Mastermind Adventures Playspace
We have some great news to share about Mastermind Adventures ! We have been pouring ourselves into making a business out of our passion for pop culture and games, our love of kids and our belief in the need for community. In order to move forward, we need to raise capital to outfit our beta space and prepare for applying for a loan. We are asking for your support to reach our goal of $7,000.
This details the history of our company and our vision for going forward. We hope you will consider becoming a part of our story.
Our kids, Seth & Luke, 2010
If you don’t know our story, it all started with our tabletop games and NERF events that we organized voluntarily in 2010-2013 to give our kids (who were not interested in organized sports) an opportunity to build relationships with other kids and get some exercise.
Seth & friends, Callina Game Night, 2010
NERF War at Teamworks, 2013
In the Spring of 2015, we organized our first educational role play event, again, as volunteers, inspired by a popular young adult book, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. It was organized like a field day. We hoped to get 20 kids to come, and we ended up with 175. This was our “a-ha” moment - there was a need for this kind of social and imaginative event for kids.
Camp Half Blood, May 2015
Adventures in Entrepreneurship
Last November, we enrolled in a pitch contest with a group called Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) and won first place for our idea to get kids moving, learning and having fun with our NERF and educational role play events. Many people asked when we would have these events available for adults, and we started to see the potential for Mastermind to grow into a viable business that would set up financial security for us and our kids and offer employment to others.
November 2016, Pitch Contest, New Bedford
We decided to enroll in EforAll’s accelerator program, and again, won first place out of the 12 who participated for our business idea and the progress that we made over the 12 weeks. We learned that we should offer our events on a smaller scale for libraries, schools and community centers and developed relationships with important key partners, like King Richard’s Faire and Education in Action. We were able to define our programs by 3 key factors: problem solving, hands on activities and physical movement.
EforAll Winter Accelerator Program, 2016
What We Have Learned
One of the insights we gained from that program was that our large events were very popular, but not profitable enough to make a full-time business out of running them. We had to have a storefront that we could offer smaller events, like NERF games and birthday parties to create a regular revenue stream for our business.
We had a very successful and busy Summer, and as we started to plan for the Fall, we realized that it was time to look into renting a space for our Fall NERF games. When we compared the cost of renting a space for 4 nights and the cost of renting space in our local mall, we determined that the mall was a better option. We have spent the last several weeks working toward opening the storefront as a Beta space for events, workshops, games, birthday parties and other activities.
See all our past events here
If you’d like to hear more about our journey, here is a recent interview with the Somerset Roundtable local Television Access Program.
In order to make this Beta space a permanent home, we will need to apply for a small business loan. But in order to get the loan, we will need cash in the bank. And that’s why we need your help.
We’re huge geeks, and when we started out, we just wanted to create a safe and fun choice for our kids to be with friends and get exercise in ways that didn’t feel like work. What we discovered was that there are a whole lot of kids and others who enjoy these kinds of games and activities who just want to have fun.
For Masterminds, there are no prerequisites for level of nerd-cred to pick up a NERF Blaster or foam sword and get in the action or jump in and enjoy some tabletop games and RPGs. We are trying to take the most fun parts of these otherwise ultra-geeky activities and make them accessible to anyone (yes, even non-geeks!)
Here’s what some of our customers, educators and librarians have to say:
“Problem solving, communication, social skills, AND it's not team sports. We need a venue for kids that aren't into the mainstream!!” -Kerri C
“These events get kids thinking and working together to solve problems and overcome obstacles in such creative ways. My son has attended a number of your events and each time he has left looking forward to the next.” - Lynore M
“The creativity that Mastermind Adventures brings to all of their events is unparalleled. Most important to me, they treat the children with kindness and respect while ensuring a safe, fun and educational experience. I can say without any hesitation, that my children's safety is the utmost priority. I am always impressed with the level of professionalism, detail and depth of communication they never fail to provide.” - Melissa D.
“...your programs provide a spectacular service for our family and our community. I recommend you wherever I go, and am forever grateful that you do what you do. Keep up the amazing work, Mastermind!!” - Megan L.
“In all of my roles as an educator, I have found that the most important element of education is summed up in one word: creativity. In this day and age, memorization from a textbook is not sufficient for our students; teaching to one learning style will not prepare our kids to learn, mature, and thrive in their young lives. Mastermind Adventures is a program that understands this need for creativity in a child's life, and has done amazing things to strengthen the desire to question, to delve deeper, and to be insatiable about learning.” - Stephanie C., Educator
“Many of lessons multi curricular and multimodal. These lessons are designed to encourage students to "think outside of the box". Students are put in situations where they have to display team work, cooperation, and attention to detail. Much of work done at mastermind adventures encourages students to focus in the STEM fields. “ - Llolyd L., Educator
“I was so impressed with how she and her staff ran the logistics of the overall program, the individual events, and importantly, how they interacted with my teens. They were respectful, fun, and seemed to genuinely like teenagers which, as a YA librarian, is so important to me in a presenter!” - Allison B., Beverly
“Mastermind Adventures offers educational learning as well as social interaction and fun to all their participants. They combine problem solving, critical thinking and cooperation in their game and activities.” Chris M., Somerset
Mastermind Adventures in the media
Live Action Games, like NERF (Battle Sports)
The Mastermind Adventures storefront will offer NERF Meetups throughout the winter. These will no longer be limited to kids - we can now offer these games to adults, families or as a birthday party theme. We also offer other types of alternative sports like archery tag, black light dodgeball, Quidditch and Troll Ball (played with foam swords). We will have both drop-in games or the option for people to reserve private games or parties. There are a number of NERF Game spaces popping up across the Country. Here are some examples:
Battlezone Arena, Arizona
New York Dart Zone, New York
Detroit Dart Club, Michigan
Although we offer other kinds of games alongside NERF, the success of this model makes us confident that we will be able to sustain the business by offering these games. The location we are renting at the Swansea Mall is 9,000 square feet (Video of inside of storefront ). It is enough room to have 2 game arenas that can offer NERF games and other alternative sports, or birthday party space.
Tabletop Game Space
In addition to these active games, we want to offer a board game playspace. Tabletop game meetups and instruction has been a big part of what we have always done. We have regularly hosted board game celebrations at our local library, like Tabletop Day, and offer programs to libraries, community centers and schools in tabletop role playing games like Pathfinder and FATE.
Board game cafes are also gaining in popularity. The model is similar to our other services. People pay a fee to spend time in the space and use the games we have available. In an age where people can purchase games online cheaper than they can in a storefront, this service model is a great way to create another revenue stream and also build a local community. Here are some examples:
Knight Moves Cafe, Boston
Uncommons, New York
Cloak and Blaster, Florida
Having this kind of space available will allow for us to offer trivia nights, game teaches and other ways to create regular customers and bring people into our space.
We will continue to develop options for businesses, offer off-site mini programs and a few large-scale events each year, but these additional revenue streams will make us more profitable and help us develop a model for franchising.
If you’d like to see more of the kind of activities and events we have offered, please see our Youtube Channel or Facebook Page.
Right now, we have a BETA space at the Swansea Mall in Swansea, MA that has a small board game area and 2 large arenas for NERF and other games and birthday parties. We have borrowed furniture and are using our starting materials to get us started. But we only have a temporary lease. We’d like to make this space a more permanent home, and in order to do that we will need a loan to fill out our board game selection, purchase equipment and give us financial security through our growth phase.
What We Need
In order to move forward, we need $7,000. All donations will be used directly for the purpose of supporting Mastermind Adventures in our effort to get a loan to fulfill our vision and grow our business.
If you would prefer to donate offline, please mail us a check to Mastermind Adventures 1 Slade Street Somerset, MA 02725.
We thank you in advance for your support! We could not have made it this far without the help of all of you.
The Adventure Continues
We've certainly come a long way since 2010. Our boys are growing up and have become an integral part of the business itself, helping lead activities and games and giving us continuous feedback about the direction they want to see the company go. I hope we have instilled in them the perseverance to go after their own dreams and the seed of possibilty that even crazy dreams can come true.
Callina Family Now
We've also had the opportunity to work with the best people ever as Lead Masterminds, and lots of others who we can't fit all on this page, but we are grateful to everyone who has been a part of our growing adventure.
The Mastermind Squad
Ally Lynch, Master of Lore
Zac Keith, Resident Supervillian and Master of Game
BETA Pricing for 2016
Battle Sports Drop In (Mastermind Planned events, Thursdays & Fridays) $10 (Members, free)
Tabletop Drop In $5 kids $7 adults (Members Free)
Live Action events - $40-$50 (Members get $5 discount)
Classes / Workshops/BETA Events /Other $15 (Members get $5 discount)
Battle Sports Private Hour $100 for up to 10 participants, $12 each additional
Birthday Parties $250 for 2 hours for up to 15 individuals, additional hour for $50 (requires $50 deposit, includes paper goods, printable invitation, Mastermind Tshirt)
Individual Membership $50/month includes all drop-in events, all access to tabletop playspace and discount on private events live action events and special events
Couples Membership $70/month includes all drop-in events for 2, all access to tabletop playspace and discount on private events including birthday parties and live action events and special events
Family Membership $100/month for 4 family members includes all drop-in events, all access to tabletop playspace and discount on private events including birthday parties and live action events and special events
+1 Membership $20/month (add on membership to any base membership, includes all benefits)
Yesterday, we were invited to talk on a local radio show, WSTL which broadcasts to the Providence area. We've also set up lots of events and activities in an effort to make Mastermind a destination for families on the South Coast. We'd love to see you at one of our upcoming events - tomorrow we have a geeky meetup called Talk Nerdy to Me for enthusiastic people looking to connect with others. Also, next Friday, we are hosting our first Artist's Showcase that will feature the artwork of 3 local artists on Mastermind's walls for the month of November. Please stop in and see what the fuss is all about!
Last night, we were honored to receive a quarterly award from EforAll. Their ongoing support (both moral and financial) is so appreciated!
We are really passionate about creating a community for people who are passionate about play. We continue to need your support to spread the word and help us get the donations we need to reach our goals. You are a part of our vision and our community, and we thank you.
This weekend, we will have our 2nd birthday party and attend a local 5k as vendors. We continue to set up events and activities to bring people in to the storefront. Our Meetup group is up to 20 members!
We have made some improvements to our board game lounge and we'll be looking into the costs associated with installing the appropriate sinks so that we can get a coffee service for customers.
Our fundraising efforts have stalled out a bit. Please don't forget us! We need your help to share and get the word out to those who we cannot reach.
Thank you as always for your support, and we hope you will drop in soon to see the space in person!
This weekend, we kicked activity planning into high gear and added a ton of offerings to the calendar. Our hope is that we can become a resource in the local area for others looking for an old fashioned way to have fun and connect with others.
We've set up our first physical fundraiser for the end of the month, Friday, October 29th - a tabletop role playing game based on the popular Netflix show, Stranger Things (Strange Dread). We also scheduled a teen Halloween party, an open house and lots of meetup-style events for all ages.
This weekend, we will have a NERF event, our first birthday party in the space (Harry Potter themed), and another library program. Then a special teen meetup on Monday for the kids' day-off.
We're doing all we can to get the word out and build community, so we also started a Meetup page for our events. You can see that here https://www.meetup.com/Mastermind-Adventures-Play-Enthusiasts/
We ask that you continue to support us by telling others about what we're doing here, and encouraging them to support our efforts by sharing and attending events.
And if you have an idea for us that we're not tuned in to, please let us know!
We've had a few people drop in and say they saw our ad on Facebook (which is so encouraging). We have created a Meetup group to try to increase our local visibility and start creating a community.
Over the weekend, we had our first private NERF group and we are getting ready to schedule lots of fun stuff for kids, teens and adults starting in October - including a fund raiser that will be a special event - 'Strange Dread' a tabletop RPG based on the popular 'Stranger Things' show.
Our GoFundMe is now up to 43%. Every bit gets us closer, but we continue to need your help to share and make people aware of our mission. We are working hard to make Mastermind Adventures a destination for people on the South Coast.
Thanks for your continued support!