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Subject: Heuristics on what Kickstarters you back? rss

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Tom McVey
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Confessed KS addict here. Does anyone have good rules that they use on what KS games they back?

I'll back KS's from designers or publishers I respect (like Eagle games or Tasty Minstrel or Indie Games), but I'm too much of a sucker for themes - SF/Fantasy (too many dungeon crawlers in my collection). The completionist in me makes it hard to say "wait for the retail version, then make a choice to buy it when the reviews are in". And epic KS wins (like Blood Rage, where the KS extras are so juicy relative to the retail verson) make me forget the disappointments.

I've been burned themes - too many shitty Lovecraftian games (Cthulhu's Vault being one of the worst for gameplay), but still backed Fate of the Elder Gods because I really like Richard Launius as a designer despite the disappointment with Cthulhu's Vault.

I usually don't check out gameplay videos before backing, although I did check out Dear Leader before deciding the gameplay was too thin to deserve backing despite the theme being interesting. I should do that more than I do.

So, does anyone have good advice on getting more selective about Kickstarters they back?
 
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Moshe Callen
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In a word, none. I prefer classics-- time tested good games. Those may be on KS but no one will know it yet.
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Chris
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I'm not sure why you are on RSP with this, except that maybe because we are awesome and way better than people on the rest of the site.

But to answer your question, I must be a rare breed of BGG'er as I don't back Kickstarters. I have done 3 in the past and they all sucked for various reasons so i decided to opt out. I don't have a lot of money to spend on games so I want to be sure they are good games so I always try a game before I buy it o make sure I like it. That's not possible with KS and it is too easy to end with with something I don't like.

I am not looking to have a 500+ game collection. I just want the games I enjoy playing. So I stick to buying tried and true games. If a game is good it will stick around.
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Drew
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galad2003 wrote:
But to answer your question, I must be a rare breed of BGG'er as I don't back Kickstarters.


Nor do I.

Not willing to risk money on vague promises. Especially given all the horror stories.
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Damian
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Drew1365 wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
But to answer your question, I must be a rare breed of BGG'er as I don't back Kickstarters.


Nor do I.

Not willing to risk money on vague promises. Especially given all the horror stories.

Why do you hate small business entrepreneurs?
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Chris
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Oh and if you want to be more selective, become broke. It becomes real freaking easy to not spend money on board games when you don't have any money. I suggest getting divorced to be the most broke. She gets half your stuff (at least), you pay thousands of dollars to lawyers who don't give a fuck and you get stuck with a ridiculously high child support payment. You probably won't have enough money to pay your rent or car payment so board games will definitely be out unless you get a second job - then you won't have the time to play games.

Not that I am bitter or anything.
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Dickie Crickets
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I've had solid luck with Kickstarter overall. You take it in the ear now and then, but such is life.

I can't say that I have a system for choosing what to back. Obviously, it starts with an interesting theme or idea that hooks me in. Then, I check out the Kickstarter. If it appears to be well thought-out, coherent, and promising, I'll generally take a chance. It's a gut thing in many regards, since it's almost impossible to know for sure if you've picked a winner until the money is long gone.

I tend to avoid overdone themes and way-past-ambitious designs from unknown parties. I also refrain from doing those high-value bids just to get all of the SUPER LIMITED EDITION pieces or whatever. Whatever my sins are, I don't have the reflexive completionist instinct that plagues many in the hobby.

I totally understand why some people live the Rotten Tomatoes life and want a full critical consensus before they spend them dollars. Board games ain't cheap, as a rule. But I've got the money, and I like keeping crowd funding alive as a healthy alternative to established publishers, or people going into hock to chase a dream. I think it's good for the hobby, and since I like the hobby, it's good for me. It's maybe not the OPTIMAL choice for me, money-wise - sort of an ironic quandary for a board gamer - but if my $20 helps produce the next classic game, I call it a win. And if it doesn't, eh. I spent like $60 on sushi last night, and we all know where that ends up.
 
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Tom McVey
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Drew1365 wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
But to answer your question, I must be a rare breed of BGG'er as I don't back Kickstarters.


Nor do I.

Not willing to risk money on vague promises. Especially given all the horror stories.


Haven't had too many horror stories in terms of not getting the product. One where I'd completely given up on (Fairy Tale: Battle Royale, which was a clusterfuck of overpromising and missing deadlines) came through in the end.

Maybe I'm better at this than I thought.
 
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Tom McVey
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eaglebeak wrote:
Board games ain't cheap, as a rule.


Don't know - board games or RPGs are pretty cheap per hour of entertainment compared to a concert or a movie. Not as cheap as a paperback book though.
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Tyler Gobe
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Anything by Ryan Lauket or Jamie Stegmaier are auto-buys for me. They both have a track record of making games I love and delivering on their Kickstarts. CMON I'll back if the game looks strong.

In general, if the company doesn't have a strong track record or a great designer behind it, I hold off unless the game looks to be something really special (i.e. The 7th Continent).
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Sam I am
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I've pretty much stopped. I did back Yokohama. I used to back a lot. I did get burned on Up Front and All Quiet on the Martian Front.
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Scott Russell
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I've backed several, the only out and out burn was Up Front.

However, many of them seem like they would be good games if fully developed. laugh Although to be fair, I am sure that many would have made it through some of the game companies' filters as they come out of KS.

I've gotten a lot more selective, but still back too many. I usually read the rulebook and try to decide from that if it's one that I'll like. I pretty much rule out any whose theme I don't like. (So far, that only includes zombie/undead stuff.) I take a lot harder look at any whose themes are overdone. (Medieval builders anyone?)

Edit: I also am averse to any whose prices are better for the first X backers, if I am not among them.

Generally, I try to tell myself that if they are good games, a company will pick them up and they will be available. I also have the luxury of a few guys in my group that are also collectors.

 
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Me nah play no 'ide and seek
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I don'the know how widespread it is, but I know some Kickstarters these days offer Tabletop Simulator modules that let you try a game and see all of its components before making a pledge.

TTS takes some getting used to, and it doesn't enforce rules, but for $20 it could help inform your decisions.
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Tobias Strobe
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I'm all about the kickstarter board games. All games I've backed have been delivered thus far, and I'm pretty happy with the quality.

My recommendations for selection are simple. Research the designer, and more importantly, research the KS team. Understand that buying a first-KS game from anyone is a risk. Companies like CMON, Artipia, Gamelyn... these are all safe bets. Some might ship a little later than anticipated, but you'll most-likely get your game within a few months of the date.

I avoid 3rd party reprints. Even if the KS team claims to have the rights to reprint, I'm content waiting to see if that's actually the case before committing cash.

As far as theme and mechanic glut, I follow the same rules as I do for any pickup. I ask myself how much shelf space the game will take, and if the theme and mechanic this game provides deserves space more than other titles. If, for example, I'm looking at a dungeon crawl that takes up a lot of shelf, I have to ask if I really need this title when I already have Descent 2.0, a game that I wish hit the table more often. If I'm on the fence, the answer is no, and I pass. If a game offers a new experience, I'll generally pick it up and figure out a way to make room.
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Me nah play no 'ide and seek
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bjlillo wrote:
I just got New Bedford which is a game about the whaling industry. I hope to irritate some environmentalists at some point with that game.


You'd think the greens would be all about a clean-burning, renewable fuel.
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There are two criteria a game has to meet for me to back it on Kicstarter.

First it has to be a game that won't be easily available outside of the Kickstarter campaign.

Second it has to be either a game from a well known designer that mainline publishers won't pick up for some reason, or a reprint of an old game that is no longer readily available.

I think I've backed maybe 10 games total on Kickstarter so I'm definitely not an addict. For the most part Kickstarter is a red flag that the game is not good.
 
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Carl Parsons
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But what does all of this mean for Up Front?
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Andre
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Ilthuain wrote:
I'm all about the kickstarter board games. All games I've backed have been delivered thus far, and I'm pretty happy with the quality.

My recommendations for selection are simple. Research the designer, and more importantly, research the KS team. Understand that buying a first-KS game from anyone is a risk. Companies like CMON, Artipia, Gamelyn... these are all safe bets. Some might ship a little later than anticipated, but you'll most-likely get your game within a few months of the date.

I avoid 3rd party reprints. Even if the KS team claims to have the rights to reprint, I'm content waiting to see if that's actually the case before committing cash.

As far as theme and mechanic glut, I follow the same rules as I do for any pickup. I ask myself how much shelf space the game will take, and if the theme and mechanic this game provides deserves space more than other titles. If, for example, I'm looking at a dungeon crawl that takes up a lot of shelf, I have to ask if I really need this title when I already have Descent 2.0, a game that I wish hit the table more often. If I'm on the fence, the answer is no, and I pass. If a game offers a new experience, I'll generally pick it up and figure out a way to make room.


Ditto, and I've bought about a dozen games via KS. Happy with most. Some took longer than the estimated time to deliver, from start to finish, but I was not desperate for the game. Minor hiccups here and there, but the crowdfunding method can be very useful, it opens up the market to niche games that would not otherwise be produced.
 
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Shawn Fox
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So far, Kickstarter games have been 100% shit, so I'm with Moshe, it is a very easy choice for me to back none of them. If there is ever a good Kickstarter game, I can just buy it, paying 2x or 3x the original cost if it was a very limited supply, and still come out way ahead.

[edit] Wait, I take that back. I did back 18OE, but that was an 18XX game and from an experienced designer. So there are situations where I'll back a game, but it is very uncommon. Also I paid for 1846 (another 18XX game) from GMT, the GMT P500 system is basically the same thing as a Kickstarter.
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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If what you're looking for are reasons NOT to back, here are a few things to consider:

1. When you play this game, you won't be playing another game you probably like a lot and wish you could play again.
2. The game may be delayed by a year or two.
3. The game may be delivered with warped cardboard components, misprints, low-quality cardstock, subpar minis, or other production defects you can't know about ahead of time.
4. The game may hit retail before you get your copy and may be quickly discounted to a price lower than you paid.
5. A game may be released within the next few years which is similar, but better, possibly even before you get a chance to play this one.
6. Who else might get the game, giving you the opportunity to play without a purchase?
7. You will always be able to get the game on eBay or the BGG marketplace.
8. Whatever you spend on Kickstarter won't be available for the marvelous games entering the retail channel all the time. Boardgame design is improving all the time; the number of truly excellent games in a really diverse array of themes and mechanics means I no longer have any hope of genuinely keeping up even with just the best games anymore. As the hobby grows, this problem is only going to get worse.

I generally only back games which leave me feeling benevolent for some reason. Vast looked like a marvelous attempt at a genuinely family-friendly, genuinely interesting dungeon crawl, and The Battle for Sector 219 was not only a product of RSP's own Chad Ellis, but also a follow-up to one of my most-played iOS adaptations. Those are the two I've backed most recently. Virtually everything I'd even consider backing later made its way into non-Kickstarter availability (in the case of A Study in Emerald, in a simplified format which would make it much easier to get to the table).
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Tom McVey
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qzhdad wrote:
Generally, I try to tell myself that if they are good games, a company will pick them up and they will be available.


That seems to be less and less the case as the industry switches to preorders and crowdfunding (even by established game companies) and better estimates of print sizes. The good old days of getting severely discounted games from Tanga from overprints are long gone, and you see more games/expansions going OOP (like the expansion to Merchant and Marauders).

Quote:
I also have the luxury of a few guys in my group that are also collectors.


Unfortunately, I've become the default new-hot-game guy in our group.

On completionism: I didn't back the first iteration of Xia, which means the base game copy I received from backing the expansion KS doesn't have the eight envoy cards. Which might not seem much, but those cards enable a Hail Mary high risk/high reward late game strategy that might be an interesting twist on the base game. The lack of them is driving me nuts.
 
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Sam I am
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bjlillo wrote:
I am also subscribed to a bunch of people with similar taste in games to myself and review the stuff they back. I don't buy a ton of games right now because I've basically run out of space for them, but I'll back a project occasionally if it looks interesting. I just got New Bedford which is a game about the whaling industry. I hope to irritate some environmentalists at some point with that game.

You're probably a big fan of Puerto Rico too! Ya Nazi!
 
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Tom McVey
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rinelk wrote:
Virtually everything I'd even consider backing later made its way into non-Kickstarter availability (in the case of A Study in Emerald, in a simplified format which would make it much easier to get to the table).


I'd think of A Study in Emerald being a case where backing the KS was better - the 1st Edition is a meatier experience than the 2nd.
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Kelsey Rinella
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tmcvey wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Virtually everything I'd even consider backing later made its way into non-Kickstarter availability (in the case of A Study in Emerald, in a simplified format which would make it much easier to get to the table).


I'd think of A Study in Emerald being a case where backing the KS was better - the 1st Edition is a meatier experience than the 2nd.


Which is cool, because I backed it. I just won't get a chance to play it for a few more years.
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I have backed a couple of things with very unique themes or themes that really appealed to me like Kings of Israel and Trekking the National Parks.

Every one has been a high quality production when I got it (so far at least).

The game play on the three very accurate science games I have gotten is not all that exciting... for example, Ion: A Compound Building Game is about as complex in terms of play as a standard Rummy type game (though NOT a Rummy game) however it is good enough for the target audience which is a way to make kids learning science a bit more fun. I ordered a "teachers bundle" and then gave away several copies to friends and family's kids after teaching them how to play.

So overall I have backed maybe 6 games over 4 years and been happy with them all so far.

The one I am waiting for right now is Scuba which I got as a present for my bother. We used to like to play games as a family and he wanted to grow up to be a Scuba diver before he became a drug addict. Maybe this game will remind him of better times. Seemed worth a bit of cash just in case it does. I even paid a bit extra to get his nickname to be one of the animal names for the full production. If it arrives on time, I will be able to get it out for his Christmas present this year.


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