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Near and Far» Forums » General

Subject: Near & Far (Another Episode of KS and the Tragedy of the Commons) rss

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Tommy Roman
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I've been following this campaign since its launch and want to congratulate Ryan on another amazing creation. While I'm glad to see that the backer pool is expanding and pushing the final pledge towards/past some very desirable SGs, I couldn't help but notice some of the forum remarks:

"Slightly different sized coins for the different denominations would be really nice! "

"Are the coins going to be different sizes. If not please consider it."

"Would the characters be both sided meaning one side male and one side female ? This would be great "

"@RedRaven I'm totally bummed you're not able to make it to Essen, I was hoping to buy some of the games I didn't back on KS. Plus say hello! Essen stretch goal!!! "

"Anyone else disappointed the coins will be the same just different color?"

"Can we please get upgraded dice as a stretch goal? All the dice used in the past are sub par at best."

"Please add a single player mode. There is not much to be done for that."

"Can you lower the non-human character SG. I want to be a lizard or frog."

"Kinda disappointed that the character sheets are a stretch goal."

"The shipping cost is more than half the price of this game.. @Ryan Laukat able to help out in area?"

"@ryan that's a shame. Not everyone can go to gencon you should be more accommodating to those supporting the games."

"#catmap
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!
"

This is a small sample of backer commentary (in no specific order) that has appeared. What I find interesting is that many of these comments presume that the suggested changes are fairly easy to institute when they are, in fact, not. That Ryan has garnered the growing popularity with each RR title is a testament to his creativity, and I suspect to his patience as well.

None of these comments are rude or profane, but the overall tenor of these opinions and suggestions point towards an uncomfortable level of backer entitlement. It's great that backers can interact with a designer and have a degree of influence on the final product. Ideas about purely cosmetic effects (i.e. coin size or color) are one thing, but I can't really wrap my mind around the desire (voiced by at least one individual) for a solo mode. Huh? Perhaps N&F is NOT a game you should purchase if you want to play by yourself, because that's not what Ryan set out to create.

To his credit, Ryan has responded in some way to all of these comments as they have accumulated on the KS forum. I imagine it has also drawn his time away from doing some rather important tasks- like finishing the game. He is a rare breed: designer, artist, producer. I trust him to publish the game in the best state he can manage.

I think all of us, myself included, have gotten a little spoiled by the potential that KS offers. I personally like Ryan's approach to SGs by keeping some of them hidden with the intent of limiting disappointment if the required monies fail to appear. Will N&F make it to 500K? I hope so. But I'm secure in the belief that whatever game was designed from the original 50K would be one worth playing. The rest is gravy.

It's Ryan's world, we're just playing in it. So enjoy.

BTW, shouldn't the catmap be a Jamey Stegmaier thing?

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Mike Risley
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Just wanted to point out that the #Catmap was something that Craig mentioned in the most recent Podcast, saying that if enough people posted it then Ryan would be forced to do it. This of course playing off the response to the previous podcast where a Cat Map was mentioned.
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Richard Sampson
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I see you concern, but about the coins in particular, I don't think the issue is purely cosmetic. These coins, at least from the preview, have no amount printed on them so the only defining feature is color. In the wrong light, shiny coins of the same size could be difficult to tell apart at a glance. Making them different sizes would definitely make them more functional.

Considering that these coins are basically the only incentive of the KS beyond supporting RR games, I think concern that the "bonus" is less functional than the cardboard counter-part is completely valid, especially when people look at something like the coins in Scythe which have a lot of variation.
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Tim Tix
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I don't really see a problem. This is social media, and KS is no difference.

People comment/claim/beg and the guys running the campaigns need to answer that in any way. The RR team does a great job there.

From a user/player/backer perspective all these claims seem understandable? Not everyone knows which change might cause which costs.

For Ryan and his team this is free market research. If one asks for different sized coins and dozens agree, he knows this might attract more people. If many want a solo mode, it would enhance the game (if it works).

Last, it's always hard to judge the written word in social media. Unlike other occasions where we write, we write as we speak (native speaker or not). If people don't add emoticons, you never know how to understand an "it's a shame"...

Ryan needs to decide himself how much of a product provider and how much of a designer he wants to be
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Brian M
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Tragedy of the commons is when a bunch of people take an action that benefits them individually, but is detrimental on the whole when everyone decides to take that action.

This is just customers giving feedback. Many companies would love to have that level of customer feedback.

Of course, just because the customers want it doesn't mean its a good idea to give it to them.

Oh, but yeah, coins of different denominations should totally be different sizes - that's just common sense!
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Tim Tix
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ras2124 wrote:
Considering that these coins are basically the only incentive of the KS beyond supporting RR games...


One could argue that the KS edition (even with coins) is cheaper than the standard/retail version MSRP.

Quote:
The standard retail version of Near and Far will have an MSRP of $59.99.


But yes, if you add shipping...
 
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C&H Schmidt
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I agree with the OP for the most part. Yes, Ryan did ask for more stretch goal suggestions, but there's a difference between suggesting stretch goals and basically demanding changes nonstop even after Ryan has explained (sometimes multiple times) why that thing isn't feasible. Or phrasing the comment like clearly everybody must want this amazing change the commenter is proposing, when that might actually just be a minority opinion.
There were even some people suggesting that maybe the project should just be delayed to accommodate these particular backer wishes. gulp

None of the other Kickstarters I've participated in have had this degree of "I back this so I can tell the creator what to do with it and if he says no I'm going to continue harping on about it".

I'm also much more comfortable with people proposing additions to the project (even though they might not end up being feasible) than changes. And in my opinion any Kickstarter creator who changes something from the way the game is presented on the campaign page should do a poll. Often the people screaming in the comments are just a vocal minority; and the majority of backers who prefer things as they are just don't see a reason to comment.
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Adam Webb
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ras2124 wrote:
I see you concern, but about the coins in particular, I don't think the issue is purely cosmetic. These coins, at least from the preview, have no amount printed on them so the only defining feature is color. In the wrong light, shiny coins of the same size could be difficult to tell apart at a glance. Making them different sizes would definitely make them more functional.

Considering that these coins are basically the only incentive of the KS beyond supporting RR games, I think concern that the "bonus" is less functional than the cardboard counter-part is completely valid, especially when people look at something like the coins in Scythe which have a lot of variation.


I'd rather have more KS-exclusive chrome bits (metal coins, custom meeples, etc) in future campaigns than KS-exclusives like the A&B add-ons. Islebound hit a solid middle ground I think, since offering the Metropolis expansion earlier and cheaper is a solid incentive, but it doesn't deprive non-backers of game content.
 
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Matt L.
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I'm legitimately trying to be nice and respond to you without creating an argument here. Since when does politely asking a question on a forum which encourages participation reflect an "uncomfortable level of backer entitlement"?

Coin Size/differentiation - This is an obvious question, besides just simple usability at the table, differentiations in things like coin values can help those with vision impairment. This is just a flat out simple change that can make the game easier for everyone to see. Yes the designer might have some reason (coins in Five Tribes for example), but that's why you ask the question.

Male/Female Chars - Only Ryan would know if there's a reason this can't be done, and some good planning in this department on double-sided printing could allow for less overall cardboard/paper to be used or for more characters to be included on the same amount of cardboard. All while just increasing customer satisfaction? Win/Win if there's not a limitation that backers can't know about. Why not ask?

Essen - Seems like a totally reasonable thing to say, "Please come, I want to buy stuff from you if you do, thanks!"

Dice - I JUST bought Above and Below yesterday at retail and one of my dice has pips that are partially filled in with plastic, totally minor, doesn't matter, I'm not going to complain but it does look cheap. If someone had gotten a worse batch or just wanted sharper quality from a Deluxe edition, I could totally see asking this question.

Single-Player Mode - Totally reasonable question for a campaign game, the assertion that "there's not much to be done for that" is the part I would argue with, but really that's up to Ryan to respond to. I don't know if I'd classify that as entitlement but I do disagree with a backer telling the designer that it'll be easy. No argument with just asking if it's a candidate for inclusion.

Move Stretch-Goal - This is a reasonable question to ask politely, yes it might be planned this way, but why not ask?

Char sheet Stretch Goal - Not a fan of this one as quoted, this isn't a question to the designer, it's just a statement with an implication that their disappointment deserves a response. If this were cut out of a larger conversation though it might make total sense in context and not sound so entitled.

Shipping - Totally reasonable question, I've seen Kickstarters where backers have given examples of other projects which managed better shipping options that resulted in a change to the shipping options on the project. You start that process by just asking a question.

Gencon - "you should be more..." I strongly dislike the tone here, but I reserve judgement until I find the full conversation. Sounds entitled and dumb as quoted.

#Catmap - I don't know what the catmap thing is, but Ryan included cats in A&B so perhaps there's a logical extension there, or maybe people like cats, I don't care, seems fun, not entitled.


A couple of these comments do sound entitled as quoted I will agree, but certainly not all. If anything most of these sound like reasonable questions that backers should be asking.

WRT:Taking time away from Ryan to answer questions.
This is a Kickstarter project and Kickstarter's design actively encourages backers and designers to engage with one another. Ryan's not new to this platform and if Ryan wanted a silent pre-order he should have just done one through his website. The Kickstarter is the most important thing he's doing right now since that's apparently the only way this project gets funded. Engaging with backers and trying to find ways to pull more community into the project are things that actually increase his brand and the money that he makes on this project.

On a personal level :
Backer/Consumer Entitlement is a common thread that I've seen you comment on in the past and I honestly think you're pulling yourself down into this drama far too much (especially on some of these very reasonable questions). Step back, ask the questions you need to ask about the project and let Ryan run his campaign without feeling like you need to come to his rescue. You don't need to defend Ryan from the vagaries of a message board and you don't need to run this "Kids these days are so entitled" thing either, just let it go.

My (unrequested) advice is that if you feel like someone's being dramatic and entitled, just drop a nice comment in the forums to encourage without bothering to engage someone being dumb, "@Ryan, Have a nice time at Gencon!" reminds Ryan that people support him and his decisions without creating an argument that only gives the original comment all the more satisfaction to be argued.

I wrote a lot more than I intended here, perhaps you'll wish to argue with me but I honestly and truly mean everything that I wrote in a friendly and non-entitled way and I don't have any interest in arguing about what someone else on the internet said. My goal with discussing these was not to argue but to give a different perspective on these and hopefully help you step away from some useless drama on the internet.

Best Wishes,
~Matt (a fellow N&F backer)
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C&H Schmidt
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LunaWolvesMan wrote:

Male/Female Chars - Only Ryan would know if there's a reason this can't be done, and some good planning in this department on double-sided printing could allow for less overall cardboard/paper to be used or for more characters to be included on the same amount of cardboard.
Let me tell you that I would not buy the game if women weren't well-represented among the characters, so I totally view this as one of the valid questions!
But N&F actually does much better than double-sided characters: The characters, with their distinct and special stories, have a fixed gender, but female heroes are well-represented among them (you can see this from the component picture). This is actually much nicer tand gives the adventurers more character.
Now let's just hope that the stories for them aren't full of gender stereotypes.
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Mike Risley
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LunaWolvesMan wrote:
Male/Female Chars - Only Ryan would know if there's a reason this can't be done, and some good planning in this department on double-sided printing could allow for less overall cardboard/paper to be used or for more characters to be included on the same amount of cardboard.


I think this just shows unfamilarity with Ryan's games. He's always very representational of different genders/races/non-humanness. If anything, I'd personally gripe about the lack of dogs. ;-)
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ParisianDreams
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Quote:
Male/Female Chars - Only Ryan would know if there's a reason this can't be done, and some good planning in this department on double-sided printing could allow for less overall cardboard/paper to be used or for more characters to be included on the same amount of cardboard. All while just increasing customer satisfaction? Win/Win if there's not a limitation that backers can't know about. Why not ask?


I own A&B, Islebound and City of Iron, IMO, Ryan does an amazing job of doing a good split between, Male, Female and Animal characters. He did do double-sided in Islebound for the Characters, the reverse side are so that you can use the Characters in A&B, which I thought was pretty neat. That said, in A&B and Islebound you can injury a villager/adventurer to increase your die rolls/successes, when I flip over Islebound characters I have to admit to wishing they did not have a character on that side too. Mostly because at first glance it's hard to tell if myself or someone injured someone to succeed at a fight or an adventure.

You can not please everyone though. I think a lot of people may not realize as well that wen Ryan puts his games on KS, they are 80% done. I remember hearing him say that in an interview. They question asked was "how do you get your games often delivered to backers ahead of schedule?" and that was his reply that he is pretty much done designing the game before he posts it. So I can see how making some changes or add-ons could be a bit time intensive and throw off his ETA of the game's release.
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Tim Tix
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MikeRisley wrote:
If anything, I'd personally gripe about the lack of dogs. ;-)


Lack of dogs? (Is this irony that I don't get?) There are even "dog tokens" in the game. Are there more dogs in his other games? (Unfortunately I'm not familiar with those.) I'd loooove more dogs
 
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Mike Risley
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TimTix wrote:
MikeRisley wrote:
If anything, I'd personally gripe about the lack of dogs. ;-)


Lack of dogs? (Is this irony that I don't get?) There are even "dog tokens" in the game. Are there more dogs in his other games? (Unfortunately I'm not familiar with those.) I'd loooove more dogs


Maybe I'm blanking, but I don't remember dog tokens in any of his games. Mostly just cats, some fish people, toad people, hog people, glogos, lizard people, mechanical people, one person made of some black goo and one bird person. Which game has dog tokens? I've played them all except for one. Well, okay, I just punched Islebound, but soon.

Edit: Duh. You mean the dog companion in this one. I'm thinking more the characters. Like the cat people you can hire in most. Or the Toads or Hogmen in CoI.
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Tim Tix
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MikeRisley wrote:
Edit: Duh. You mean the dog companion in this one. I'm thinking more the characters. Like the cat people you can hire in most. Or the Toads or Hogmen in CoI.


Yes, I meant the dog companion in this one. Sorry for being not clear. I believe they're mentioned as 'dog tokens' on the campaing page.

However, dog characters would be awesome. Maybe I suggest that in a comment.
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Phil Jurney
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I agree with some of the OP said, not all. Ryan is a very experienced KS campaign and game designer, but not everybody really knows that. Ryan understands how much it would cost to do certain things like changing coin size, but again not everybody knows that. I hopped in for the above and below KS and have been a huge fan of Ryan ever since. I know how he runs his campaigns, I know how he builds his games. I'll say it again, not everybody does. So even though I get a little frustrated with some of the comments on the KS page I'm really just there for the game, and regardless of if Ryan changes things or not I know it will be fantastic. Plus if you discourage wants for a game by saying it's entitlement you wouldn't ever get good ideas either. Just recently in the comments someone came up with the idea for user made scenarios. That's a fantastic idea! it doesn't require anything from Ryan and we as a community get to enhance the game! Honestly, I'm probably going to come up with some stories of my own.
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Steven
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I do not want to be argumentative and I see the original posters perspective, but I do not agree with it at all. Hopefully my perspective can be equally understood, even if people do not agree. In the case that anyone does not agree with me, I do not need convincing I am wrong, we will just need to agree to disagree and I am happy with that! That said, I own or have owned all of Ryans games, I love his games, and I love how he Runs his Kickstarters. Most of all I have faith that Ryan lays it all on the table to put the best possible product into the world that he can. So why do I disagree?

I disagree because this is Kickstarter. Creators of all types are asking people to shell out their hard earned money to help create a product that would likely not exist without them. They are asking backers to take a risk on a product that will typically take a year or more before it MIGHT turn into something they can hold in their hands. This is not a pre-order service and anything can happen, even not getting anything for your money. For those who will say "if you don't like it don't back" or "If you cannot afford the risk do not back" or whatever else along those veins, you are missing the point and I will never be able to explain it to you.

Because of the nature of how this crowd funding works, people feel a higher level of ownership, which I feel is rightfully theirs to feel being that without them there would be nothing or the creator would need to put up their own capitol or get a loan. So no, I do not think puting up suggestions, whether you feel they are warranted or not is a form of entitlement anymore than I think creators are showing a level of entitlement by asking their customers to take a risk with the possibility of no return and no recourse because its easier than producing in a traditional way.

When it comes to this Kickstarter directly, Ryan asked for suggestions. There has even been more than one suggestion that I have thought was crazy (not entitled, just not possible or too expensive). Surprisingly some of those crazy suggestions ended up being things that Ryan liked and even if they could not be included, he showed interest in using them in an expansion. That aside, these suggestions and comments fuel discussion, builds community, creates strong advocates and builds more hype and enthusiasm for the campaign. Do people know how hard something may be to add or if it costs too much? Probably not, but why does it need to be a prerequisite before offering a suggestion?

In the end, Ryan decides what goes into his game in the end, so I do not see the problem. Ryan knows that people in general do not know his exact costs, but he wanted suggestions anyway. If he needs to point out why things will work, might work, would be better in an expansion, whats the big deal? These comments give him more opportunities to engage his backers and build community. I have been in Kickstarters that run a dead/silent campaign and I am grateful that Ryan does not run those. I find everything you posted to be legitimate questions or suggestions, especially because of the way Ryan runs his community. He is a smart and talented guy and does not need white knights. Overall this whole topic just begs for drama and says these people do not have my perspective so they must be wrong. These people want to play differently than I do so they must be wrong. This topic is pointless.

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Peter Schott
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I'll admit some of the above comes across more as whining than legit questions, but the coin size one is the one that really stands out. It's a pretty good concern and one I'm a bit surprised wasn't considered more carefully before including them in the game. I can't think of any instance where coins of the same size but different denominations has worked well.

My favorite question in the campaign is "Would you consider letting us add-on Above and Below?" Answered _multiple_ times and in the FAQ on the main page. It still comes up regularly and it's explained that it's not something they can do and is out of their control.

I think backers should ask questions, though. It's up to the producer to decide if those questions/desires have merit or are feasible. I think Ryan mentioned in one of the podcasts about when he gave the playtesters everything they wanted and it was _horrible_. He learned from that. I'm glad to see he's got a really successful campaign going and hope that it continues to go well for him.
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Ben Martell
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I don't think the quotes you choose are bad in and of themselves, but yes I agree there is a terrible level of backer entitlement that goes on and it tends to manifest itself in ways such as:

Talking about 'keeping backers happy', as though the goal is not to put out the best game but rather to implement what the backers want you to implement.

Declaring your idea as something that will improve the game.

Asking for the same thing multiple times even after a negative answer has been received, pushing it as though the designer isn't the best judge of their own game.

Treating stretch goals as some kind of democratic process, whereby the more popular an idea is the more negligent a designer is for not implementing it.

Criticising the games existing state as poor (if you don't like it, don't back it. If you do like it, accept it is good and that you are merely trying to make marginal improvements.)

An exaggerated sense of the self-importance of influencing stretch goals.

A belief that you understand the designers business model, budget and margins better than they do themselves, and that you can declare what will be cheaper or more cost-effective.

For me, the worst habits of backers are badgering designers for something after the 'no' call has been publicly made, pretending that they know what is best for the game and the budget.

There is nothing wrong with asking whether or not something is viable - but backers really need to take it on the chin when the designers answer is no, and there are only a small handful who seem to struggle with this. In fact, most of my experience of entitlement on Kickstarter (for Board Games) is all from one individual person who also accounts for most of the most entitled-looking comments you quoted.
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Tommy Roman
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fubarbox wrote:
I find everything you posted to be legitimate questions or suggestions, especially because of the way Ryan runs his community. He is a smart and talented guy and does not need white knights. Overall this whole topic just begs for drama and says these people do not have my perspective so they must be wrong. These people want to play differently than I do so they must be wrong. This topic is pointless.


Upon reflection of my post, I see now that my commentary came across too strong as the needless white knight. Ryan, if you're reading this thread, my apologies. Matt, I thought your comments were thoughtful. Steve's too, although I would politely disagree that my post wasn't "pointless".

In the interest of de-escalation and drama avoidance, I submit that I will do the following...

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