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Subject: CRASS rss

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Rick Weckermann
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My view on many of the kickstarter projects involving games. It is worse that ordering a new car. What i am getting at is the mentality of oh you want this part of the game, oh that part also, well it will cost you extra if you want the complete game. Particularly what has pissed me off is Tiny Epic Kingdoms and the meeples and starter token being offered at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1303699463/character-me...
Now they want you to spend $110 for a complete set of meeples so that you can get the starter token for game. Many gamer's like to get all the parts to a game. Here we have a $16 game or $24 for the lets call it expansion, but the starter token can not be aquired without a full set of meeples and spending $110.
Maybe gamer's should have pledged $271,000 less and the meeple set with starter token cost would be more in line with game cost. As i see it kickstarter games are turning new gamer's away from the hobby.
 
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Josh Parks
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To be fair you don't need any of these pieces to play the game, these are not even necessary. I don't know much about this project, 0.98 cents/meeple seems expensive but I've never bought meeples and these seem like they are detailed meeples (maybe stickers or something). Anyway, if you don't like it do something about it, make you own meeple set
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Tim Harrison
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It might be nice to have, but a starter token is not necessary to play the game, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

The character meeples are simply a nice component upgrade, and the starter token is a bonus for people who buy the complete set.
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Barry Hood
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I agree with Josh and Tim here, these are a nice to have, but it's not like they're giving away core gameplay functionality (extra factions, scenarios, expansions, etc) with a different project. Apart from a visually interesting start token, you lose out on nothing by not backing this.

I also think the comment that this kind of behaviour is turning people away from gaming is unsupported by the numbers gaming Kickstarters regularly attract. If anything I'd say the increased exposure is having the opposite effect, people who would never have looked for a game on a boardgaming website (let alone go into a FLGS) might see a game promoted on the KS homepage, take a look, and find their way into gaming that way.

Now if you actually mean this kind of behaviour is driving a handful of completionists mad (disclaimer, I bought the full set of S1 Zombicide promos from someone after the KS was over so I'm no stranger to the madness and this is definitely not a criticism of completionists), then I would agree with that. But it's really no different to convention only promos, etc that have had the same affect on completionists for years before KS came along, and I don't blame a company for trying to please 99% of its customers and make a profit ahead of pleasing a handful of completionists.
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Rainer Ahlfors
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Rick, coming here and complaining while you're riled up is not going to help, especially since you appear to not possess all the facts.

To clarify things, and to make sure that future comments in this thread are made with access to complete information, allow me to explain the facts.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms was a 2014 Kickstarter which ended early February. Backers essentially had two options:
1) Basic game $16 (less with bundle/multiple discount)
2) Deluxe game $24 (less with bundle/multiple discount)

For completeness sake — the base game is "complete" and contains everything needed to play. The deluxe version contains three additional factions, three exclusive war dice, a premium PnP PDF, and a digital art collection.

No matter which version you pledged support for — you get a complete game. Relevant components for this discussion:
- 7 meeples in player colors
- first player oversized tower meeple



Meeple Source started a Character Meeple campaign.

They (Meeple Source) approached Gamelyn Games with a question about providing character meeples designed after the official faction artwork for Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Gamelyn Games gave their approval, and an officially licensed set of 112 meeples (16 factions, 7 meeples each) was provided as a cross-promotion on the Meeple Source Kickstarter campaign.



First of all — cross promotions are common, healthy, and generally a sensible approach. In this case, the cross promotion definitely makes sense.

During the Tiny Epic Kingdoms campaign, many backers had asked about the possibility of getting meeples unique to each faction instead of in generic player colors. Gamelyn Games repeatedly said that such an arrangement was not a feasible option, as faction specific meeple production would cost many times the cost of the original game.

Character meeples, premium resource bits, and similar game components are common. There are many different virus tokens available for purchase for Pandemic. There are plastic Pandemic miniatures. Agricola have bits and pieces shaped like carrots, corn, cows, sheep, etc available for purchase (newer editions come with these bits included).

What we are talking about here — spending additional money to acquire "bling" for your game from a 3rd party — is extremely common.

In this case, the two involved parties happen to be Gamelyn Games (Tiny Epic Kingdoms) and Meeple Source. However, neither party is in any way directly having any say over the other.

Meeple Source are not involved in the manufacturing or distribution of Tiny Epic Kingdoms.
Gamelyn Games are not involved in the manufacturing or distribution of character meeples.

Pricing, availability, exclusivity, etc for the Tiny Epic Kingdoms licensed character meeples was entirely determined by Meeple Source. It is their right to price their product however they want. It is my right to decide for myself if these optional components provided by a 3rd party are worth my money or not.

Would I want them? Yes. Am I going to pay $110? No.

Neither Gamelyn Games nor Meeple Source have acted deceitfully or under false pretenses. Gamelyn Games will provide a complete game for all its backers. The Meeple Source character meeples are optional, not necessary, and provided by a 3rd party, albeit under license from Gamelyn Games.



I paid $7 for a copy of Love Letter, but $3 to replace the default cubes with heart shaped tokens.

I backed Alien Uprising -- completely playable with punch board tokens representing alien enemies. I did, however, up my pledge in order to receive OPTIONAL miniatures. Thus upgrade more than doubled my total cost.



As you can see — what you are complaining about here is not uncommon, nor particularly strange. Does it pain me to pay $110 to upgrade components for a $24 game? Yes. So what? They're optional.

Let's say that another vendor entered the scene, providing cards printed on sheets of pure gold. Should I be upset if the cost of receiving factions/territories printed on gold sheets outweighs the cost of the original game? No. They're optional, premium, "bling" ...

The same reasoning should be applied to the character meeples manufactured by Meeple Source.
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Stephen Eckman
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I'm with Rainer on this one. Game is playable at $16. $24 version should satisfy most completionists as it has all the gameplay elements (3 additional factions). If 150+ people want to spend $110 to get better bits for their game from a different company, what's the harm in that?

FWIW, I backed TEK for over $250 and don't feel the need to spend $110 on meeples, nor do I feel slighted by not getting the fancy active player token.

By the way, have you ever played the game? The active player seems to move pretty quickly, so I doubt I will even use the tower that comes with the Deluxe game.
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Rick Weckermann
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You guys are right, i was upset and did not notice original game came with starter token, my error.
I think a part of my point is missed and a poor example was used due to being in error. Back to the main point in the what can often be seen here at kickstarter, at this level we will add x pieces/cards for game. True many of these extras are not needed to play the game, but it still feels like a money grab to get a complete game.
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Barry Hood
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I sympathise with your point. I've learned I have to choose my battles - certain games I have to track down every promo, other games I have come to accept that the return on investment in terms of time/money just isn't worth it. Easier said than done, I know
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The Game Steward
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nastycleavage wrote:
You guys are right, i was upset and did not notice original game came with starter token, my error.
I think a part of my point is missed and a poor example was used due to being in error. Back to the main point in the what can often be seen here at kickstarter, at this level we will add x pieces/cards for game. True many of these extras are not needed to play the game, but it still feels like a money grab to get a complete game.


Let me play devil's advocate for a moment, and present a hypothetical. Sometimes KS Game project creators find themselves in a tough spot. S/he creates a game that is purposefully modest to keep costs reasonable. They are a first time game designer, so while their grand vision for the game is much larger, it is completely impractical for an independent game designer with no track record. Modest version goes up on KS, and this modest KS game project becomes an unexpected success, and funds in the first week. While the campaign is still active, enthusiastic backers yell "MOAR!"

What is a creator to do?

In my hypothetical, the game was priced modestly for a reason, and it's not economically feasible to put in lots of "free" stretch goals. Creators can keep a very tight lid on their original vision, refuse to add stretch goals, and ride the success of the modest version of the game as far as it will go - as a modest game.

I saw something like this happen with Machina Arcana - in which the designer, Juraj, had to repeat several times a day that his vision of the game was set, and that he would not add any new stretch goals for new components. It pissed quite a few backers off - how arrogant/stupid that he won't listen to his backers who are trying to throw money at him! But he had a firm vision for the game, and he kept to his plan, and ultimately raised well over $100k.

My hypothetical game creator could do the opposite - take the feedback from the most enthusiastic backers and offer new content for just a few more dollars based on their suggestions. Or similarly, they could offer up (again, for just a few dollars) components that were part of the original grand vision, but were kept out for economic reasons (FYI, backers absolutely LOVE the idea that their money is helping a game designer bring their "vision" of the full game to reality).

The creator does this with the best of intentions - doing this because the backers are asking for it. But the effect is the same. Either way, now "tepid" backers have to consider whether to pledge for all this "extra" stuff that wasn't part of the KS project they originally signed up for.

For examples, see games like Cthulhu Wars and Shadows of Brimstone, where MOAR was never enough. Add-on after add-on, and many of them (for SOBS, at least) were directly inspired by the suggestions of the backers. In the case of SOBS, there were something like over 50 add-ons by the time the campaign ended. It was crazy! How much of it was necessary to play the game? Very little, I suppose, but the completionists out there will have a hell of a time acquiring every single add-on if they didn't back it at the Mine Cart level. Even FFP admitted that it might take years before they produce all the add-ons for retail - they can't glut the market all at once - no FLGS would carry so much stuff for one game all at once, and there wouldn't be enough customer demand for all of it all at once anyway.

This isn't to say that there aren't "greedy" game creators that design their game projects to basically require that backers up their pledge for "add-ons" that are necessary to play the game. But often a creator's intention matters very little. As long as backers keep demanding "MOAR!", then creators with the most noble intentions are going to respond. And gamers LOVE demanding "MOAR!"
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Jacq L
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
This isn't to say that there aren't "greedy" game creators that design their game projects to basically require that backers up their pledge for "add-ons" that are necessary to play the game.

To be honest, I think I missed campaigns where this was the case. Does anyone have an example of this? I guess arguably Run, Fight, or Die! had something like this with the "die harder" level, but I think the vanilla game was still complete?


But another thought on this topic...

I wonder how people feel about Megacon's decision (potentially) to have Myth exclusives available in the upcoming MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat Kickstarter.

Granted, the nature of these exclusive (or even if they'll actually happen) is up in the air. It could be something like a "second chance" for those who missed the Myth KS. It could be limited to the "Kickstarter Exclusive" minis.

But what if it's a totally new character/mini for Myth? Something that was unavailable to those who backed the original Kickstarter?
 
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Jacqland wrote:

I wonder how people feel about Megacon's decision (potentially) to have Myth exclusives available in the upcoming MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat Kickstarter.


I find it fascinating how "Kickstarter Exclusive" used to mean that the item in question was exclusive to the associated Kickstarter project.

Over the course of the last year or so, "Kickstarter Exclusive" has been redefined as "able to be sold anywhere on the Kickstarter platform".

One of the few remaining reasons to back board game projects on Kickstarter are the "exclusives", except that for the most part, they aren't exclusive anymore. I'm starting to get pretty burnt out on the whole thing.

One recent and notable exception has been Fallen. They produced 4 expansions that were Kickstarter Exclusive, and they have received a lot of flack from some people as they have explicitly stated that those expansions will never see the light of day again.
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Rainer Ahlfors
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There's a fine line to walk between alienating your backers or alienating your broader user base.

I don't think either approach is necessarily better than the other.

The biggest downside to having real exclusives are the ridiculous after market prices such items tend to command. Such Kickstarter exclusives are also bad for hardcore fans who become such once the game hits retail.

But completely eliminating exclusives can make it harder to attract certain types of backers. They will reason that they can pick up the game at a discount from an online source later.

I don't know ... It's tough. The recent trend simply tends to be offering the entire Kickstarter package at a great deal, making the low price the selling point.

If I were to create a Kickstarter campaign, I would make it easy to obtain everything "official", but also make it clear that the more "exclusive" components WILL be made available later, albeit:
- directly from the publisher or designated outlet (such as the BGG store)
- the components will be sold at a premium
- the components will only be made available in limited quantities each time
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Digren K
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A game with hard-to-find gameplay-expanding Kickstarter exclusives is dead to me. It's no different than if the game was never made; I won't buy it if I can't buy all of it.

Were I to run a Kickstarter, and I wanted to have exclusives to attract that crowd, one idea I thought of was to include an extra of each exclusive with each purchase. So, for example, if you were a backer, you'd get the game, the exclusive, plus an extra copy of the exclusive that you could trade or sell later. I would likely couple that with limits like "I will also provide these in person at trade shows I attend." and "These may be made available on a limited basis as a bonus in a future Kickstarter for expansions of this game." and overall have a relatively easy way to get them for future fans, while not completely alienating the original Kickstarter backers.
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Jacqland wrote:
To be honest, I think I missed campaigns where this was the case. Does anyone have an example of this? I guess arguably Run, Fight, or Die! had something like this with the "die harder" level, but I think the vanilla game was still complete?


Again, it's a matter of perspective. I don't think I've ever seen a game that is *literally* unplayable without including the add-ons. But it's not that uncommon to find games that market stretch goals (for higher tier pledges) and add-ons as enriching gameplay - so much so that it's a wonder they weren't included in the core game in the first place. Shadows of Brimstone was like this. How many pledges were there for just the core box, compared to Mine Cart pledges? It was implicit - but extremely obvious - that if you wanted the "full" experience of SOBS, you needed to pick up some add-ons. Dark Darker Darkest was also marketed this way, and there turned out to be only four (yes, actually four) pledges for the base game without all the stretch goals and add-ons. Truth be told, the basic game of DDD turned out to be extremely replayable in its own right, but that's not at all how it was marketed.

Jacqland wrote:
But another thought on this topic...

I wonder how people feel about Megacon's decision (potentially) to have Myth exclusives available in the upcoming MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat Kickstarter.

Granted, the nature of these exclusive (or even if they'll actually happen) is up in the air. It could be something like a "second chance" for those who missed the Myth KS. It could be limited to the "Kickstarter Exclusive" minis.

But what if it's a totally new character/mini for Myth? Something that was unavailable to those who backed the original Kickstarter?


I don't know if he started it, but Jamey Stegmaier certainly popularized this concept. This probably oversimplifies the situation a bit, but after the success of Viticulture, I think Jamey's opinions about KS exclusives evolved quite a bit. He now openly advocates against them. He doesn't want to prevent future Viticulture players from having access to the Arboriculture expansion, but he also wants to honor his promise to the original KS backers to keep Arboriculture "KS exclusive," and promising to offer the expansion in future KS projects was the solution he landed on. But you'll never see Jamey offer another KS exclusive again. He's done with them.

I personally don't have a problem with this approach. I imagine most people don't. But from a game company's perspective, it's necessary to contend with both ends of the spectrum - those who will refuse to back a game if it DOES have KS Exclusive content, and those who will refuse to back a game if it DOES NOT have KS Exclusive content.

I've never seen any hard data on how large either group actually is, but as the market for games continues to expand, especially on Kickstarter, I imagine someone (I'm looking at you PhD candidates looking for a thesis topic) will finally conduct that research and figure out where the most money is to be made. From my laymen's perspective, the KS Exclusive community certainly seems to be winning. Look at the KS game projects that have raised the most money, and how many of them offered KS Exclusive components. The short answer is most of them offered KS Exclusives.
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John F.
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I've often wished they would have a pledge for just the exclusives. I often can't afford the base game and all the add ons, but I would love to just get the exclusives, then I could buy the base game when it hits stores. I'm sure that's not conomically viable, but it would be nice.
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