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Kic-Start: Interview with Game Designer Justin Honaman


Kic-Start

Kic-Start is a new card game that requires players to draw cards, ask questions, and kickstart conversations through talking, not texting.

Kic-Start is a new card game that requires players to draw cards, ask questions, and kickstart conversations. The thought-provoking questions contained in the game will inspire articulate answers that help young people break the ice and get to know each other through talking, not texting.  Questions might include “Who is your biggest hero?”  and “What makes you happy?” Groups of people can answer the same cards to keep the gab going. Interesting, this game could also be played solo.

Kic-Start prides itself on being a game that bonds friends, families and teams by delivering human connection and hilarious chat through fun, wisdom and wit. It is intended for two or more players, ages eight and older.

Kic-Start, which retails for $19.95, was created by Justin and Monique Honaman who were determined to create an inclusive card games that deal up insight through entertainment. Justin Honaman recently discussed the process of creating this game via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in designing games and how did KIC-Start come to you?
Justin Honaman (JH): We are lovers of great conversations. Or, as we like to say, we like BIG talk, not small talk. There’s nothing more energizing that coming away from a really great dialogue that made you think, made you vulnerable, made you laugh, perhaps even made you cry. Conversely, there is nothing more draining that leaving a conversation feeling as if you didn’t about anything for an hour.  To make a long story short, we came up with the idea for our first game while on our “family honeymoon.” We sat on the idea for about 7 years before we actively decided to design and manufacture it. That first get-to-know-you conversation-starter game was called, “Cocktail Farty” where FART stands for “Friends Admitting Real Truths.” We received such a tremendous response to that first game that we launched three more conversation-starter sets (Whine Barrel, BrewaHa, and KegO’Cards). Each of these games while more adult-focused, are not obscene or crude in any way, however we realized we had an opportunity to share the joy of great conversation with younger people as well. We recognize that kids are spending more time on technology, and less time engaging in eye-to-eye dialogue, and that led us to create KIC-Start. KIC stands for Kids in Conversation, and the whole idea is to teach kids the art of conversational curiosity (ask a question, listen with empathy, thoughtfully prepare an answer, respond and share). Our inspiration comes from recognizing the truly wonderful relationships that are made when people take the time to really talk, listen and connect to one another.

MM: How long did it take the develop the game and form all the questions?

JH: Our first game took a while as we worked with prototype designs to get the packaging just right. In fact, we realized that there was a better way to make the product after our first manufacturing run, and we switched things up for the 2nd run and added the 4 new concepts. Now that we have the process down, it really doesn’t take too long to develop the new concepts. The most time-consuming piece is coming up with the 150 questions per game because we want all the questions across all the games to be as unique as possible. And yes, we come up with and ‘test’ each question ourselves which can often slow down our process as we answer the questions for each other. We never stop learning about each other, and ourselves, that’s for sure!

MM: How different was the prototype from the finished product?

JH: The initial prototype was what we used for the initial finished product and we manufactured a first run. We quickly realized that we needed a new design, and got to work on that quickly. We found the right partner who knew what we were trying to do and the new packaging is amazing. It took some time, but we got it right!

MM: How did you break into the games industry?

JH: Perseverance, tenacity, and some good luck! Yes, we’ve broken into the games industry a bit … and we’re trying to break in all the way!  It’s a lot of hands-on energy, sweat equity, and cold calls when you first start as you do all you can to get your brand out there! The reward comes when you realize you are gaining momentum and traction!

MM: How did you market this item and what have responses been like?

JH: Our first step in taking the first game to market was showing it at the Atlanta Gift Mart. That’s where we realized we had a great idea, and where we decided to move forward with 4 additional concepts as well. Since then, we are marketing through a combination of our own efforts working directly with buyers, as well as selling on Amazon, selling to specialty retailers, and working with some of the larger distributors to gain an audience for our products.

MM: Of all the questions, have you a favorite?

JH: That’s like admitting that you have a favorite child! No, we love all the questions because they all drive great conversational curiosity!

MM: Are you working on any other games now?

JH: Absolutely! We have 1 new game coming out next month called, “Kiss’N’Cards” and it contains 150 questions to ask when you are dating!  Additionally, we have 2 other conversation-starter concepts under development! Stay tuned for more great conversations!

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