Fans became developers in a story involving a fictional version of the Wild West, card games and years of dedication.
Let's start with the numbers. Springfield-based Pine Box Entertainment LLC's Kickstarter campaign for Doomtown: Weird West Edition brought in $141,088 via 1,075 backers. The campaign, which ended yesterday, originally sought $18,760 when it launched Aug. 17.
Doomtown is a poker-driven, territory control card game. At tournaments, some players gather in Wild West garb to prepare for a competitive landscape. It's a story-driven experience – blending elements of the American Wild West, horror and steampunk – while also creating a compelling atmosphere in terms of gameplay.
David Lapp, CEO and lead developer for Pine Box Entertainment, describes the game as a labor of love. He was in high school when the original Doomtown card game was published by Alderac Entertainment Group. He even met his wife playing Doomtown.
The original Doomtown had a short stint starting in 1998, but it was enough to create a dedicated fan base. The game came back in the 2010s when Pinebox started working with publisher Pinnacle Entertainment. Pinebox now licenses the rights and has produced five expansions and modernized the game in an effort to bring on a new player base while keeping the original fans engaged.
"Doomtown is mostly kitchen table players," Lapp says, noting a digital component was born amid the pandemic.
Lapps co-owns Pine Box with David Orange and Alex Wirges, also longtime fans and players of the game.
Doomtown is a prime example of how a dedicated fan base can continue to produce results even decades after the original concept is introduced.
I don't know that Pine Box would invite this comparison, but The Walt Disney Co. is another example of a business catering to dedicated fan bases and using nostalgia to continue to build brand awareness. Think "Star Wars" or the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It's interesting how entertainment evolves over time. In many ways, the entertainment industry builds upon itself, whether that's brand-new properties that seek to create new twists on old standbys or ingrained classics that have a story that continues to be worth telling.
In the case of Doomtown, make sure your six-shooters are at the ready.
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