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Catchup on iOS, a plea and a “stretch goal”

July 14, 2014

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It’s a time for celebration. For dancing. For tulip dust and marigold breath. For healing. For fist-pump freeze-frames. For laying down great burdens. For rebirth and transcendence.

Well, it is for me anyway, because Catchup, one of the best things I’ve done with my time here on Earth, is coming out for iPhones and iPads on August 7.

I’ll be talking it up in the next few weeks (please subscribe over there on the right if you want to follow along), and I want to start not with the game, but a person connected to it: Martin Grider, because this little dream is only happening because of him.

Martin Grider

The guy who made Catchup on iOS possible

Martin’s a skilled app developer you may know from such game apps as For the Win. I had no idea who he was until about two years ago, when contacted me and asked if he could develop Catchup for iOS.

He wasn’t pitching me a project I would pay for. He would do it at no cost to me, even though, as a successful developer, he’s not exactly in the habit of making such offers. Of course I jumped at it.

And then it became a passion project for Martin. Consequently he spent way, way more time implementing Catchup than he normally would have – time he could’ve spent doing paid work as he normally does. He’s been working on Catchup for almost two years now.

He also enlisted outside help to make everything perfect, for example hiring AI specialist Tysen Streib to create the computer opponent. So now the app has an incredible AI whose strength automatically adjusts to match your own, but it also increased the size of the already-big effective pay cut Martin took to make Catchup a reality.

He’s told me that for this effort to make anything like financial sense, the app has to get well north of 10,000 downloads (at $3 a pop). That’s a whole, whole lot.

Now, Martin doesn’t expect to get that many downloads. This is his passion project and he seems pretty intent on just making a good thing.

I, on the other hand, am utterly flabbergasted someone I didn’t even know before this project began decided to see it to completion and such great cost to himself and zero cost to me.

A Plea

So, I want to help him, and to show my gratitude, and the best way to do both is to get him downloads.

I can’t do it by myself. I can’t repay him without a lot of help. If you want to help me give a great, great guy a gift he richly deserves, I’d be grateful for help publicizing this game.

In return…

I’m offering a “stretch” reward

(…even though this isn’t crowdfunding)

I’ll keep a list of people who help spread the word about the game between now and August 21 (e.g. social mentions, links to this article, reviews, app reviews when the app is out, and anything else you can think of). If the app gets 10,000 downloads between August 7 and August 21, I’ll pick one person from the list at random and award him/her with the following:

1. I’ll commission an artist to make a high-quality, artfully-designed Custom catchup set.

2. I’ll fly to the lucky winner, at my own expense, to give that custom set to him/her in person.

3. I’ll bring a few other print-and-play sets with me, and using them, will run a one-night Catchup tournament for the winner and up to 7 of their friends, at which I will be the Master of Ceremonies and Cooker-of-Dinner (contingent on Kitchen availability).  

Please spread this around like it’s rich loamy manure.

Two final things:

1. Martin has told me that if by a miracle the app gets that many downloads, ever, he’ll give himself permission to work more on the project, which means, among other things, updating the app with an advanced version of the game I’ve cooked up.

2. Both Martin and I will be at GenCon, probably wearing Catchup T-shirts, iPads in hand and ready to play. Stop us and throwdown with us. We’ll try to cook up something interesting for occasion.

Nick Bentley

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