Andy Miller III
Keymaster Games with Kyle KeyKeymaster Games with Kyle Key

Keymaster Games with Kyle Key

July 7 2022


God leads us in unique ways. How does someone go from being an art major to founding a board game company? Kyle Key, CEO of Keymaster Games, tells his remarkable story on today’s podcast.

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLLvnO_b8GI

Audio - https://andymilleriii.com/media/podcast

Apple -  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/more-to-the-story-with-dr-andy-miller/id1569988895?uo=4

Keymaster Games Website: https://keymastergames.com

Contender: Going Deeper in the Book of Jude - This all-inclusive small group study on the book of Jude is releasing July 4th. Check it out on the course page: http://courses.andymilleriii.com

Five Steps to Deeper Teaching and Preaching - I’m excited to share some news with you.  Recently, I updated this PDF document and added a 45-minute teaching video with slides, explaining this tool. It's like a mini-course. If you sign up for my list, I will send this free resource to you. Sign up here - www.AndyMillerIII.com or Five Steps to Deeper Teaching and Preaching.


Today’s episode is brought to you by these two sponsors:

Bill Roberts is a financial advisor, who has been serving the retirement planning and investment needs of individuals, families, non-profits, and churches for 25 years. He is a Certified Financial Planner and accredited investment fiduciary. Bill specializes in working with Salvation Army employees and officers by helping them realize their financial goals.  You can find out more about Bill’s business at www.WilliamHRoberts.com

AND

Wesley Biblical Seminary - Interested in going deeper in your faith? Check out our certificate programs, B.A., M.A.s, M.Div., and D.Min degrees. You will study with world-class faculty and the most racially diverse student body in the country. www.wbs.edu

Thanks too to Phil Laeger for the new podcast music. You can find out about Phil's music at https://www.laeger.net

Transcript:

WEBVTT

Welcome to the more to the story podcast i'm glad you've come along today is gonna be a fun episode a little bit different.

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Andy Miller III: than some of the other things that we do, but nevertheless it's still connected to this big idea that we want to get more to the story well and get deeper behind some things that are surface level in our society, until we do that.

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Andy Miller III: Through a variety of means one of the things that is happening now is i'm offering a free resource for those of you who are.

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Andy Miller III: actively involved in your churches and you're wanting to get deeper into scripture and particularly if you are a teacher or preacher.

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Andy Miller III: I have a free resource for people it's called five steps to deeper teaching and preaching and i'll give that out to folks who has a 45 minute video and eight page document that's available.

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Andy Miller III: All you have to do is sign up for my email so Andy Miller, the third.com and you can find links fat in the show notes.

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Andy Miller III: i'm also really thankful that Wesley biblical seminary is the sponsor of this podcast we are training trusted leaders for faithful churches, we have a variety of degree programs from bachelor's and doctorates.

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Andy Miller III: We are even doing things for people who aren't looking for a degree, who are just looking to go deeper in their faith have one program, for instance, comes to mind is a Wesley Institute.

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Andy Miller III: a nine month program we go through every book in the Bible was seminary teachers teach you on that.

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Andy Miller III: Just a very minimal cost to make that happen, but we found it to be a wonderful thing to help.

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Andy Miller III: People in churches to be able to not just churches, but just Christians go deeper in their faith.

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Andy Miller III: So wps.edu you can find out more about us and then we're also thankful for wp oh development, a company that helps people all around the country more than 250 times they've led.

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Andy Miller III: nonprofits churches colleges universities, hospitals, towards successful capital campaigns, they do that through mission planning studies and feasibility studies so you can Google web development or find a link to them in our show notes.

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Andy Miller III: All right, i'm so glad, today this is gonna be a fun episode I have coming on and come on the podcast so welcome and now kyle key from he was a founder of key master games kyle welcome to the podcast.

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Kyle Key: thanks for having me.

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Andy Miller III: Now some people will buy my already know the secret and i'm just gonna let it out of the bag we're a family.

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family.

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Kyle Key: hundred of you on a break that everybody.

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Andy Miller III: Oh i'm sorry it's like insider trading here at the very beginning.

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Andy Miller III: So now it's this then it's not not blood, and this is out, so my wife comes from the larger key family.

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Andy Miller III: So my mother in law is a key so kyle's dad is Danny key and so, then we have our that's how we get the cow came from my my wife is a part of that group so.

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Andy Miller III: kyle and abby share our grandfather so that's our connection, so that no doubt this a row this this podcast arose over family kind of get togethers.

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Andy Miller III: And like this is too good this is too good so.

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Andy Miller III: I love I love the key name i'm thankful to be a part of the key clan and now key master games.

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Kyle Key: I think people will could maybe construct a tree out of that maybe they'll figure out the connection that is distant but still close still pretty close.

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Andy Miller III: it's right where Where are you kyle where do you live.

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Kyle Key: Right now i'm outside of Athens Georgia, you know home i'm uga and that's outside of Atlanta Georgia, too, so, and this is my Home Office work from home situation, like many do now, and it is so.

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Andy Miller III: that's right so before we get to the interesting thing like.

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Andy Miller III: As we you got to the place of be coming like the founder of this game company which is really fascinating I want to hear all about like kind of the things that you've done as a leader, the things you've had.

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Andy Miller III: To do as you'd like to explore what it means to be a person in business, but before that what was it that led you to this place in the first place, like how did you get there, how did you get to be in a position to want to even invent a game.

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Kyle Key: yeah that's.

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Kyle Key: A great question and it's one of my favorite things to do when people.

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Kyle Key: You know there's people day to day interactions and.

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Kyle Key: One of the most common questions, people say they say okay well, what do you do you know you might be.

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Kyle Key: Meeting somebody new or something like that and i'm like well, what do you do and it's one of my favorite things to look at them straight in the face, because I want to catch the reaction I just say I make board games.

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Kyle Key: And and and nine times out of 10 they just there's this look of like that's a thing, like you can.

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Kyle Key: You can do that, you know.

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Kyle Key: And that's I get excitement out of that, but it because I realized that it is a very like.

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Kyle Key: off the wall kind of thing people don't think about it, but stores are filled with games and.

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Kyle Key: games are on shelves everywhere, and this goes, not just for games, it goes for all products like somebody designed it somebody created it somebody sat down and did the work to make it become an actual physical product.

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Kyle Key: And then and now it's for sale right and boring isn't a different so that's a fun thing to answer people and second question, they ask is like well how did you get into that so that right in line.

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Kyle Key: I have a art background went to asbury college and.

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Kyle Key: studied painting fine art painting actually if you want to talk about degrees my degrees and painting how that ends up in four games is this long long story right.

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Kyle Key: yeah.

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Andy Miller III: Is it kind of phase boring story it's like kind of like you're officially, probably in a corporate destination is CEO of key master games right but.

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Andy Miller III: Like you would anticipate and people would probably say to you and me both who spent a lot of time in the same building the arts building asbury university So what are you gonna do with that, what do you guys do with that.

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Kyle Key: That is the question yeah that's um and, yes, officially founder, you know CEO of of key master games and I.

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Kyle Key: run a international business we sell worldwide, we have international partners, we have games in different languages.

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Kyle Key: and international partners that translate our games and then sell to their markets and things like that so and we.

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Kyle Key: We sell all across the US to and online and it's crazy and if I looked at myself at that you know 20 year old self in the art department painting pictures and like yeah you will eventually like.

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Kyle Key: you're just going to use art to do board games like I don't know what you're talking about actually.

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Andy Miller III: just see right.

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Andy Miller III: away like Why would that be a case like what am I gonna design, you know cards, you make one design, but you don't do that no I mean.

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Andy Miller III: that's part I don't mean to get into distinctive.

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Andy Miller III: Of what you offer, but your games in and impart and I, my family's played one you've recently like it is.

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Andy Miller III: Beautiful it's I mean it's like it is, it is one of your more popular games related national parks and part of it is that distinct artwork there so maybe let's just talk about art in games, but and then before we get into the store your business.

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Kyle Key: yeah so thank you for saying that because yeah we get that that's one of the first things people say about our game is is it's so beautiful.

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Kyle Key: that's become a core tenet of our game building and making processes, treating games as art objects are really appreciating them as.

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Kyle Key: A an art experience on the table, not only a you're not only building a physical experience among people at the game right but you're putting stuff in front of them and.

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Kyle Key: My my art background and how that plays a role in that the appreciation of that.

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Kyle Key: parks in particular that's a great partnership, because there's over 42 different artists that work on the art in that game so artists from all over world renowned artists working together so and we kind of get to be the.

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Kyle Key: collaborator of bringing all those people together to make one object that's just really beautiful right.

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Kyle Key: wow yeah.

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Kyle Key: yeah and I do, I have the art background and getting into games, you know, like.

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Kyle Key: I have a painting degree I that comes with a lot of illustration, knowledge and you know right out of school that's what I thought I remember when we walked out of school and like how am I going to make money doing this right.

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Kyle Key: So I took some graphic design classes as well and I realized that you know graphic design is the kind of melding of the digital art.

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Kyle Key: With layout and physical objects that we have so.

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Kyle Key: Through various jobs up to key master games it kind of was one step next led to finally like key master games was the final like what I view as like Oh, this is this is how I do, and this is what brings fulfillment right.

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Andy Miller III: Interesting so you you got to a place where you're trying to find a way to utilize the gifts that God is giving you what you had already developed and you're finding to tell me a few those jobs along the way.

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Kyle Key: yeah like.

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Kyle Key: If a car you're right.

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Kyle Key: Definitely, there was a period where I was.

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Kyle Key: Actually, the fun i'll tell you the funny story first and then i'll tell you that a real, serious job after that the first job I ever got hired officially hired to do, although I never had, I never stepped foot in the office and never had my first day.

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Kyle Key: Okay, it was a really weird I tell you it's kind of funny now that I think of it, but right out of college I got hired by fireplace company to sculpt fireplace logs.

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Kyle Key: For gasol places wow.

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Kyle Key: Nothing yet another thing that's like that exists right yeah but.

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Andy Miller III: I say.

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Kyle Key: People who want a distinct, I want to birch fire like a birch logs have been burning for four hours, and I wanted to take, and you know that's the thing and that's what the company did.

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Kyle Key: I got high I got the job as a senior sculptor stepping down and they're like yeah we'll call you when we needed to come in and then they never call and.

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Kyle Key: Finally, tracked them, I tried at HR meetings and everything track them down and they were like now, we have a hiring freeze so actually we just we don't need the position anymore.

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Andy Miller III: Oh no.

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Kyle Key: Oh, what a crazy time so that was a funny story right, I thought I was going to be a sculptor of logs which would be.

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Andy Miller III: Another crazy say you missed your chance I missed it no Maybe I should just do that every once in a while.

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Kyle Key: And that that led to two other jobs right in between I then became senior brand manager and graphic design lead for South and Christian church.

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Andy Miller III: And okay.

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Kyle Key: it's in like stinking techie so the church at the time about 12,000 members.

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Kyle Key: yeah and they had one campus now they have multiple campuses and still to this day, I have the the three years I worked there My job was kind of prepare them as a brand standpoint and design standpoint to go to a multi location system.

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Kyle Key: Okay now they're living in a multi location system, and I feel like I was there to set them up.

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Kyle Key: and help them work through that process.

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Kyle Key: So my time there was super enjoyable I learned a lot about design and printing physical things at large scale and large quantity, so I feel like that's just another.

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Kyle Key: You know, like an asset that the Lord kind of like lead me and they're like yeah I need to teach you this.

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Kyle Key: Part of design and stuff like that and.

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Kyle Key: Through that I met some old college reconnected with old college friends from asbury and we ended up forming a company, so this is the more serious.

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Kyle Key: Okay normal job we formed a little company that was a third party design company and we worked with ad agencies and experience designers.

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Kyle Key: So, and they basically created fan experiences for companies like NBC and comic comedy central and cartoon network and some some mainly TV and broadcast companies that were doing fan experiences for their fall lineups or their.

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Kyle Key: Sports package theme, like the Rangers or you know CBS sports or something like that, and so we would do lots of graphic packages with set brands, that would be like this coming fall these shows, and we get all these assets and we would build all these fan experience things and.

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Andy Miller III: what's a fan experience like show like a high high net worth person buys buy something and then gets to come in and meet players or what what we.

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Kyle Key: don't yeah several examples one.

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Kyle Key: cartoon network took over Atlantis down in.

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Kyle Key: The Caribbean so we themed it out with all of the adventure time characters in the hotel.

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So.

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Kyle Key: They basically wanted to turn it into a castle So how do you turn hotel into a castle you put graphics everywhere, and you wrap things.

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Kyle Key: We did a lot of work for San Diego comic con.

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Andy Miller III: Which is a big okay.

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Kyle Key: i'm gonna catch it at San Diego.

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Kyle Key: We were.

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Andy Miller III: a bunch of Star Wars stuff happens right.

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Kyle Key: Oh yeah marvel Star Wars DC all comic things and TV lots of TV promotion there and the TV has kind of taken over that space and they.

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Kyle Key: rent out they rent out restaurants and turn them into.

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Kyle Key: whatever they want a theme it so we did we did a lot of work for Graham and remember the show grand back in the day, we did a lot of walking dead things they turned.

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Kyle Key: They turn one of the hotels and determinists so if you're if any of the viewers are familiar with the show like I just brought the show to live for the fans to experience that and we were in charge of all the design process of that so.

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Kyle Key: wow in examples like that these these companies are spending money and using us to create an experience for their fans.

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Kyle Key: Right and I learned a lot in that process and that about how to how to create an experience for someone I feel like that was maybe the key.

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Kyle Key: Learning together like wait.

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Kyle Key: You can you're crafting these experience by putting this stuff in front of people.

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Kyle Key: And I learned a lot about organization and you know a lot of printing things as well, a lot of design growth stuff like that, but I also there was there was a lot of growth in that, on a personal side of like this is very stressful.

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Kyle Key: This is very high stakes.

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Kyle Key: This very.

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Kyle Key: Time sensitive as a lot of thing is it's very corporate in a sense of like these things are happening on a skill set schedule and these things deadlines have to be met and your feelings and your cares for your family and things like that are not important.

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Kyle Key: When this stuff is on the line right.

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Kyle Key: Now, so in a way, it is very stressful time is very like great and awesome to work on all this cool stuff you know, making really cool stuff but it just doesn't seem right and.

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Kyle Key: There really was there was a breaking point there, and you probably know what this is where we can share what this is but the breaking point was when I found out, I had to have a third open our surgery.

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Kyle Key: And that was.

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Kyle Key: In the midst of that so dropping a bomb like that yeah I have, I have a bad heart still do.

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Kyle Key: yeah was born with it, and so I found out, I had to have a repair surgery a third open heart surgery.

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Kyle Key: time in my life so.

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Andy Miller III: I remember when I first met you the very first time that you I don't know how old you are 1314 I was just kind of breaking into the family and you were just having one and you had wanted to play football.

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Andy Miller III: Right couldn't play football, so you end up being a kicker.

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Andy Miller III: And golfing like you had to do other other things so like.

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Andy Miller III: you're like your heart issues like i'm a bad heart so there's all kinds of theological things that can go along that like.

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Andy Miller III: My mood, so you start with it, this has been something that's been a part of your life experience right like working through the challenges that.

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Kyle Key: yeah that's yeah you might mean I had one my second surgery was in high school and that's when I did spring training and I was like I want to play in there let's check your heart and they were like turns out, you need surgery.

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Kyle Key: Like wow we checked.

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Kyle Key: out I equated is like car parts, so I very casually talked about it because it is like car parts I got a bad car to start.

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Kyle Key: So I need to new parts and just like car parts, the parts that put in, or not my own so like they're going to wear down okay so.

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Kyle Key: it's just a constant thing and I need to repair it every once in a while, so the last one I had was now six years ago and.

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Kyle Key: I keep in mind, because it's on the same timeline is starting key master games so like wow key master games anniversaries you know we're six years old, like oh that was been six years since I have that heart surgery.

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Kyle Key: And just.

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Kyle Key: A constant reminder so i'm.

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Andy Miller III: Here real quick.

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Andy Miller III: Like there's this interesting thing, like, I want to make sure it really should come back to at some point we can push off to the side till later.

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Andy Miller III: But you said what you're doing with this company that was doing the corporate work and going and doing a fan experiences you're creating experiences and the same thing is true with.

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Andy Miller III: working for southland like you're like shaping this experience and It made me think like what is a game anyways.

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Andy Miller III: yeah like what what, what is your mission, you know, the idea of like not being too connected to what the form is of our of our mission, or like the model of our mission instead like what, what are we trying to do like.

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Andy Miller III: A great example for me came when I was serving in Tampa there is a car dealer who was friends of Salvation Army and was making a large gift us.

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Andy Miller III: And I went into his office in 19 dealerships around Florida, and when he took me to his office he had a picture of a a bicycle company on the wall come to find out that this guy's great grandfather or grandfather I forget, which was had originally had a bike company.

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Andy Miller III: And that was how they made their their families living, but then same came around called the car and so.

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Andy Miller III: They re adapted and they realized their mission was to help people get places.

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Andy Miller III: yeah and they refocused and they abandoned the model of the bike, even though it was probably probably some reluctance to do that now creating experience is a broader thing you can do that at Disney world right.

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Kyle Key: But.

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Andy Miller III: I mean, what is the mission of a game.

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Andy Miller III: In general, is it creating an experience.

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Kyle Key: yeah and, since you are creating an experience we feel like you, are and that's part of key masters brand in general we've we've now stepped into this we've we've actually dug deep in our own.

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Kyle Key: Like, even though some thought, like what is that you know, like, why are we making games and really it's to get people around the table.

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Kyle Key: We saw some.

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Andy Miller III: We do is.

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Kyle Key: We actually don't care if you play our games are not what our whole brand like our games are nice we try to put that and we curate an experience for you.

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Kyle Key: We hope that it is we try to make them friendly non you know non combative too much it's like let's put a fun experience that we've curated in front of you, but like our our overall mission is like let's give people around the table.

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Kyle Key: Because, and that was that was born out of the founding story of key master to like why I started a key masters like.

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Kyle Key: I just wanted to get around the table with friends and family right and it was in that transition time of when I found out I needed surgery.

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Kyle Key: into hey there's some thing there's some logistics about that, like when you have surgery, I was freelance working right, so I have clients lined up I have these.

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Kyle Key: deadline heavy clients and I had to look at them and be like i'm out for eight months can't do anything for you.

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Kyle Key: And so it's a structured rest time there and with rest time comes reflection right, so the reflection of like Why am I hustling on this stuff for these people what and and in a sense of mortality, but I I feel like it's really healthy for everyone, you know I, as a young guy still young.

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Kyle Key: I, like you, I but I haven't very like i'm a very close.

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Kyle Key: sense of my own mortality.

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Andy Miller III: Right yeah.

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Kyle Key: yeah I think that's healthy for people to just look at that and take take stock of your life and what what are you doing what are you.

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Kyle Key: What is important to you right and what is it worth it to you, so in that in that search I was like.

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Kyle Key: I for right now I had some friends who had given me some games and stuff like that I was like I just wanna I just wanna spend time with people, I want to scan I want to make lasting memories, or on a table.

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Kyle Key: games or a vehicle for that, and it was at that point where I realized like I have been blessed with all these talents and been putting these situations, up to this point where i've learned all these things.

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Kyle Key: culminating I like creating an experience, and I said, I think I can make some board games and I can make experiences for people, and I think I can do that, and then it, the only thing that was missing is like the business side right.

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Andy Miller III: yeah yeah just.

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Kyle Key: At the time, like i'm sure I can figure that out.

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Kyle Key: that's probably not been right and and even even making the Games as well at first is like oh yeah that's probably easy you just want to draw a card you.

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Kyle Key: Like oh yeah and I thought that's all was yeah.

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Kyle Key: it's a it is going you go in blind and you just I went for it and i've been blessed that i've just been gifted with these things.

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Kyle Key: And these experiences that have kind of put it all together and now it's really forming this company, I feel I was a great blessing and work with people i'm working with to have just come together to make a company that understands getting people around the table is really important.

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Kyle Key: Building lasting memories.

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Kyle Key: Building deep connections and just spending valuable time with those those that you love.

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Andy Miller III: Yes, well in in you and I have a privilege experience with our families.

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Andy Miller III: And you know I got.

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Andy Miller III: Like I said, like I knew you wouldn't use like a younger teenager and like i've seen you around the table a lot in like not well, I mean a couple of times a year, or at least once a year and there's something very rich about that is that even you know we play games in the family.

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Andy Miller III: Is that a part of when you talk about this coming around the table like your own personal experience.

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Kyle Key: Oh yeah I mean that's an mind goes deeper you know, like I had grandparents, who I spent summers at the grandparents on the farm we played pinnacle.

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Kyle Key: You know, like.

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Kyle Key: They were a farming family right and there's very little TV it's more like let's play Bingo and pinnacle right.

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Kyle Key: So in my mind it's like.

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Kyle Key: Time around the table, you know and the those Games generic games still you know.

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Kyle Key: Still powerful because it's like those are memories attached to that and I think everyone's still has that.

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Kyle Key: Old game that their grandparents played in the parents played stuff like that and reasons why people sit around the table and.

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Kyle Key: We talked about like family gatherings that's such a great time for a game to step in and fill a space with people who don't spend a lot of time together, and it also opens up conversations and humor and all sorts of things for connection with the.

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Kyle Key: People around you yeah.

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Andy Miller III: it's interesting one thing i'll say maybe you've heard this before and i'm really glad to bring it to you because.

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Andy Miller III: There you might even have classified it sociologically rather not you whatever terms you might use, but for me there's always a little bit of a when it comes time to play a game I I take a deep breath like.

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Andy Miller III: Well, do I want to work or do I want to just like any it took it we bought your game and it took us a little while one of your game sorry.

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Andy Miller III: We bought trails and it took us a little while to say you know what we're gonna learn it and we're getting We actually had some very helpful online videos to show.

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Andy Miller III: we're getting better.

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Andy Miller III: to figure out like Okay, do I wanted to, and I always have a little reluctance to play a game, I think.

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Andy Miller III: I don't know I don't know what else I want to do, but I generally my wife wouldn't say this about playing risk with us as a family she's enjoyed that as much but haha but but generally I I always am happy that I played a game.

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Kyle Key: yeah board game.

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Kyle Key: In the end, and why you you voiced it a little bit some of the struggle as a business right and what we want to help solve is like, if you really think about it, no one really sits down and learns games it's a it's a very few people that sit down and read a rulebook.

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Kyle Key: yeah know how to play most games are taught to you, so you as a family buying trails sitting down learning and as a family as an experience as well, something we're trying to get better at.

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Kyle Key: Because, in general, most people like I am this game, I want you to play it and they're going to teach you how to play it.

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Andy Miller III: Right.

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Kyle Key: we're trying to figure out how to make that more accessible to more people to sit down as a family and also, and thanks you're saying we have great resources because we're trying to actively think through.

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Kyle Key: Well, how does the family sit down and open the box and how do they get to get playing as soon as possible and feel like we're having fun as soon as possible so.

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Andy Miller III: it's right.

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Kyle Key: it's all part of it.

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Andy Miller III: yeah for sure that is definitely okay so let's get to the actually the the get this started the business as a whole, so you kind of had this experience, where.

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Andy Miller III: you're successful you got these skills that you've developed you develop the heart, you had the heart surgery again eight months out.

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Andy Miller III: you realize you want to get it on a table.

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Andy Miller III: But I remember, I remember when I came in touch you like even some a friend of mine told me about your game.

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Andy Miller III: And they didn't.

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Andy Miller III: know we are family yeah so something happened in their.

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Kyle Key: lives.

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Kyle Key: So for that, for that to actually happen, I mean I have now family and friends who send me pictures of like parks or trails on the shelf somewhere.

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Kyle Key: You know yeah I think you sent me a picture to.

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Kyle Key: date oh yeah.

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Kyle Key: yeah I started designing my own games, you know home brewing I just started changing the rules of games I owned right.

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Kyle Key: It started testing and then I I love my wife.

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Kyle Key: and her family who is local here, you know i'd be like I made this game, we want to sit down and you know play it, you know and their their minds are like wait you're like making games now I don't understand you know.

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Andy Miller III: yeah sure.

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Kyle Key: And it's just i've had like paper and scribbled on dice you know, a bunch of stuff you know.

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Kyle Key: But I started making little prototypes little versions of my own stuff and I had a friend in town, who also kind of caught the bug and what I was doing, and he he, as a business himself, he designs fonts.

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Kyle Key: Which is all interested in another world we could talk right yeah sure.

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Kyle Key: um but he was same thing happened he goes wait, you make more games wait people make board games and he's like i'm in finance, I have the same conversations with people about people make this stuff.

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Kyle Key: And so we kind of got together and that launched our first game together, he designed kind of the mechanics of how to play and I illustrated the whole thing and we put together a kickstarter campaign.

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Kyle Key: For that game, so if if.

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Kyle Key: Always earlier.

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Andy Miller III: Was that game called.

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Kyle Key: Control is the name of the game.

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Andy Miller III: Okay gotcha yeah.

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Kyle Key: yeah and kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform so.

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Kyle Key: You don't have a product, yet, but you pitch it to the crowd and they hand you money if they like it and.

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Kyle Key: mathematics and I we both kind of were like hey we want to make this thing we think it's cool.

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Kyle Key: i'll you know i'll pay for it, what let's just put it on kickstarter like we'll pull our money and make it if people like it, maybe they'll like it, but we'll put on kickstarter, and so we asked for, I believe it was $7,000.

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Kyle Key: We thought we needed to produce minimum competence and if I put them in envelopes and mail them out, you know, like we need that about that much money and it took off and we ended up with over $70,000.

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Andy Miller III: wow.

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Kyle Key: At that that was just like instant you know market market recognition that people wanted this kind of product, a art curated and and very thoughtful game, and this was a small package is a little 20 $20 game back then so.

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Kyle Key: And you can still buy it today it's one of the key masters all that we keep that in start because it's like a little deck of cards it's a really great little game and now it's like $10 I think you can get it for only $10 so.

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Kyle Key: That was, like the launching point right we initially like well we're not going to be fulfilling this in our garage i'm going to need to look at manufacturers, because we need to print like 30,000 of these things wow from.

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Andy Miller III: $70,000 was.

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Andy Miller III: Was worthless was 30,000 games.

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Kyle Key: I think yeah well I think my 30,000 is probably never asked, I think we probably printed about 18,000 copies.

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Andy Miller III: That first run which out.

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Kyle Key: In board game terms, that is a success, that is a great success of a game, when you come when you're talking about printing numbers so.

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Kyle Key: You know, like in house kind of packaging and stuff was kind of out the window like I can.

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Kyle Key: Again do that, so all my business models which I had like kind of made of like okay here's what it looks like we get it, you know 500 copies here's what it looks like if we somehow sell 1000 copies and it's like.

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Kyle Key: yeah all those gone I gotta do way more research to figure out how the other companies do this and.

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Kyle Key: it's been really great the the board game industry as a whole is really sharing and really open.

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Kyle Key: Just completely contrary to many.

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Kyle Key: Other you know issues i've.

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Kyle Key: i've seen worked in before you know, like, I can call any of these companies, which I know them by name, now, especially in like like who are you getting to print this or how much did you pay for that.

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Kyle Key: wow and they'll just tell you.

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Kyle Key: And then here's this number call them up i'm sure Hello.

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Andy Miller III: hello, a.

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Andy Miller III: yeah that's crazy like i've been around people in business, like when you find out like if somebody can do something and then you call it's like no I don't I don't give that information out because, like that's your source like.

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Andy Miller III: Right, you make money on the margins, you make from in between the two things, so if you give away that source, you lose so wow.

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Kyle Key: Living this weird I mean there's there's some of that for sure, because it is you know some proprietary stuff but like.

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Kyle Key: For the most part everyone's just trying to make fun games for people to enjoy, and when you know stuff happens that it kind of affects the whole industry it's not a very big industry so they're just like yeah let's help each other out so fascinating it's fascinating.

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Andy Miller III: Interesting so you got you were able to get to a place where you're able to bring that demand to the market for those people.

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Kyle Key: And that was that was a launch point and best.

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Kyle Key: After that, it was like we should keep making games.

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Kyle Key: So it was kind of pour it all back in the company what's our next game, you know.

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Andy Miller III: He okay.

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Andy Miller III: So, so there is that when you started it like incorporated.

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Kyle Key: yeah well I me being I tell people i'm kind of an organized artists, I think there's different there's different versions of artists right.

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Kyle Key: Okay, like very messy just always creative, I am not that I am a kind of a list maker and sort of a very organized and that sense I like to get everything in place before I you know, do the all the creative work almost.

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Kyle Key: helps with fan experiences helps logistics of all that.

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Kyle Key: So I had incorporated key master games when I decided we would publish our own game.

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Kyle Key: So Okay, it became an llc and then I had the Google structure in place, I had the emails all set and and what people don't realize is.

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Kyle Key: I kind of had a vision of this and a hint of it because of the people I talked to but you launch a product like control your you now have a customer service department, you now have a shipping and handling department that's.

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Kyle Key: Still, myself and manage the.

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Andy Miller III: Eight wow.

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Kyle Key: You have dented damaged box, how do you treat that, how do you treat retailers who want your product in their store.

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Kyle Key: Because I heard it's the next really great thing right so it's like.

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Kyle Key: All of a sudden just all these departments and I luckily I had a little I had some of the Google setup had all the things in place had a website in place all that to kind of funnel that to us, at least at that point so.

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Andy Miller III: wow so where did your game after you sold the $70,000 worth.

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Andy Miller III: Probably to individuals, but where did where did you get into stores and what type of storage to get into at first.

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Kyle Key: yeah the we continue to just maintain control at that time so after we got the first batch of kickstarter copies out and we realized that probably could sell.

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Kyle Key: In some stores and we had a few retailers so like mom and pop little game stores across the country who had popped into the kickstarter and got a couple copies.

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Kyle Key: window and that copies sold they came back to us and said I want 10 more I want you know 15 more because they sell really well.

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Kyle Key: And we, of course, did the local thing here, where we got went to the you know local stores here.

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Kyle Key: And we're like we have this game, would you like to sell it in the game, and they are in your store and they're like this looks fantastic sure this will sell and it's local so that they sold it there.

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Kyle Key: And while we're doing that we just created the next game which was can't be preachers a game about be movie monsters and being a mad scientists like a theme, we really just thought we'd have fun with.

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Kyle Key: Okay, and we got an artist to work with us we're Max and I were both just really fan so that aren't mentality and like.

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Kyle Key: We want to work with this guy he's really good His style is really amazing stuff would look really good on this game or making so we partnered paid him to get some artwork on on the books and it was just.

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Kyle Key: In at the time the art the level art on board games was not at that level we felt like so we don't like hey I think we can bring another level of artwork to the industry if we do this.

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Kyle Key: That kind of partnership really wasn't heard of or I mean they're people were partnering but that level of artwork was new so that was our second product, and we also kickstarter the head, because we had a fan base there right, we had a crowd.

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Andy Miller III: Already at.

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Kyle Key: You know excited and we had delivered on the promise and a product, so we piled on to that again and that game in particular caught the eye of Barnes and noble which was our first what we kind of like big box.

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Andy Miller III: yeah for.

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Andy Miller III: sure.

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Kyle Key: Well, we had gotten by that time we had worked our way into hey servicing these mom and pop stores every once in a while is taking up a lot of time, so we had worked our way into a warehousing situation.

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Kyle Key: But consolidator that handles our product moves it for us to those and takes orders for us.

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Kyle Key: Okay, and and then.

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Kyle Key: That also got our foot in the door with Barnes and noble and a big big box.

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Kyle Key: Testing so and here's an industry thing I Barnes and noble is one of the more riskier big box stores when it comes to taking a chance on new games.

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Kyle Key: Okay, if you're getting into like board games and you feel like you want to catch the wave before other people, you can go look at the shelf the Barnes and noble and they take a chance on games before any other store really takes a chance.

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Andy Miller III: wow interesting.

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Andy Miller III: yeah I think it's interesting what you've done to drop back and compare a little bit to what i've been doing this past year is i'm the developing an audience.

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Andy Miller III: I had this podcast going for.

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Andy Miller III: A year and a half, two years it was called captains corner and when my wife and I were moving to wps and Jackson we realized man we're gonna be.

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Andy Miller III: we're going to do this and we announced it and people that keep the podcast calm podcast going I had enough people say that.

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Andy Miller III: That, I decided to get it going well that's led to an audience, you know it's not gigantic audience but it's enough of an audience and now it's like.

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Andy Miller III: How do I develop ways to serve now, sometimes we talk about concepts that are I that you know separate us from other people like we talk about clear Christian doctrines and that means that, like some people aren't really.

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Andy Miller III: would rather not hear about that and so they're not in my audience right but, nevertheless, like it's an opportunity for me to serve people who have.

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Andy Miller III: chosen to identify with and that's kind of I want to connect you do that, but this is same kind of business principle like this isn't you didn't say I want to make money.

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Andy Miller III: I want to provide, like you, you have an audience, a group of people who you're helping come around the table, and now you figure out like, how can I serve that audience.

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Kyle Key: Right, and I think you hit the nail on the head there, and if you do that well.

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Kyle Key: Then money follows you.

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Kyle Key: move after that.

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Kyle Key: Right and you're right I didn't go into this thinking, I want to make money, I went into it thinking.

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Kyle Key: boy I want to create an experience for people to get around the table and share some memories together right and I had to bring people into the business who helped me make keep an eye on money right because I.

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Kyle Key: don't think about like hey I want to make money right, I just want to make those experiences and create connections with people that you know love each other, so I.

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Kyle Key: it's you hit the nail on the head on that and it's very like we we built a community, we still have that Community we still listen to that Community we still.

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Kyle Key: We still want to serve that Community and making products that are art forward easy to approach and shareable with those around them.

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Kyle Key: Right and so that goes into our whole core business of like what what is our next game, what are we making you know, like where are we not offering an availability for people to get people around the table now goes factors into that and the audience that we've built.

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Andy Miller III: I love I love your mission.

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Andy Miller III: Is the idea of shareable that's interesting because a lot of times there's certain games can be exclusive right intentionally like they're creating a Community but there they almost make it hard to get into that community.

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Kyle Key: Right and that might be a money barrier, it might be a time commitment barrier.

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Andy Miller III: Right.

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Kyle Key: there's a lot of things that factor into that yeah and that exclusivity is is there and more games as well right and and we try to stay away from that so.

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Andy Miller III: How do you do that.

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Andy Miller III: How do you make them shareable, how do you make.

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Kyle Key: It is, it is, it is in the approach of how heavy the game is and heavy weight of a game is is the mechanics of how hard it is to understand you know, on your first play.

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Kyle Key: Often, think about you know when i'm designing a game or helping design, one of our games stuff like that I think about like.

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Kyle Key: My parents or I try to think about people who don't play a lot of games necessarily like this is going to be really confusing for them right, so how.

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Kyle Key: Maybe there's a rule that just doesn't need to be there, you know and the way that decision of doesn't make the game better, maybe, but does also make it harder to understand.

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Kyle Key: If it does, we probably should get rid of it find a way to get rid of it, you know so there's a lot of that like.

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Kyle Key: Just creative development work on figuring out what is the right game to deliver to people and that plays into the accessibility, the approachability and the share ability of this game, because if.

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Kyle Key: You learn trails lily is your example right if you feel like you played it once and now you feel like you could sit down and teach it to somebody else, well then, we did a good job.

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Andy Miller III: Right okay.

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Kyle Key: yeah you can share it with somebody else in your family or some of your friends right.

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Andy Miller III: Now trails interesting like you told me, it was easier one song went to get it in the like you designed it to get in i'll say it was a little tricky, but there is satisfaction about half an hour 45 minutes in.

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Andy Miller III: That I got it that's okay I figured out and i'm glad for that, like it's not just UNO.

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Andy Miller III: Right, where there's a okay here's how you play this game, we got it pretty easily that they're they're almost but you were describing to me that there is like.

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Andy Miller III: A within the gaming world there's various levels and you're kind of like a central area like katon is one thing that's really popular you know, in it, where it's like I forget how you did classified those, but there are different levels of games.

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Kyle Key: yeah we.

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Kyle Key: You know, we had we talked about this a little bit it's like there are levels of difficulty right and.

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Kyle Key: When we saw an article last week we were looking at articles and there was like a pool article of like the nate the US is most popular game by state right and.

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Kyle Key: Okay, but overwhelming the the answers were like chess monopoly, you know sorry.

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Andy Miller III: All these games really sorry.

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Kyle Key: up there yeah I have lived on the shelves for years.

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Kyle Key: yeah and, and that is, those exists as people's favorite games, because everyone knows how to play them.

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Kyle Key: yeah sorry sorry might be an example like i'm not really sure exactly how to play sorry but i'm pretty sure I read that one page rulebook.

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Kyle Key: And figure it out quick right.

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Kyle Key: it's not that complicated so and then, and then you have games like a tan who are not really in that realm of how complicated it's a little more complicated than checkers.

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Kyle Key: Right yeah.

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Kyle Key: So I think more and more people are starting to play more games, so the complexity of games is getting a little bit more complex.

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Kyle Key: Because more and more people are coming along with the industry in the hobby right so they're they're learning a little more a few more concepts and trails sits in that realm of.

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Kyle Key: Like there's a few more things rather than just roll and move right, you need to make decisions and you need to think about what you're going to do a couple turns from that so there's some strategy in that.

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Kyle Key: And then the industry and we sit there and that's in the industry has been coined a term of welcoming games right So those are.

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Andy Miller III: welcoming new people okay that's it yeah yeah well I.

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Kyle Key: guess yeah welcoming new people into the hobby and when when they see the hobby then they realize that there are games that last for an hour and a half and they're like purely economics based and you're building train routes across you know 837.

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Kyle Key: And you, you are the railroad tycoon and things like that and you'll play for two hours and maybe, no one will win maybe it'll be a tie, you know and do some people like that just doesn't sound fun at all, but to some people that sounds amazing.

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Andy Miller III: But what I.

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Kyle Key: Did in between as a welcoming game to show them that there is all this possibility.

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Kyle Key: So.

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Andy Miller III: It yeah it so it's a yeah I think I said is like a gateway a deal for you like to get get from there to the other thing, so do you have games on the spectrum like that are not a welcoming game.

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Kyle Key: So I mean currently we we live in that welcoming space.

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Andy Miller III: Right okay Okay, we.

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Kyle Key: We are developing a game that would fit more in the strategy side the heavier strategy side, and that will be because our us as a company we kind of sit in between and.

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Kyle Key: We sit on the shelves of mass market retail like target and Barnes and noble and things like that, and that is not a heavy strategy crowd you know the industry as a whole is a heavy strategy crowd.

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Andy Miller III: So right.

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Kyle Key: Look at our items that it would say their games are pretty simple if you if you read any other reviews they'd be like pretty simple game and it and then you look at you know you look at target reviews or Amazon reviews like I opened the box and couldn't understand anything.

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But.

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Andy Miller III: somewhere in the middle kyle, what do you said that pretty simple i'm like well the first 45 minutes, I was trying to figure out i'm glad I did.

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Kyle Key: i'm glad I did.

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Kyle Key: But you and you say you did the tough road all by yourself.

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Right.

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Andy Miller III: But here's It is interesting, like um I think people want to do hard things like i'm in industry and it's hard to call it, industry, but it is and i've made this move to higher education and higher theological education almost every person who is in our seminary does not have to be here.

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Andy Miller III: And particularly now denominational requirements are, as such, but but is why I say that now some seminaries do like they require an m div or whatever, but most of the nominations that we're currently serving.

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Andy Miller III: it's an option, and it might help you get into a stronger church to go to seminary and it might you know they might read it, but but, most people could probably serve in ministry full time.

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Andy Miller III: Without a master's degree from us, so they are having to choose to be there and.

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Andy Miller III: And now I know you've been a part of Methodist churches with the global Methodist church emerging that's one of the questions is out there is like what's it gonna be like what the requirements, going to be well.

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Andy Miller III: it's interesting in this place, I actually I wasn't sure what to think about the industry as a whole was coming into it.

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Andy Miller III: And when I started teaching my preaching class i've taught, you know for two straight semesters top preaching i'm just floored people want to be there, like.

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Andy Miller III: They they're investing financially their time and that nobody's twisting their arm to be there now maybe a few but uh but but generally that's the case it's a beautiful place and if people want i'm just trying to people want the challenge.

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Andy Miller III: All together.

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Andy Miller III: I think it's good that you're embracing that.

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Kyle Key: They do and and we're trying to my we said, provide an experience, where the person who wants to have people around the table with them right and they choose to pick our game up off the shelf as their vehicle for that.

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Andy Miller III: yeah and.

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Kyle Key: they're investing their time into learning it because, and we we actually want to help them recognize that, like hey if you just learn this beforehand before you sit at the table right you become the ambassador for game night.

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Kyle Key: you'd be a facilitator, for a good time around the table.

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Andy Miller III: Right.

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Kyle Key: I get that like family friend enjoyment, so it may be difficult for you to learn this game.

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Kyle Key: You know, to wear it when they look at you, and have a rules question you already know the answer right, but like.

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Kyle Key: yeah we're here to help you with that we want to make a product that.

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Kyle Key: helps you with that and want to be there in the back end when you email us you talk to us, you know, like we want to help you be the game night person that gets everybody around the table.

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Kyle Key: yeah there's that connection so.

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Andy Miller III: that's great so tell us about your the you have one game that's really taken off it's in multiple big box stores tell us about that or some of your top sellers.

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Kyle Key: yeah trails in that lineup so it all comes from the parks series so parks, is the name of the game it's a.

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Kyle Key: it's a partnership with a poster series by 59 purchase print series, so all the artwork existed as full size posters still does you can buy them as full size posters and we put that into a game that celebrates the national parks and.

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Kyle Key: Okay, and from that and the popularity of that we have made smaller versions trails which we've talked about here a lot is the smaller $20 version of that game.

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Kyle Key: And both those are available in target so okay those have sold really well and target the crowd there and the love of the national parks, as it grows.

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Kyle Key: Over this time that has just really taken off so we're really excited about that, and it is slowly, it is also available at Barnes and noble and Amazon, and you can buy it from us and all like.

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Kyle Key: yeah yeah, to put it everywhere.

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Kyle Key: But it is doing really well and then it's facilitated many game nights and many shared times around the table.

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Andy Miller III: And I.

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Andy Miller III: hit the market just right because you have part of what it What else do people do have shared family experiences go to the national parks.

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Andy Miller III: Is my family's do we were just at rocky mountain National Park.

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Andy Miller III: we're going to go to yellowstone this summer, and you know, in the middle of that we're playing trails.

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Andy Miller III: Right it's pretty cool.

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Kyle Key: And and we've heard so many great stories about people sitting around and when they're playing parks and trails are like looking at the rocky mountain national parks card and they're like.

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Kyle Key: I want to go there someday and you know people around the town around the table they're like So do I, you know and it kind of facilitates like the.

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Kyle Key: Why don't we you know and they already have then they're like well, I remember when we saw you know we stopped at that little place or whatever the story was we've heard that it just facilitates great times around the around the table and it's been.

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Kyle Key: awesome I got to share this with you to this week, this is a unique story.

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Kyle Key: The first, the first time ever, I actually haven't right here, put on camera bow first time ever received a wedding invitation.

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Andy Miller III: This is also ingesting.

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Kyle Key: It was addressed to key master games they wrote some nice note on the back right i'm just blocking out their addresses only that.

425
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Kyle Key: They invited us to the wedding they wrote that they met at a board game CAFE with friends.

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Kyle Key: And they played parks and can't be creatures and then they continue to meet at the bargain CAFE and play our games and now they're getting married and they were sending us an invite because they said that they just wanted to thank us for the facilitation of their relationship.

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Kyle Key: Why around the table.

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Kyle Key: I was like.

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Andy Miller III: Oh man.

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Kyle Key: that's not that's not why we're making games, you know I don't know what it is right, so now was.

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Kyle Key: Brain confirmation of the reason we're putting these things together and working hard on them to create these experiences on the table for.

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Andy Miller III: Oh, my goodness, what a great story you've got to do so with that.

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Andy Miller III: Are you going to go.

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Kyle Key: Well it's actually yeah it's near one of our partners, so I think you might if we're invited well actually maybe send it will definitely send them like a game night bundle or something right for.

435
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Kyle Key: start the relationship off right so oh as awesome.

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Andy Miller III: What a great thing, because this is so much fun now we're also going to offer kyle's very generously giving a gift to one of our listeners, so if you're interested in in getting one of his games what game.

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Kyle Key: We can give away a copy of parks yeah.

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Andy Miller III: parks there it is so somebody what you have to do is you take a link and you share a link on social media to this podcast one of the ones who probably has cows picture on it and.

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Andy Miller III: i'll see it that way, and then i'll put your name into a hat and i'll draw one out and you could be the winner and so then count will send it to you i'll just you just you i'll get in touch with you, if you share that way so thanks for doing that.

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Kyle Key: Yes, of course, we love to you know give people games and get them on the table so thanks for allowing us to do that.

441
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Andy Miller III: Maybe someday we'll get married, because who knows he made many more summit.

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Kyle Key: You joke, but it's happened right.

443
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Andy Miller III: that's what happened yeah who knows who knows how to use this okay.

444
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Andy Miller III: So by I always ask a question at the end of podcast it's called more to story and part of the reason I do, that is because.

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Andy Miller III: Too often in the life that church, we just emphasize getting say we don't talk about the role of sanctification being made holy so there's always.

446
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Andy Miller III: More to the story there's more than just being saved but also there is a.

447
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Andy Miller III: lot more to the story of didn't to picking up a game there's like we want to go deeper and learn things about what's going on but there's likely, more to the story of kalki kind of pretty interesting lifestyle, but it was something that you often don't get to tell people about yourself.

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Kyle Key: Oh, this is like one of those questions is like What else do you do in life, I think.

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Andy Miller III: Oh there it is.

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Kyle Key: I have found that my board games has brought this out to my my pursuit and research of things, has is really a fascinating thing.

451
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Kyle Key: When you make a board game, you get to research, a lot of stuff to make it try to make it accurate as well when you're doing a theme, or something like that so there's been.

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Kyle Key: Many avenues, I feel like i've fallen down and just not found that like just pursued, and so I now I would welcome Lea call myself a stamp collector now, which is a.

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Kyle Key: Whole fascinating thing and I just it would take a long time to talk about but stamp collecting I feel like it's a growing thing right the pandemic nothing but help it.

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Kyle Key: so fast lots of history, there are lots of great stories lots of lots of things there so there's that and that keeps me inside, you know at a table collect you know sorting through things and researching things and art behind it, as well, all the art that's Commission and then.

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Kyle Key: And i'll give you a bonus, one that.

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Kyle Key: I also enjoy bonsai as well, so the.

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Kyle Key: The art of plant.

458
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Kyle Key: yeah keeping trees and.

459
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Kyle Key: Paul really what I see.

460
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Kyle Key: The idea of miniaturising a tree into a pot right.

461
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Kyle Key: yeah I it's a it's a farming thing I have you know farming roots, but also it's like it's like gardening as a form of gardening you know you're out you gotta you gotta take care of them.

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Kyle Key: they're in there in pots, they would die if you don't really take care of them, so you gotta pay attention to them and then there's just so many philosophical spiritual things about.

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Kyle Key: pruning them and training them and and I have, I have written some things on my desk to have like I need to like write a talk about how pruning a bonds is all like designing a board game you got to like let it grow and you got to cut away and.

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Andy Miller III: there's just so many things.

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Kyle Key: So.

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Andy Miller III: Is that one behind you.

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Kyle Key: right that know these are just regular houseplants.

468
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Kyle Key: Okay, some of these just regular plants all mine they stay outside, all the time it's it's a myth actually people struggle with that there is no really indoor bonsai.

469
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Kyle Key: They sell them a box stores.

470
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Kyle Key: And they're inside and people think they can grow trees inside but trees don't do well inside.

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Andy Miller III: yeah.

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Kyle Key: There, they have to be outside so yeah I seen.

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Kyle Key: This is just yeah just those that pursuit of like research.

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Kyle Key: And yeah weird things and fun things, has been really great so.

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Andy Miller III: damps in bonsai trees pretty good last week, I had one or you might I don't know if we over overlapped with you at asbury Jonathan powers he had a ufo so.

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Andy Miller III: You never know you never know what's going to come when people ask this question that's great that's a great question I love it.

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Andy Miller III: kyle thanks so much for your time it's been fun to watch this journey progress, and you know.

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Andy Miller III: we're excited to see how God continue to use your skills, you know from going from being an art major and trying to figure out how to sell go work together to providing great experiences for people and getting people married there you go.

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Kyle Key: Thanks it's been great and I can't you know can't wait to see where else we're led along the way, and you know where the areas of growth as well and it's an exciting time, so thank you for having me great.

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