Welcome back to Investing In! I wasn’t sure quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!
What an incredible start to December! I started my PAX Unplugged weekend with a visit to Dog Might Games in Ann Arbor, MI. I plan to do some cool company visits in the next year as I’ve graciously been invited to do so and I knew my first had to be Dog Might. I’d been wanting to visit and write about Dog Might because of my great experience with them, their wonderful team, and all the cool things they do. To be clear, this isn’t a sponsored article. Of course that didn’t stop them from passing along a promotion for all of you but I’ll get to that. They’ve been a wondrous part of my 2019 and I think the sign upon entering their office might tell you why…
A Rare Treat
Have you watched Relics & Rarities with Deborah Ann Woll (of True Blood and Daredevil fame) as the DM? It’s a treat, as is the whole cast, Geek & Sundry’s scenery and staging, and of course the story. I tried to watch live on the then Project Alpha site, and it was great to interact with the cast and production team while watching. You could tell how excited they were. Part of that excited team was the Dog Might staff account. They’d provided some materials including the dice rolling trays the cast were using. I mentioned in the quickly scrolling chat how beautiful they were and Dog Might immediately tagged me back, saying thank you and how they enjoyed working on the pieces. These are lovingly crafted and I knew I had to check them out more.
Their site has a plethora of products, different woods, styles… They do licensed Vampire: the Masquerade and Pathfinder products too! I was suddenly a bit overwhelmed with options but I’d just started my Mage: the Awakening 2.0 game and felt between wanting a screen for that as well as my next Pathfinder game (after I finish running Strange Aeons) that I had to get one of their custom screens. They ran a promotion as part of the Relics & Rarities run and I jumped on the offer.
A World of Magic
I was extremely excited and perhaps too enthusiastic, and that’s putting it mildly. Honestly, I worry about that all the time when meeting people and talking to others. I enjoy new projects, let alone meeting new people, and here was a project we’d “craft together” for a hobby I love so much. I’m also accustomed to working in the consultant world due to my own career so I tried to approach my introductory email with consideration for how they did things: acknowledging I wanted to work in their process, to collaborate along with the imagination, creative people on their team, etc.
They could not have been more kind, let alone their enthusiasm exceeded my own. I was primarily corresponding with then employee Zoe, who is a delight. She’s since moved on to another opportunity but this month I got to meet her protege Anne, a truly mighty paladin. We’ll speak more of my joy meeting her in a moment! Zoe corresponded eagerly with me to plan out what I envision, the coloring, the shape, and the story I wanted to tell through my screen. She and the Dog Might team kept me updated along the way, provided drawn proofs of what they envision, asked for changes I might want to see, redrew and finely tuned their own craft into a beautiful piece that now I proudly use every week.
They really took my vision, helped me grow it into our idea, and brought it into reality. If that’s not magic, what is? I was so overwhelmed when they said they liked it enough to make it a standard design for others’ to buy. They even let me name it! And thus, Arcana was born! There’s a bit of a tarot, Magician, high arcana theme so it felt right. I absolutely adore it and the truly fun, friendly experience I had working with them makes it even better. I knew if given the opportunity I had to come see their operation and they were quick to welcome me next time I was in the area!
In the Community
I corresponded with Zoe and Anne quite a bit since the end of the summer, picking up a dragon sheath for my brother’s birthday and a dragon tray for me. You might say I got quickly invested in them and their products, and you’d be right. Again, working in the web industry and different clients and all, I understand the customer service perspective let alone the people perspective of a company, especially a small company. Dog Might Games is about 20 people in size. Now even a large company is still many people working hard to get products to you, ensure you’re happy, provide profitability to support their employees, and so on. When the company is smaller, the family is tighter, the process and the support for one another becomes even more important. I could really feel the close-knit, excited creative energy of this family.
Apparently I’m not the only one of course. A host of new products have become available, including custom craft pieces their design teams have simply been inspired to make: the experimental items as they’re called. There’s also Labyrinthos, “an innovative strategic exploration game inspired by the ancient Greek legend of the Minotaur” that is being developed by Lindsey Rode, the Creative Director, and the Dog Might team. The kickstarter got funded back in October and late pledging is still available! You bet I pledged, yep!
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Were so honored to announce we've partnered with @TrevorProject again this year in to help raise money for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis and suicide prevention. Our Pride Gaming Gear is only available during the month of June and every purchase raises money for this amazing organization! #tabletoprpg #tabletopgames #rpg #dnd #pathfinderrpg #dice
I greatly appreciate and love that Dog Might partners with the Tabletop Gaymers, a group I’m thrilled to see at every convention and I encourage you to join, visit, or support however you can. Dog Might donates custom PRIDE dragon sheaths to the Gaymers to win at conventions. They also partner with the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth, during PRIDE month with purchases contributing to that nonprofit. Of course, Dog Might continues to encourage love all year long with Tabletop Gaymers donations and I love them for it!
Most recently I was thrilled to see Dog Might’s custom work on the Critical Role channel. The custom Valhalla screen of the Black Hill of South Dakota was featured before the charming Bryan W. Foster during the special event series of Undeadwood. It is a gorgeous, finely crafted screen in black walnut. I saw that on the table during episode 1 and cheered, knowing it had to be Dog Might! I highly encourage you watch Mike Konas (CBO) and Lindsey speak of the opportunity on their youtube channel.
An Engaged Gaming Family
I had to go to Michigan for work right before PAX Unplugged so I quickly checked in with Anne on a visit. Obviously it was a busy week too because of holiday shopping but they invited me on Thursday before I’d fly to Philly. I should note that it’s not just me. Dog Might welcomes in their customers and the community to take a tour of their facility, though as I expected and certainly saw, it is a manufacturing facility too so those earmuffs are important to protect your hearing! They’re located in the lovely city of Ann Arbor (any Wolverines fans out there?) and their base while primarily manufacturing has a few offices, a lovely break room of games, and their storeroom as well.
Anne welcomed me first thing in the morning. I got there a bit early (sorry Anne) but she was gracious and charming as she showed me around, we talked of their coloring book for the holiday giveaway, and I marveled at the collection of games they had. I didn’t know there was a Dark Souls game! We got to tour the floor where carving, painting, staining, and even QA are done. So many beautiful pieces ordered up over Black Friday and Cyber Monday were in process. The team were busily working but I luckily got to check things out!
Anne took me into the CNC room to see all the work in progress before we went into the stock room. I got to pick up my own order, a custom theme box I’d grabbed during their Cyber Monday sales. It served me well during PAX! The craftsmanship on display is to a level I can’t even describe. I really appreciate their art, especially when we understand the energy and effort that turns this art into a profession like I mentioned in my Giving Thanks blog: a hobby for us but a work of love for them. Despite how busy it was I did get a chance to talk to a few people including Lindsey and Mike, whom I graciously thank for giving me their time. Their eyes lit up talking of the engagement with customers this year, as well as the kickstarter’s success and Critical Role reaching out for Undeadwood. They pointed out to me something I’d missed too! I’ve been a bit behind in my gaming viewing with the busy work season. They crafted Deborah’s dice tower for Lost Odyssey: the Book of Knowledge Live! The stack of books dice tower is theirs!
The top swivels open so you can roll your dice down through it. Crafting pieces like this clearly inspires them. It’s thrilling to hear and I was thrilled to feel their excitement and passion for their work there in person. This time of year can be tough for retailers, it’s a lot of work simply managing marketing, websites, and customer orders. Dog Might’s also literally busy actually making those products so it’s the full end to end experience during also that family-centric holiday season. They’re an engaged and hard-working gaming family!
Oh! I got to play with Sawdust too. You can see his image below! He puts the Dog in Dog Might, a sweet pup Mike rescued who was eager to play especially some tug of war on his chewy rope. As far as mascots go I might be a bit biased to New England’s but Sawdust is the most adorable mascot I’ve ever gotten to meet. I’ll hopefully get back sometime soon and I’ll have to bring him a treat! He was an energizing delight and it was difficult to leave him as I unfortunately had to eventually get to my flight.
But what a flight it was! I got to bask in post-visit bliss as I headed to Philadelphia for PAX Unplugged! What a way to start a gaming weekend!
Dog Might team, thank you so much for having me, for all you do, for sharing your work with everyone, for your commitment to the community, and for inviting me during the busy holiday season! Special thanks to Anne for giving me a tour, sharing with me of your own gaming experience, and inspiring me with your community outreach and giving. If any of the network are looking for a beautiful screen, a custom dice box, or some finely crafted gaming accessories I highly encourage you consider Investing In the Dog Might team and their craft. Because they’re so awesome they’ve offered 20% off to the Know Direction family! You can use this link but I’ve ensured the other links to Dog Might above also have the promo attached.
Much love, Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas to all!
I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!
Banner – Dog Might Games logo
- The sign when entering Dog Might Games
- The Arcana screen designed for me by Dog Might Games
- Trevor Project continued partnership announcement, Dog Might Games official Instagram page
- Preliminary machining in the CNC room at Dog Might Games
- Dice Tower, Lost Odyssey Live, by Dog Might Games
- Sawdust, Dog Might Games, Company Page