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.

Mifflin Madness: Who Is the Greatest Character on The Office? It's Time to Vote

Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
NBC

Your years of watching (and re-watching) The Office, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary, have all led up to this moment. Welcome to Mifflin Madness—Mental Floss's cutthroat competition to determine The Office's greatest character. Is Michael Scott the boss you most love to hate? Or did Kevin Malone suck you in with his giant pot of chili?

You have 24 hours to cast your vote for each round on Twitter before the bracket is updated and half of the chosen characters are eliminated.

The full bracket is below, followed by the round one and round two winners. You can cast your round three vote(s) here. Be sure to check back on Monday at 4 p.m. ET to see if your favorite Dunder Mifflin employee has advanced to the next round. 

Round One


Round Two


Round Three


The Office Planned to Break Up Jim and Pam in the Final Season—Then (Smartly) Thought Better of It

Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski star in The Office.
Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski star in The Office.
NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly's relationship in The Office was truly a romance for the ages. Fans were delighted when, in Season 3—after years of flirting—John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer’s characters finally got together. But an alternative plan for the show’s ninth and final season saw the couple going their separate ways.

Season 9 saw one of the most stressful storylines the show had to offer when Jim took a job in Philadelphia and Pam struggled to take care of their children on her own back in Scranton, putting intense strain on their otherwise seemingly perfect relationship. In one unforgettable scene, a particularly tense phone call between the couple ends with Pam in tears. Fischer’s character then turns to someone off camera named Brian for advice.

As Collider reports, Pam and Jim's relationship could have taken a turn for worse in the final season—and the writers had planned it that way. As recounted in Andy Greene's new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, series creator Greg Daniels sat down with each of the show's stars before starting the final season to discuss where their characters would go. John Krasinski, who played Jim, pitched the idea of putting Jim and Pam’s relationship on thin ice. According to Krasinski:

"My whole pitch to Greg was that we’ve done so much with Jim and Pam, and now, after marriage and kids, there was a bit of a lull there, I think, for them about what they wanted to do … And I said to Greg, ‘It would be really interesting to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.'"

Several writers weighed in with ideas about how they might handle a split between Jim and Pam from a narrative standpoint—though not everyone was on the same page.

Warren Lieberstein, a writer on the series, remembered when the idea of bringing Brian—the documentary crew's boom operator—into the mix. “[This] was something that came up in Season 5, I think," Lieberstein said. "What if that character had been secretly there the entire time and predated the relationship with Jim and had been a shoulder that she cried on for years?’ It just seemed very intriguing." Apparently, the writers thought breaking the fourth wall would jeopardize the show, so they saved it for the last season.

Writer Owen Ellickson said there was even some talk of Pam and Brian “maybe hooking up a little bit," but the negative response to the storyline led the writers to "pull the ripcord on [Pam and Jim's separation] because it was so painful to fans of the show." Ellickson said that they backtracked so quickly, they even had to re-edit certain episodes that had already been shot to nix the idea of Jim and Pam splitting up. Which is something the show's millions of fans will be forever grateful for.

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