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Subject: Shuriken Goes Kickstarter Only rss

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Brian W
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We just announced that anything we make from the Shuriken Kickstarter will not be sold through distribution or to stores at all. Details here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/awesomeenterprise/shurik...

So the way to get the game is to back the Kickstarter. I hope this demonstrates that we're serious when we say we can't make the game without the Kickstarter!
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Gláucio Reis
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Brian_W wrote:
I hope this demonstrates that we're serious when we say we can't make the game without the Kickstarter!

It sounds more like blackmail to me.
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And with this the game is surely doomed!! I am getting ready my "I told you so response" the second after the project is unsuccessfully funded.
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Jerry Hawthorne
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This seems like a slap in the face of anybody who would prefer to take a traditional approach to purchasing. This really transfers all risk to the purchaser. That is not how I want to do business.

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One of the frustrating comments we keep hearing about the Shuriken Kickstarter is people saying they'll pass on backing and just pick it up at retail


They find it "frustrating" when a potential customer makes a very normal purchasing decision? I'm one of those who was considering purchasing this game when released (if it was to be successfully funded). I'm sorry, but I find this attitude somewhat insulting.

I do wish them luck with their game, but they lost me on this one.
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mads l. brynnum
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I see this as their way of saying that they cannot afford to produce the game without Kickstarter. So in other words this becomes, I think, more in line with the spirit of crowdfunding since it's not about getting funds for a production that would most likely happen otherwise.

I'm both in Europe and a bit short on cash for the moment, but this is precisely the thing that could make me back it rather than wait out.
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Brian W
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nobeerblues wrote:
This seems like a slap in the face of anybody who would prefer to take a traditional approach to purchasing.


And that works if you have a traditional approach to funding. I know most big box board game Kickstarters these days are from companies that already have the money to print, and have goals that are a fraction of the cost of manufacturing the game. They're more about marketing than about funding, and the game is getting made regardless, so you know you can get the game either way.

Unfortunately we need to use Kickstarter as a funding vehicle: without the Kickstarter the game can't be made and no one gets it.

So we're just saying that if you want the game, back the Kickstarter. If you don't want to assume that risk (or don't want the game), that's perfectly understandable.

We're trying to use Kickstarter to make a game that won't otherwise get made, and as part of that the backers will be able to get a game that they otherwise won't be able to get. It's be great if we could have both worlds: Kickstarter lets us print a game that couldn't otherwise be made and people who don't help make it happen can get the game anyway, but frankly that hasn't been working out. So we're trying something different.

If this approach doesn't change the momentum, then honestly we haven't really lost anything. And perhaps Shruiken just isn't the kind of game that gamers want, and that's fair too. But we're willing to give it a shot and pass up the profits from selling through distribution on the chance that maybe it'll help us make the game a reality.

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Brian Cwikla

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So you're only looking to do a very limited release of the game and have no long term business goals with this game. Ok. Bold move, hopefully it works out for you. I was watching this project and now have decided against backing because of this. Here's why.

I love kickstarting games and helping build awareness once the game is released. I love introducing these games to people and then directing them to where they can get a copy of it if they like it. Basically, I like growing a game's player base so the game thrives and has longevity. If I like a game, I definitely want more and more people playing it so I can go to a local game store and find experienced players to play with outside of my game group, if I want.

For many game companies, Kickstarter is not just a marketing tool like you said, but it is a viable and only way of getting the game production funded so that not only can the investors (Kickstarter backers) get their copies of the game and any exclusives, but more importantly so the game can be produced at a level so it can reach distribution and retail channels so that not only the game but also the company can expand and offer more in the future.

Kickstarter, like BGG, is a very limited audience and the way to get more exposure outside of that limited audience is having your game available in as many ways as possible. In stores and in the hands of people who can "evangelize" your product a which generates more sales of the game. Conventions are great marketing tools. But none of those will work after the Kickstarter because the game will be unavailable.

This decision you are making is a head scratcher but if you're only looking for a one off limited run just to get the game into a few hands, then best of luck to you. If you have long term goals as a game company then this decision seems to go against those in a big way.


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I, for one would NEVER back a game where the creator just seams to be in it as a "hobby"!?
Honestly, you are telling us you just want to create a game that maybe a thousand or so people have, for what, kicks, or perhaps ego?
I would not trust a "KS Hobbyist" with my $100.
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Jerry Hawthorne
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[/q]Here's why I don't think this will work. You basically have 4 kinds of people:

A- People who love kickstarter, and want this game
B- People who do not like Kickstarter but also want this game
C- People who do not want this game
D- People who do not know about the game.

You want to turn the B's into A's by basically forcing them to use kickstater. I am a B and I will not use kickstarter period, regardless of this shift in sales tactics. I don't think I'm alone in this. Many many of us avoid kickstarter because it places the burden of risk too much on the purchaser.

Brian_W wrote:

And that works if you have a traditional approach to funding.
Traditional purchasing should work regardless of how YOU fund your game. I know this because I have purchased a few games that were originally crowd funded.

Quote:
Unfortunately we need to use Kickstarter as a funding vehicle: without the Kickstarter the game can't be made and no one gets it. We're trying to use Kickstarter to make a game that won't otherwise get made,
This means that no traditional publisher is willing to take a risk on publishing this game. Crowd funding would allow you to spread that risk among many individuals. Those of us who do not want to assume that risk will just have to pass. Which is fine.

Quote:
Kickstarter lets us print a game that couldn't otherwise be made and people who don't help make it happen can get the game anyway, but frankly that hasn't been working out. So we're trying something different.
And you assume that it is the B's that are causing this to not work out? I'm not sure I agree. My thinking is that there are a bunch of C's, who haven't been convinced, and D's that have not been reached.

Quote:
If this approach doesn't change the momentum, then honestly we haven't really lost anything.
I can't speak for everyone, but I do think you lose a little good will, and that is really important. I want to be that guy who is all positive and encouraging, but I just can't bring myself to that point because I am a B and feel like you are trying to manipulate me into assuming risk I don't want.



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Scott Bender
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nobeerblues wrote:


Here's why I don't think this will work. You basically have 4 kinds of people:

A- People who love kickstarter, and want this game
B- People who do not like Kickstarter but also want this game
C- People who do not want this game
D- People who do not know about the game.

You want to turn the B's into A's by basically forcing them to use kickstater. I am a B and I will not use kickstarter period, regardless of this shift in sales tactics. I don't think I'm alone in this. Many many of us avoid kickstarter because it places the burden of risk too much on the purchaser.

Brian_W wrote:

And that works if you have a traditional approach to funding.
Traditional purchasing should work regardless of how YOU fund your game. I know this because I have purchased a few games that were originally crowd funded.

Quote:
Unfortunately we need to use Kickstarter as a funding vehicle: without the Kickstarter the game can't be made and no one gets it. We're trying to use Kickstarter to make a game that won't otherwise get made,
This means that no traditional publisher is willing to take a risk on publishing this game. Crowd funding would allow you to spread that risk among many individuals. Those of us who do not want to assume that risk will just have to pass. Which is fine.

Quote:
Kickstarter lets us print a game that couldn't otherwise be made and people who don't help make it happen can get the game anyway, but frankly that hasn't been working out. So we're trying something different.
And you assume that it is the B's that are causing this to not work out? I'm not sure I agree. My thinking is that there are a bunch of C's, who haven't been convinced, and D's that have not been reached.

Quote:
If this approach doesn't change the momentum, then honestly we haven't really lost anything.
I can't speak for everyone, but I do think you lose a little good will, and that is really important. I want to be that guy who is all positive and encouraging, but I just can't bring myself to that point because I am a B and feel like you are trying to manipulate me into assuming risk I don't want.


I don't see this as manipulating. I see it as emphatically restating what they've said all along - that Shuriken is not getting published without KS. The sense I get is that Brian and Jon feel that a significant number of people either don't believe them or haven't heard the statement. Brian also seems to feel that this will convince those people to "get off the fence" and pledge. Now, I don't think that's necessarily true as most of those people are probably like you and not inclined to KS regardless.

I do think the flaw in your analysis is that they hope to make this up by getting enough of "column B" on board. My take is that they want to get enough of column B on board to shift the momentum. As it stands Shuriken is going to have a lot of trouble attracting new pledges simply because it's in the doldrums. Folks are much more likely to back a project that is doing well. Projects that are doing well attract more backers which makes it appear to be doing well and so on. So, get "enough" column B and they're much more likely to get more column D.

All that being said, it does seem like a short sighted strategy from a buisness development stand point. It's hard to see how they leverage this into growth for Awesome Games.
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Brian W
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spbtc wrote:
All that being said, it does seem like a short sighted strategy from a buisness development stand point. It's hard to see how they leverage this into growth for Awesome Games.


There are a couple of business development advantages, they're just longer term advantages.

First we're able to demonstrate that we can produce a high-quality game, and get it into the hands of backers. Second we build a large list of happy backers, who are far more likely to back the next project -- giving us a fanbase to tap for that initial surge that's so important at the beginning of a project, rather than starting from zero as we did here (not to mention our knowledge of everything we did wrong this time around)

So this isn't a scenario where we get to make a bunch of money from the game, but it does support our ability to make future games. With this route, rather than a goal of making money, the goal is to build an audience that trusts us to deliver -- something far more valuable from a long-term perspective.

Ultimately we're asking backers to back a game, not our company. But for people who want to know their pledge supports the company's growth, that's how it helps us.
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Matthew Eklund
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Let me preface by saying i'm not a backer, don't know anyone involved, and have no dog in this issue.

But count me as someone who is more than a little perturbed by the movement of Kickstarter away from small, risky, independent game designs... due to the inundation of marketing campaigns by established companies using it for pre-orders. Would it be so bad for established companies to use traditional discounted pre-order marketing campaigns instead of KS?

It just doesn't 'feel' honest to the crowdfunding concept... but that's just my humble opinion.

Regardless I am a bit surprised at the backlash against the decision to go KS-only. It's an internal (and interesting) business decision... what's the big deal? I for one look forward to seeing how this turns out.
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Paul Hackman
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I don't know the details of this project but I don't see any problem with such a declaration. I do understand how it can "feel" like a high pressure sales tactic, but if the KS campaign is truly in trouble then I don't see how this is anything but stating a reality.

If the choice is don't reach your funding goal or declare KS exclusivity so that the game at least gets made then the latter doesn't seem disingenuous in any way.

If they were just hinting that this was likely to be a very limited release, then I would be a little bothered, but since they are making a promise to backers that they will fore go future sales in order to make the KS as successful as possible I see it as a sign of goodwill.

If using KS is not for you that is okay. You've made a decision and there are some very small consequences (not being able to buy a few games at retail) because of it.
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Brian Cwikla

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I'm also curious about the production if you limit it to Kickstarter.

Say you only have backers backing at the $75 level to get a game. If you reach your goal of $95,000 that would mean about 1,267 backers. So lets say you have 1,400 copies of the game - the extra copies are for replacement parts, damaged copies etc.

Isn't the minimum order needed by most factories much more than 1,400 copies?

I could be way off here - I'm just curious how going exclusive like this affects production capability. I know of a few productions that had minimums dictated by manufacturers as much higher, but that might not be the norm.
 
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Brian, I don't think you look at your problem objectively.
The amount of succesfull KS boardgames projects in 2012 and 2013 should tell you that there is no lack of backers around to fund a good game.You only need to find a good way to attract them.
So either your game is not so good, or it is good but poorly advertised or marketed (The intro video is such a turn-off)

Take example of "burning suns" it failed its first KS, and since then the creator has reworked the KS page, the rewards, has brought in the big guns : Undeadviking, Tom Vasel (video not yet available), has a complete prototype available for reviewers. I am convinced his second KS will do well.

Xia is another unlikely candidate to success (being unknown without experience and very optimistic in his goal), but then once again the "Big Guns" and high quality prototypes brought his project in the limelight.

I agree with a previous poster that you will not be able to convince people who usually don't back to pledge.
KS exclusivity of components, add-ons expansions are a very good way to bring in backers who can see value over retail.
Full exclusivity of the game is very silly and you might have go back on this statement if KS fails and you want to restart another KS.

You might want to go back to the drawing board and find out why some KS succeed and why yours is stagnating and will potentially fail.

I still wish you to succeed, but instead of being angry at potential backers comments maybe you have to investigate what it is might be wrong with your product.
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Jeremy Mueller
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GSReis wrote:
Brian_W wrote:
I hope this demonstrates that we're serious when we say we can't make the game without the Kickstarter!

It sounds more like blackmail to me.


To me it says, this game has such limited appeal that we don't want to try and have copies on hand after people play it, it won't sell then.

It's only marketable during a short 45 day window, and after that no one in the world could possibly want it.

I'll pass.
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John Jeneki
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I pledged a few weeks ago so I won't change that decision, however this really leaves a bad taste in my mouth and will affect my chances of funding future projects. I really, really, REALLY dislike products specifically designed to be limited.

Boardgaming is a hobby about sharing with others. There's no greater joy than showing a game to friends, watching them get excited, seeing them eventually buy their own copy, and spreading that love to others. One of the worst aspects of boardgaming is showing a rare game to friends, watching them get excited, and having to tell them "sorry you can't have one".

Update #6 made perfect sense to me though. If the game doesn't get funded, it won't get made, and therefore it obviously it won't go retail. Honestly it would have been best just to leave it at that.

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Andy Andersen
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With the recent publicity surrounding some failed KS projects and money vanishing, this may not be the best time to test a new way of marketing.

Pass. Too bad, the game looks interesting.
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GSReis wrote:
Brian_W wrote:
I hope this demonstrates that we're serious when we say we can't make the game without the Kickstarter!

It sounds more like blackmail to me.


Well, maybe you and the "If it worked in the 1940's it should work now, right?" retailer-distributor model should cough up an unsecured loan for these guys.

Despite the designer cred, $170 per game Cthulhu Wars isn't looking likely either for hobby retailer shelves, either. $75 KS translates to another $100 game on the shelves. Who, exactly, will buy a $100 or $90 game from an unknown board game company? Yeah, we know the backers on KS will, but I'm pretty sure a distributor would rather drop $75 on yet another Magic expansion than take a risk on an unknown boardgame. Heck. SJG wouldn't have published Ogre without KS because your favorite game Munchkin sells so much better.

Reaper State of the Union 2012



While some companies are using KS as a marketing and pre-order tool, some aren't. Given the sheer number of game products available, distributors have become picky with what they will carry, shutting out the consumer entirely from the decision making process. An expensive game from an unknown company -- like Shuriken -- would not make the cut:

Quote:
If you’re a small publisher you may not be able to get the attention of a big distributor like Alliance or SDVM. If they don’t expect your game to sell a lot then they may not bother to bring it to the attention of their customers, the retail shops. And if you’re a small publisher, the distributor may simply assume your game isn’t going to sell much, if they bother to think about it at all amongst the hundreds of games published each year.


More on this 2012 "Observations about changes in game distribution (and publishing)" article: http://www.bgdf.com/node/7087

EDIT: Interesting. A Facebook page for KS boardgame creators says that, after a KS, only expect to sell 300-600 copies. I've heard of "print to order" for books, but mebbe KS will make this more feasible for games...

https://www.facebook.com/groups/KickstarterBestPractices/
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Brian Cwikla

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Grindhouse Games just announced limited distribution model.

Quote:
Incursion will not be offered through big distribution this time around. We're not playing that game anymore. It's a broken system that just crushes the little guy. We will also not be offering this up through discount online retailers of any kind so that they can undercut the community-building retailers who do want to carry our game.

Incursion will be available from select brick and mortar retailers, West Wind, our online store, and from us at conventions and stuff. We do not plan to produce very many more copies than we need as pledge rewards. Again, not playing that game. The goal of this campaign is to get the game with as many freebies as possible into the hands of as many fans as possible, not having to buy a forklift to manage a warehouse full of stock that we're making pennies a copy on.

We will be creating a special Brick and Mortar pledge level. A pledge by a qualified business will gain that business limited access to all exclusive items in the campaign. If you want your local store to carry Incursion, you'd best start bugging them now.
You want Incursion? Best get ready for the Kickstarter because it's not going to show up out there in the discount stores.


To not offer a game at all after a project and not allow your game community to grow AT ALL just seems absurd to me. I like the approach that Grindhouse Games has taken and think perhaps this is something you should consider.

Above quote taken from Facebook here
 
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Brian W
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We can absolutely do something like that -- create a brick & mortar backing level for retailers (who can prove they're retailers). They'd be backers of the Kickstarter, so that would be consistent with our promise. We actually discussed having a retailer backer level at the start of the campaign, but dismissed it at the time -- we're happy to add it in.

However, if I'm being totally honest and transparent, we'd be doing that mostly for PR mollification. Retailers typically buy on Net 30 terms -- meaning they don't even have to pay for their games until a month after they get them. Very, very few retailers are going to pay 6 months in advance for a game. As a gamer and a fan, I would do that, and have done that. As a business owner I would not.
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iguano wrote:


Grindhouse Games just announced limited distribution model.

Quote:
Incursion will not be offered through big distribution this time around. We're not playing that game anymore. It's a broken system that just crushes the little guy. We will also not be offering this up through discount online retailers of any kind so that they can undercut the community-building retailers who do want to carry our game.

Incursion will be available from select brick and mortar retailers, West Wind, our online store, and from us at conventions and stuff. We do not plan to produce very many more copies than we need as pledge rewards. Again, not playing that game. The goal of this campaign is to get the game with as many freebies as possible into the hands of as many fans as possible, not having to buy a forklift to manage a warehouse full of stock that we're making pennies a copy on.

We will be creating a special Brick and Mortar pledge level. A pledge by a qualified business will gain that business limited access to all exclusive items in the campaign. If you want your local store to carry Incursion, you'd best start bugging them now.
You want Incursion? Best get ready for the Kickstarter because it's not going to show up out there in the discount stores.


To not offer a game at all after a project and not allow your game community to grow AT ALL just seems absurd to me. I like the approach that Grindhouse Games has taken and think perhaps this is something you should consider.

Above quote taken from Facebook here


We don't want to be a business. We don't want to deal with businesses. But we have some very specific ideas about the only way one should be allowed to act.

riiight.
 
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Aaron Bohm
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I can see the brilliance here: whereas Kickstarter used to be to help fund a game to get it out into the public, now it can be funding to get the game only to the funders...

Ideally, we should have a Kickstarter 2 site, where we can pledge so as to help make future Kickstarter projects a reality.
 
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This game looks great to me and, ordinarily, I would happily back it at the $150 level. Unfortunately, I just dropped a bunch of mad money on some other games so I'm not in a position to commit to this game in the next 18 days which, apparently, is my only chance ever to do so.

It's frustrating to know that my only option for playing it will most likely be through people scalping it on eBay.
 
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DJGryph wrote:
This game looks great to me and, ordinarily, I would happily back it at the $150 level. Unfortunately, I just dropped a bunch of mad money on some other games so I'm not in a position to commit to this game in the next 18 days which, apparently, is my only chance ever to do so.

It's frustrating to know that my only option for playing it will most likely be through people scalping it on eBay.


I clicked on it to see how well I could scalp it on ebay!

70k in 18 days. Hah.
 
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