With two locations locally—Town Square and in Downtown’s Container Park—and a total of 30 across the country, the Gaming Goat owner Jeff Bergren prides himself on building a winning brick-and-mortar retail experience in the age of Amazon.
To offer a unique kind of selection, the Gaming Goat stocks about 300 independent Kickstarter games annually. “‘We’re really the only company into the world that buys everything that you have to buy on Kickstarter,” says Bergren, who is based in Las Vegas.
After about a year and a half of supporting indie game design, Bergren saw a better path: “We realized that it’s actually easier to just partner with a designer, just buy every copy of the game in existence and just publish it ourselves.”
So on April 13, the Gaming Goat announced on its website, thegaminggoat.com, the creation of its new publishing company, TGG Games. “So yeah, we will be producing, developing, and printing games under our own brand,” the announcement reads.
“The actual business model isn’t me sitting around with 20 people designing games,” Bergren says. “It’s finding games that are amazing that the designers are unequipped to publish themselves for various reasons. And then swooping in and helping them. …
“It’s actually way easier to buy usually 1,000 copies of a game and just handle the overseas operations of China and marketing and graphic design and all that stuff than literally buying 20 games from the original designer who has no idea what he’s doing,” Bergren says.
So far TGG Games has six games on contract, with three planned to be released this year. The schedule will be one game per quarter.
The first game is called Black Sonata ($25). It is available for pre-order at tgg-games.com and will ship this summer. It’s a solitaire-type game set in Shakespeare’s London. Players must track down and solve the mystery of the Dark Lady, who appeared in Shakespeare’s sonnets. “It’s a really neat game, and it has high replayability,” Bergren says.
Black Sonata is already a hit in Europe, and TGG Games has the exclusive U.S. rights. However, upcoming games will be brand new. Bergren is keeping the details of the games secret, but he reveals some teasers. A graphic artist for Marvel Comics will be making all the art for one game.
“Although I can’t talk a lot about [the next game], when people see it, they’re going to say, ‘Wow, that is sick.’ I’m really excited about it,” Bergren says. He will launch the Kickstarter for that game in August, which will act as a pre-ordering system and marketing tool rather than a traditional fundraiser.
In the meantime, The Gaming Goat is still selling games to keep folks entertained throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. While you can’t browse the store in person, Bergren recommends messaging him on Facebook (facebook.com/tggvegasone). He will act as your virtual personal shopper and help you find what you’re looking for. There’s home delivery or curbside pickup at the Town Square location.