David Miller is with me to talk about Min Tin Mini Apocalypse!

So it’s another week, and here we are, talking some more about about a new game from David Miller, Min Tin Mini Apocalypse. Now, I usually try not to do posts about the same game two weeks in a row, but here we are. I felt that the timing of receiving the game made last week a good week to put up a first impressions review, as it was still an extremely new game to me. So last weeks post made sense to put up. This week, MTMA is going live to kickstarter, so it was a bit of unique opportunity for me to be able to put up an interview at the same time the game went live. It doesn’t really change anything, I just thought that being able to align these two things could be pretty neat. So, what with me being in charge of the whole “kit and ka-boodle” (that’s what people say right?) I decided to make a rare exception.


So, without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, with David Miller!(that’s another thing people say right? Totally)

What were some of the speed bumps you ran into while you were creating this game?

The small size. This tin is less than half the size of the tins used in Mint Tin Pirates and Mint Tin Aliens. I’m used to working with mini meeples (12 millimeter) and 12mm dice, so that was okay. BUT the bigger deal was no room for cards. the mini cards in those first 2 games are small but far too big. There are micro cards which are half the size of a mini card and a quarter the size of a poker card but only 4 cards could fit in the tin. The cards are the part of the game you can truly customise, the rest are simply components dice, cubes, meeples). Not having a real custom component bothered me.

I was able to address that by hand stamping the lids and adding a custom made brass coin.
How did you come up with the idea for the game? Did you base the premise off of any other games? 

Kate tossed an empty Altoids mini can on a restaurant table and said “here make a game that fits in this”. That was during our first Kickstarter and even though I stayed up till 2 and 3 each night that first week thanking everyone (and still going to my day job), I couldn’t stop thinking of how cool it would be to have a game this small.

I’m into the utilitarian look of Eurogames, so I immediately looked at how much stuff I could fit in the tin. By stuff I mean generic components like cubes and meeple.

The base game came into focus in about 2 days but I already have a big game, ZOMBALAMBA, about 90% done which I borrowed ideas from.

I believe this is your third game that fits in a mint tin if I’m not mistaken? What was the thought process to putting the game in such a small package?

I love the logistical challenge of these tins. There are two challenges I like. The form factor which means making complete games that can be fully contained in the tin. The second logistic challenge is making these myself and 100% from US vendors. I could go to China with these and they’d come out about half the cost but I have a personal issue with work conditions and pay offshore. I can just as easily sit for hours bagging meeples and use that savings in labor to offset the higher prices of sourcing from within the US.

I used to be big into backpacking so the small factor of these is partly driven by that. Plus I like the idea of games that I can play, and carry, while we wait for our lunch at the local burrito place.

Any more mint tin games in the future?

Yes! This Kickstarter was supposed to be for two games just like the first. But the second game, Mint Tin Villagers, has a very flat endgame. It came to the point that it was pushing back this Kickstarter so I abandoned it. But I’ll be working on it again. It’s a 2 player cooperative game and I’m happy with the mechanics, but the end feels too linear to me.

What is the next step for you and for subQuark?

subQuark is just me and Kate and I have 5 children’s’ chapter books written that need illustrating. I had an illustrator for a year and a half but they flaked out and I may need to start over again with a new illustrator.

Mint tin Villagers will get completed and Mint Tin Pirates: Pizza Party Edition is next after that. It’s a 6 or 8 player version with an island and ports to do repairs. A longer and bigger version of Mint Tin Pirates and hopefully in a tin also! There’s a bigger tin that might fit it!

There’s also Blarg, Blarg, Blarg – Alien Dominion over Cheese! Mint Tin Aliens is a bit of a prequel to it.
And I want to do a board game for my kids’ books: ChuChu Chicken & Pedro the Goat

Unless my research is about to bite me in the rear, I believe you’ve released three games, all in mint tins. Any plans to develop a bigger game? Something that can’t be stored in such a small container?

Yep, ZOMBALAMBA! Big hex tiles, tons of zombie pawns, full-sized cards, etc.

Is there any fun story behind the name of the company?

a subQuark is a quantum particle that Nobel laureate Physicist thought was virtual about 20 years ago. By virtual, they meant that it only exists because we expect it to exist. That means nothing in the universe is real! That’s like Aboriginal Dreamtime! They later discovered that even smaller particles made up subQuarks. But for a year, the smartest physicists in the world accepted that definition.

subQuark.com came about as Kate’s idea for a website name. At that time, 1999, I was doing a lot of Flash consultant and website work. subQuark kind of fit since nothing online is actually tangible, just 1s and 0s.  =)

How was transitioning from creating one game, to coming up with this game?

That was easy for Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse since we were in the first week of the Kickstarter and I had ZOMBALAMBA to copy from.  Oh, and equally important, I already had found my US vendors for tins, bags, dice, meeples, and cubes – that was quite a process in itself.

Do you have plans for retail sales of your games?

Nope. They are on Amazon and in our local game store in Portsmouth. But that’s only because I don’t have to ship the games to them. A normal game is priced at about 4 to 5 times it’s actual production cost. So a game that costs $5 from the factory gets doubled to $10 for the game distributor, then doubled to $20 for the sotre and they double it (keystone) it to $40.

My games are even doubled, so there is no place for profit the the distributor or store.

Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse is Kickstarting for $12 in the US and that includes $5.20 Priority shipping. You can price out 10 mini meeples, 1 standard meeple, and 2 cubes from meeplesource.com, 6 12mm dice from Chessex plus take a guess on the tin and instructions and quickly see that I’m not making much.

The instructions are no small cost since I’m using Revlar paper but printing, scoring, cutting, and folding them myself eliminates much of a printer’s cost to offset the price of this high tech paper.

Well, it appears that you have really put your heart and soul into this project, and hopefully everyone else will see that and lend their support to you and your project, although I’m sure they will! Especially since MTMA won’t be going into any retail stores. Anyway, try not to get too caught up watching your funding going up over the next few weeks! And hopefully we’ll be able to catch up again sooner than later! 

And with that, another post has come and gone. I hope that you guys all enjoy this, and if you’ve been on the fence about backing Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse, this will convince you that it is a great idea.

*Note, that once a live link is up for the Kickstarter, I will add in a direct link to the campaign.

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