Canadian board game publisher Off the Page Games hits hard on Kickstarter


If you ask Jay Cormier from Off the Page Games, he’ll tell you MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” is the first board game offered by its Vancouver-based one-man publishing house. Then he would say it would be remiss not to mention that it’s also the name of one of his favorite comic book series of all time – and the inspiration for the game.

The brainchild of American writer/cartoonist Matt Kindt, MIND MANAGEMENT (pronounced Mind Management) tells the story of Meru, a true detective writer who discovers the existence of a top secret psychic spy agency while investigating a case of mass amnesia aboard an airplane commercial line. Dragged into a world of psychic super spies and immortal assassins, Meru witnesses the unseen war behind the scenes of world-shaking events and discovers she may still have a role to play. First published by Dark Horse Comics in 2012, the series ran for 36 issues and enjoyed a loyal following.

Cut in the summer of 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana. During an exhibition at GenCon (the ComicCon of the board game world), Kindt is introduced to game designers Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim, both comic book fans, and all three end up playing games. company all night. Kindt’s newly discovered love for the hobby prompted him not to ask anyone in particular: Wouldn’t it be cool if someone did MIND MANAGEMENT in a board game? “Our ears perked up and we asked if we could do MIND MANAGEMENT in a game,” recalls Cormier. “Matt was in, so we got to work.”

Shall we play a game?

As a one-vs-many hidden move game, MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” has a player acting as a recruiter for the top secret organization MIND MGMT, tracking their actions and location on a dry-erase board hidden behind a screen. The other players team up as Rogue Agents, former employees of the sinister agency, working together through investigations and game board movement to thwart MIND MGMT’s plans. The rogue agents must determine where the recruiter is before the recruiter can complete his tasks and win the game.

Sound difficult? There is hope.

The game introduces the SHIFT system, an inventive mechanic intended to provide the losing team with an advantage the next time they play by opening a secret box filled with a singular game-changing item. With each opening of the SHIFT System box, the game changes, expands and increases replayability… a real advantage in the hobby.

From Pitching to Kickstarter…pt. 1

After pitching the idea for the game, the band eventually signed with a publisher, only for that company to go bankrupt six months later. Rather than start from scratch and start a new series of presentations, Cormier decided (with a healthy dose of encouragement from Kindt) to go all out and start his own board game publishing company. Off The Page Games was born.

MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” wasn’t just based on the comics MIND MANAGEMENT, but was the product of the collaboration between the game’s designers and the original creator, Kindt. Since Cormier was a fan of games and comics, a company that made games based on creator-owned comic book properties was the perfect mission statement. He would work with designers he admired, do what he loves, and bring unique designs to a whole new audience. Although MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” took inspiration from the comics’ rich source material and included new art from Kindt himself, Cormier resisted leaning into the game being based on a comic book.

“In my marketing materials for MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game”, I was careful not to blow up “based on the New York Times bestselling comic strip”…even though it was. It’s not even written on the box! When I see a poster for a game that says “based on comics” and I’ve never heard of that comic, I keep walking around thinking that this game mustn’t be for me. We knew the MIND MANAGEMENT the fans would come, the Matt Kindt fans would come and our fans would come, so we focused on gameplay, again and again, gameplay… and it worked.

The project generated a fair amount of buzz from comic book and board game social media channels ahead of its Kickstarter debut in March 2020, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic halfway through the campaign, the results did not meet expectations, Cormier generated just under CA$200,000 to make MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” a reality. A win, but you can tell it’s not the success Cormier was hoping for when he first came out as an editor.

And you’d think the story ended there, wouldn’t you?

A second blow for a first success

Throwback to London, England, in February 2022, as an Englishman sits in his living room with a colander over his head, “pretending” to control someone’s mind. The man is social media influencer Quentin Smith, and he reviews MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” for shut up and sit down, its website, and its YouTube channel…and they not only love the game, but they give it the channel’s highest stamp of approval and call the game a “masterpiece.” The internet is filled with all kinds of people sitting in their living rooms reviewing things, but Quentin Smith’s 340,000 subscribers tend to vocalize with their wallets, making games they review – even poorly rated ones – bestsellers. So for Cormier and co. get so much praise? Pure gold.

Hours after review video released, buzz mostly sold out MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” was in heaven. The last remaining copies were immediately ripped off the Off The Page website, even though the game was on Board Game Geek’s Hotness List (the hobby’s de facto news site), and there were no way to take advantage of the new buzz… or was it there? He called those who needed to be called and asked, “Can we do this? They all agreed. Everything lined up. With this, the second Kickstarter was born.

Cormier listed a 10-day Kickstarter, a campaign period so truncated that even Kickstarter’s own algorithms advised against it. It included a series of smaller secret mission packs, upgrade options, and most importantly, a second impression of the highly sought-after Deluxe version of the game, for anyone who missed the chance the first time around. To say the response was receptive would be an understatement. Within hours, the campaign had eclipsed the original 30-day run. Five days later, the campaign had generated over half a million CAD, and by the end of the campaign, it had generated over $790,000 in just 10 days.

Cormier didn’t believe it. For a small, one-man publishing house hoping for a modest second printing of its first game, the windfall was priceless. Cormier tripled his initial order for the second printing, knowing significant numbers had already been pre-sold to backers, and with ever-increasing exposure from Shut Up & Sit Down magazine (currently at 163,000 views at the time). of this writing), with new reviews popping up every week, the news will only spread further. MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game” is finally the success Cormier and Kindt always knew it could be…and for Cormier, it’s a dream come true.

With no time to stop and celebrate his achievement, Cormier informs me that he has to start testing the next offering from Off The Page Games, a game based on the horror comic series. Land of Harrow, created by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook, and published by Dark Horse Comics. But he doesn’t say it like it’s something he MUST do, but something he MUST do. He knows how lucky he is and it shows.

“People think that because the game is big, we’re a big company… but it’s just me, doing what I love. All I ever wanted to do was follow my dreams. best life ever would be to make game design and publishing my full-time job, and I’m on the right track.

If you want to know more about MIND MGMT: The psychic spy “game”you can visit the Off The Page Games website – and you can also participate in the late pre-order of the deluxe version of the game via BackerKit.