Hey folks! I’m back today with a write up about Kickstarter. For those that haven’t heard about it, Kickstarter is a site that draws in funding from the people that want to support the project presented. Typically, each project will have multiple tiers for funding it, multiple stretch goals, and usually some sort of exclusive item only obtainable through the funding campaign. Board games are pretty big on Kickstarter right now, and there are new ones coming out each day to be funded.
For a successful Kickstarter project to be achieved, they need to hit the amount their seeking for funding. They also need to do this in 1-60 days. Most projects I’ve seen are around 30 days. Backers don’t pay until the project is fully funded. Once a project has met the funded mark, it still has the rest of the 30 days to collect more backers. This is where the stretch goals come in. For board games, it’s upgraded components, game inserts, exclusive components, miniatures, or expansions.
A lot of games that come out on Kickstarter are for a limited run. Meaning you can’t go and order a copy after the project has been funded. This has created a phenomenon known as FOMO. Fear of missing out. That means you’ve got to back the project or miss out on the game. That’s partly true. There are sites that sell used board games, eBay, or sites that back Kickstarters and sell them later. Some games even have a retail store backing tier allowing stores to carry the product. Alternatively, a game can do so well that the creators do a second Kickstarter to make more copies.
Now, this is a great way for smaller companies to get funds to produce a game. Even some larger companies can use this to see if a game would be worth making. This has exploded that amount of games coming out each year. It’s hard to keep up on what’s coming out and what is the current hot game that everyone wants.
It may come as a surprise, but I have not used Kickstarter at all. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any Kickstarter games. I’ve just acquired them after the project was funded, and the owner was “culling” their collection so picked up as a used game. Usually at a lower price than what it was to back the project. However, if everyone did this, then nothing would get backed. So, I’m about to take the plunge into Kickstarter, pending budget.
We’ve talked about how Kickstarter is nice and lets companies bring products to the people and test to see if there is interest in it. And all the added content that backers get where the retail versions, if it gets that far, don’t get. Are there downsides to Kickstarter? I’ve seen a couple of stories that makes me think twice before backing anything.
Let’s take a look at some of the downs of Kickstarter. I’ll start with some of the policies from Kickstarter and campaigns.
Who is responsible for completing a project once it’s funded? It’s the creators responsibility. Kickstarter is just a platform to help get funding to the project. They collect their fee, I believe around 5% of the total amount funded. Then it’s all up to the creator of the project to fulfill the project promise.
Let’s take a look at some projects that were funded, but never fulfilled. Space Goat Productions had two projects that were funded. An Evil Dead 2 board game and Terminator board game. Neither have been fulfilled. Evil Dead 2 Board Game was started and fully funded July 7th 2016. Yes, that was 2016 and not the current year of 2018. It’s been 2 years and it hasn’t been fulfilled. There’s been updates here and there for the backers to follow. The most current update is from May 24th 2018, and doesn’t look good.
Well, can’t Kickstarter refund the money you spent? Evil Dead 2 cost $60+ to back. Clearly you can get that back, right? Can Kickstarter refund money if a project isn’t fulfilled? They do not issue refunds. Transactions are between the backers and creators directly. To request a refund, you need to contact the creator. This is the scariest part for me. I want a game, I back the game, and then I don’t get the game or my money back. The creators won’t refund money if they’re asking for more money on other crowdfunding sites.
Last bit I want to look at is copyrighted material. Anyone can copy ideas, rules, bios, or even intellectual property. However, one must do that legally. Without licensing, you can’t make an official “Everyone and their Grandmother Games” game. Recently, there was a Dr. Horrible’s board game to come out on Kickstarter. It was fully funded in a day and well exceeded funds in four days. The company didn’t get the licensing to use the IP. It’s a newer company, and I’m sure they didn’t know what steps to take or what is needed before starting a project. They canceled their project once they received the feedback of needing it. I can respect the cancellation instead of dragging backers on for the ride. I hope they can get the licensing, as it looked like an interesting game. That was the right move to take.
Now, same time, there is another game on Kickstarter called Overturn Rising Sands. They released a rule book, and some parts were word for word the same as a game already released. Upon further inspection, a lot of the bio, mission statement, and wording were copy and pasted from other kickstarter campaigns. This project was still going forward. After writing this up, Kickstarter has suspended the backing of this project with just an hour left before backers can withdraw their pledge. With Kickstarter, backers have up until the 24 hour mark withdraw their pledges. If it’s the last 24 hours, then backers are locked in.
This leads me to my Kickstarting journey. I set up a guideline for myself before backing a project.
1. Creator must has a backed project prior to the one I’m backing. This will give me a good judgment on if they have fulfilled before. If this is their first project, that doesn’t automatically disqualify them from my Kickstarter journey. It just makes me more alert with how things are going.
2. Any IP games must be able to back up their licensing. I don’t want to back a game for nostalgic reasons only to be burned and find out there was an copyright infringement. Resulting in the game not being made.
3. Components. I want to see finished components and not some computer generated render of what it could look like. Having an idea and having a product are two separate things. I want to know the creator has put in the time and effort to make the game come to life.
4. Reviews or video of game play. I want to be able to see the game in action with the components. Once again, this verifies that the game is actually in development.
5. Lastly, the stretch goals aren’t as important to me as the actual game and theme. However, if a game has a slew of stretch goals that about double to components of the game, I’ll be more apt to back.
So, this leads me to what current games one can still back right now. Of all the games, I’ve found two that pass my guidelines and that I find interesting and can see in my collection.
First, is Jetpack Joyide from Lucky Duck Games. They have 3 projects that were funded. Two games have been made and released, one is in development. Another game was funded, but then canceled due to fear of not having enough to give the game the best quality. The game has a review from a highly respected video reviewer, has actual pictures of components, and has the Half-brick stamp of approval for bringing this cellphone game to the table top. Then, a total of 16 stretch goals have been unlocked, with one approaching that’s an add-on. Changing the number of players from 1-4 to 1-6. Currently this game has 13 days left to back it. This one looks promising and one I can see playing with friends and family.
The next game has a bit of a nostalgia for me. I used to watch Strong Bad E-mails. It was a flash animated web series about a masked luchador answering e-mails from viewers in a comedic way. Well, one e-mail asked Strong Bad to show his artist skills and draw a dragon. This created Trogdor the burninator. He burninates the country side and burninates the peasants. There was even a heavy metal song that was featured in Guitar Hero 2. I was excited to see that this idea was becoming a game. Not only that, they already had game play video, components, and it was funded in one day. I guess a lot of people remember Trogdor and Strong Bad. The game is a co-op game where players control Trogdor to burn all the villages and survive the knights and archers. The game looks like a real innovating game. It’s a tile based game, with action points, player powers, and random movement cards for the meeples. Not Trogdor though. He does what he wants. So you’re trying to work together to burn the villages, but the peasants, knights, and archers can rebuild the tiles. This game is from the creators of Homestar Runner, which is where Strong Bad E-Mails originated from. IP licensing, check. Components, check. Game play video, check. However, this is their first project on Kickstarter. I feel confident on this project that I wouldn’t worry about no follow through. Theme wise, I’m not sure if my group can get behind this one.
So there you have it, Kickstarter. Something I haven’t participated in yet due to fearing scams. I feel confident that if I follow these guidelines, then I’ll be fine when it’s time to back my first project. Any readers have stories about backing Kickstarter projects, tips, or suggestions? I’ll let me readers know when I’ve backed a project, and I’ll probably do some sill Captain’s Log of the whole journey.
Trogdor Link – TROGDOR!!!
Jetpack Joyride Link – Go Barry, Go!