LINK ROUND UP: THE GREAT HEARTLAND HAULING CO.

What a ride! We’re trucking toward 75% of our funding goal as I get this post ready. Thanks so much for your support so far.

In case this idea got lost in the social media mix, I wanted to make it clear that when you pledge at least $25.00 on Kickstarter you will get one of the first copies of The Great Heartland Hauling Co., hot off the production line and shipped to you anywhere in the U.S. or Canada (At $35 you get worldwide shipping!). So we’re not just asking to you to get our game going, you get something in return; a super fun, portable card game that plays with 2-4 players!

If that offer doesn’t whet your whistlein a major way, he are some of the latest links where you can learn more about the game and the process involved in putting the game together before you make your pledge:

Designer Diary on BoardGameGeek.com. This is a fairly in depth look at how I came up with Heartland Hauling and how the game made its was to Dice Hate Me Games for publication.

Futile Position Interview. I was interviewed by Michael for his site FutilePosition.com. We talked about the game and a little bit about my thoughts on game design in general.

The Green Couch. This is a link to my previous post that has even more link and info about the game, including my podcast appearance on The State of Games!

Here’s the video promoting the Kickstarter Campaign. I’m nervous that folks are missing my stellar acting but skimming past it on Kickstarter:

Heartland Hauling Video

Last but not least, here’s a link to the Kickstarter page where you can pledge your support, and get rewarded in games!!!

Thanks again for your support. There is much more to come if you are willing to hang with us. We’ve got reviews, and other exciting news coming down the pike!

WE’RE ROLLIN’ WITH THE GREAT HEARTLAND HAULING CO.

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night for the launch of The Great Heartland Hauling Co. on Kickstarter. Heartland Hauling is a card game I designed that is being published with Dice Hate Me Games, a company that puts out accessible tapletop games with interesting themes. Last night, July 31st, at 11:59p.m. we launched the game on Kickstarter which is a crowd-funding platform that helps people bring their ideas to life.

In the first few hours of the project we had more than 10% of our funding goal met but we have got a long way to go! I wanted to share some ways that you can help me make my dream a reality! Here are some ideas:
1. Pledge. Pledging on a Kickstarter project is safe and secure. Essentially, you are pledging your support by pre-ordering the game. Your credit or debit card will only be charged after the project closes and only if we reach our $10,000.00 goal to print the game. If you like fun, strategic games that don’t have a huge learning curve, you’ll love Heartland Hauling. To learn more about the game and publisher and pledge your support go here:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dicehateme/the-great-heartland-hauling-co-a-card-game-for-2-4

2. Share. Please share the link to the Kickstarter project with people who you think would be interested. Marketing for this game is pretty grassroots so the more you share, the better chance we have of being successful! There’s even a link on the KS page where you can pin a cool infographic on Pinterest to help get the word out. Here’s that link again: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dicehateme/the-great-heartland-hauling-co-a-card-game-for-2-4

3. Learn. Get more info about the game and publisher by visiting the Dice Hate Me Game website. You can also visit the game’s page on BoardGameGeek, the best source on the planet for casual gamers and gaming enthusiasts. If you are a BGG user, please “thumb” our images and forums to make info about the game easier to find.

4. Listen. I was recently interviewed on The State of Games, a Dice Hate Me Podcast where we talked about Heartland Hauling and some other fun games you might be interested in. Check it out and share: http://dicehateme.com/2012/07/the-state-of-games-episode-33-the-one-about-the-heartland/ 

I will also be featured on a soon to be released podcast called Funding The Dream on Kickstarter with Richard Bliss, The Game Whisperer. Check back here and look for here it soon.

5. Follow. Stay up to date with all happenings related to The Great Heartland Hauling Co. by following us on social media:

facebook.com/jkotarski

facebook.com/dicehateme

facebook.com/heartlandhaulinggame

and on Twitter: @jasonkotarski, @dicehateme, @monkey238
Thanks so much for helping me to get this game rolling! We’ve got a long haul ahead of us so I hope you enjoy the ride, or at least the view from the passenger seat!

WHAT TO DO IN THE IN-BETWEEN TIMES

This is a note I wrote to the people who are joining us in the church planting adventure that is Dwellings Church. Though this list fairly specific to those in our community, I thought there might be some helpful ideas here for others, too.

Here we are in the in-between times. I’ve heard from some of the Dwellings folks that they weren’t sure what to do in the time between when Lisa and I finished up at Wildwind and a month or so down the road when we begin meeting on Sundays for worship with Dwellings.

Here are some ideas to help with the transition, some of which our family will be doing, too:

1. Rest. Take a Sunday off and sleep in. God gave us the Sabbath to remember that we aren’t machines. Somebody said (maybe it was Rob Bell, or somebody like that), “We are human beings, not just human doings” See what I did there?

2. Visit another church to see how others experience the community of faith. We’ll be visiting some friend’s churches to share about Dwellings and see how others do it. We’d love to head back to TheStory.CA in Sarnia (the church Darryl helped start) and a church called Praxis way up north. Some of what they are doing really resonates with us so we’d like to connect with some kindred spirits. Maybe you can join us. We’ll keep you posted. Otherwise, visit your parent’s church, or a church in your neighborhood. We’re all family so go visiting and ask for open eyes to love and serve and listen for what God is up to.

3. Invite someone else you might not know that well who is a part of Dwellings over for breakfast on Sunday. This can be church, too. Just hang out and get to know the people of our community in a different way than a larger group setting. Remember, the church is a people, not just a service.

4. Do a service project with your family. Is there a need you can meet by spending a few hours together on a Sunday? Connect with the people and the needs around you by giving some of your time, talents, or resources.

5. Consider our Wednesday night gatherings as “church”. Show up. Be present. Worship in community as we learn to listen and dream the dreams God has for our church. Again, church is wherever God’s people are.

6. Go to Wildwind. It’s okay, we love these people. Spend some time with them. They are our family, too. We would, recommend however, to take some time doing something different to ease into our new rhythm of life. I imagine that Dwellings will feel very different on Sunday than being at Wildwind. The change might not feel so abrupt if you take some time away.

7. Spend your Sunday at a coffee shop or going around to garage sales. Notice that for many Sunday morning worship is irrelevant and dated. Listen to the lives of others and try to spot how God is working outside the walls of the church.

8. Seek God in nature. Go for a hike or a bike ride. Spend some time in quiet. Listen God’s still small voice…remember, he is still there even if, especially if, we aren’t busy!

9. Engage in worship on your own or with your family. Read the scriptures together. Write a poem about God’s love. Write a story about God activity in your life.  Do something creative. God is the Creator and we are ‘created in his image’….don’t be afraid. Don’t seek perfection, just do something out of your comfort zone to connect with God.

10. Come up with your own idea. I hope my ideas are just a little spark to get you thinking about being the church over the next month. Grace and peace is the key. No guilt. Just step into the stream of God’s love and see where it leads you. And then come share your stories! We can learn a lot from each other, that is the beauty of community.

I love you guys. I can’t wait to see who we become and how God will use us in Flint. Let’s be open to new adventures and encounters with God in places where we least expect it!

DWELLINGS CHURCH @ FLINT LOCAL 432, PART 2: WHAT IT MEANS

In my last post, I shared a bit about the arrangements that Dwellings Church has made with Flint Local 432 regarding the use of their space for our Sunday services. In that post I shared some ideas about what this relationship DOES NOT MEAN. I hope you’ll take a look since I believe it will help explain some of what we are trying to do as a church. Hopefully this post builds on that conversation.

The other night, I sat in my living room with a group of people who are joining us in this church planting adventure. Some of us have known each other for years and some folks were meeting for the first time. It was a night of conversation and collaboration, both things I value greatly and will continue to strive to build into the culture of our new church. Our discussion really helped me to see that this won’t be a difficult task. Ideas flowed freely while grace and peace characterized the words that were shared.

During our time together, we tried to identify some of the opportunities that are available to us as a direct result of holding our services at the Flint Local 432. Here’s what we came up with (in no particular order):

1. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 means that we will get to be present in Downtown Flint. Being present means locating ourselves in a specific community and being available to that community.

2. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 means that we will have the opportunity to defeat negative stereotypes that are often associated with Christianity. It is our hope that as we are present Downtown, we will be able to demonstrate the love of Jesus in a refreshing way. And let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of churches that would choose to hold services in a punk rock club. These Dwellings folks must be at least a little different. 🙂

3. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 means that we will be involved in a place where God is already at work. Folks might not recognize how God is at work but we believe that God is at work wherever love and truth live. Love and truth live at the Local, and just about everywhere else, too. If we are willing to look for it, we’ll find it.

4. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 will give us opportunities to have new, exciting experiences of learning from others. Sometimes it can be easy for Christians to get stuck in our own little bubble. Locating ourselves in a public space will help us to connect with people in new ways.

5. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432  allow us to be renters which will keep our focus on building community. Buildings are cool because they give us a place to be. But owning property takes a lot of energy. We hope that by being renters we will be able to keep our energy focused on building relationships and serving others as our new church is being born.

6. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 allows us to gather in a comfortable space for those interested in exploring life-with-Jesus who might not be comfortable in a traditional church setting. People, myself included, have a lot of baggage that they associate with “church”. We hope that doing church in a different way, in a different kind of space, we’ll create opportunities to connect with folks who would otherwise avoid stepping into a church building.

So there it is. This list represents some of the opportunities we are being provided with by being welcomed into the Flint Local 432. We are grateful for the chance step up and grow into these ideas/opportunities. We also look forward to recognizing new opportunities as they are presented to us. Thanks for keeping up with our unfolding story.

DWELLINGS CHURCH @ FLINT LOCAL 432: WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN

I made an exciting announcement on Facebook and Twitter last week about Dwellings, the church we’re planting, holding it’s services at Flint Local 432, an all ages music venue and art space that has existed in different forms in Downtown Flint for more than 25 years.While our first service doesn’t happen until September, I wanted to share a little bit about what this means for us as a church and also a little bit about what it DOES NOT mean.

Today, let’s talk about what it DOES NOT mean.

1. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 does not mean that Flint Local 432 endorses the worldview of Dwellings Church. Flint Local 432 is not a “Christian” venue. It’s a place that has always been host to a diverse body of people with varying worldviews and ideas.

2. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 does not mean that our church is only for the “young” and “hip”. If you are interested in checking out what we’re up to you are welcome no matter what year you were born or what kind of music your listen to.

3. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 does not represent all of who we are and what we do as a church. The church is a people. Wherever we gather, whether two friends meeting in a coffee shop or home, or serving together in the community, the church is represented by a rhythm of life together. Gathering on Sunday mornings is one of many different expressions of the church.

4. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 does not mean that we think we are “cooler” than other churches, it’s just the way we have decided to begin our journey. We hope that meeting in a non-traditional space for worship will allow us to have some refreshing dialogue about what it means to”be the church” and maybe remove some barriers that keep people away from exploring Christian spirituality.

5. Dwellings Church meeting at Flint Local 432 does not mean that everyone will understand what we are trying to do. We hope to respond with grace and peace to those who have different ideas about what is good and bad; appropriate and inappropriate. We aren’t interested in winning arguments as much as we are interested in having conversations. By the way, we don’t have it all figured out and won’t claim otherwise. We expect to learn a lot along the way, hopefully from unexpected sources!

I’ll be back soon to share a little bit about what makes this opportunity so exciting for our church community. I hope this gives you an idea of the kind of church Dwellings hopes to become. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post comments and questions below.

ART ASKS GOOD QUESTIONS

I went to see some bands play this past week at Flint Local 432, the local  all ages art space in my city. I had been looking forward to seeing a band from Atlanta called The Wild. I’d been listening to their record, Set Ourselves Free, for the last year or so. The record is good but it didn’t really sink in all that deeply. Seeing them live really took their music to the next level for me. The energy and emotion came through in a big way even though there were only 30 other people in the room.

One song in particualr struck me in a powerful way. Here’s a snippet of some lyrics to their song “The Saddest Thing I Ever Saw”:

       on the corner there once stood a church full of sound, you could hear songs escape at night. they’d sing praise be to him for what we have built… a home, a community, a life. but it broke. now stands a high-rise. I can’t take back what I’ve done. so we danced around the room to an old familiar tune, and I looked deep in your eyes, and I thought about the fact that we are lucky for what we have, but I wonder what’s the price.

For me, good art asks good questions. It leads to reflection, about self and the world around us. The Wild helped me to ask some good questions the other night.

As I stood bobbing my head to the music, I wondered about the ways that our choices shape our world.How do our shopping habits impact our sense of community? How does the shape of the spaces we inhabit influence our thinking about things like security and safety? How often do we abandon something good for something quick and easy? Summing up the question that The Wild asks in the song; what’s the cost of what we’ve got?

Good art doesn’t always have to give you the answers. Sometimes just getting the conversation going is enough. It allows us the opportunity to search out the answers for ourselves. I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I’m grateful for the encouragement to wrestle with them. I’m grateful for art that asks good questions.

How has art encouraged reflection about your life or community? 

THE GREAT HEARTLAND HAULING CO. TO BE RELEASED BY DICE HATE ME GAMES

There’s some big news at The Green Couch today!

If you have been following me for long, you’ve probably heard about a little tabletop game I designed called Over the Road. About a year ago, I announced that I had signed on with a company called Cambridge Games Factory who wanted to release the game. After a year of waiting for the project to make it’s way up the long list of releases scheduled with CGF, I decided I was ready to move on. I requested that CGF terminate the contract we had entered into so I could explore other options for bringing my game to life. Ed Carter, owner of CGF, graciously released me immediately and wished me luck in finding a new publishing home.

Today, I am extremely excited to announce that it didn’t take long for the game to find a new home! On the very day I was released from my contract with CGF, I received a call from Chris and Cherilyn Kirkman who offered to pick up the game for publication with their company Dice Hate Me Games!

Chris and Cherilyn’s vision for the game is really exciting and I knew right away that Dice Hate Me Games would be a great for me and my game. With new art and a new name, the  game is headed to Kickstarter later this Summer and is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2013.

Here’s a sneak peak at the art and the official press release that went out today:

Dice Hate Me Games Keeps on Trucking

(Durham, NC) – Dice Hate Me Games is loaded up and ready to put the hammer down with its newest release – The Great Heartland Hauling Co.

In The Great Heartland Hauling Co. players take on the role of medium haul Midwest truck drivers doing their best to make a living by hauling goods for big suppliers. Players truck to various locations around America’s Heartland, picking up and dropping off goods using matching cards from their hands. Most locations have native goods that require fewer cards to load; other locations may pay a premium for those goods but may also require more fuel – and time – to get there with the cargo. With limited space in each trailer and only five cards in hand at a time, players will have to expertly manage their resources, as well as play the odds and press their luck to be the best trucker on the road.

The Great Heartland Hauling Co. will offer a lot of replay value through the use of cards to create a variable board set-up each game. The game will include 60 goods cubes, 4 thick cardboard trucks, and 46 resource cards – required for pick-up and delivery – that are drawn from a shared draft board, as well as 20 fuel cards, which are used to move about the Heartland.

The Great Heartland Hauling Co. is a game for 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, and designed by Jason Kotarski. It is set for a late-summer Kickstarter campaign with a Q1 2013 release from Dice Hate Me Games.

For more information on The Great Heartland Hauling Co.Carnival, VivaJava and future Dice Hate Me Games releases, please visit www.dicehatemegames.com and sign up for our newsletter.

Keep watching here for more updates coming down the pike!

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