It’s all systems ago for production on the adult party game “Doghouse” for newly-minted Bahamian college graduate Owyn J. Ferguson as he and three of his fellow graduates surpassed the amount needed to begin production.
Ferguson and his cohorts who founded The Whiteboard Group had a Kickstarter campaign, looking to crowdfunding to raise $16,000 in a month to cover the startup costs associated with manufacturing their first order (1,500 units) of games and costs associated with shipment, tariffs and fulfillment to their backers.
The month-long campaign closed on Thursday, with the quartet raising $18,932 from 333 backers, surpassing their goal by $2,932.
“The moment we made $16,000, I jumped and shouted as if I had just won the NBA finals,” said Ferguson.
“When I really sat with the magnitude of our milestone, though, I found myself quite emotional seeing the support of so many displayed right before me. Amazing!”
With seed money in the bank, Ferguson and his partners didn’t have time to let their achievement sink in.
“With the campaign being wrapped up, and having ended on a high note, I feel confident going into this new phase of our venture. We have the resources we need to start, now it’s on my team and me to make it happen. We’re excited to get games in the hands of our backers and grow our business. Above all, though, we are so grateful for all the support that helped us get here.”
The order will include games for their Kickstarter backer fulfillment, with games available for purchase in their inventory for the remainder of the year.
“I honestly can’t say that we’ve let it soak in, or even taken a moment to celebrate,” said Ferguson.
“As a team, we’ll also be looking into greater legal protection over our product and begin to make final decisions on what sales platforms we will move forward with.”
“Doghouse” is the adult party game participants can’t wait to lose, because it makes failure fun, according to Ferguson.
The game is composed of six decks of cards and one die. With over 400 cards, Ferguson said, the game has unlimited playtime. There is no winner, but at least one loser per round. And the losers are sent to the doghouse.
In the game’s premise, players take turns rolling the die and picking from one of six decks of cards. Each deck of cards is a satirical spinoff of a traditional party game – never have I ever, truth or dare, etc. – and each game has a different way of getting players sent to the doghouse.
The decks include games like “throw a bone” in which you find out what your friends really think about you; “dog fight”, which allows you to debate with friends and family about topics not pertaining to religion, politics or who urinated on the toilet seat; “doghouse or dare” – either you do the dare or go to the doghouse; “bark or bite”, a game in which being a goody two-shoes won’t get you anywhere; “breeds”, in which you have to list off items in a featured category, with the person messing up or repeating another player, or being slow to answer, sent to the doghouse; and “teacher’s pet”, which will show how well you know your fellow players.
“Two things that differentiate this game from any other is that within itself, it incorporates six different games – satirical spinoffs of traditional party games, and it makes failure fun,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson and his partners came up with the idea of manufacturing the game after their life post-college was upended by COVID-19.
The May graduate of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Minnesota, saw plans fall through for summer employment at an investment fund at home this summer, as well as a year-long volunteer program to Israel he signed up for, put on hold.
While COVID-19 has been disruptive to his life, by the same token, the pandemic has been a good thing for him.
“It’s forced me to be creative,” Ferguson told The Nassau Guardian earlier. “It’s forced me to use skills that I learnt in school and put them to use right away. I wouldn’t even have pursued this [game manufacturing] had COVID not been a thing.”
During his undergrad years, Ferguson participated in an entrepreneurship program that provided students with the tools to be able to start and run a business, and which encouraged students to at least attempt to start a business venture by the end of the program.
Ferguson’s first project did not work out. “Doghouse”, his second project which he originally started along with partner Margaret Kosir, came into being in the fall of 2019.
The idea for the game was like an epiphany for the duo, who came up with it a day before they were due to submit an idea to the program.
“We were honestly just kind of partying, and people were playing drinking games and we just thought it would be fun to do something like this – have a game as a venture,” said the 21-year-old.
“Sometimes competition is good, but particularly for party games it can sometimes ruin the mood, so we wanted to eliminate the competition. So, ‘Doghouse’ offers unlimited playtime and there are no winners, but at least one loser per round, and the loser is the one that goes to the doghouse.”
With unlimited playtime, he said, they didn’t want the game to be monotonous either.
Ferguson and his cohorts even won a pitch competition in Phoenix in March for the game, but he said at the time they didn’t see themselves developing it into a business venture because they had their post-college lives lined up.
After he lost out on his summer job, and Kosir lost out on her volunteer program, as did many other people from their program, they reached out to two other people and ended up with the group of four to make “Doghouse” happen as a business, which they’ve registered as The Whiteboard Group, specializing in game design and gamification. “Doghouse” is their main product to date.
The game comes with die; six decks of cards, with 70 cards in each deck; and a rule sheet. It’s a mature game targeted towards ages 18-plus due to its mature, suggestive content, that Ferguson said is still tasteful.
He also confessed to having played his game a lot in quarantine in Minnesota.
“It’s really fun, since the bars and clubs aren’t a good option right now. This is a good alternative.”
The newly-minted college graduates opted to crowdfund as opposed to trying to obtain a loan or lining up investors and having to give up equity in their foundling company.
“Doghouse” is expected to launch fully in November.
Bahamian residents can order the “Doghouse” game with a United States shipping address.