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Subject: Future Grail Game? rss

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Jason Brown
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Does anyone else get the feeling that DotLS will be a grail game in a few years? The more I hear and see from Jason and Richard, the happier I am with my decision to back. To me, it feels like it will stand the test of time and folks will be clamoring for it for a long time. Combine that with the limited print run from the KS and you have yourself a grail game.
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If it does good and he lets someone run the kickstarter that isn't... screw it angry at people it'll get another KS, with updated components at that...
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It certainly could be. But it could end up being another Dark Darker Darkest as well - an excellent game that underperforms because of negative opinion about how the Kickstarter was run.

Personally, I have backed five KS campaigns with Jason/8th Summit, and I've never had a serious issue with any of them. But I've read the complaints here on BGG. My hope is that DotLS will stand or fall purely on its own merits. I'd hate to think that another game will fall through the cracks for reasons other than the quality of the game (and game components).
 
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
It certainly could be. But it could end up being another Dark Darker Darkest as well - an excellent game that underperforms because of negative opinion about how the Kickstarter was run.

I thought it was more the rules that sunk that one more than the kickstarter campaign? I remember reading reports of the rules being a muddy confusing mess... not sure how much of it is bad rule-set vs issues with the game design. The publisher was blamed for putting out a really crappy ruleset, IIRC. Which is separate from an actual poorly-run campaign, it's indicative of publisher issues. A poorly-run Kickstarter wouldn't stop me from buying a game, but reputation of an awful confusing rulebook would, I've been through too many of those
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
GreenLaborMike wrote:
It certainly could be. But it could end up being another Dark Darker Darkest as well - an excellent game that underperforms because of negative opinion about how the Kickstarter was run.

I thought it was more the rules that sunk that one more than the kickstarter campaign? I remember reading reports of the rules being a muddy confusing mess... not sure how much of it is bad rule-set vs issues with the game design. The publisher was blamed for putting out a really crappy ruleset, IIRC. Which is separate from an actual poorly-run campaign, it's indicative of publisher issues. A poorly-run Kickstarter wouldn't stop me from buying a game, but reputation of an awful confusing rulebook would, I've been through too many of those
I didn't think the rulebook was that bad - there was room for improvement, but still very playable. I thought Arkham Horror was worse, by way of comparison. But the designer, David Ausloos, issued a revised rulebook here on BGG that is generally regarded as much improved and clarified.

Having said that, I simply put DDD out as a point of reference. DDD should be a top 500 game, IMHO, based on the game itself. The rulebook was fixed, but DDD still won't gain the popularity that it deserves.

I have no reason to believe that DotLS will suffer the same problems. It's just that many excellent games underperform for reasons having nothing to do with the quality of the game itself. DotLS has the potential to be a top 100 game, but that requires wide distribution with lots of people owning and playing the game. Hopefully the word of mouth from the first run will generate enough demand for several additional print runs over the years to push it higher.

I love Richard Launius' games, including Arkham Horror and Defenders of the Realm, and I love post-apocalyptic themed games. So I'm very excited for DotLS. Whatever happens, it will be a "grail" game for me.

***edit for typos.
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Wasn't DDD shopped around to publishers before being Kickstarted? If you believe publishers know what they're doing, you have to consider that multiple companies passing on a title is an indication of potential problems. We can cite stories about "people didn't believe in X, and it did great", but you also have to realize that there are many things in this world that never see the light of day because publishers were right (or wrong) about the work in question. Everything is always great and will work in theory, but sometimes its the implementation or execution of the idea that reveals the drawbacks.

It's a bit early to tag DotLS with grail status since it's just starting. Juggling the cost of miniatures is going to be a challenge as there's a lot of plastic in the game (100 minions, 8 heroes, 4 bosses). Let's hope it stays in print a long time, so it doesn't become a grail in the first place!
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Autoduelist wrote:
Wasn't DDD shopped around to publishers before being Kickstarted? If you believe publishers know what they're doing, you have to consider that multiple companies passing on a title is an indication of potential problems. We can cite stories about "people didn't believe in X, and it did great", but you also have to realize that there are many things in this world that never see the light of day because publishers were right (or wrong) about the work in question. Everything is always great and will work in theory, but sometimes its the implementation or execution of the idea that reveals the drawbacks.

It's a bit early to tag DotLS with grail status since it's just starting. Juggling the cost of miniatures is going to be a challenge as there's a lot of plastic in the game (100 minions, 8 heroes, 4 bosses). Let's hope it stays in print a long time, so it doesn't become a grail in the first place!

Without getting into a discussion about the reasons why DDD is not more popular than it is, please keep in mind that DDD is only meant to be an example of the more general principle - sometimes excellent games do not succeed in the marketplace for reasons unrelated to the quality of the game. If you want to dispute that premise, we can have that broader discussion.

Will DotLS be as good as many believe it to be? Don't know. Are there reasons that the game may fail that are unrelated to the quality of the game? Perhaps.

We know that the KS campaign did not raise as much money as many (including Jason and Richard) had hoped. I think the fear is that the reasons the campaign underperformed will extend to reasons why the game will underperform. There are a number of reasons to expect the game will do quite well, but the fear will remain until the game actually launches and we see how the market responds.

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Autoduelist wrote:
Wasn't DDD shopped around to publishers before being Kickstarted? If you believe publishers know what they're doing, you have to consider that multiple companies passing on a title is an indication of potential problems. We can cite stories about "people didn't believe in X, and it did great", but you also have to realize that there are many things in this world that never see the light of day because publishers were right (or wrong) about the work in question. Everything is always great and will work in theory, but sometimes its the implementation or execution of the idea that reveals the drawbacks.

It's a bit early to tag DotLS with grail status since it's just starting. Juggling the cost of miniatures is going to be a challenge as there's a lot of plastic in the game (100 minions, 8 heroes, 4 bosses). Let's hope it stays in print a long time, so it doesn't become a grail in the first place!
Pretty much the same as Defenders of the Realm. whistle
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Autoduelist wrote:
Wasn't DDD shopped around to publishers before being Kickstarted? If you believe publishers know what they're doing, you have to consider that multiple companies passing on a title is an indication of potential problems. We can cite stories about "people didn't believe in X, and it did great", but you also have to realize that there are many things in this world that never see the light of day because publishers were right (or wrong) about the work in question. Everything is always great and will work in theory, but sometimes its the implementation or execution of the idea that reveals the drawbacks.

It's a bit early to tag DotLS with grail status since it's just starting. Juggling the cost of miniatures is going to be a challenge as there's a lot of plastic in the game (100 minions, 8 heroes, 4 bosses). Let's hope it stays in print a long time, so it doesn't become a grail in the first place!
DDD is an excellent game. People were very excited for it. The initial issue with the KS was the price point. It caught a lot of people off guard.

It was explained to us that the high price point was because the game was being made in the EU, so it's naturally higher. BUT, there would be better quality control because of it. And yet, the mini's were a bit lackluster and there were misprints on components, so it didn't pan out.

Various other factors continued to hound it. The KS as a whole (meaning even after funding) had issues, as well as the rulebook (though it wasn't as bad as it was made out to be). They actually had to issue refunds for an expansion that never happened and for Crysis the board game (that was an add-on in this campaign).

So you pay a lot, get a game with component issues, and top it off with some not even knowing how to play because of poor rules explanation. It left a sour taste in backer's mouths.

I wouldn't blame the gameplay itself, it's an unknown gem.

Jorune
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Jorune wrote:
The initial issue with the KS was the price point. It caught a lot of people off guard.
Which at this point is sort of... hilarious. I've seen games with fewer components go for roughly $100 because it's just the new normal now for KS games that have even a soupcon of plastic minis.
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Frohike wrote:
Jorune wrote:
The initial issue with the KS was the price point. It caught a lot of people off guard.
Which at this point is sort of... hilarious. I've seen games with fewer components go for roughly $100 because it's just the new normal now for KS games that have even a soupcon of plastic minis.
I think Zombicide was the first to set the trend of $100 for a minis game, but yeah, you are right. By 2013, $100 was still considered crazy expensive for a game. I recall that the DDD campaign got off to a rough start, and I'm sure that was part of it.

Now 20,000 backers don't even blink at paying $150 (plus shipping) for the Knight pledge of Zombicide Black Plague, and lots of people are paying $275-$400 for Kingdom Death: Monster. Times were simpler back in the day.

If DotLS does launch with an MSRP of $100, I suspect very few people will complain about the price. There are just so many games at that price point now that it's not surprising anymore.

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GreenLaborMike wrote:
Frohike wrote:
Jorune wrote:
The initial issue with the KS was the price point. It caught a lot of people off guard.
Which at this point is sort of... hilarious. I've seen games with fewer components go for roughly $100 because it's just the new normal now for KS games that have even a soupcon of plastic minis.
I think Zombicide was the first to set the trend of $100 for a minis game, but yeah, you are right. By 2013, $100 was still considered crazy expensive for a game. I recall that the DDD campaign got off to a rough start, and I'm sure that was part of it.

Now 20,000 backers don't even blink at paying $150 (plus shipping) for the Knight pledge of Zombicide Black Plague, and lots of people are paying $275-$400 for Kingdom Death: Monster. Times were simpler back in the day.

If DotLS does launch with an MSRP of $100, I suspect very few people will complain about the price. There are just so many games at that price point now that it's not surprising anymore.

Yup. But it's a components issue. We tired of painted wooden cubes to represent things and now want full on mini's...which costs a lot more.

Same games, but just pricey components. I just wish someone would release a zombies game at a low price and just made us use mini's from another game.

Zombicide,
Dark, Darker, Darkest,
Last Night on Earth,
Run, Fight or Die,

I've got more zombie mini's than I know what to do with.

Jorune

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Same games, but just pricey components. I just wish someone would release a zombies game at a low price and just made us use mini's from another game.
Wasn't All Things Zombie based on a miniatures skirmish game that didn't require the purchase of figures?

It's a little easier to sell just the rules for a minatures game than a boardgame, since in the latter case you're selling an incomplete game at that point (board, cards, dice, but no figures.) Allowing people to skip buying figures when you plan on releasing your own line drives up the per-unit costs for those who do buy your figures since the production run volume shrinks, and there's fewer sales to amortize the fixed design, molding, and manufacturing costs over, along with any variable costs related to run size for the figures.

You definitely have to be careful with who you pick to publish or manufacture your game. Low margin businesses tend to encourage frugal behavior to a point where it tips from being a virtue to a vice. It's very easy to get stuck with a bad deal as a game designer when someone else is calling the shots for your game; and to be clear, I'm speaking hypothetically here and in no way implying there are any problems with any of the games/publishers on this thread.
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+1 for the point that the price point of $100 has become the new norm.

I remember buying Defenders of the Last Stand at retail a few years back, paying about $90, and thinking, wow, this is an expensive game.

And now with the CMON games, Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Rebellion, and Shadows of Brimstone, $100 for retail for a mini-intensive game seems to be the new norm.

A lot of the future grail game status depends on how well the game is received, especially at retail. Jason clearly wants to market it for brick and mortar distributors, and wants to move away from the Kickstarter model he has used for printing and reprinting his games. If the game does not do gangbusters at retail, and Jason doesn't want to go through another Kickstarter ordeal to reprint the game, then maybe. As a backer, I would rather see the game do well and see some of that extra content Richard was working on somewhere down the line...
 
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Cam27 wrote:
I remember buying Defenders of the Last Stand at retail a few years back, paying about $90, and thinking, wow, this is an expensive game.
Impressive, did you hit 88 mph on the way to the store?
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Cam27 wrote:
I remember buying Defenders of the Last Stand at retail a few years back, paying about $90, and thinking, wow, this is an expensive game.
I'm pretty sure you don't remember buying Defenders of the Last Stand a few years ago, because it hasn't yet been published. shake
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I have a concern that people who love DotR will play Last Stand and say they don't like it as much as DotR, because they don't want one of their favorite games to be replaced by an improved version. I'm not saying Last Stand is better than DotR (I haven't played Last Stand yet), but a read of the rules leads me to believe Last Stand improves on a few niggling issues with DotR. Here are a few examples of what Last Stand improves upon:
- Separate hand limit for Special cards versus Defender cards. In DotR, sometimes your hand gets clogged with special cards you're not ready to use.
- Multiple known Mission cards available to choose from, instead of a blind Quest card draw.
- Ability to further enhance your character's abilities via mutations and artifacts.
- Scenarios with multiple win conditions.

I really think Last Stand will be the better game mechanically speaking, and it's clearly going to be a better looking game. It will be up to us first edition owners to get people to play the game and spread the word.
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