Startup of the month: Thief Trackers

Nicolay Anker Kavli (22), Energy and Environmental Engineering (Master of Science programme) at NTNU.

–  What is the idea behind your startup?

–  Thief Trackers is a board game for board game enthusiasts. The booklet of rules is comprehensive, so it is not the typical family board game. I would recommend it to people from the age of 15 and beyond, Nicolay says.

The board game is in the fantasy genre with a setting inspired by The Lord of the Rings. A thief has stolen two crowns from a kingdom, and the king has commanded four soldiers called trackers to bring back the thief and the crowns. Nicolay wanted to the board game to fit multiple personality types.

–  In chess for instance, both players sit by themselves and think strategically. The same role is implemented in the character of the thief. People that like to cooperate and discuss match the team that controls the trackers.

–  Where did you get the idea from?

–  I had a subject about entrepreneurship and company development in high school, in which we created our own products. I really liked this subject, and after taking it I wanted to do something similar. I like to come up with my own ideas and make things from scratch, Nicolay explains.

It was during his service in the military that Nicolay started developing the board game. Nicolay’s position involved that he was either on or off duty.

–  I sat down in my spare time and thought: “Now I am going to make something”! First, I thought about making a computer game, but I had no skills in programming. I have played my fair amount of computer games and board games and have a passion for it, he says and laughs.


Nicolay Anker Kavli has created the board game Thief Trackers.

–  How has the process been up until where you are today?

–  I have been working on this board game for about three years. So far I have  tested the game with different people and received feedback I have taken into account. I have tested it both at the gaming themed pub Work-Work and the gaming club Hexagon here in Trondheim.

About a year ago, Nicolay contacted Spark. He had the passion for board games needed in order to create the game, but he didn’t know how to proceed to get the game out to the stores. Nicolay needed help to create a plan. Formulating a plan together with Spark mentors increased his engagement in the project.

–  What I need to do next is marketing and promotion of the board game. I want to launch a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter campaign will show the demand for the board game and hopefully the money I need to mass produce the game for the lowest unit price.


–  Why should students start their own startup or be a part of one?

– Everyone should just dive right into it if they get an idea. It is so educational to work with something of your own. The “boost” you get of having ambitions for a project you own is very cool, Nicolay says and smiles.

He also mentions that receiving feedback is really valuable. In the start, he wasn’t open to do changes. Nicolay considered the game as his own and was pleased with it.

–  It is so wrong to think that. Many commented the same things. Then I realized that I had to do changes. After you have done the changes you are closer to the finished product. I have simply learned to value other’s opinion more.

Nicolay recommends the market of board games. Since a board game is an achievable project for most people, it is easy to get people to believe in your project and get fundings on Kickstarter. Nicolay has backed two board games himself.

–  You don’t need as much background knowledge as if you were to develop some new technology product, for instance. Both the board game projects I backed on Kickstarter reached their goal.


Do you want to stay updated on the progress of Thief Trackers? Check out Thief Tracker’s Facebook page!

Thief Trackers board game, shortly explained:
  • The board game is in the fantasy genre with a setting inspired by The Lord of the Rings.
  • There are two teams.
  • One team consists of only one player called the thief.
  • The thief has stolen two crowns from the kingdom, and the king has commanded four soldiers called trackers to bring back the thief and the crowns.
  • The trackers are controlled by the second team and have to succeed within the given number of rounds.