What’s Working: Certifiable Studios in Ridgeland


RIDGELAND, Miss. (WJTV) — Kickstarter Campaigns are changing the way the world does business.

If your idea is good enough, the money comes first, and the finished product comes second. We head inside Certifiable Studios in Ridgeland, where thanks to creativity and marketing, they have one big order to fill.

What’s in a name? We’ll if that name is Endangered Orphans, about 7 thousand backers, and more than 350 thousand dollars. Here’s how an idea that popped into a man’s mind during childhood, could soon be coming to a card table near you.

Certifiable Studios in Ridgeland is buzzing with creative energy. Projects like Bottletop Chicks and Disasternauts are racking into focus, but the hot thing right now is Endangered Orphans.

Jesse Labbe is the artist and creative force behind the game.

“It’s all cards,” he said. “The board is made of cards. The players’ options, that they have, are all card based, and it’s basically, you’re trying not to run through your deck of cards. The first player that runs out of cards, and runs out of options is out of the game. The Boogie Man eats ’em.”

Jesse drew the Boogie Man. He drew all the cards.

Opie Cooper designed a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that snapped through a series of stretch goals.

“There are 7,000 people who said, ‘You know what? We are going to trust you. You’ve never made a game before, and this is your very first Kickstarter, except for what we see here,’ and that is cool,” Cooper said.

Now Certifiables cards are on the table. They need to fill about 8,000 orders by the end of January.

“So where we are right now is that making sure that everything we agreed to make works and we can source it because we can’t make it here in the building ourselves,” Cooper said.

With great Kickstarted funding, comes great responsibility.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Labbe said. “The money lets us do another job and another job. It’s not about getting rich. It’s about doing what you love doing, and being able to eat. So my pipe dream is 5 years from now, 10 years from now, we’re on our 10th, 12th game, and people are loving half of them. So I can live with that.”

“It’s a great format for telling a story, but most importantly, putting a challenge out. It’s a challenge to make. It’s a challenge to play it, and people like to play games.”

Tabletop games are making a huge comeback right now. There about 500 of them needing funding on Kickstarter most days.

“I love video games as much as the next guy, but there’s something about sitting around with your buddies,” Labbe said.
That’s a strategy that’s quite well for Certifiable Studios.

The guys are also working on an art book, filled with Jesse’s creations from a lifetime of drawing.

Endangered Orphans takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to play. It’s a last player standing game, but when players are eliminated, they like to stick around and see how the story plays out.

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