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Subject: Kickstarter Monthly Expansion/Continual Small Updates to a Game rss

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Grace McDermott
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(If someone has done this, please link me, I'd love to see the execution - I've only seen it done once for an LCG game.)

This is an idea I’ve been batting around for a bit.

Say there was a game on KS for ~$50.

Would you be interested in backing a tier that had a "monthly expansion" - so a new mission/player board/half a dozen item cards? Basically something small enough to ship in an envelope, but that would add ongoing value/new ways to play to the existing game.

If no - why not? I can see the major hesitation being unsure if you're going to enjoy the base game whilst backing.

If yes - how much would you pay? $5/month? $10/month? I'm thinking it would be set up for a year (rather than an ongoing thing), so it would be an extra $60/120 - obviously with the higher amount we would have more play with what we could add - or use higher quality components.

Alternatively – would you like to see it as something divorced from the KS campaign, and just for sale through the store (in the way that Plaid Hat sells the additional Dead of Winter characters)?
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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My first thought is: someone from marketing tore the first expansion into little tiny pieces so that they have an excuse to contact me every month.

My second thought is: a half-dozen cards per month for a year is 72 cards. You want to change me $120 for 72 cards? (This is perhaps uncharitable because I'm interpreting "new mission/player board/half a dozen item cards" as meaning "one of those 3 things", and it's quite possible you meant "all of them". But a "mission" could be anything from two sentences of fluff to 20 pages of dense rules and diagrams, so I'm focusing on the part whose size and complexity I can reasonably guess.)


EDIT: Math error.
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Grace McDermott
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Antistone wrote:
My first thought is: someone from marketing tore the first expansion into little tiny pieces so that they have an excuse to contact me every month.
That’s basically it in a nutshell – except that they wouldn’t necessarily be a unifying theme as an expansion would be.

And yeah, $120 is probably way too much - $5/month ($60/year) is probably closer to the mark – and that would include shipping.

The idea would be to keep the game fresh in people’s minds (which does seem, yeah, a little marketing-team-mercenary).

I’ve also been playing with the idea of distributing PnP materials, as well as the standard of doing convention-promo cards – but the idea of a structured thing does appeal to me.
 
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Rick Fuss
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There's absolutely no way I'd back a Kickstarter (even at the base game level) where the expansion content costs more than the base game. Especially with a new/unknown/unproven game.

I'm always leery of games that launch with expansions right out of the gate. If it's more of the same content (cards, tiles, etc.) that's in the base game, I wonder if the base game was watered down or had stuff removed just to make the expansion. Why not just slightly raise the price of the base game to include it from the get go? If you are going to launch with an expansion, that expansion needs to communicate why it was not included in the base game, such as:
1) it introduces new mechanics not in the base game, or
2) the extra components would have driven the base price way up. These components need to be something beyond just cards or tiles. Stuff like game boards and wooden/plastic bits.
If you are going to offer an expansion that's just more of the same content as the base game, I'd suggest waiting 6-12 months after the base game launch. You want to communicate that your offering more variety/options and not repackaging stripped out content.

If you want to offer "fresh" content on a scheduled basis , I'd suggest two options once the game has found an audience (could be 3 months, a year, whenever. but it should be after it's available through retail shops), and definitely divorced from the original KS campaign (could be its own KS campaign or through your own website). Remember not everyone who discovers your game will discover it through the initial Kickstarter campaign and you want to afford them access to this additional content as well.

1) Monthly PnP content on a subscription model. I'd say $10-$20 for a year's worth of content would be the sweet spot, with $24 probably being the maximum. Ideally, this stuff is alternate rulesets, scenarios and possibly game/player boards. Stuff that doesn't require a bunch work outside of printing (minimal cutting, gluing, etc). I'd avoid making components (such as cards) that will be mixed in with professionally produced versions (not everyone sleeves their cards).

2) Physical subscription model where stuff gets shipped. I'd suggest no more frequently than quarterly shipments of $5-$10 each (instead of monthly shipments). Remember you're going to need to get these components printed/manufactured/packaged/shipped, and is that something you want to manage/coordinate every month?
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Freelance Police
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I don't think this alone would matter in a KS. Many backers are used to pledging for the expansion at the same time as the base game. Some backers would presume that these cards should be free SG's. Backers should know that monthly shipped items will be paid by them, and some would prefer the least expensive way of shipping them over the novelty of a monthly mini-expansion. Also, add on the headache if the item gets lost in the mail or if a backer is antsy that it hasn't arrived yet. So you could give an option where backers can wait for a second shipment of the expansion items, rather than monthly shipment.

OTOH, There is some novelty on a subscription service.
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Nat Levan
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It's interesting, but I think shipping kills it. for a tiny expansion of 6 cards or something equivalent, I might pay $2.50, putting the total price at $30 for the equivalent of a full size expansion. But you'll probably be paying an extra $2.50 to mail each one. I'd rather pay $10 for a single box.

Compare what you're doing to Dominion expansions, which are $30, and shipped free from Amazon. If they were $60, and only got one new card a month, would you? I'm sure it's not exactly the same, but that's effectively what you're competing with.
 
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Matthew Proper-Lee
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My two thoughts on this are that if I saw this, it is either a bald-faced attempt at taking money from me by stretching out a partial expansion to the game piecemeal (and possibly not even adding up to a full expansion despite the total subscription cost), or undeveloped ideas will be sent out without being completely tested and I'm paying for the privilege of getting these ideas that may or may not be fully fleshed out and balanced.
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Robin Armstrong
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My thought would be that this is better suited to a Patreon campaign rather than Kickstarter. From what I understand, Patreon allows you to have a monthly subscription to whatever that you can start or cancel at any time. Those who are subscribed can pay whatever and receive rewards, just like Kickstarter. I haven't looked into this, so YMMV, but it's worth a look if you decide to go this route.
 
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William Korner
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I would be very hesitant to back this even though I like the idea. I would be worried about delays and trying to keep track of what months rewards I have received and which ones I have not. I dislike the practice of listing the release date which there is no way of reaching and this sounds like trouble to me.
 
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Grace McDermott
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klz_fc wrote:
My two thoughts on this are that if I saw this, it is either a bald-faced attempt at taking money from me by stretching out a partial expansion to the game piecemeal (and possibly not even adding up to a full expansion despite the total subscription cost), or undeveloped ideas will be sent out without being completely tested and I'm paying for the privilege of getting these ideas that may or may not be fully fleshed out and balanced.
Completely fair, and probably the reaction I’d have to it as a potential customer. From a business/designer point of view though, I can see some value in some kind of execution of this concept – though probably completely divorcing it from the KS would be the best idea. (I think my initial reasoning was that it would show that we were thinking about the future of the game, and wouldn’t disappear once the campaign was over.
 
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Grace McDermott
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Sam and Max wrote:
OTOH, There is some novelty on a subscription service.
That’s what I was thinking. There has to be some way of doing this that doesn’t seem like a rip-off. Potentially a PnP subscription?
 
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Grace McDermott
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Sivilized wrote:
It's interesting, but I think shipping kills it. for a tiny expansion of 6 cards or something equivalent, I might pay $2.50, putting the total price at $30 for the equivalent of a full size expansion. But you'll probably be paying an extra $2.50 to mail each one. I'd rather pay $10 for a single box.
That’s why I was thinking of doing something slim, something that could done in an envelope, so that it’s shipped as a letter, rather than a parcel, creating the cheapest possible shipping (as I’m in Australia, I have to assume that most of my customers won’t be local – and because it’s so tiny, I’d likely be processing it myself).
 
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Grace McDermott
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Apocalypse Dude wrote:
I would be very hesitant to back this even though I like the idea. I would be worried about delays and trying to keep track of what months rewards I have received and which ones I have not. I dislike the practice of listing the release date which there is no way of reaching and this sounds like trouble to me.
As to the first point, I was thinking of – in a way – treating them like promo cards, but instead of printing GAMECON on the back, it’d just list a month/year.
 
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Grace McDermott
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Defcon64 wrote:
My thought would be that this is better suited to a Patreon campaign rather than Kickstarter. From what I understand, Patreon allows you to have a monthly subscription to whatever that you can start or cancel at any time. Those who are subscribed can pay whatever and receive rewards, just like Kickstarter. I haven't looked into this, so YMMV, but it's worth a look if you decide to go this route.
I think this is probably the best idea. I already do a Patreon for my fiction serial, and I find their interface easy to work with.
 
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Grace McDermott
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rickfuss wrote:
1) Monthly PnP content on a subscription model. I'd say $10-$20 for a year's worth of content would be the sweet spot, with $24 probably being the maximum. Ideally, this stuff is alternate rulesets, scenarios and possibly game/player boards. Stuff that doesn't require a bunch work outside of printing (minimal cutting, gluing, etc). I'd avoid making components (such as cards) that will be mixed in with professionally produced versions (not everyone sleeves there cards).
*nodnod*

I’m very much leaning towards the PnP idea (probably optionally combined with Patreon) and save the printed materials for con handouts.
 
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Jack Poon
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I think the closest example I've seen of this sort of working was what Cards Against Humanity did for Christmas for the past couple of years. For 15$ if I'm remember correctly, they would send you presents throughout the month of December. I got a few promotional holiday packs that added to the base cards against humanity set I have. A special unique card that was my name to add to the game. Many of the presents also weren't connected to the original game. They're doing it again this year as eight sensible gifts Hannukah but knowing cards against humanity, these gifts are going to be ridiculous.

I think the reason why it worked really well for CAH is because of all the added value to the 15$. Not only did you get really unique cards that worked with the core game well, it worked very well with the holiday. I was sometimes more ecstatic waking up each day to a new envelop with a present. They also had a really hard puzzle hidden away with each envelop which got a huge community following to figure out exactly what it was. So not only was it just a bunch of gifts, there was another game that thousands of people were participating in all at the same time with tons of discussions and theories as to what the puzzle would lead to.
 
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Matthew Proper-Lee
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Ryinth wrote:
klz_fc wrote:
My two thoughts on this are that if I saw this, it is either a bald-faced attempt at taking money from me by stretching out a partial expansion to the game piecemeal (and possibly not even adding up to a full expansion despite the total subscription cost), or undeveloped ideas will be sent out without being completely tested and I'm paying for the privilege of getting these ideas that may or may not be fully fleshed out and balanced.
Completely fair, and probably the reaction I’d have to it as a potential customer. From a business/designer point of view though, I can see some value in some kind of execution of this concept – though probably completely divorcing it from the KS would be the best idea. (I think my initial reasoning was that it would show that we were thinking about the future of the game, and wouldn’t disappear once the campaign was over.
Ultimately, the real question should be what your goal truly is here. The subscription model would require more work and the end user gets much less content than a traditionally made expansion set when packaged and shipped at once vs small packets as you are suggesting.

The "future of the game" is a bad idea to work with at the same time as the sale of the initial game in general because it can affect the initial sales of the game itself - the feeling may be that a chunk of the game was deliberately taken out to be resold, which means that actual price of the game is higher than shown to get the complete game.

Regular releases in that frequency will always put that nagging feeling that half or more of the subscription cards and rules were not tested at all and just done to fulfill the promise of one per month.

Treating these like promo cards can backfire too, since promos are usually given away for free at conventions or as part of pre-ordering via Kickstarter. They may as well be part of a future expansion that you can explain you have in mind if the initial game sells well enough. Just look around at the divisive thoughts behind even the KS exclusives that are unavailable any other way.
 
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Nat Levan
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Ryinth wrote:
That’s why I was thinking of doing something slim, something that could done in an envelope, so that it’s shipped as a letter, rather than a parcel, creating the cheapest possible shipping (as I’m in Australia, I have to assume that most of my customers won’t be local – and because it’s so tiny, I’d likely be processing it myself).
I'd be concerned that minimal packages would stay in good shape after being shipped around the world. If I got a pack of cards that were bent, I'd be unhappy as a customer. I don't know how big of a factor that would be, but part of what you save in postage might be eaten up in packaging and replacement copies.

Overall, I think it just creates more barriers for people to enter than it creates buzz and draws people in. Good luck, if you try it, though.
 
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