Q and A with SpontuneousJanuary 30, 2017
Are you ready to unplug and have some fun with family and friends? Check out the board game taking the nation by storm, Spontuneous! Find out everything you need to know about this game from when we sat down with the creator!
BS: How did you come up with the concept for the game?
Spontuneous: I was just hanging out one day with some family and friends having a regular ‘ole conversation. Someone mentioned taking a trip to the mountains, and another person spontaneously burst into the tune, “Ain’t no mountain high enough!” Everyone started laughing about how often they hear a word and a song pops into their head, which totally happens to me all the time too! I remember chiming in that this concept would make an awesome board game, and we immediately started testing it out. It was a huge hit amongst our group, and Spontuneous was officially born!
BS: How did you go about starting the process of actually making the game?
Spontuneous: I continued to test the concept out with different groups of friends at work, in bars, and wherever I could get a group together. It was clear from the beginning this was something millions of people already do, so I knew that if I could figure out a way to create a game around the concept, I’d have a winner. I started researching game play, creating board games, and started to write the rules. Once I had a framework down, I playtested it, made edits, playtested, made edits, playtested, and made edits over, and over again. This process was basically continued until all the bugs were worked out and then the first prototype was made. From that point, I traveled to New York City and attended the Toy Fair as a guest, where I met my first manufacturer and several other strategic partners in the toy and game industry. I came up with the idea on August 2nd, 2009, and exactly one year later on August 2nd, 2010, the first 5,000 games were produced.
BS: What was that process like for you?
Spontuneous: It was extremely challenging, as I had a full time commission-based job selling business insurance, and had to keep things on the down low as I burned the midnight oil. On the same hand, it was very rewarding, because I felt like I was selling fear with the insurance gig, and this was my opportunity to sell something that people actually liked and that I personally believed in. This was my pursuit to sell happiness, and despite all the challenges, I knew what I was doing was true to my heart, and would have a positive impact on other people. It was my process from selling fear to selling fun!
BS: What has been the biggest challenge with this project?
Spontuneous: The biggest challenge has hands down been securing capital to fund my ideas and turn them into reality. I was fortunate enough to have worked for a bank prior to selling insurance, and my former boss, who was head of commercial lending, made an exception to corporate policies, and made me a $225,000 unsecured loan (without an official business plan.) When asked for one, I literally grabbed a blank piece of paper, drew stick figures of him handing me money, and slid it across the desk to him. Despite being in 2010, after the big crash, he made the loan because he believed in me. Unfortunately, things didn’t take off as quickly as I had hoped, so as I needed more money to operate over the years, this initial debt became a huge hindrance in getting approved pretty much anywhere.
BS: Are you surprised with how the game turned out?
Spontuneous: Actually, no. I’ve always known in my heart that the idea was solid and it was something that appealed to millions. My faith in it had me determined to never give up. Despite the financial challenges in the first 5 years, I did everything I could to keep the idea alive. I started pedicabbing in downtown Austin, TX and also dog sitting on the side to make ends meet. Finally, it started to take off in year 5. Currently, this is my 7th Christmas season and sales have continued to grow with Spontuneous ranking amongst the top bestsellers on Amazon. It also sold out before Christmas 2 years in a row. I guess the biggest surprise is that it took so long!
BS: What type of feedback have you received on the game?
Spontuneous: A vast majority of people love it and that fact that it crosses all genres of music and all ages can play together. A lot of people mention that they are a bit shy and nervous that they have to sing, but once they get going, most will step out of their comfort zone and become comfortable playing. The game’s slogan is “Sing it or shout it, talent not required!” Once you play, you’ll see how true this is and that it has nothing to do with the ability to carry a tune! A lot of people tell me it’s more fun to play with people who actually can’t sing! Overall, people love that it brings their entire family together.
BS: Could you give us a brief description of how the game is played?
Spontuneous: It’s a super simple concept: One person says a word and starts a 15 second timer, and the others race against the clock and each other to hopefully be the first person who spontaneously burst into a tune containing the given word. At least a 5-word portion of the song must be sung, and the winner of the round rolls dice to advance on the treble clef shaped board. Now the key is that if you say a word, and stump everyone, you must be able to back it up with a song of your own, or else you are penalized!
BS: What are your goals for this game?
Spontuneous: Honestly, I just want to gets into the hands of people who enjoy playing it. I hope it serves as a catalyst that brings people together and results in laughter. My mission statement is: “To create happiness”, so if I continue to accomplish that, I’ll be happy. I have a lot of ideas to expand the brand, so as the board game continues to grow in popularity, I’ll be exploring other ways to bring Spontuneous to people for their enjoyment.
BS: What is next for you?
Spontuneous: I just want to keep building a business that allows me to do what I love. Hopefully I can start traveling more, and work from wherever I’m at. Ultimately, I want to continue enjoying life.
BS: Where can people buy the game?
Spontuneous: There’s only one place to get it, which is on Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/Spontuneous-Talent-Required-Family-Adults/dp/B004LO2AIG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481238753&sr=8-1&keywords=spontaneous
BS: Anything else you would like to add?
Spontuneous: I just want to encourage people to unplug, and spend quality time laughing with those they love. Whether it’s my game, or another, board games are an excellent way for friends and family to come together, and have a positive interaction.