Just before the pandemic, Brian Bonner, Derrick Skipper and Julius Aldrich lost their good friend, and when lockdown hit, the trio would spend time in each other’s living rooms thinking of better times.
“We were stuck in the house having to sit with the grief, and we were thinking about the types of conversations we would have out at the bars,” Skipper said. “And that’s how Capital Punishment was born.”
The three cofounders began work on Capital Punishment Games LLC, the company behind the card-based party game, in the midst of the pandemic in 2020. The card game prompts players to essentially put different pop culture figures or moments “on trial,” and convince players that your card is the worst one on the table. It’s the type of wild, energy-based joking around the founders were missing with the death of their friend and with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
Due to supply chain issues, the game finally released months after their expected launch of November 2020, and in February 2021 began selling on its website and Amazon. In October 2021, the company joined Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, which includes credits, a grant and business coaching for retailers.
The team has also began selling the game at Queen & Rook Board Game Cafe off South Street and Harriet’s Bookshop in Fishtown. Though they’re learning a lot from Amazon, Skipper said they’re aiming to direct more sales to their website so they can build closer customer relationships.
They’re also encouraging the use of cryptocurrency to purchase the game, an ability they gained when they moved their website over to WordPress and began using WooCommerce, the open source ecommerce platform, about three months ago.
Like all three cofounders, Skipper maintained his full-time job while working on the game company, and his role in IT clued him into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency fairly early. He’s a self-described “serial entrepreneur that was failing,” but he had the bug to create something new.
Working in tech taught him that you can learn pretty much anything you need to online, and the trio did most of their own research to learn how to launch and manufacture the game.
“You kind of take all your failures and use them as building blocks to understand the next time,” Skipper said.
The Capital Punishment website accepts Bitcoin and Ethereum, and although they ship widely outside of the Philly region, Skipper called out the growing Web3 scene here. There’s likely more people into crypto than we even know about, he said.
“Our game is kind of like a critique on culture, and I think it kind of goes with the counterculture some crypto enthusiasts have,” Skipper said.
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