Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Luke Turpeinen1
Board Game Hour Replay
Every week there is an international Twitter discussion group, called Board Game Hour, that meets up to talk board games. This last week there was a really great discussion about Kickstarter and the way that it has expanded and influenced the board game community. Not only were there a ton of great resources given, but there was a lot of talk about how people feel about various aspects of the Kickstarter board game industry.
What are the benefits to using Kickstarter?
Upside about KS games – you can support indie designers. You have a chance to be in the game. It’s also kind of like gambling #BoardGameHour
— Suzanne (@425suzanne) April 28, 2014
I liked the diversity of answers to this question. I definitely like the idea that my face, likeness, name or something could show up in someone else’s copy of a game. When we backed Euphoria we asked the creators if it’d be okay to put “Across the Board Games .Net” as our name on one of the cards, which was a reward tier. Nicole and I were so excited when they said yes, it was a real treat to open our copy and find our name tucked away quietly on one of the artifact cards. I can definitely see the appeal here.
— funeral0polis (@funeral0polis) April 28, 2014
@CrassPip gets right to my main feeling on the subject. I mainly get games on Kickstarter because that’s where they’re available. While I’m glad to buy things from my friendly local game store (I really should just have a standing order for all Cryptozoic card games), I really like getting indie games from small companies or partnerships. It feels good to buy into someone’s dream.
Kickstarter exclusives personally don’t usually get me excited about a project. I get much more excited just seeing the stretch goals unlock and watching a $100 “pretty good” minis project blow up way beyond my wildest dreams like the Reaper Bones minis did. I guess there were KS exclusives there but I honestly couldn’t tell you because I’m too excited to paint my skeleton dragon mini!
“1 created, 0 backed”
This proved to be one of the more interesting discussions to come out of this board game hour. The question is, “If you see a game being launched and the creator’s account stats say that this is their first project made and they haven’t backed anything on Kickstarter, does that change how you feel about their project?” The answer isn’t simple for most people.
I approach the subject from the point of view of the community consumer- why would I back someone who hasn’t backed someone else? If someone isn’t willing to give to the community, why should they expect the community to give to them?
Alternatively, if they have never even backed a Kickstarter project why should we trust that they have any clue how crowd funding or Kickstarter fulfillment works? This is especially the case for amateur projects that are asking for a decent amount of money- I’d want some indication that they know something, anything about the process.
@Reign3Kingdoms brought up the point that company Kickstarter accounts may have been made especially for their first project. The creators may have backed tons of projects as individuals, but the company hasn’t because that account is brand new. In my opinion, this is more understandable but still unprofessional. If you’re building a business, part of that process is establishing your brand. Part of establishing your brand within the context of Kickstarter board games, to me, is showing community involvement.
When creating your business’ account I would recommend to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to back projects that you believe in as your company. Even if it’s just $1 to get updates on projects that look like they’re ran well- it reflects well on your company and it makes me more willing to pledge to your projects. If your company’s excuse if that the company is too new to have that history then maybe the company is too new for Kickstarter right now and you should get your ducks in a row first.
Though the issue of companies backing a bunch of projects at $1 to increase their ratio sounds bad, I fail to see the problem. Sure, it may seem dishonest but it’s not doing harm- no one is being beguiled into backing a project just because someone backed a bunch of other things. While it’s definitely a part of the project I look at, seeing that a company is active on Kickstarter isn’t going to swing me towards backing the project, though not being active might swing me against the project if I were unsure.
Here is a link to the post that started that thread, if you want to look at everything in context.