At Gen Con 2016, I came across Fallen Dominion Studios as we walked the expanse of the Exhibit Hall. I was able to meet and very briefly talk to the owner and designer of their game Fallen Land: A Post-Apocalyptic Board Game Jon Lonngren. Since that time, we have played the game and found it to be a real joy as it is a narrative driven game that uses literally hundreds of encounter cards to tell the story of a post-apocalyptic America. We own the base game, as well as the two released expansions, and now there is not only a 3rd expansion being offered on Kickstarter but a fully updated 2nd Edition BIG Box of the base game. We reached out to Jon to discuss their campaign and he was more than willing to share.
Grant: First off Jon, give us a bit about your background and your team. Almost five years ago you ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Fallen Land. What did you learn from that campaign that you hope to integrate into your current project?
Jon: First of all, I wanted to say thank you to you both for the opportunity to do this interview for The Player’s Aid! Thank you Grant and Alexander. My name is Jon Lonngren and I own, manage and design games for Fallen Dominion Studios, along with my business partner and Co-creator Sean Cahill. We also have a great team that includes Bill Pitcher, Bryan Nash, Sean Howard, Jim Byrge, and several others.
Yes, the first Kickstarter in 2016 was for Fallen Land: A Post-Apocalyptic Board Game. It was well received by the gaming community and it was our first Kickstarter. There are so many lessons across the board. Probably too many to share here. Everyone continues to grow as a designer with experience, and we pride ourselves in that at Fallen Dominion Studios. The sales for the game have continued to be great and our fans have continued to want more and more new content.
We like to give people what they ask for. Our community has also continued to blossom and grow, as has our fan base. We take the time to be present, listen to what people have to say, and to answer questions. We get to know people and are always personable and present. We like to thank people for sharing posts and pictures, and share in their joy and discovery of our products. That is something we will continue to do and take with us on the campaign that is coming very soon. If at all possible, give the fans what they want. We now return to Kickstarter for Fallen Land 2nd Edition BIG Box and the Descendants Expansion. Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1086556541/fallen-land-2nd-edition-big-box-and-descendants-expansion/?ref=kicktraq
We learned a lot of great lessons from that campaign and we feel strongly we have incorporated them. Marketing, marketing, and more marketing!
Grant: Any suggestions for other designers/publishers who are looking to run their own Kickstarter?
Jon: We are small indie company from Iowa and not kings of industry. But if I had to humbly offer any advice, it would be for designers and publishers to do their research and read everything you can about crowdfunding on Kickstarter and all of the new platforms that have started. Listen to other designers and what they have to say. Cody Miller, the designer of our favorite space game Xia, once helped us a long time ago and we try to pay that forward to others too.
Surround yourself with motivated and talented people in your team. Being a game designer and running a gaming company is a very difficult job. Very few people can do it without the help of good people around them, the support of the gaming community, and the fans. Involve yourself with them in honest and meaningful ways. Make genuine connections. Talk to them. Treat everyone with respect. That also applies to the gaming community, social media–take the time to connect in meaningful ways, get to know people and help everyone around you. Being positive and adding positivity to the gaming community is very important.
Grant: What is this new Kickstarter campaign that you are embarking upon? What expansion is included?
Jon: Again, the two products we are going to Kickstarter with are Fallen Land 2nd Edition BIG Box and the Descendants Expansion.
Fallen Land: A Post-Apocalyptic Board Game is a massive, thematic, story-driven adventure game for 1-6 players. As a player, YOU are the leader of a unique faction of survivors competing for primacy in the ruinous aftermath of post-apocalyptic America. You will have to manage and enhance your town, protect your citizens, and secure resources, all while you direct your party of characters to explore the rugged landscape, establish your territory, and solidify your agenda. And with over 750+ individual cards, you will never have the same experience twice. And the numbers will continue to grow throughout the campaign! It is a MASSIVE game. Hahahaha.
Grant: How many cards are contained in the expansion? Are there any new mechanics or tricks that players can use to survive the apocalypse?
Jon: There is a TON of new content, including new factions, cards, and a bunch of other cool surprises we can’t wait to share with everyone. However, we are going to be doing DAILY REVEALS each and every day of the campaign to highlight and explain them. We felt this was the best way to fuel everyone’s continued excitement for the campaign. Of course, we will also have the Financial Stretch Goals too. With everyone’s help we are confident that this is going to be an epic campaign. And it will continue to get bigger with new content and pieces being added throughout the campaign.
Without giving too much away ahead of time, there is now even more new content that allows players to customize their experience in the Fallen Land to their personal plays and preferences! That’s just one of the many things that I think makes Fallen Land a really unique game and a really unique experience.
Grant: Can you show us a few examples of some new cards and explain their value to the game?
Jon: Here are some examples of the Town Events Deck from the Descendants Expansion, just as a small sneak-peak and example. This is the biggest new set of cards, but every day we are having Daily Reveals and adding new cards and content which we’ll show during the Kickstarter campaign. They add a new level of depth to managing your town and give players choices, force them to make tough decisions and even acquire new Faction Perks! We are pretty excited!
Grant: I noticed that you have included a BIG Box for this campaign. Will all previous expansions and promo content fit into the box? How much does that fully loaded box weigh?
Jon: Yes, it is a big box for Fallen Land 2nd Edition. To be clear, A Journey Into Darkness and Outriders Trading Post are now also part of The NEW Fallen Land: 2nd Edition BIG Box (all of which has been updated and remastered), along with all of the new content. The Long Box for the Descendants Expansion, the new board and EVERYTHING else fits into the BIG Box.
The New box as it stands now is about 9 pounds and we expect that by the end of the Kickstarter campaign it will be close to 10 pounds of Post-Apocalyptic LOVE. 🙂
Grant: What has changed in the new 2nd Edition of Fallen Land? Why did you feel these changes were needed?
Jon: Almost all games for any company that has been on the market for close to five years will be updated. All of the content has been remastered. Now that the game has matured and been exposed to the gaming community, we wanted to make a great product even better. We listen to our fans. There were a few areas that we wanted to expand upon and every day I get several emails and letters (yes, actual letters) from the community talking about their excitement and passion for the game asking for new content. We always put our fans and our community first, and we are just giving them what they want–more content, an even bigger world to explore and bringing more depth to an already massive world. It makes us happy to make people happy. That’s why we do what we do. I also feel strongly that the world of Fallen Land has something for everyone.
Grant: What options are included for existing owners of the game to update their existing games and expansions?
Jon: We were asked to do an Upgrade Pack in addition to our other offering for the game. We always keep our promises, so we have included an Upgrade Pack to the Add on section of the campaign. This will of course allow for existing owners to upgrade to 2nd edition, get the new rule book, new map, new cards, etc… but it will not include the new BIG Box.
Grant: What new Optional and Advanced Rules are included in the 2nd Edition offering?
Jon: There are a TON of new Optional and Advanced Rules, in addition to a bunch of cool Scenarios that will be in both the 2nd Edition and the Descendants Expansion that we will reveal Daily during the campaign. Some of the scenarios are even co-op. Tons of great surprises for everyone!
Grant: What is this new Town Events Deck and what type of cards are included?
Jon: The Town Events Deck is a new 8th Deck of cards found only in the Descendants Expansion. It replaces the Town Events Roll in the Core set, by having cards with scenarios, choices, challenges and even New Faction Perks that make the experience of running a town more in depth, and will often involve some strategy.
Grant: What is the focus of the new expansion called Descendants?
Jon: The focus is TONS of new cards and content, organization, and storage solutions. In Descendants, ten new alternate Factions join the fight for supremacy over the wastes. The challenges of leadership, management, and survival are expanded for each town with the inclusion of the new Town Events Deck. The chip storage trays and the deck storage box organize the game’s components during play and greatly reduce setup time. A new Town Technology allows you to build a Resource within your town. New chips, cards, and game play variants add further immersion and depth to your Fallen Land: A Post-Apocalyptic Board Game experience!
Grant: What does the name Descendants reference? How did you land on this choice?
Jon: Choosing a name is always a difficult decision that takes time. The Emergence saw the few remaining bastions of humanity rise up as beacons of hope for the future. These remaining survivors solidified their small pockets of civilization and clawed for a foothold to stave off the chaos and death of the wastes. Each faction precariously balanced the struggle for survival with the race for primacy. The council brought peace to the chaos, but this peace stagnated into complacency, bringing with it new threats and bloodshed. Now a new generation of factions has joined the fray, splintering the old identities and boundaries within the Ten Towns and bringing new possibilities and new alliances.
Grant: I see that there is all new art for the game. Who is the artist? How has this new art helped the thematic experience of Fallen Land?
Jon: Aaron J. Riley Did the new cover on both Fallen land 2nd Edition BIG Box and the art for the cover of the Descendants Expansion too. Aaron Acevedo and his crew of artists did a bunch of the new art. There are probably about 10 artists who have done work for the game over its creation process. When you have about 1,000 pieces of art, it takes a big team and the work is done over a long period of time.
Grant: For those that don’t know how would you characterize the Fallen Land experience?
Jon: Fallen Land is set in the ruinous aftermath of post-apocalyptic America and is a thematic board game for 1-6 players. Featuring in-depth storytelling and sandbox-style game play, it combines the elements of a strategy board game with card building and role playing. Driven by macabre stories of a world gone mad, players must adapt to the ever-changing variables: the cards, stories, interactions, and other threats.
Based on the great response from the gaming community and our fans, I would describe the experience as a massive story driven and decision making game that will take you on a unique post-apocalyptic experience, that encompasses being the leader of a faction and sending out your party to explore the wasteland, It covers a lot of different aspects of the struggle to become the premiere faction of the the Fallen Land.
Grant: What type of play experience does the system offer to players?
Jon: In my humble opinion, the game Fallen Land is best described as an epic, very in-depth, story-driven game that will immerse the players into the world and that was designed to give them an experience that is unlike any other game out there.
Here is our video review on Fallen Land:
Grant: How does it differentiate itself from other post-apocalyptic board games?
Jon: There are a lot of great games out there in the genre. What we have strived to do with Fallen Land, is to utterly and completely immerse the players with a unique post-apocalyptic world, with unique and original storytelling, decisions and put our unique spin on the apocalypse–one that remains realistic, but still has its moments of humor.
It also has a TON of pop culture references, and hidden Easter Eggs for players to find and enjoy. It has a lot of subtle story ties too. The experience we wanted for players is also one that is completely different, each and every time you play the game.
The more you play, the more addictive it is, and the more you will want to discover and explore the new layers of depth that the game that you uncover each time you play. It is like an iceberg in the water with 95% of the behemoth hidden waiting to be exposed and enjoyed! I honestly feel the game has an amazing depth to it and that is what we have also heard from the fans and gaming community.
We also wanted players to experience managing a town and faction, in addition to giving the players a massive wasteland world to explore with their party of characters, where they make the decisions, decide where to go and what to do. This is a game that characters will die and your decisions have meaning. But even if you lose your party, you are not out of the game and you can still come back to win!
Grant: What stretch goals are planned for the campaign?
Jon: We will have Daily Reveals every day of the campaign and some very cool Financial Stretch Goals too! Here is a look at the first three days offerings of the campaign:
Grant: When did the campaign kickoff? How long will it run?
Jon: The Kickstarter went LIVE on Tuesday January 12th and will last through February 5th.
for Fallen Land 2nd Edition BIG Box and the Descendants Expansion. Here is the landing page link:
Grant: What other projects are upcoming for Fallen Dominion Studios?
Jon: In addition to Fallen Land: 2nd Edition BIG Box and the Descendants Expansion we also have a lot of other great projects coming down the pipeline! The first will be The Great Northern Trading Company, 1670 in July 2021. We also have Exiles and Caravan Expansion for Fallen Land. We are working on an EPIC as of yet unnamed space game, and two other games as well.
I just wanted to again say thank you Grant and Alexander for giving me the opportunity to do this interview! I hope everyone will join us in making this an EPIC Kickstarter!
Here are a few other links below for you to enjoy!
Thanks for the information Jon and I wanted to announce that the campaign was funded in just 4 hours and is making steam towards $100,000 with nearly 3 weeks remaining! We have really enjoyed our experience with Fallen Land and this new iteration looks to be a big improvement and offers a lot of additional content to an already overwhelming amount of great content. I am most excited about the changes to the map, as now adding Canada and Mexico gives more room to spread out. The new art is also a major upgrade and will help to immerse us all in the titanic life and death struggle for survival. I cannot wait to get this new edition and take it for a 5 player spin.
If you are interested in Fallen Land 2nd Edition BIG Box and the Descendants Expansion you can check out the campaign at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1086556541/fallen-land-2nd-edition-big-box-and-descendants-expansion