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Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery» Forums » General

Subject: This kickstarter seems pretty crazy rss

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William Chew
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For the time being I latched onto an early bird just in case. The game looks pretty cool, but I'm not sure if I want to stay in by the end. I'm pretty new to kickstarter, are they all this crazy?
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Tanner Thetford
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I've backed many kickstarters and I do have to say that this is an example of one that is run a tad below average.

Eagle has not been particularly clear when it comes to stretch goals and add-ons, especially with some add-ons becoming free (essentially turning them into stretch goals) at set levels.

The upside is that Eagle is being VERY communicative and trying to respond well to the backers. Whether those responses are something that the backer wants to hear will be up to the individual.
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luv2breformed wrote:
I've backed many kickstarters and I do have to say that this is an example of one that is run a tad below average.

Eagle has not been particularly clear when it comes to stretch goals and add-ons, especially with some add-ons becoming free (essentially turning them into stretch goals) at set levels.

The upside is that Eagle is being VERY communicative and trying to respond well to the backers. Whether those responses are something that the backer wants to hear will be up to the individual.


Not every game is about a million stretch goals. This kickstarter is going to do EXACTLY what they wanted it to do, re-print and update one of the best worker placement games ever made and allow people such as myself to finally get a copy of it.

I prefer this style of campaign to the stretch goal frenzy bs that most turn into where a bunch of childish posters keep demanding more and more stretch goals. Not saying you are, but this is a general statement describing what Kickstarter has become.
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MonkeyKnifeFight wrote:
For the time being I latched onto an early bird just in case. The game looks pretty cool, but I'm not sure if I want to stay in by the end. I'm pretty new to kickstarter, are they all this crazy?


I have backed 43 projects on Kickstarter. This is one of the absolute worst Kickstarter campaigns I have ever seen from an established company.

So no, they are not all this crazy, nor should they be.
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No, they're not all this crazy. I backed a few games now and each and everyone of those were structured and well thought through.

Sadly, this cannot be said about this campaign.

It started with the messed up stretch goals: 90k needed to be reached to put sth. like the new rules into the game. But the base line was set at 25k - so what would have happened, if they didn't get to 90k? Leave basic parts of the game out? "Sorry, there weren't enough backers to put the rules and cards into the game, here's an incomplete copy, have fun!"

You can say that this is a moot point now, but that doesn't make it a good start. The effect of this is, of course, a nice thing: now it looks as if the campaign was funded at over 600%, while in reality it's just about 170% funded. Stupid mistake or calculated in before? Hmm...

They say it's their "60th rodeo", hard to believe a well established publisher would make such a rookie mistake.

But okay, let's see what else happened:
The plethora of comments aren't about the weird initial stretch goals or even about the map board design - it's questions about the different pledges, add-ons and shipping. Those were really confusing from the beginning on - but it got a lot worse after that. At first, there were "just" bad descriptions about what each pledge level exactly contains and what people would get if they pledge for this or that.

Then it got weird: metal coins were announced from the start as a stretch goal at 200k. Would they be added for everyone for free? Not even the producer knew: "You may have to pay for them - or we'll add them for free, we will find out later".....okay? Sorry, but when I think about a "deluxe" reprint of a massively successful game, I might try to get this kind of info before I start the campaign, wouldn't you agree?

Anyways, rookie mistake in the 60th rodeo, no big deal...

Shortly afterwards, they WERE confirmed for free if the stretchgoal would be met. At least there's that.

In the meantime, the community raised questions about map and player board design. The issues: they look bland, dry, abstract and are missing the "magic" of the old board. They seemed rushed, unfinished. The publisher dismissed most of these concerns and for a long time didn't even give a hint on why changes on these subjects would be impossible. It was just stated they were and we would all be oh so happy as soon as we'd have the new map and boards in our hands.

Remember: this is a kickstarter campaign. You're asking "the people" up front for money here, they're basically your partners in getting a product to life and all they get is an "it's gonna be okay, trust me".

In this case, that might even be okay. Eagle Games did publish some really great games.

The main argument up to that point was: there's not enough time to make any changes to the graphics any more. We don't want to delay.

Okay, that even makes sense...IF they wouldn't have announced a whole new map for a new game variant in the same update. Wait, what? You cannot change anything and you cannot make the old map part of the game by making a double-sided board, but you can add a whole NEW map and building tiles and stuff?? This makes no sense at all!

The problems with the pledges then went haywire: how much do you add to get this new map? Add 17$ now, after the campaign you can reduce that to 7$ plus 5$ for metal coins, but maybe you can reduce that too, but only if certain stretch goals are met...at least I think that's how it's done at the moment - I am way too confused to even consider changing the pledge right now. I'll just wait until the last few hours. Then I'll hopefully know what I'll get for my money. (That's right, with every frustrated bit I'm writing here I still kept my pledge, that's how much I love this game. For now.)

So, until now there are confusing pledge levels, confusing stretch goals, confusing add-ons and a product that seems far from "deluxe". Metal coins won't change that. Metal coins are not famine-ending, cancer-curing shiny problem solvers. They're one - really neat - part of the game, that lacks "deluxe" in some crucial other parts (aside from the map and player boards: the miniatures are the same cheap plastic as in previous incarnations - the missionaries' crosses will wilt down and look stupid the minute they're out of the box and the colors are still very "meh").

But hey! There's light! The publisher is very responsive! He says he hears the concerns of the community and just needs some time outside the kickstarter to solve all that. Then we'll get the opportunity to buy another, nicer map. Well, that's reasonable, isn't it?

I thought so at first, even if it means I have to pay even MORE that the 120$ I already have to pay.

But then a nagging suspicion became certainty. The community "management" was a bit strange. Dismissing valid points and critical (but never unfriendly or destructive!!) questions with relativly brusque answers and praising the few mentions that were supporting the whole kickstarter. One guy quite harshly told everyone repeatedly to eff off and just to take it as it is, as everything done in this kickstarter was absolutely fantastic. But that one guy from Tennessee (Eagle Games is in Kentucky...) then spilled some crucial info about the handling of the new player variant he just couldn't know if he were a legit user. I think they forgot to switch accounts when he answered that question and it became clear that there are sockpuppets running around, trying to keep the "mob" down.

Boy, I sure hope I'm seeing ghosts here, but I have 7 years of experience in community management with ten thousands of users, so I'm rarely mistaken in these kind of things nowadays. But of course you can call me a conspiracy theorist or whatever you want. Just read the comments (I did read them all) and you might get where this is coming from.



Anyways: great game, really nice designer, who, I'm sure, tries his best and I even think the publisher wants to churn out a good product (and a really nice profit). But yeah, the campaing is run poorly, the planning seems to be abysmal and they're very tense with feedback.

But I do sure hope this will even itself out along the next two weeks or so!


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Jeffrey Nolin
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Brandigan wrote:
It started with the messed up stretch goals: 90k needed to be reached to put sth. like the new rules into the game. But the base line was set at 25k - so what would have happened, if they didn't get to 90k? Leave basic parts of the game out? "Sorry, there weren't enough backers to put the rules and cards into the game, here's an incomplete copy, have fun!"

My understanding was that they were going to reprint the original if it was 'just' funded and add deluxe components if it went beyond that. Surely, a bit odd that they didn't have confidence that it would go the distance for a fully deluxe version, but if it hadn't then it would have had the original rules and cards.
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George
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Brandigan wrote:
... One guy quite harshly told everyone repeatedly to eff off and just to take it as it is, as everything done in this kickstarter was absolutely fantastic. But that one guy from Tennessee (Eagle Games is in Kentucky...) then spilled some crucial info about the handling of the new player variant he just couldn't know if he were a legit user. I think they forgot to switch accounts when he answered that question and it became clear that there are sockpuppets running around, trying to keep the "mob" down.


Not sure what you are referring to here or the "new player variant". Do you mean the new map variant? I see one vocal supporter from Tennessee but if you look back far enough he initially was very critical about 1 or 2 things. I think he's just bought into the project now and wants to keep things positive and moving forward. He had a comment about the new map variant but it wasn't insider knowledge. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong guy.

In general, I don't see things nearly as bad as you do, but I won't bother with a point by point. There have been hiccups and confusion for sure... but this is a large project and they have been very responsive. I just give Eagle a little more benefit of the doubt I think.
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I'd really like to be wrong there and see everything evened out.

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Brandigan wrote:
But that one guy from Tennessee (Eagle Games is in Kentucky...) then spilled some crucial info about the handling of the new player variant he just couldn't know if he were a legit user. I think they forgot to switch accounts when he answered that question and it became clear that there are sockpuppets running around, trying to keep the "mob" down.

Boy, I sure hope I'm seeing ghosts here, but I have 7 years of experience in community management with ten thousands of users, so I'm rarely mistaken in these kind of things nowadays.


Definitely :tinfoil: and definitely wrong.

That "one guy" is a BGG user:

Admiral H_Nelson
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Not a sockpuppet. Not affiliated with Eagle Games.

Someone asked a question, he gave an authoritative answer (which was really just an educated guess), and someone else made a joke that he "forgot to change accounts." It was a joke. He isn't "Rick" or anyone else from Eagle games.



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Mitch Willis
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bclayj wrote:
I have backed 43 projects on Kickstarter. This is one of the absolute worst Kickstarter campaigns I have ever seen from an established company.

You've been most fortunate then...I've only backed 21 and, thus far, this is one of the better ones I've experienced. I've backed two that will never produce a game and many others that were 6+ months late and/or had very little communication. This one may not be the best organized, but the folks are very communicative and are quick to answer the many questions that have been asked. And in my only other experience with Eagle/Gryphon via Kickstarter, they produced the game on time, and with top-notch components, so I've got high hopes for this one as well...

My guess is that this Kickstarter progressed/funded much quicker than they expected, which may have caused them to scramble a bit with further stretch goals and add-ons...
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otha62 wrote:


My guess is that this Kickstarter progressed/funded much quicker than they expected, which may have caused them to scramble a bit with further stretch goals and add-ons...


I do not think Eagle goes into stretch goal frenzy and I think the general Kickstarter person wants games to have stretch goal frenzy off the bat.
 
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Glenn Drover
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Quote:
My guess is that this Kickstarter progressed/funded much quicker than they expected, which may have caused them to scramble a bit with further stretch goals and add-ons..


This is exactly what I thought too.
The campaign had some issues with clarity and how the goals were presented at first, and with value for the price, but Rick was incredibly responsive and has worked super-hard to address each issue.

I was a big proponent for adding the metal coins for free even before the campaign launched, and was extremely glad to see that added as the $200K stretch goal (which it looks like will happen).

When the campaign shot up more quickly than he expected Rick came to me last weekend and asked me to come up with something that he could offer as extra value for the supporters. I didn't want to just do more Capital Buildings, so I came up with the idea of the new map/ trade goods/ and 10 themed Capital Buildings (which is a pretty big add-on so late in the game, but I thought that it would be a very cool and unique addition to the deluxe nature of the offering).

At the end of the day I am very excited by what Eagle is bringing to the table on this project. The final deluxe package is going to be awesome. I can't wait to get mine! ;-)
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Budley wrote:
Quote:
My guess is that this Kickstarter progressed/funded much quicker than they expected, which may have caused them to scramble a bit with further stretch goals and add-ons..


This is exactly what I thought too.
The campaign had some issues with clarity and how the goals were presented at first, and with value for the price, but Rick was incredibly responsive and has worked super-hard to address each issue.

I was a big proponent for adding the metal coins for free even before the campaign launched, and was extremely glad to see that added as the $200K stretch goal (which it looks like will happen).

When the campaign shot up more quickly than he expected Rick came to me last weekend and asked me to come up with something that he could offer as extra value for the supporters. I didn't want to just do more Capital Buildings, so I came up with the idea of the new map/ trade goods/ and 10 themed Capital Buildings (which is a pretty big add-on so late in the game, but I thought that it would be a very cool and unique addition to the deluxe nature of the offering).

At the end of the day I am very excited by what Eagle is bringing to the table on this project. The final deluxe package is going to be awesome. I can't wait to get mine! ;-)


I have been waiting for Empires for a long time and now I will get one, who cares about stretch goals, I want the game. On top of that, Brass for 39 bucks is a steal!
 
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William Chew
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What is confusing is how much am I going to need to tweak my pledge to get certain add-ons. I am hoping it is all clear a few days before the kickstarter closes so I can analyze and adjust it accordingly.
 
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MonkeyKnifeFight wrote:
What is confusing is how much am I going to need to tweak my pledge to get certain add-ons. I am hoping it is all clear a few days before the kickstarter closes so I can analyze and adjust it accordingly.


Yes! I agree 100%.
But I KNOW that they will do this.
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I am going to sit on this and adjust it at the end. I really hope the keep the 5 dollar add on for the metal coins on top of the potential 200K. I woudlnt mind getting a few of those for some of my other games like Empires of the World and Merchants and Marauders ect.
 
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Admiral H_Nelson
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Brandigan wrote:
But then a nagging suspicion became certainty. The community "management" was a bit strange. Dismissing valid points and critical (but never unfriendly or destructive!!) questions with relativly brusque answers and praising the few mentions that were supporting the whole kickstarter. One guy quite harshly told everyone repeatedly to eff off and just to take it as it is, as everything done in this kickstarter was absolutely fantastic. But that one guy from Tennessee (Eagle Games is in Kentucky...) then spilled some crucial info about the handling of the new player variant he just couldn't know if he were a legit user. I think they forgot to switch accounts when he answered that question and it became clear that there are sockpuppets running around, trying to keep the "mob" down.


I'm from TN and hope you weren't referring to me because I think if you review the entire thread you'll see my comments there, plus these here on BGG, about the campaign have been MORE than balanced. If you read them all--especially those in the beginning--there is no way in the underworld you would think I was on their team. Some people just like to continually rehash the same subject matter to the point of beating a thing to death and not thinking about what they are saying by pretending to be experts about production...or my favorite stastitically "insignificant" polls. I only put the smack down in that campaign on those people that rehash their misgiving repeatedly instead of just moving on and finding a new game. There is only so many times the creator can say, "I hear you." The type of people who rant and rave should maybe go over to Exploding Kittens and request vehemently that they turn their game into Exploding Dogs. The truth is 150k so soon says a lot and means that enough people are happy overall, even if you want to discount those that are just playing the wait and see game and might drop out due to final disappointment. If some of my comments sounded similar to the producers, then those are due to either wise speculations on my part and/or the fact that being laid up from back surgery has allowed me to read all the comments carefully and to some degree ascertain the direction or implied meaning of the creators. However, if you're talking about some other noob from TN, then down with that guy, he's a shill for sure...pass me a pitch fork.
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The map is really preventing me from backing this project. I really prefer the old map, even though it is a bit scrunched. We don't use the scoring track, it is easier to just use a piece of paper. Most of the add-ons seem unnecessary. I would never play with 8 people.

There are still a bunch of typos and stuff in the Kickstarter that should be corrected, doesn't make me optimistic about the clarity of the new rulebook.
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Hi Adam,

The additional sets of pieces are alternate colors and player boards. The game is still designed for a maximum of 6 players.

The rulebook is online here if you want to see for yourself: http://www.eggrules.com/app/download/6299323/AoE3_Rules.pdf
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Yeah this Kickstarter is a bit hard to follow. The constant updates are nice, but reading through the updates is quite a task. It would be nice to see a photo gallery of the new capital buildings, nation bonuses etc added thus far instead of having to scroll through...

My main issue with the Kickstarter is the high expense. I am sure I'm not the only one who would be willing to buy a copy of the deluxe edition WITHOUT Dead Man's Chest or other games. The high expense means I have no choice but to wait for the deluxe edition to appear in stores, when I can buy it at a lower price, and hopefully with the original map (2nd ed. with larger score track).
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Brandigan wrote:
Anyways: great game, really nice designer, who, I'm sure, tries his best and I even think the publisher wants to churn out a good product (and a really nice profit). But yeah, the campaign is run poorly, the planning seems to be abysmal and they're very tense with feedback.


I agree with most of your points.. although in fairness re the map/board issue I get the impression they are not allowed to say what the issue is or certainly have very strong reasons not to discuss it. What he has done is offer to try and resolve it without affecting the current KS. I think a lot of people aren't unhappy with the map (I am one) so I can understand why some of the strong feeling may have taken them by surprise.

Re The double sided board.. This was explained. Adding to the other side of the board is a printing issue and, if done early enough it can be done without effecting the whole project. As opposed to this the main map redesign seems to be some other kind of issue and not about reprinting the board. I'm not as well informed as you (either on this specific KS or generally.. I've done a mere handful) but that is how I understood it.

But on the whole yes, it hasn't gone as well as it could have.

Still, coming from over the pond, that Brass price is a very nice add-on, the coins are adding extra shiny too. I believe another update on the variant is due shortly...
 
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Brandigan wrote:
::numerous spot-on observations::

Well said.

It's kind of silly that this Kickstarter has been handled so poorly. Having the "updated rules" be a stretch goal is ludicrous. I don't care if it was only $5,000 above the funding level of the game; purposely dropping the fund-level low, to try and score higher funded-% is obnoxious. If you insist on doing it, at least don't insult our intelligence by pretending like the rule book is a stretch goal.

On a similar note, some of there are 4 new Goods Tiles--possible as stretch goals--that go along with their icons that are printed on the new map variant... So let me get this straight... they want me to pledge $17 for the alternate map but there's a chance that I won't get the matching tiles, because they're a STRETCH GOAL? Seriously?

And it's not just that... but, to go ahead and ADD MORE GOALS, those 4 tiles are split into two different stretches (2-2). Am I supposed to feel better that I may possibly get half of the new tiles that I need to match my $17 add-on board?

Yes, both tile goals are basically guaranteed to fund--I know. That's not the point. The point is that the people running this campaign seem to think that we're idiots. Their idea of "making it look good" is to strip basic components out of what they're giving us (like the RULE BOOK) and then generously give them to us, as low-tier stretch goals.

Sorry but gotta call a spade a spade.
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Seriously, look at this:

30k - The Rule Book
35k - The Expansion (you were going to charge me $115 for just the base game, really?)
40k - New Game Board (it was never releasing with the old art. never.)
50k - Score Track/Pad (yes, remove the score track from the new board art and then add a separate track back in a stretch goal, genius!)
55k - "Heavy Duty" Box...

Also, just to say it:
Damn near every 160k+ stretch goal unlocks more alternate-board stuff (i.e. goods, buildings, etc). If you don't actually BUY that board, however, all of those stretch goals mean NOTHING to you. How's that for enticing people to support the project? "Yeah, oh, by the way, give us another $17 if you want all of this super-awesome stretch goal stuff to matter to you."
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While I agree with the general sentiment, Yelmac, I can mention a few very successful campaigns where stretch goals meant nothing unless you wanted to part with a few extra bucks. Think of all the add-ons/stretch goals during every single campaign run by CMON. They even reached a new level during the Rum & Bones campaign by adding an exclusive mini to optional campaigns to force the completionists to buy the campaign at full MSRP price just not to lose on the mini...

I think this EAOD campaign is not well-presented as it should be but the guys at Eagle are very helpful with the comments even if some questions pop up over and over again. I am not really thrilled by the "expansion" add-on (seems to be just an extra map so I don't know how much replayability it really adds) but I am 100% sure that the Deluxe version will be great as promised.
 
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Yelmac wrote:
Also, just to say it:
Damn near every 160k+ stretch goal unlocks more alternate-board stuff (i.e. goods, buildings, etc). If you don't actually BUY that board, however, all of those stretch goals mean NOTHING to you. How's that for enticing people to support the project? "Yeah, oh, by the way, give us another $17 if you want all of this super-awesome stretch goal stuff to matter to you."


In general, I try not to be negative - all KS have their target audiences and this one is no different - but this is what made me cancel my pledge. I sent a short explanation as to why (it doesn't really give you the space), but it was essentially this:

Quote:
When we got to actual stretch goals, found that they required up to $17 more for my pledge. At, $115, this was already a stretch, so I'll have to bow out. I wish you luck on your campaign.


It was just more than this. I was on board with the idea that we were all donating to make the reprint better. I even got that this was either a reprint of the old game or a gradual upgrade of components. I wish they would have worded it much better. But there were things that bothered me all along the way that I wish they'd handled better:

- Blaming not being able to make changes on Chinese New Year. This was just kind of odd to me. You set the delivery date on your Kickstarter. Who decided July 2015 was the day? Why do that to yourself? I've pledged stuff not set to deliver until December 2015 and I'm fine with that.

- Not updating the front page regularly, but being there for comments. I realize that the person answering comments doesn't have to have the same technical ability as the front page updater, but this was confusing.

- Having the unrelated European site count towards the goal amounts - but not having a front page update of where you stand. Okay, so we're showing 170-ish, but it's really 185-ish depending on where the Euro is at - dunno. It's vague.

- The endless COINS ARE LIMITED AND CANNOT BE BOUGHT AT $1 PLEDGE discussion. Okay, I get it. You're selling the coins at cost. Is there really going to be a massive run on the coins? So much so that you have to make me feel like the coins are going to break this whole thing?

- The stretch goals that required purchases. That was it. The gold set I could live without? Oh, right, that's Bavaria now. If anyone wants to play it and I don't buy a $15 dollar set of gold men, I'm the person that's always, "just pick another player color to represent Bavaria - I was too cheap to shell out for the $15 set of gold men." Same goes for the goods - "oh, it was a $17, maybe a $10 board - which was just more money I didn't want to put towards a game I was already into for $115." And not just a few - the vast majority after getting the game upgraded. It felt as if it was all a, "hey, we got the game up to snuff now, so let's get you to spend more money ASAP!" Most other KS that do this at least give you some show of a few nice things first.


And then there's the update from them implying that if I withdrew my pledge, that I don't understand the deluxe nature of the game:

Quote:
Lately there have been some critics of the "Deluxe" nature of EAOD and a few Backers have withdrawn pledges as a result.


They're emphasizing the number of miniatures, but this isn't a game where I'd talk about the miniatures - I backed Conan and CMON's Rum & Bones most recently - both starting in the $100 range (and I ended higher on both) and with far more in terms of complexity of miniature sculpting and number of unique molds.

They also go out of their way to put down games in the $50-60 dollar range:

Quote:
Personally I am tired of seeing games that are rather high priced ($60 and up) being produced as shabbily as most are these days.


O RLY? I backed Trickerion? Is that shoddy? Let's go through my $50-$60 games that I've recently bought - I'll bring you Alchemists, Gears of War & Sid Meier's Civiliazation just off the bat to show you the "shoddy" production these $50-60 retail games are and we'll see how they fare against your $130 game.

But let's talk turkey. A $100+ game has to grab my attention. You can't talk your way into my bank account. You can't make it better with an unrelated free game. You can't tell backers you'll give them free stuff to go with additional purchases.

I was on board with the Kickstarter. Until I wasn't. And it wasn't because I didn't understand that you weren't trying to make a better version of your old game. I wasn't a backer anymore because you started using current backers to meet stretch goals that were only useful if people bought (at a minimum) another $22 worth of things. I couldn't help but wonder if that $22 could have been nothing to backers if that "free" $15 dollar game hadn't been included and a longer turnaround time had been given so that there was less pressure to pay top dollar for design work.

Because, if that had been the case, I'd likely still be in...but that extra $22 (which I can afford, for the record) tipped me into wanting to back several less expensive games instead (not the least of which will be one of those shoddy $50-60 Tesla vs. Edison's coming up in early March).



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