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TOPIC: In Defense of Kickstarter

In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 18:51 #255267

Barnes has been very down on Kickstarter in recent years, and I agree with his reasoning. Kickstarter makes it all too easy for an over-priced and under-developed game to force its way into an already overcrowded boardgame market driven by collector mania and FOMO.

I did kickstart a reprint/upgrade of The Vesuvius Incident, because that is a virtually unknown classic that I always wanted to upgrade myself. And that kickstarter turned out fine. Improved rulebook, superior components, and only took about one year to arrive after the kickstarter was announced. The guy who published did end up losing a little money on the deal, but he kept all of his promises.

After that, I haven't kickstarted anything else, because I agreed with Barnes about the dubious quality of most kickstarted games.

And yet, I have bought several games that began life as kickstarters, but continued to sell additional copies from a website or even through retailers. And every one of these games has been good or even great. I could be a victim of confirmation bias (aka drinking the Kool-Aid), but I tend to be good at picking out decent games. Naming specific games:

Lords of Gossamer and Shadow - a professional grade diceless rpg that was clearly and heavily inspired by the cult classic Amber diceless rpg. The rule book has nice full-color artwork, clearly written rules, solid play examples, and plenty of fresh ideas to take the Amber diceless thing into a different setting.

Camp Grizzley - An excellent horror co-op game. Easy to learn, easy to play, very thematic and tends to deliver a good narrative.

Saltlands - A good post-apocalyptic game with some interesting mechanics and a variety of play options, including solo, multi-player, easy to hard, co-op, competitive, and semi-co-op.

On the other hand, I have seen a lot of crap games getting churned out via kickstarter campaigns, but so far I have avoided them.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 18:55 #255268

I have pledged for several games, and more often than not, regretted it.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 20:07 #255269

I've failed saving throws on a couple of items...but every time I came to my senses and canceled. I even did this with Cthulhu Wars onslaught 3. I'll just get whatever comes to Miniature Market, whatever I miss...I won't miss. I had money on CW, one of my favorite games...but I'd rather have that money now rather than sunk for 8 months.

So far, I have yet to truly regret not backing anything. Including Kingdom Death or Gloomhaven.

Nor have I regretted selling pledges. Flipping a $125 pledge for $300 - no regrets.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 20:35 #255270

The only thing that I've pledged for is the Band of Brothers: Texas Arrows. Was pretty pissed at that one too since I can't afford to get the revised boxes with mounted map board and they refused to sell the map boards only. What I wanted was just revised Screaming Eagles counter, so even if Texas Arrows was bad, I'm ok with that. I knew exactly what I was getting into and--Texas Arrows turned out good--I'm a very satisfied backer (with caveats).
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 20:58 #255271

So if I was going to sell a kickstarter pledge... like for a kickstarter that was JUST now starting their pledge manager. How would I do such a thing?
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 21:10 #255272

Which game you selling for?
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 21:29 #255274

CW Onslaught 3. I have a $200 pledge and I realized what I was most interested in was the plastic gates and Opener of the Way expansion. Not a huge deal as I can just sell the stuff later when the pledge comes if needed, but hey might be nice to get rid of it now and just not bother in a year.

Happy to sell to a FATie that missed out and wants in at cost!
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 21:41 #255276

It usually takes a few months for he demand to ramp up to make he pledges sellable...once they are shut down, no late pledges or anything like that, the value may go up. It tends to be the CMON style ones with tons of "exclusives" that shoot up.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 22:23 #255277

I have a 100% regret rate with this stuff
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In Defense of Kickstarter 05 Oct 2017 22:35 #255278

Shell is doing it the right way -- wait for it to be released and reviewed, then decide if it's right for the price. A known quantity for a known cost is sound business.

I wail on Kickstarter in spite of being in on three, two games and a magazine. I had played the one game in beta, the other was a friend's design and I had read magazines from the same publisher. So my risk was lessened on each. But the issue I have with it is the blind buy, not the final product. There's junk coming out through more traditional channels as well, but you get to make that call with the actual product in your hands, not via a web page full of promises that may or may not come through.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 06 Oct 2017 00:08 #255280

I've backed two kickstarters, neither of which I've had any regrets about. One was Space Cadets: Away Missions which I'd playtested extensively and was happy to help get produced, and the other was the War of the Ring Anniversary Edition which I could flip for well over what I paid anytime I like if i was so inclined. Which I'm not...
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In Defense of Kickstarter 06 Oct 2017 02:17 #255282

I had little contact with Kickstarter games so I didn't think much of Barnes comments at first but ,after one guy in my group got into the Kickstarter wagon, I learned he was right. Every single game he has bought on Kickstarter has been underveloped in some way and all of them had a distinct lack of testing and polish that becomes unmistakeable after a while.

For example:

Blood Rage: Lack of balance, Loki strategy is extremely cheap while VP for winning battles is underpowered to the point of uselessness.
Xia: Being damaged is worse than dying, some missions have a 60% chance to fail and lower payoffs than missions they are almost identical to, commerce broke the game, dice rolls have too much range for their desired goals.
Pandemonium: Poor rules, bolted-in mechanisms (Allies), semi-cooperative aspect doesn't work,
Incómodos Invitados: Trading clues, one of the main mechanics, doesn't work because people shuffle useful ones back and forth and discard the rest.
Overseers: Bad game on its own merits but even if it were not, the buffling aspect doesn't work and the powers are not balanced.

Everytime I play a Kickstarter game I feel the game development was cut two months short. It's really that bad.

--

On a more general level, I do agree that there are benefits to kickstarter and that it has made more kinds of games possible than before. However this aspect is overshadowed by a bunch of stuff I'm less than happy about:

a) It's patronage, but culturally is treated as a preorder. And pre-orders are already quite bad.
b) It's mostly driven by consumerism rather than appreciation of games or anything actually worthwhile.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 06 Oct 2017 02:42 #255283

I have a 100% regret rate with this stuff

You do realize we are not talking about liquor here, don't you?
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In Defense of Kickstarter 06 Oct 2017 04:22 #255285

I've always been leery of kickstarter, for all the reasons described. Waiting seemed a far better option for me: you might end up paying more, but you'll get the chance to see what the community reaction to a game is first. In the long run, that strategy seems likely to save you money on dud titles.

But even that can backfire. I backed the second printing with expansions of Vast: The Crystal Caverns because it sounded really intriguing and had a lot of positive rep.And I don't regret backing the game itself at all, but I *do* regret backing the expansion. There's plenty of life in the base game without it, it adds exponential complexity because of the way the roles interact, and it's certainly not a game that needs miniatures.

The first physical game I backed was the new Paranoia edition because I knew by their previous work that the people in the design team would come good and I wasn't disappointed. For a long time, that was the only one.

I have backed a few videogame kickstarters because they're often cheap. Even the worst of them was worth the fairy minimal cost of entry. I backed Tao Long for the same reason - it seemed interesting and unusual and worth a punt for £20. But even then, other games from the same studio at the same price point look like garbage so I stayed away.

If I wanted to defend kickstarter, I think its biggest boon is simply one of visibility. The media hype around it and some of its key projects, especially the ease with which its allowed companies to resurrect games as nostalgia purchases, has helped propel tabletop gaming into its current golden age.
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In Defense of Kickstarter 06 Oct 2017 07:35 #255287

I think some of it is fine. I have a ton of backed projects at this point. Only two seem to be duds. I have hit on what I feel are every bit as good as any normal commercial release. Examples:

Argent (I know some hate the art, but it is a finished project)
Tech-no-bowl
Anything done by lvl99 really.
Spirit Island (have over 50 plays of this and its been out like 3 months or something)

I won't argue that there are crazy dumb things there, but there are some total gems too.
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