Denise Lim and Yasmine Khater, both 36, first met through a rock climbing session: Denise was a rock climber and Yasmine is a novice who is afraid of heights.
“Denise offered to (help conquer my fears), which meant she left me on the wall for almost an hour,” she joked, adding that they’ve been friends ever since.
Over time, their friendship blossomed and they became housemates. When they moved into a new apartment in February last year, they shared conversations about wine about how they could earn a million dollars a year.
Yasmine’s training business, in particular, was hard hit by the pandemic. He has been completely offline, causing some contracts to be stopped and canceled.
The half-Egyptian and half-Singapore psychologist said it allows leaders and entrepreneurs to “be more persuasive so they can influence and sell easily” through brain-based influence techniques.
For Denise, after graduating from Singapore Management University (SMU), she packed her bags and went to live in Latin America because she had always wanted to live abroad. He opened a restaurant and a bakery there, while learning Spanish.
After almost a decade abroad, he decided to return to Singapore and work with startups. She is currently a business builder, helping companies start new businesses.
Creation of a Covid-19 themed card game
“As a psychologist, I could predict that Covid-19 would mean (that many) people would be extremely stressed. A lot of research has shown that humor and learning to rethink can relieve stress and reduce mental health, ”said Yasmine.
“With our design background, we decided to create Bye Bye Virus promoting safe habits in a (fun) way ”.
Bye Bye Virus is a card game they created for ten weeks, including the circuit breaker period.
Yasmine shared that the game development process was carried out through three different phases: game and testing, game design and dynamics.
“We started by planning different game dynamics. At first, we bought paper and cut it out, which took us a long time. Finally, we started taking designs from reserved sites on the web.
“Each week, we tried out different types of games and then restricted the part that made the game fun (and the parts) that we had to kill. We had weekly game sessions to try out the game and get information on clarity, fun and functionality. “
When they’ve nailed around 80% of the game, they started focusing on the next design. They hired four designers from Fiverr, an online marketplace for standalone services, and chose the best design from each other.
After solving the basic design characters, they hired another designer to help refine the design elements along the way as the game’s dynamics evolved.
Due to the Covid-19 blockade, they were unable to continue with the test sessions, so they resorted to mailing the game to people’s homes and obtaining information in this way.
“We kept refining (and finally) stopped at our 77th version, (before we sent it to print”).
How is it played?
The game starts with a virus outbreak. To protect yourself, you must collect items of protection and follow socially responsible rules.
Players will have to overcome obstacles that mimic real-life circumstances during a pandemic. For example, they may lose a turn if supermarket shelves are empty due to hoarders panicking or losing cards if they touch their face during the game.
There are also panic hoarding cards, which include things like toilet paper, ramen, and a dinosaur costume. Players can discard three of these cards to steal a card from another player. To earn additional cards, players must perform certain tasks, such as skipping or reading verified news.
The first player to collect all five cards with protective items (disinfectant, mask, soap, gloves, and hand sanitizer) wins.
Creating this whole game was his biggest challenge, Yasmine said.
“We love games and we thought it would be easy to make one, but we were very wrong. Our first 20 versions were really crappy, to the point that we wouldn’t even give them away for free. ”
The duo refused to give up and continued to improve the game, which helped improve the gaming experience.
Throughout the game, both Yasmine and Denise hope they can help players instill safe habits and teach them how to avoid infections.
In line with this mission, 12% of its profits from retail sales and Kickstarter sponsors will go to Covid-19 initiatives.
His income is almost $ 50,000
According to Yasmine, the response to the launch was quite overwhelming.
“Initially we thought we could make this game and sell a few hundred (units) of it, but as friends started playing with it, we were encouraged to put it Kickstarter“.
“Successful Kickstarter campaigns take six to a year to build, so trying to do that in ten weeks was extremely hard. But we’re very grateful to have a supportive community that has helped us give ( many) tips “.
Bye Bye Virus started as a Kickstarter project and they have raised around $ 9,000 and sold an additional $ 13,000 offline.
“In total, we generated 22,000 US dollars in the first five weeks. It took us ten weeks to balance because we focused on selling the game beforehand and not doing it. ”
“We have previously sold 750 covers and so far we have sold just under 2,700 covers. Our income is only S $ 50,000. “
Each Bye Bye Virus game sells for $ 29.90 S and is currently on PlayNation, Toy Tag, Design Orchard, Games of Pi, among many other stores.
Yasmine admitted that marketing is her biggest business challenge right now.
“We had never made any consumer products and (we both maintain) intense work. It has been a challenge to really take it to the next level. We would love to start collaborating with partners to internationalize (the game) and locate it in different languages. “
For now, one of their key marketing strategies is to get alliances with distributors. They have also done programs with Rasum International School.
Sharing other future business plans, Yasmine shared that they also plan to launch an NSFW (non-safe for work) edition. While I didn’t share the details, it’s sure to be another fun game to keep in mind.
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Featured Image Credit: Bye Bye Virus