. Both Evil Dead II and The Terminator are slated for a 2018 release, while The Howling, an original board game titled Game Buds, and a possible Evil Dead II graphic novel are on tap for 2019.

With Kickstarter campaigns, donors are usually reserved copies of the product along with incentive extras. For Wefunder, the objective is to back the company as a whole, not just a single release. If Space Goat continues to be successful, investors will be able to sell their shares once a second round of crowdfunding begins or if the company goes public. If they elect to keep their shares, they’ll get a proportional percentage of their net profit. Company valuations and revenues will be SEC-compliant, Bury says.

“This is an actual investment with risks,” he adds, which means it’s possible you could, like any investor, fail to realize a return. But for some gaming fans, wagering on the appeal of werewolves, Deadites, and Skynet is likely more interesting than trading pharmaceutical stocks.

7 of the Best Double Features You Can Stream on Netflix Right Now

Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire in Rocky (1976) and Liev Schreiber in Chuck (2016).
Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire in Rocky (1976) and Liev Schreiber in Chuck (2016).
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and IFC Films

For many of us, movie night can turn into a movie marathon. If you’re logged into Netflix and pondering what to watch, check out these double feature suggestions that each offer a perfect pairing of tone, topic, or an ideal double dose of Nicolas Cage.

1. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) // The Highwaymen (2019)

In Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the famous outlaw couple who livened up Depression-era America with their string of bank robberies. More than 50 years later, The Highwaymen shifts the focus to the retired Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson) charged with bringing them down.

2. Rocky (1976) // Chuck (2016)

Sylvester Stallone's rousing story of underdog palooka Rocky Balboa pairs well with the biopic of the man who partially inspired Stallone's screenplay. Chuck details the boxing career of Chuck Wepner, a determined pugilist who was given virtually no chance against Muhammad Ali but wound up winning the respect of the crowd. Liev Schreiber stars.

3. Deliverance (1972) // The River Wild (1994)

Water-based getaways become cautionary tales: In Deliverance, Burt Reynolds delivers the performance that turned him into a movie star, a rough and rugged outdoorsman confronted by a group of sinister locals in the backwoods of Georgia. Things don’t get appreciably better in The River Wild, with Meryl Streep as a matriarch forced to navigate the rapids under the gun of criminal Kevin Bacon. Together, the two may have you rethinking your vacation plans.

4. All the President’s Men (1976) // Kill the Messenger (2014)

Newspaper reporting comes under fire in both of these films based on true stories. All the President's Men features Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Washington Post reporters tasked with uncovering the Watergate conspiracy. Kill the Messenger stars Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, the journalist who found a suspicious connection between drug smuggling and the CIA.

5. Carrie (1976) // Gerald’s Game (2017)

After a bad stretch of mediocre adaptations, Stephen King’s work has been seeing an onscreen renaissance. Check out two of the best: Carrie, which stars Sissy Spacek as a telekinetic teen with an overbearing mother and an awkward social life; and Gerald’s Game, which casts Carla Gugino as a woman trapped in handcuffs amid supernatural activity.

6. National Treasure (2004) // The Trust (2016)

Fitting in the very narrow genre of “Nicolas Cage heist movies,” both National Treasure and The Trust are terrific on their own: A double feature contrasts Cage at his blockbuster best with his indie film shades of grey. As Benjamin Franklin Gates in National Treasure, he tries to run off with the Declaration of Independence. In The Trust, he and Elijah Wood are cops targeting a drug money stash. Fans of a more subdued—but still excellent—Cage should find a lot to like here.

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009) // The Imitation Game (2014)

Two very different tales of World War II oscillate from the cerebral to the Nazi-smashing. In Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino offers a revisionist take on the men and women who resisted the Reich. In The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch is real-life scientist Alan Turing, whose work with computers cracked a German code that helped end the war.

How Mister Rogers Used King Friday to Make Friday the 13th Less Scary for Kids

Getty Images
Getty Images

King Friday XIII, son of King Charming Thursday XII and Queen Cinderella Monday, is an avid arts lover, a talented whistler, and a former pole vaulter. He reigns over Calendarland with lots of pomp and poise, and he’s usually correct.

Fans of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood may also remember that the monarch was born on Friday the 13th, because his birthday was celebrated on the program every Friday the 13th. Though the math isn’t perfect—according to Timeanddate.com, Friday the 13th sometimes happens two or three times a year—the heartwarming reason behind the unconventionally-timed birthday celebrations absolutely is.

Fred Rogers explained that he wanted to give children a reason to look forward to Friday the 13th, instead of buying into the negative superstitions that surround the dreaded date. “We thought, ‘Let’s start children out thinking that Friday the 13th was a fun day,’” he said in a 1999 interview. “So we would celebrate his birthday every time a Friday the 13th came.”

Rogers added that the tradition worked out so well partially because the show was broadcast live, and viewers knew to anticipate an especially festive episode whenever they spotted a Friday the 13th on the calendar.

Speaking of calendars: There’s an equally charming story behind the name Calendarland. In the same interview, Rogers disclosed that King Friday once asked children to write in with suggestions for his then-nameless country. One boy posited that since King Friday was named after a calendar date, his realm should be named after the calendar. Then, the lucky youngster was invited to the set, where King Friday christened him a prince of Calendarland.

King Friday might be king of Calendarland, but Mister Rogers is definitely the king of understanding how to make kids feel safe, smart, and special.

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