The latest entry in our interview series Why You Should Back: Death By Coconuts on Kickstarter. We spoke with the creator to get information about their latest launch. They look to be bringing something very interesting to market that walks the fine line between humorous and morbid. The Kickstarter launch date is May 31, 2022. Check out the link below to go directly to Death By Coconuts Kickstarter page or continue on to read the interview with the creator.
1. How would you describe your product in a few sentences?
Death By Coconuts is best described as a race-to-the-finish board game where you move by betting on death statistics.
First, you draw three causes of death, which can be anything from sharks to falling vending machines and projectile Champagne corks. There are additional time periods and geographical parameters to help you work out the answer. Then, when you’ve made your mind up, you bet up to three chips on which of the three you think is most deadly.
If you’re right, you move forward the same number of spaces as chips you bet with. If you’re wrong, the same applies – only you move backward instead! So you can see, it’s a game of risk and reward were betting big or small dictates how quickly you move across the board.
You’ve got to navigate shortcuts and trapdoors, and the treasure chest cards will more often than not expedite your arrival at the finish line. But sometimes they’ll throw a curveball at you. Only the first to the finish wins, unless there’s a tie. In which case we’ve got a pretty dramatic best-of-three tiebreaker to decide the winner. This is our very first attempt at a board game. We’ve created a simpler mechanic than our first Kickstarter game, Plant-Based Riot, but it still delivers bucket loads of quick-fire fun.
2. Introduce the team bringing this to market? What is your background that brought you to launching this?
The team is largely the same as the one that brought you Plant-Based Riot via Kickstarter last year. This time, though, we’ve added another designer to the mix…
Marty Pardoe worked behind the scenes of Plant-Based Riot but is at the core of this team. She’s a hugely gifted designer that’s been involved from the early stages when the game went by the rather sinister name of “May Cause Cancer” (a story for another time…). Marty was named as a rising star in Mojo Nation’s 100 Influential Figures list in 2021 for her work on our game Girl Power. It was Marty’s idea to make Death By Coconuts a race-to-the-finish board game and we’ve run with that ever since.
Roberto Rotaru is our artist, graphic designer, motion graphic designer, video editor. He continues to add strings to his bow since our campaign last year. Originally from Romania, he’s the biggest gamer of the bunch – our go-to guy when it comes to making key decisions on mechanics. All the motion graphics and videos you see in relation to this project are down to his artistry.
I’m the content writer for Death By Coconuts. It was my job to trawl the deepest depths of the internet to put together 250 death statistics. It was definitely no day at a tropical beach, I can tell you. You know what they say, though… It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Courtney is the guy that oversees everything. It’s his job to stitch all the individual components together. He started Bubblegum Stuff in Hong Kong back in 2013, so there’s traces of his blood, sweat and tears in this and every other product the company has put out over the years.
We’ve turned to Kickstarter again because we loved the experience last time out. It brought us closer to our community in more ways than one. Like us, the people that backed Plant-Based Riot believe in the power of collaboration. And because they have tons of experience backing games on the platform, they are an invaluable source of insight and opinion. We’re sure many of those guys will play active roles in making key design and gameplay decisions with Death By Coconuts, too.
3. What existing games would you compare your game to?
Death By Coconuts is similar to a few games – and in various ways. It’s got elements of Snakes & Ladders, which we all remember as one of the first games we ever played. The shortcut across the lake and the lava flow trapdoor are essentially a ladder and a snake respectively.
The treasure chest cards also give the sense you’re being given a ladder or a snake, depending on what you’re lucky or unlucky enough to pick up. Saying that, though, they could be likened to the chance or action cards that are fairly ubiquitous in many board games.
There are also similarities with a game from London-based games producer Big Potato. Their game What Came First? uses the same betting mechanic as the method for moving around the board. The difference being in What Came First? you’re betting on what happened first out of two events in history that are paired together on the same card. In Death By Coconuts you’re betting on three separately drawn death stats.
That small difference adds endless amounts of replayability to the game. It means there are over 2.5 million possible combinations of death cards! Each round will feel like a fresh challenge regardless of how many times you’ve played the game. That’s amplified even more when you consider the additional caveats like time period and location.
4. What sets your game apart?
What sets Death By Coconuts apart is the delivery. We’ve produced a game that features 250 causes of death without it feeling overtly morbid. And that was always the mission. It must be said, we’re not making light of death or any of the events featured on the cards in the game. But it is as much a part of life as birth. And we knew if we handled it correctly, it wouldn’t cause offense. Much in the same way that Halloween or the Mayan festival Day of the Dead doesn’t.
Some of the content comes across lighthearted, such as the deaths by falling coconuts, which causes on average 150 deaths a year! (Incidentally, that’s more than sharks – and it’s that fact that was the inspiration behind the game.) However, most of the leavening is being done by the 1950s Americana/tropicana/tiki-style design, artwork and overall theme. The board depicts our little skeleton character getting into all kinds of comedic scrapes with cannibals, krakens, snakes and more. Many of which are causes of death featured in the game. In addition to those Easter eggs, there are 150 coconuts on the board in reference to the stat that started it all. We’ll be impressed if anyone finds them all. You might even notice the spaces stretching from Coconut Beach to Eternal Paradise look familiar…
5. How can everyone be assured that they are going to get quality components and you are going to deliver on all the promises you are making?
As previously mentioned, we’re a slightly expanded team to the one that delivered Plant-Based Riot through Kickstarter last year. And this slightly expanded team is working within Bubblegum Stuff, which is a small gift and game company based in London. We’ve been plying our trade for nearly 10 years. So getting things designed, made and delivered is our bread and butter.
Furthermore, we delivered Plant-Based Riot – our first Kickstarter – through all the turmoil and disruption caused by Covid and one of the worst shipping crises in history. We’re really proud to have delivered the game to our backers, as promised, by Christmas. This meant changing from sea freight to air freight right at the eleventh hour. Seriously… the stock was on a ship in port and we took it off and got it onto a flight!
Not that we wouldn’t go above and beyond for our customers anyway. But the loyalty, support and patience showed to us by our backers last year really moved us. And that’s still ringing in our ears going into this next campaign. We’re committed to delivering on our promises and building on our incredible community through Kickstarter.
6. Why should someone back your project?
Death By Coconuts combines diabolically gruesome subject matter with super funky artwork, near-addictive fun and endless replayability.
It feels incredibly unique but still familiar enough that it’s accessible for pretty much everyone. And the learning to fun time ratio is stacked heavily in favor of fun. That makes it a perfect game to pick up and play, whether you’re looking for a casual game for two or something to sustain a great big games night.
So what are you waiting for? Back our project, grab a few fellow shipwrecked shipmates and get going on the race to Eternal Paradise. Where your knowledge of death might just save your life!
Well we are satisfied!
Great insight and enthusiasm from a passionate and experienced designer. This game has some wonderful funky art and is sure to please a very specific type of gamer. If you are looking for an interesting quick-fire game, give this one a shot. Take a look at their Kickstarter for more info!