It’s “game on” for a group of local college students.
Atheris Games, a startup gaming company created by a group of current and former UF students, raised $10,000 in 52 hours for its first card game. They reached their Kickstarter goal Sunday morning and can now work on production, said Andrew Birkett, who came up with the idea for the game and company.
The game, Cul-De-Sac Conquest, is a multi-player card game that takes place in a neighborhood, Birkett said. A player begins by picking a character, such as “Cat Lady” or “Overly Protective Parents,” and spends the game trying to annoy the other players out of the neighborhood.
“Everyone I play with gets really engaged, they become their character,” Birkett said. “It’s really social, which is why (the company does) board games and not video games.”
The game includes two decks, Birkett said. One deck features annoyances and relaxations, which a player can use to either annoy other players or bring down his or her own annoyance level.
The other deck features upgrades you can add to your house to add to your relaxation level, as well as self-annoyance cards.
“I’m excited to see how this (campaign) will start not just one game, but an actual gaming company,” Birkett said.
The $10,000 covers the base manufacturing cost, Birkett said. The game is still in the early stages of production, and Birkett expects to send it out around the end of March. Depending on how much more money Atheris Games can raise to make more and better-quality cards, the release date may be pushed back a month.
Birkett is a UF junior majoring in marketing. His company is based out of the student startup incubator Gator Hatchery, which is part of the Warrington College of Business. Gator Hatchery is one of many start-up incubators throughout the city, such as UF’s Innovation Hub and Starter Space.
There is a lot of startup activity in Gainesville, but the Hatchery’s focus is to try to grow a student startup in the university and help the students reach the next step, said Nola Miyasaki, the executive director for outreach and incubation.
The Gator Hatchery is the only Gainesville incubator that is both completely free and designed specifically for students, Miyasaki said. The incubator has been around for almost a year.
Chuck Call, the chief financial officer for Atheris Games and a UF business administration senior, said Gator Hatchery is a space where he and his team can meet, work, collaborate with other student companies and meet others who can help his company reach its goals.
There is a lot of support for entrepreneurs in Gainesville, Call said. He was able to meet a lot of people who share the same motivations and inspirations.
Call said he was pleased with the amount of money raised and didn’t think raising that much in the short time span is typical.
“Raising money can be very hit or miss, but I think we’re at the beginning of a better understanding for Kickstarter at UF,” Call said. “Ours is setting a new standard for Kickstarter campaigns.”
Antheris Games was the first company in the incubator to use a Kickstarter campaign, Miyasaki said. Meeting their goal will be a great boost to the other companies, to show that it can be done.
“I think the young people coming out of the University of Florida are the future of Gainesville,” Miyasaki said. “Entrepreneurship is one way to keep the companies here that can grow.”