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Subject: Board Game Design rss

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Pete Belli
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OK, so maybe I'm not a fan of the Kickstarter process as it has been applied to the board game hobby.

I haven't spent a dime on any Kickstarter effort.

Many publishers are asking potential customers to navigate between the Scylla and Charybdis of uninspiring preorder rewards and haphazard game development while the company attempts to gain funding for new prototypes.

As an innovative board game craftsman -- but a designer with mediocre talent, to be sure -- I would be extremely reluctant to participate in such a venture.

This decision would probably lock me out of most publishing opportunities, right?

Fascinating.

I think I can live with that choice. There are already too many new games flooding the market these days.

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M. Rubinelli
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Well, large game companies in general don't run Kickstarter campaigns, but they usually only work with designers with whom they already have some kind of relationship. But you can still self-publish; it's perfectly viable if your game lends itself to print'n'play or print-on-demand, as most wargames do.
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Stijn Hommes
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Kickstarter is not mandatory. Go the traditional route if you want. If the publisher wants to run a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds then that istheir business.
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Koen Hendrix
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
pete belli wrote:
This decision would probably lock me out of most publishing opportunities, right?


I wouldn't call other people's Kickstarters "publishing opportunities"...

IMO what's happened is, a lot of people who had a hard time (or were reluctant to) pitching their games to traditional publisher can now self-publish through KS. This has caused an absolute deluge of ads and promotion for these games -- just look at your ads on this BGG page now. It's all Kickstarter stuff.

So in the past there might have been 100 games a year coming out from traditional publishers, each in big quantities. But now there's an additional 1000 games coming out through KS, in small print numbers, but they're very vocal, all trying to grab your attention.

So I understand why it can seem as if the whole board gaming community is about Kickstarters now. But I think that in truth, there's at least as many games being traditionally published now as there were before KS. So I like to see KS as a beautiful new extension to the classic board game publishing world, rather than a replacement for it. At the very least, I know I've got at least 15x more non-KS games in my collection
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Derek H
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
khendrix wrote:
pete belli wrote:
This decision would probably lock me out of most publishing opportunities, right?

IMO what's happened is, a lot of people who had a hard time (or were reluctant to) pitching their games to traditional publisher can now self-publish through KS.

Sorry, but I think that is a misrepresentation of what is actually happening. The Kickstarters I have seen include:

* Designers with great games (been play-tested; done the rounds at cons; have the core artwork in place; have a downloadable rulebook and video showing game "in action"; have been reviewed by Well Known Reviewers) that want to maintain full control of their games and just need funds for physical production;

* Designers with really lousy games who think everyone will pony up $50,000 for a Chess- or Monopoly-ripoff;

* Well Known Game Company that uses Kickstarter as a P500 substitute to fund a game that many think should "just have been made anyway"

(and probably all shades in-between.)

Personally, I like to back the first category, if I have the budget and the interest.

As for the OP, no, I think all the traditional game publishing options are still there - and Kickstarter has simply provided more to that range. Why are so many things taken as a negative "either or" instead of a more positive "and"??
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Koen Hendrix
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
gamesbook wrote:
The Kickstarters I have seen include:

* Designers with great games (been play-tested; done the rounds at cons; have the core artwork in place; have a downloadable rulebook and video showing game "in action"; have been reviewed by Well Known Reviewers) that want to maintain full control of their games and just need funds for physical production;

* Designers with really lousy games who think everyone will pony up $50,000 for a Chess- or Monopoly-ripoff;

* Well Known Game Company that uses Kickstarter as a P500 substitute to fund a game that many think should "just have been made anyway"

(and probably all shades in-between.)
You're right, there are many different types of people/companies using KS in different ways. I was generalizing too much to make a point there.

At least we agree in our advice to the OP
 
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mike
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Derek sums it up pretty well

I would only add to * Designers with great game who also want to establish themselves as publishers

Publishers do have to start somewhere after all, FASA, TSR, WOTC, FFG didn't start off as the big companies, it all starts with one game.

A few that come to mind that have established themselves with the support of crowdfunding

5th Street Games
Grey Gnome Games
Gamelyn Games

To name a few


I wouldn't rule out crowdfunding as an option to raise funds to publish your games.

Realistically you have to look at what options are available

*You have mass market toy companies (Hasbro, Mattel, Pressman, etc)
99.9% of the designers out there are never going to get a chance to work with one of these companies

*Game Publishers
But how many of those accept outside submissions?

*Then of course self publishing
--You can do print and play and host the files somewhere for free or for a fee
--You can pay can do print on demand through game crafter or similar site
--Or you can raise the money on your own and then try and sell the game through your own website, through a distributor, through amazon fullfillment services, ebay, or traveling around to all the conventions


Crowdfunding just provides a mechanism to get your idea in front of a larger audience to help you raise the money

Think of it this way if you were a software developer and had an idea for a mobile application or web service, would you look for venture capital support in say the middle of Iowa? No, you're probably going to head to Silicon Valley or one of the other larger metro areas that are known for venture capitalists who support technology ventures

Well kickstarter is the same way, it's user base is know for supporting game and other related projects, so why not tap into that audience?










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Pete R.
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
rubinelli wrote:
Well, large game companies in general don't run Kickstarter campaigns, but they usually only work with designers with whom they already have some kind of relationship. But you can still self-publish; it's perfectly viable if your game lends itself to print'n'play or print-on-demand, as most wargames do.


And by large game companies, you mean Queen Games, MayDay Games, Tasty Minstrel Games, and Double Fine Productions?

The fact is that companies are using Kickstarter as a direct-to-consumer pre-order system that is damaging to FLGSs (which I think is fine), and using Kickstarter as a way to push the costs of development onto consumers (which I don't think is fine).

They're using the program to do market analysis and get feedback from customers, which is actually really smart. The thing that fucks me off to no end about this is that because Amazon and Kickstarter take 10% of the proceeds, had they simply built a strong P-500 type structure as many other companies have done (and could definitely be done better), the price of games would not be in the skyrocket mode that it is now.

There's no reason a company couldn't simply build a page on their own website to do EXACTLY what Kickstarter is doing, with very little additional cost to the consumer. But Kickstarter is convenient and well known, so they use it.

The question in my mind is this: If their brand is so strong and they have an existing customer base, why not simply do their own Kickstarter-style system with only their own product on their site so that they can lower the costs to the consumer?

The answer is obvious: Because they know we'll pay up, because we're all suckers.
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D S
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Mice & Mystics, anyone?

There's more than one way to get to the marketplace. It's not an easy process, and I'm sure there are ways in which it's not fair. But Jerry Hawthorne, and Mice & Mystics. So Kickstarter is not required.
 
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Mayday Games
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
TheUsusalSuspect wrote:
And by large game companies, you mean Queen Games, MayDay Games, Tasty Minstrel Games, and Double Fine Productions?


Lumping all these companies into "big companies" is just untrue. TMG and Mayday at least I know are extremely small. Queen has multiple SDJ winning titles and they are at least 10X bigger than Mayday. Mayday has 3 full time employees (including one full time shipping person) and a few part-timers. For us Kickstarter has allowed us to launch many more games than would otherwise have been possible because of cash flow.

TheUsusalSuspect wrote:
There's no reason a company couldn't simply build a page on their own website to do EXACTLY what Kickstarter is doing, with very little additional cost to the consumer. But Kickstarter is convenient and well known, so they use it.

The question in my mind is this: If their brand is so strong and they have an existing customer base, why not simply do their own Kickstarter-style system with only their own product on their site so that they can lower the costs to the consumer?

The answer is obvious: Because they know we'll pay up, because we're all suckers.


The reason Mayday uses Kickstarter and doesn't just offer our games on our own website on preorder is because we just wouldn't get nearly the number of "backers" on our own site. We do offer our games on our website and always have, but the number of preorders was always well under 100, while with Kickstarter it sometimes approaches 2,000. KS reaches people in a way our website never can. If it were just that easy there would be lots and lots of competition out there for other platforms like KS and there just aren't... nothing even close.

This is nothing to do with suckers and everything to do with needing to fund these projects in a smart way. Without KS we would only be releasing 2-3 games per year. KS helps us offer many more games each year. No one is forced to buy them or back them and the less successful ones we produce less of. The more popular ones we make more of and it is GREAT for us and for our customers.
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Hoss Cartwright
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Kickstarter is the bête noir of the gaming industry. People no longer make products they believe in, and now seek social media votes to justify moving forward. What a disgrace. In addition, most of these so called "projects" are carpet baggers looking for the next scam to cash in. Some companies do make legitimate games and use kickstarter, but the vast majority of them are no better than the type that make a craiglist listing to invite you for dinner and end up cooking you in a stew pot.

Don't trust them. It is still the wild west and kickstarter has not solved all the problems.
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mike
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Hoss Cartwright wrote:
Kickstarter is the bête noir of the gaming industry. People no longer make products they believe in, and now seek social media votes to justify moving forward. What a disgrace. In addition, most of these so called "projects" are carpet baggers looking for the next scam to cash in. Some companies do make legitimate games and use kickstarter, but the vast majority of them are no better than the type that make a craiglist listing to invite you for dinner and end up cooking you in a stew pot.

Don't trust them. It is still the wild west and kickstarter has not solved all the problems.


WoW nice to see you have such a high opinion of Kickstarter and the people who use it

So how many games have you designed or published?

You do realize jackass that a number of designers were able to publish their first game and/or become publishers and help others publish because of Kickstarter right?

WOW way to TROll

















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Hoss Cartwright
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Quote:
So how many games have you designed or published?


I make real money so i don't need to do that to make a valid point.

It is erroneous reasoning to make the connection that to know whether something is a scam does not require publishing of any game.

I hope you might make a point, perhaps not.
 
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Kickstarter is what it is. It's not rocket science. For every Katalyka there's a Flashpoint:Fire Rescue.

Eco
 
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M. Rubinelli
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
I think the idea that Kickstarter as a whole is a big scam is silly, for the simple fact that people that back a project are very likely to back others later. If backers weren't satisfied with Viticulture, they wouldn't have gone back to fund Tuscany. Nor would they back Sentinel Tactics if they weren't satisfied with the SotM expansions.

Obviously, there are horribly mismanaged projects, products that work better as decoration than as games, and even the rare outright scam on Kickstarter. And I see two valid responses to these from responsible game publishers: (1) Don't run a campaign, to avoid associating with and legitimizing bad publishers; or (2) run a campaign, hoping that enough good, reputable campaigns will crowd out the bad ones.
 
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Craig C
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
I had a similar opinion of ebook publishing, and was using that excuse to quit trying to get a novel sold, and until I read this post, I didn't realize how I sounded when I said that to people. I'd claimed I was making a smart decision based on the current market conditions.

Still don't want to ePub, but I'm now reinspired to keep chasing my dream, and not let a few vampire-obsessed soccer moms flooding the e-market keep me from it.

The obstacle is only insurmountable in our own heads, my friend. Don't quit.
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Patrick
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
bird94us wrote:
I had a similar opinion of ebook publishing, and was using that excuse to quit trying to get a novel sold, and until I read this post, I didn't realize how I sounded when I said that to people. I'd claimed I was making a smart decision based on the current market conditions.

Still don't want to ePub, but I'm now reinspired to keep chasing my dream, and not let a few vampire-obsessed soccer moms flooding the e-market keep me from it.

The obstacle is only insurmountable in our own heads, my friend. Don't quit.

If you are interested in self-publishing a book, might I suggest you a few blog posts of a blogger I'm following for a few years now: Shamus Young.
He is a computer programmer and most of his blog posts revolve around computer games. Furthermore he writes a column on "The Escapist Magazine" and has now written 3 books (I'm not quite sure about that).

But the really interesting stuff are his blog posts where he writes about the hassles and the lessons of self-publishing:
http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=14356 may be a starting point with a few follow up posts. It is not a huge pool (like James Stegmaiers Kickstarter Lessons) but it's something and might encourage you that it is possible (even printd, not only ePub).
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Craig C
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
Thanks, Patrick, I'll check that out.

I'm actually staying away from self-publishing; I think that someone besides me should deem my book worthy first, hehe. That may be a misguided view, but that's where I am at the moment. However, I'll read what you linked to and maybe my mind will be changed.

One newly-discovered pitfall thanks to a friend who ePub'd on Amazon recently: watch out for thieves. She's recently discovered two other people who've taken a copy of her ebook and are now selling it as their own on different sites. You definitely don't run into that with paper.
 
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mike
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
[q="Hoss Cartwright"]
Quote:


I hope you might make a point, perhaps not.


The point is your original statement about kickstarter just shows your bias towards Kickstarter and crowd funding and you're ignorance of the publishing industry in 2014 and frankly everything about it is insulting to the designers who have worked their assess off to publish their first game and/or become publishers and go on to make a number of games.

That's my point

If Kickstarter were truly the bane of the gaming industry then publishers wouldn't be using it or other crowd-funding websites.
Comparing it to carpet baggers or a the cannibal case from are simply ridiculous.

It's not a perfect system and clearly there are projects that simply have no shot at getting published ever, but that's for the market to decide. The majority of the bad projects never get any or very few backers and are never seen again

There have been a few projects that have gotten funded and failed to deliver what they promised, but you can't admonish and entire system, because of a few bad apples. There are bad deals in any business/industry, it happens, get over it










 
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Andrew Bartosh

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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
No, but you may be being a bit dumb. If you actually care about sharing and producing material, then you really should not care that much about how you get it out there. Kickstarter is an effective vehicle either for keeping control of your creation or producing something too "risky" for the normal market.

Based in your post though, you don't actually seem that passionate about it. Which I think is a far more insurmountable hurdle. If you think enough new games exist already, then you've given up before leaving the gate.
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Matthew M
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Re: Does a 21st century board game designer with a low opinion of Kickstarter face an almost insurmountable obstacle?
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Pete Belli
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This well-intentioned thread has descended in chaos.

Hopefully it will wither and die after I edited the title.
 
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