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Author Topic: Board Games - The Kickstartering  (Read 217 times)
schild
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on: September 08, 2018, 12:18:27 PM

So, I think we can all agree that the effect Kickstarter has had on the board game industry has been absolutely immense. Between just raw knowledge that something exists and the way it's brought straight up art quality to the forefront, it's fairly reasonable to say that the net effect has been good. Advertising, in a way, has become cheaper (just give up a cut to Amazon / Kickstarter). Hell, now you CAN advertise board games. I don't think I ever saw an advertised board game before Kickstarter. I'm not even sure I saw a worker placement game without hot garbage art before Kickstarter.

Anyway, a lot of people here have bought 10, 20, 30+ games on Kickstarter and I'd like to know how you come to the decisions you come to. Or what immediately turns you off. As an example, here's something I typically would have bought but it contained something so deal-breaking that I didn't even put it on my "saved projects." I present to you, Tradewarz: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/480710422/tradewarz-a-game-of-kings

Minis were unique, fun and didn't REALLY need to be painted.
Art in general was good.
Tiny bit of the ruleset/gameplay I read about seemed ok.

But the name, should I see something called Tradewarz sitting on the shelf, I'd regret the purchase until the sun burnt out. Given that its failing (in a world where total garbage... doesn't fail), maybe others couldn't get past the name?

Moving on, in addition to what you like and don't like, what purchases have you all made that you regret?

Mostly, I'd like to narrow down not so much "what makes a good kickstarter" but "what presentation makes a game seem good enough to throw money at." For the sake of argument, let's ignore CMON and Zombicide or whatever the fuck. Yeah, it's a lot of minis. I get "value," this isn't about "value." Also, those games suck and are ugly.

in b4 "nice try, Seth Hiatt"
Ard
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Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 12:55:48 PM

My normal process depends heavily on how much the kickstarter is.  If it's less than $30 and looks interesting, a fool and his money are parted.  If it's less than like $60, I'll read the pitch in full and make a call based on that.  Below $100 I start looking at the gameplay videos, mostly to see how the actual gameplay plays out.  Above $100 I have not bought first editions, and I read the shit out of reviews of the first editions before buying them.  So far that only includes gloomhaven and city of kings which both pushed my buttons hard after the reviews.  

That said, there is some simplicity to Teleku's version:  "Hey Teleku, look, something shiny" *a year later*  "Oh right, i bought this".


As far as Tradewarz goes, the name is what made me open up the page.  I wanted to see what sort of trainwreck would name itself that.  Then I saw what they made and temporarily lost my mind.  Then I read the rules and noped out hard on the first page when it was as wishy washy as the name.  Names matter folks.

So far the only thing i regret buying is Founders of Gloomhaven.  It clearly needed a few more design passes, and in the future I'm not going to be backing anything that looks like an unfinished rules set because of it.

All that said, this looks amazing and fit my < $30 criteria, yet I still read the rules due to the theming and name.  Everyone should buy this though  awesome, for real https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/socialsloth/gem-hens-a-real-time-dice-rolling-eggstravaganza?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=gem%20hens


edit:  It looks like they're taking the name change recommendations seriously, although maybe not seriously enough.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/480710422/tradewarz-a-game-of-kings/posts/2279103
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 01:04:02 PM by Ard »
schild
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Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 01:06:50 PM

i am not buying gem hens
Goldenmean
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Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 05:54:13 PM

I'm an outlier data point here, as I've got 721 backed projects in the games category, and at least 90% of those are board games, so clearly I'm a little indiscriminate, though I'm basically completely out of space, and have been trying to be better about what makes me pull the trigger. Off the top of my head, the things that matter most to me in some sort of roughly ordered list of importance are

1) Name recognition of the designer. Board games aren't quite a single auteur endeavor in most instances, but they're pretty damned close. It's rare that I really enjoy one game a designer puts out and can't find at least something interesting to think about in another one of their designs.

2) My hot button interests from the mechanics side. I like co-ops and legacy or campaign mechanics. Any game touting those is going to at least get a detailed investigation. This also works the other way. Are you dice chucker dudes on a map game without much else going? You're probably getting a pass.

3) Name recognition of the publisher. This is more of an anti-indicator that I should back then anything else. CMON miniature heavy products are largely crap, so if it's one of those and it's not also an Eric Lang design, it's probably getting ignored. The Horizon Zero Dawn game is another one. If I'd attached Steamforged as "The Dark Souls people" earlier, it wouldn't have gotten a second glance.

4) Innovation. If I read through a description and can't immediately pigeonhole it as "Oh, that's a lot like $FOO", I'll probably back it just to see what's going on under the hood. I've ended up with a lot of pretty blah projects that didn't quite come together as a result of this, but I've ended up with a ton of hidden gems as well. To me this is really what's amazing about kickstarter. It let's things that are risky or niche enough that a publisher won't go for them see the light of day.

5) Cost. I'm fortunate enough that money isn't much of a concern (thanks Bay Area tech bubble), but I'm not completely stupid. I'll think a bit more about something that costs triple digits than something that doesn't. However because most games that do end up costing that much are miniatures heavy dice chucker type games, they probably already got weeded out by section 2.

As for games I was disappointed with, the biggest ones are practically all of the CMON miniatures fests before I made a rule about that. I think Dogs of War is the only good one they kickstarted, and while that has miniatures for absolutely no good reason, they're not really the thrust of the project.
schild
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Reply #4 on: September 08, 2018, 06:14:38 PM

721 backed projects? I thought I had a problem.
Goldenmean
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Reply #5 on: September 08, 2018, 06:19:16 PM

Yeah, it's a bit gross. I think that number is everything backed in the category, regardless of whether or not it was canceled or the funding failed, but it's a stupidly high number however you slice it.
schild
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Reply #6 on: September 08, 2018, 06:21:18 PM

I have two Kickstarter accounts and probably clock in between 150 and 200 total with about 20-30 cancellations / refunds. I'm pretty picky but some stuff is just snap purchased. That said, I don't think I'll ever run out of space, so it's less of a problem.
Soln
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Reply #7 on: September 08, 2018, 10:52:49 PM

I pretty much can echo everything said so far.  Another big criteria for me is rarity.  Boardgames used to be scarce and KS used to be about helping entrepreneurs.  Iím turned off when a campaign is just a pre-retailer marketing spend.  If the KS is the only way to get the game or if itís a small publisher who often isnít in retail (like war games, or Phil Eklundís joint) then Iíll usually back.  I canít stand seeing publishers like Queen or Artipia or anyone doing a campaign and the game is then 5% more at a FLGS a few weeks later.
schild
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Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 11:31:29 PM

I should add, I'll go in blind on anything involving John Clowdus from Small Box Games.
Ard
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Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 12:13:05 AM

That ^, although he and his stuff basically got purchased by another company last winter to start doing kickstarter to retail for his back catalogue.  So far they've only pushed out Omen though, so we'll see if any of his other stuff ever actually sees the light of day again.

Edit:  Looks like I haven't been paying attention.  Appears that they're staging a handful of his other games, and one that I don't have might be about to be listed on kickstarter.  Interesting.  Going up on the 25th supposedly.  Date is in a thread on BGG.

https://kolossalgames.com/our-games/mezo/
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1998448/kickstarter-date

Edit edit:  Holy crap.  No, it's a completely new game, and a board game at that.  My brain just exploded.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 12:29:28 AM by Ard »
Teleku
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Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 06:56:11 AM

That said, there is some simplicity to Teleku's version:  "Hey Teleku, look, something shiny" *a year later*  "Oh right, i bought this".
I saw this thread and was all set to write up all my reasons for kickstarting games, saw this, then realized I couldnít refute it.   awesome, for real

But hey, lets do a list of the reasons Iíll back something anyways as I help myself to the open bar in the Executive Lounge at the Westin Chosun. 

1.)  Collectable - This is something I can only get on Kickstarter.  This is why I backed the collectors edition of Twighlight Struggle and Tokaido, despite already owning copies of the originals.  Also things like Scythe, where I get a bunch of extra nice miniature/plastic version of components I wont get in normal retail versions.

2.)  Shiny - Iím a sucker for impressive components.  And I do not think this is a bad thing.  To me, in this day and age, board games have to be a very visual experience (or be well suited to quick party game play.  See next point).  I can go online and play any sort of multiplayer game much easier than getting a bunch of people to sit around and try to enforce/remember rules myself.  Everybody sitting around a table with a game that gives an impressive presentation of art, style, or shear number of miniatures is a big part of the fun.  This is why Warhammer 40K can still rack in the amount of money it does for overpriced miniatures, even though you could play the game with cardboard chits.  Because fuck that, you are in it for the spectacle WW1 style space lazor tanks crashing into hordes of bright green aliens wielding scraps of metal as swords and firing jank ass machine guns in the other hand.

Conan, Bloodrage, Rising Sun, UBOOT, and Street Fighter all fit into this one (plus some more).  Oh, and something called Kingdom Death.  Mind you, I still only kickstart if the game seems fun, so I still avoid a lot of the mass miniature games that just donít appeal to me.  Most recently I backed ďSo Long, My WorldĒ just because the art and the whole theme of the game really appealed to me, despite pretty much being a card only game.  And I rarely kickstart card only games, unless....

3.)  Cool Party Game, Bro - I kickstart stupid cheap shit because while I work in a job where Iím often at drunken social gatherings with intelligent people who are down to play games, its to hard to pull out some 5 hour long horseshit and try to explain the rules.  The collectors edition of Secret Hitler (good crossover with my first point) may be one of the most successful kickstarters for me ever.  I have gotten so much use out of that in the Foreign Service, and it never gets old getting high level government officials around a table and have them start accusing each other of literally being Hitler.  It has been a massive hit everywhere I take it.  The wooden box it comes in also gets praise over the peons who bring their standard cardboard shit.  Anyways, this also includes shit like exploding Kittens and Bears vs. Babyís.  Itís quick, its easy, its fun, its visual.  No reason not to if it has some decent names behind it.  Iíll sort of glom things like Omen and other small box games into this.  If you do a good job of presenting the game mechanics, and its just basically a cheep deck of cards, then why the hell would I not kickstart.  I backed a glorified deck of cards called Bushido Breakers because it seemed like the idea might work, and it was super cheap (I have not yet opened the box).

4.)  Some Specific Mechanic - There are certain things that appeal to me specifically as a gamer, and Iíll naturally be drawn to kickstart games that follow that theme, even if others wont.  In the old MMO personality type shit (that means nothing anymore), I was hard exploration.  This means I backed things like the 7th Continent or even Endevor.  I also enjoy crafting, and even bounce a game idea round in my head that revolves around crafting magical weapons.  This made me kickstart Enchanters (which was probably a really dumb idea) just to see other ideas around the mechanics of creating magical items.  Iím sure we all have our own specific quirks that set us off and kickstart shit others might shake their heads at.  I kickstarted City of Kings because the RNG mechanics looked like it could be fun.

5.)  Specific Theme - I should probably borg this into point 4 as it fits the overall category, but Iíll just point it out as something people may decide to back a game based on.  I love history, majored in it in college, so I have a huge weakness for historical games.  I kickstarted ĎDays of Ireí, a game about the uprising against communist rule in Budapest, for this reason (also helps I was living in Eastern Europe so it was on my mind).  Despite the fact I have nobody to play it with and with all the other games out there, I doubt Iíll ever open the damn box at this point.  But I have zero regrets, and Iíll probably kickstart more random historical shit like that in the future.  Iím sure others do the same thing for different reasons.

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
-Stephen Colbert
BobtheSomething
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Reply #11 on: September 10, 2018, 12:24:49 AM

I never, ever read about the game mechanics.  I don't care.  Rules are cheap and plentiful online, and I can always house rule cool minis into a game I know I enjoy.  For me, it's all about the miniatures.
jgsugden
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Reply #12 on: September 10, 2018, 04:35:32 PM

I've backed:

Exploding Kittens (gift for the wife)
Blood Rage
Kingdom Builder Marshlands and Harvest (fuck Queen Games - they're the worst)
Small Star Empires (both KS phases)
Deep Madness (delivering soon)
Rising Sun
Vindication/Epoch the Awakening (delivering soon)
Cthulhu: Death May Die
Eclipse 2

All are enjoyable games for my various game groups.  How do I know this about the games that have yet to release?  I mock them up for a demo session with my friends before the KS ends to help me decide whether I want to back it. 

I open KS daily with the saved search t see new tabletop games.  If something has an earlybird and looks at all interesting, I back it and then schedule a check i later to evaluate it.  If no Early Bird, I wait until a week before it ends to evaluate it.   For the most part, I won't back games that do not have KS exclusives as I can generally get it cheaper down the road and have enough games that I'm not desperate to get something new.

I have 100 games.  If I buy a new one, I get rid of an old one.  Even if a game is good, I won't buy it unless I think it is better than similar games that I already own,  or it fills an empty hole in my collection.

Most new games on KS are not impressive and I pass them by in a few seconds.  I spend more time with a game if I like the theme, mechanics and look.  However, I rule out a lot of games and regret it, such as Spirit Island and 7th Continent.

What can you tell me about gaming and fun in Charlotte, NC?
lamaros
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Reply #13 on: September 10, 2018, 10:32:39 PM

I don't by KS games unless it's a reprint I have played and want, essentially.

I dunno why I'm in this thread.

Expect poison from the standing water.
schild
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Reply #14 on: September 10, 2018, 10:38:16 PM

Quote
Most new games on KS are not impressive and I pass them by in a few seconds.  I spend more time with a game if I like the theme, mechanics and look.  However, I rule out a lot of games and regret it, such as Spirit Island and 7th Continent.

I've backed:
Cthulhu: Death May Die

whew, what a rollercoaster
jgsugden
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Reply #15 on: September 13, 2018, 12:09:12 AM

Quote
Most new games on KS are not impressive and I pass them by in a few seconds.  I spend more time with a game if I like the theme, mechanics and look.  However, I rule out a lot of games and regret it, such as Spirit Island and 7th Continent.

I've backed:
Cthulhu: Death May Die

whew, what a rollercoaster
I like the theme, the game is fun in the same way that Betrayal is, and I can use the minis for an RPG I run that is set in a early twentieth century setting.  Some of the minis will also get used for my D&D games - the next campaign I run will be heavily influenced by the Far Realms.  It isn't going to be my favorite of the games I got from KS, but I won't regret the ~$100 expense. 

What can you tell me about gaming and fun in Charlotte, NC?
Sky
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Reply #16 on: September 13, 2018, 09:49:46 PM

Solo support and a strong atmosphere are pretty much all I look for (I also backed CMON's Cthulhu at the last minute). I was pleasantly surprised with Massive Darkness, its shallow and cheesy but hits just the right level for a solitaire game for me. Especially with the promo and crossover content (the vanilla game is really thin).

My main disappointment with KS has been video games. My main happiness has been KDM, all in twice now.


jgsugden
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Reply #17 on: September 15, 2018, 12:03:06 AM

Solo support and a strong atmosphere are pretty much all I look for (I also backed CMON's Cthulhu at the last minute). I was pleasantly surprised with Massive Darkness, its shallow and cheesy but hits just the right level for a solitaire game for me. Especially with the promo and crossover content (the vanilla game is really thin).

My main disappointment with KS has been video games. My main happiness has been KDM, all in twice now.
You might want to keep an eye out for Deep Madness returning to KS.  It can be run Solo and looks to be challenging.  Their first KS run cost more than expected, so they're doing a second run now that the game is ready to go to fund the retail release.  I played through the demo and it was challenging and fun, but not earthshattering.  The minis rival CMON. 

What can you tell me about gaming and fun in Charlotte, NC?
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