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.”

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.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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A New Documentary Investigates West Virginia’s Infamous Mothman

The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Jimmy Emerson DVM, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The continuing impact of the Mothman on Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is hard to overlook. The town plays host to a statue, a museum, and an annual festival that all celebrate the red-eyed flying beast who first showed up on the scene in 1966.

In November of that year, two couples spotted a winged, vaguely man-shaped monster near the so-called “TNT area,” a collection of abandoned bunkers where explosives were stored during World War II. After the Point Pleasant Register reported on their harrowing ordeal, other sightings started rolling in. When nearly four dozen people were killed in a bridge collapse on December 15, 1967, many believed the Mothman was somehow involved.

The infamous cryptid’s popularity endured over the ensuing decades with the help of John Keel’s 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies and the 2002 movie adaptation starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. While glimpses of the Mothman himself definitely peaked during the ’60s, close encounters with a strange creature in West Virginia still surface to this day.

In his new documentary The Mothman Legacy, director Seth Breedlove delves into the history of the Mothman, investigating its long legacy in Pleasant Point and interviewing more recent eyewitnesses. It’s not Breedlove’s first film on the matter; he also directed 2017’s The Mothman of Point Pleasant, which focuses on the Mothman’s heyday from November 1966 to the bridge catastrophe a year later.

His latest project features Jeff Wamsley, who has written two books on the subject and also founded the town’s Mothman Museum. As The Daily Beast reports, The Mothman Legacy doesn’t exactly try to solve the mystery of the Mothman or debunk all the theories about it. Instead, it’s more of a celebration of the urban legend, complete with spooky CGI reenactments and plenty of eerie accounts of alleged run-ins with the monster. In short, it’s ideal fodder for your Halloween movie marathon—and as narrator Lyle Blackburn points out in the film, “an absence of evidence doesn’t necessarily indicate an evidence of absence.”

The documentary is now available to buy on VOD through Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.

[h/t The Daily Beast]