Photo by my friend Joe Pilkus

I’m sure I’m not alone in the fact that this last month and a half as been quite crazy. I remember about mid-March when the pandemic really started getting serious in the US, and I decided to still go to Piranha Pig Con (pictured above), and then visit my wife’s family out in Virginia.

Fortunately, those high-risk activities didn’t result in anything bad, but when we returned to Indiana, we returned to a world that just felt different. My wife and I immediately decided to go into full quarantine, both because we didn’t know whether we’d been exposed on our trip, and because we didn’t want to get exposed in the future either.

Normally I don’t venture outside my house anyway, but my wife staying home 24/7 was a bit of an adjustment. We started settling into a new normal, but this new normal was one with menace out at the edges. Sometimes it just felt like something dangerous was lurking right outside the house.

Plus, amidst all of this, I had a Kickstarter to prepare for, and all the people involved in that were experiencing similar events. I wasn’t even sure if we should run the Kickstarter, but I felt it was important not to let the virus win. A lot of people were stuck inside, not just me, and I wanted to give them some entertainment and excitement to ease the stress of this time even a little bit. Physical health is obviously incredibly important, but so is mental health.

And so, a month ago, after pushing it back a week to adjust to the new normal, we launched the Kickstarter, and then the true craziness began.

Obviously I expected Frosthaven to do well. We have a lot of great fans, and the announcement got a great reception at PAXU, but the exact extent of it, well, it was hard to anticipate. I figured we’d see lower numbers due to the outbreak and the fact a lot of people would need to be more conservative with their spending because of it, and that was perfectly all right.

So when we broke $5 million on the first day – more than any other first day total for a board game on Kickstarter – well, that was a good feeling. Suddenly a number like $10 million didn’t seem so crazy. Except, yes, that still is a crazy number. It just seemed attainable.

But there was a long road ahead, and I’d committed myself to a lot. There was going to be an announcement each day, introducing a whole slew of guest designers and other unexpected things. Plus I wanted to have a puzzle each day for people to entertain themselves with without having to play a full-blown Gloomhaven scenario. Plus there was the new community-driven campaign that I brazenly decided to start one week before the Kickstarter to give people even more entertainment.

It was a lot! And that’s not to mention keeping up with the Kickstarter, plus monitoring all these social media channels because of the Frosthaven threat popularity contest!

I put my head down and just did it, though, and I think, in the end, it paid off. I’m happy to have brought more entertainment to people over this last month, and, of course, there is that crazy funding amount. Right now the project has raised well over $10 million, and it looks very much within the realm of possibility that it could hit $12.4 million, which would make it the most funded board game Kickstarter ever.

And even with all this success, it’s weird that now I am stressing out about this specific number. Will we hit that #1 spot? Even with all the work now behind me, it’s still hard to just calm down and watch the numbers go up in peace.

I think I am just the type of person who always needs a challenge. That drive is what got Gloomhaven made in the first place, but now, that challenge has become hitting $12.4 million. I know it is attainable, but it’s going to be close. The problem with this compared to most challenges, though, is I feel some lack of control over it at this point, which just leads to more stress, and the times are stressful enough.

But that’s what I’ll be doing for the next 24 hours – watching this number go up while full of anxiety. And only at the end, once this crazy month is finally over, will I be able to give myself over to celebration. Because, obviously, wherever the number ends up, the Kickstarter has been a stupid, unbelievable success, and I cannot thank all of the backers enough for their support.

And then, after I celebrate, I’ll start looking for my next challenge.