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Subject: What is the Significance of Kingdom Death Monster 1.5? rss

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Drew Olds
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There was a discussion in another thread about what the significance of Kingdom Death: Monster is.

Does it make a difference that the game is the highest funded game? Does it matter that it did not get the most backers?


Is Kingdom Death an industry game changer? Is it an anomaly? Is it insignificant in the overall world of Board Games?
 
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Short answer:
Kingdom Death: Monster is a good game, that many people enjoy.
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I think there will be other games that copy KDM's gameplay to some extent, be it the survival style genre of leading survivors through increasingly more difficult hunts, gathering resources and developing your civilization and settlement or taking its approach to AI and implementing it in other games. KDM has had an effect on the industry. It certainly emphasises the fact that a game even one as dark and niche as KDM can become a big Kickstarter hit.

Its a success story about 1 man and his vision. Starting out with nothing and striving to deliver above and beyond what the backers expected. Originally backers were expecting the game to come in a box half the size that originally did. Not only that but backers received more than they expected to with almost 2x the number of cards, terrain and gear.


Complex board games like KDM however feel to me like they would work better as a computer game than a board game. This cuts out all the book keeping etc. I think an indie KDM computer game would be a big success story as well similarly to darkest dungeon or FTL.

As far as important board games go i feel as though its one of the most important board games to come out in the past couple of years. Not everyone is going to like it but the vast majoirty that play it do.
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I think it's significant in that an indie game studio brought in that amount of money in a KS campaign. But regardless of those numbers (and almost entirely due to the theme) I would say that KD:M will remain pretty niche in the overall boardgaming landscape.

If there is anything that other publishers/designers can take away from it, is that there is still a demand for sprawling, long term campaign-style games despite the trend of them becoming more streamlined and less time consuming.
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Brian C
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oduh wrote:
If there is anything that other publishers/designers can take away from it, is that there is still a demand for sprawling, long term campaign-style games despite the trend of them becoming more streamlined and less time consuming.

Re-quoting and bumping at the same time (now that's efficiency).
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Drew Olds
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And now, I'll go ahead and add my thoughts.

The game raise the most money on KS. That is significant. It gets attention from game designers, and it is important to see how it did that.

I believe that if it were insignificant how Adam Poots raised $12 million, then we would see a LOT more companies do it. Obviously, if it were easy to raise an average of $600 from 20,000 backers, then a $4 million kickstarter wouldn't be one of the big ones.



Saying that isn't significant reminds me of Star Wars and how it broke crazy box office records in '77. That ultimately redefining film distribution and created the blockbuster. It made a lot of that money because people would walk out of the movie and immediately get back in line to see it again.

It made those records- not because everyone saw it one time, but because a much smaller number of people went to see it many times. A lot of money from a normal size audience that became total fanatics for their new favorite movie.

To be fair, KDM isn't Star Wars- Star Wars crossed well into the mainstream culture and has been a beloved enough IP that a prequel trilogy of horrible movies could still make stupid huge amounts of money.



So let's look at how Kingdom Death did it:

Adam Poots literally showed us a $100 box and said "Look, you're going to want what's in it, trust me." And raised MILLIONS with that pitch.

That's just WTF territory.

But clearly Adam has spent time making Kingdom Death into a lot of people's very favorite game (and those people became the marketing engine for the second kickstarter).


Also- look at the way the first Kickstarter delivered. I mean, Late. And not just a little bit late- it was stupid late. No one is keeping records on how late Kickstarters deliver, but I feel it could have set one for being so very late.

My feelings for Kingdom Death have convinced me that I don't really care about how lateness (insert Shigero Miyumoto quote here). This is odd, because I certainly FEEL like I care at the time that the game is late (currently waiting on four or five late kickstarters).

I can't imagine that other companies aren't watching that.
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Dean L
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odinsgrandson wrote:
And now, I'll go ahead and add my thoughts.

The game raise the most money on KS. That is significant. It gets attention from game designers, and it is important to see how it did that.


It did it by having a very small print run of a very good game, creating huge demand, then putting a reprint on Kickstarter with the option to buy in for $1000+ to get five years' worth of expansion content.

It's not really something that can be replicated.

I'll agree that the first KD Kickstarter was significant and a really interesting story which offers a lot of insights, though other games have had similar journeys.

The new KS raised a load of money to reprint something in high demand. There's plenty of games that could do that but when they're that successful, they generally get publishing/distribution deals so don't go back to the KS well. That's not practical/wanted for KDM so it stands out as an anomaly.

But if Scythe was out of print and Stonemeier games went on KS now with a campaign for a reprint and $1000+ worth of expansions over the next few years, I think that would hit similar levels. It just wouldn't make business sense for them to do that. Likewise if FFG did it for Netrunner or such.
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Alessio Massuoli
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Even as I, an avid scythe fan, can't see me buying a $1000 scythe.

Scythe is great, but it is not "400 hours of gameplay across two years" great for me
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Thanks for creating this topic! It really is a curious question. Have some !

My initial thoughts:

The gameplay/design is a tough nut to crack. As are the questions about art. An easier conclusion I have is that the money is significant. Specifically, I think it's an important historical note that a $250-$400 game is being normalized within the niche hobby of board gaming. Importantly, this isn't a pile of money being spent on a game system where you can justify that the game only really costs 50 bucks or a hundred bucks. The buy in on the base game is ALOT of money compared to what's out there. If you exclude 2nd hand, OOP games, or deluxe versions of preexisting games, there are few, if any core board games that reach this sticker price.

That's important because it's moved the needle on what is and isn't an overpriced (or under delivered) game. Without regard to if you think it's worth it, the facts on the ground are that a whole lot of people paid it. More so than the majority of titles on this site in terms of sheer number of units produced (I'm also including those in production based on the orders from the 1.5 kickstarter). In a hobby that isn't that large, counting your units in the 10s of thousands is a really big deal. That means there's a significant number of patrons of that hobby willing to put out more money on one game than anything else they own (again, no value judgements here, just highlighting what happened).

It reminds me a lot of how the needle moves on the conjunction between technology and entertainment. 20 years ago, you'd be crazy if you claimed that most people in the world will outlay hundreds of dollars for a pocket computer they talk to. 40 years ago, the same claim could be made about video games. Likewise personal computers, etc etc etc. My thought is that today I don't blink at the thought of dropping $400 on the new console, $600 on a new phone, or $1000 on a new laptop (you'll probably guess from those numbers that I'm not a day 1 adapter of things). KD:M is significant that it pushes on what amount of money is a non-question for a board game. Maybe not because of the game itself, but maybe because it means that we no longer think of Splotter games as expensive or realize that CMON is pricing all their games at $125 or that Asmodee fixes all their prices at $80+. The days of board games being a $30 item might be behind us.
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Drew Olds
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I'm really wondering how much this is being normalized. I suppose someone out there is saying "dude, we can charge twice as much for our core box if we load it full of cool stuff.

And they may be right, or they may be wrong. Honestly, I wonder.


But I can tell you there are a lot of games that I'm happy to play that I wouldn't spend so much money on.

Is it the size of the game? My wife compared it to an Elder Scrolls game (there's just tons of content, even if you just use the core box, you won't do close to everything in one run through).

I don't feel that I've ever seen something like that from a board game before (the absolute tons of content that you dig for). It also seems like the hardest thing to replicate.
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sirgalin wrote:
The days of board games being a $30 item might be behind us.


I generally agreed with what you said, but this part....

Even with inflation, I think we'll see games at $30 for a while (especially if you consider online discounting of MSRP). Now, these won't be huge boxes with gorgeous production values and dozens and dozens of minis, sure, but those never hit the $30 mark to begin with (or at least they haven't since Heroquest in the 80's perhaps?).

Still, I've watched in just the past few years as the market moved from "$100 is too damn much!!1!" to "$125 seems reasonable." And I think part of it is that the illogical little part of our brains that caved in once the $100 barrier was broken.

What does this have to do with KDM?

Not much really. The core box, at KS prices, is $200-$250. Way surpassing any other core game out there (I think). If anything, I think all those mini-heavy Kickstarters that run $300+ to go all-in made KDM easier to digest, rather than the other way around.
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Random thoughts...

* The game-world's vision is dark at a time when people are feeling dark about the real world. And it's just not dark, it's very dark and very different. It's great that it's not another Cthulhu game - that form of horror is no longer truly horrible to us through overexposure. Adam's world is alien in a way we haven't seen much of (Dark Souls is close, and also a big success).

* The overall quality is excellent, in terms of both miniatures and game play.

* While the grand concept is not new, there are several advancements in the game's features: the individualized and complex AI decks, the HL deck with it's effects and reactions, the way the gear cards interact, the innovation deck and how it drives the settlement forwards, the campaign pacing with near-complete freedom marked by high-difficulty checkpoints (nemesis fights). You can find earlier forms of all these in other games, but nothing brings it all together like KD:M does and nothing has pushed those features to the level of sophistication you find in KD:M.

* In the end, it's just dang fun to play.

Now, I do think the second KS is a bit of an anomaly. The truth about KD:M is that it was made originally for a niche audience and the much bigger follow-on audience may not be really ready for the commitment level and modeling work the game requires to be a great fit. We'll see, but I certainly expect that average rating to go down a bit once 1.5 ships in volume (I also expect the BGG rank to rise, but that's just math).

Happy for Adam's success regardless. What a great story.


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I don't think we'll see this type of pricing being normalized. I would suggest that it's the unique combination of theme, mechanisms, quality, and passion that KD:M offers that made it enticing to that many backers, despite the price point. I think this type of game could only be sucessful by an independent company -- and maybe only through a crowd-funded campaign.

I do hope that this success does encourage more creativity in the fantasy miniatures board game space. There have been many offerings that could be called successful (from CMoN,FFG,Monolith etc.),but they are all fairly pedestrian when compared to the package that KD:M offers.
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Nathan Ehlers
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San Dee Jota wrote:
sirgalin wrote:
The days of board games being a $30 item might be behind us.


I generally agreed with what you said, but this part....

Even with inflation, I think we'll see games at $30 for a while (especially if you consider online discounting of MSRP). Now, these won't be huge boxes with gorgeous production values and dozens and dozens of minis, sure, but those never hit the $30 mark to begin with (or at least they haven't since Heroquest in the 80's perhaps?).

Still, I've watched in just the past few years as the market moved from "$100 is too damn much!!1!" to "$125 seems reasonable." And I think part of it is that the illogical little part of our brains that caved in once the $100 barrier was broken.

What does this have to do with KDM?

Not much really. The core box, at KS prices, is $200-$250. Way surpassing any other core game out there (I think). If anything, I think all those mini-heavy Kickstarters that run $300+ to go all-in made KDM easier to digest, rather than the other way around.


Oh, there's always going to be games at any price point. I think what I was trying to get at was not long ago (maybe early/mid 2000s), when I thought of the normal price point for an average game of the day, I would think around $30. Here I'm talking about the haydays of Rio Grande or Z-man. Something like Agricola, Vikings, Princes of Florence, etc. Granted this is definitely thinking in terms of online discounting. I'm sure the MSRP of these games were never that cheap. I think (and maybe I'm completely off my nut here) Rosenberg is a good example of what I'm talking about. Agricola, Le Havre, Loyang, Mercator...all existed in that $30 range (maybe $30-$50 is a fairer way to put it). Then they started creeping up. Arle, Caverna, and Odin are all in that $50-$80 range. The new Agricola is nearly $60 on CSI right now and as I understand it, it has a significantly reduced amount of content compared to old Agricola.

All this is to say that today I think in terms of $50s when I used to think in terms of $30s. Maybe I'm wrong or romanticizing or whatever. But back to the Kingdom Death thing. I backed 1.0 during a Black Friday sale a year or so after the kickstarter. I didn't think twice about the $777 pledge to get everything I didn't already have (and then I added even more for the cross overs). This was far and away the most expensive kickstarter I've ever thrown money at. However, during the same period I threw over a hundred bucks at the new Key game. I love Keyflower and generally want to try the new Breese production. $125 didn't give me pause even though he was straight up that a cheaper version will be produced down the line.

So I'm not saying that because of KD:M we'll all be paying $400 for board games and not worrying about it (even I only buy a new console every few years!). But I do think it's a road sign pointing to this sliding phenomena about cost, price, and value. That's probably significant.
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It draws attention to the simple fact that there are a lot of nerds with money out there, and a high quality product can command premium prices and still find a market if it appeals to a segment of them.
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emmit svenson wrote:
It draws attention to the simple fact that there are a lot of nerds with money out there, and a high quality product can command premium prices and still find a market if it appeals to a segment of them.


You would have thought someone would have realized this was the case after 10 years of a successful Marvel movie franchise!
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I don't understand how so many people pledged so much money for this Game. It must be the hype.

I pledged at the satan level, and added all the promos, the 3D board, I pretty much got all in on this.
But the thing is, I played the game before. I built and painted some of the miniatures, and I know how good the quality of everything is. I know, that the game will be worth every penny for me.


But there are plenty of people who blindly backed this KS, riding the hype train like mad.
In this case they are lucky, because the game is excellent, and the resell value is through the roof. Still I think the hype game on KS, and the fear on missing out on something has lead to some unhealthy business situation.
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Frozen Flesh wrote:
Still I think the hype game on KS, and the fear on missing out on something has lead to some unhealthy business situation.

Workin' out well for CMON so far!
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He might be talking about CMON (the now or never thing that they do definitely gets a lot of people).

Frozen Flesh wrote:
I don't understand how so many people pledged so much money for this Game. It must be the hype.


Let's talk about what exactly a Hype Train is.


I think a significant portion of KDM's success is due to the fact that the game has already been available (and recently). There's a lot less mystery about how the game will play.

The hype was built up every time someone says "Worth the $400 price tag" or "I spent $600 on ebay and it was worth every penny" or "I spent $200 on a Dragon King, and I still feel like I got more than my money's worth."

That is the hype train. As a gamer, there's only so many times I can hear stuff like that and not think "maybe this game is as amazing as people say."

And I don't feel this about most kickstarters, because most KS feature products that don't exist yet (I think people tend to dream big, and the actual games won't be as good as the dream).


With most kickstarters, you have the company and team behind a game- and sometimes a rulebook. There's pretty much always a chance the game will end up just sucking.

With Kingdom Death- you have some folks who played the game, you have 3rd party gameplay videos and reviews for every expansion individually. AND- the game still gets dream-like attention.




I don't think people are wrong to pay attention to that sort of hype... I just hope they all did enough research that they aren't just buying upgrade packs.
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odinsgrandson wrote:
I don't think people are wrong to pay attention to that sort of hype... I just hope they all did enough research that they aren't just buying upgrade packs.
I am definitely expecting a few "I spend $1000 on the KS and didn't even get the game?" threads.
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ras2124 wrote:
odinsgrandson wrote:
I don't think people are wrong to pay attention to that sort of hype... I just hope they all did enough research that they aren't just buying upgrade packs.
I am definitely expecting a few "I spend $1000 on the KS and didn't even get the game?" threads.


I'm so excited for that! For a KS that ran for something like 40 days with uptine-million threads here and on other sites, I have no sympathy if you bought the wrong thing. I imagine though there won't really be any threads like that because the pledge manager will let people add the core game they forgot.

I think the bit about the hype train is exactly right. The excitement (good or bad) is about as grass roots as it gets in this hobby. With the exception of the booth at GenCon, the KD company does nothing to promote their product. They don't seem to work to get it reviewed, run contests, buy banner ads, or anything else that companies do to promote their game/kickstarter. There's probably something significant to be said about a company having almost not advertising convincing someone to blindly lay down $1666 on their product.
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This thread raises some interesting points, mainly about the pricing of things, "nerd" subculture, hype and so forth.

I mentioned in a thread last week (on Eldritch Horror I think) about how Kickstarter in general has kinda skewed my own personal views on pricing.

Which is bad. And kinda dangerous.

Because I realised I have absolutely no qualms abouts dropping £150 on a Kickstarter project - one which I wont see for a significant period of time), and yet I will baulk at spending £50 on a "standard" board game - where I go into my FLGS and buy there and then.

Partly I guess its because of the inflation issue. It really wasn't that long ago (only a year really) when your "standard" game only cost £40 (maybe a bit higher if it had more components, or some minis), and the price rise seems more like a hike. These "standard" games rarely (to me anyway) came with as much hype, if any.

Kickstarter however, survives on the hype. Because it is generated in advance on social media, and there is a limited backing window, with lots of stretch goals and exclusives.

CMON is a prime example of this, and I don't think its a healthy business model (well, it is, for them, but probably not for us), it doesn't really seem long term sustainable. Personally, I hate the way they run campaigns. I know a lot of people love CMON, I'm not one of them. Played Zombicide, hated it.

I'm getting off track, because I'm being hypocritical. I got hyped for Kingdom Death before I found out about the second Kickstarter, and luckily found myself in the financial position to be able to afford it. Despite the fact it'll very rarely get played in my group, I apparently had no qualms about spending $560 on it (and would likely add more given the chance).

Which seems kind of insane. Especially since the full package of content won't be in my possession for four years.

Will this have a larger impact on the industry as a whole? I'm not sure it will. Kickstarter seems to be its own element of the industry (with asmodee doing its best to buy up the rest of it) and as long as there is hype then people will keep throwing silly money at projects.

"Nerd" is a lot more mainstream now too, so more "regular" people are getting into nerdy stuff, like tabletop gaming. Still, I don't think games with Kingdom Death pricing will become the norm, or even close to it. I do think, however, that with Kingdom Deaths success on Kickstarter, then other designers launching products on there will try to chase its success, and one way they'll do that is by subtly increasing prices, over time.
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Deano2099 wrote:
The new KS raised a load of money to reprint something in high demand. There's plenty of games that could do that but when they're that successful, they generally get publishing/distribution deals so don't go back to the KS well. That's not practical/wanted for KDM so it stands out as an anomaly.


It's still not possible to sell an expensive "boutique" game through conventional distributor-retail channels because of the deep discount that distributors expect. KS cuts out the middlemen and lowers risks to creators, and I've noticed companies using it to print another run or an updated version of the game -- or at least create another game based on the reputation of a previously released one. Wok Star is actually the earliest I can remember, with a third revision. Zombicide already did it several times with three standalone expansions. Super Dungeon Explore replaced SDE with Forgotten King, Arcadia Quest ran its Arcadia Quest Inferno, and Rum and Bones has a 2nd edition.

Boargame (and book) companies, of course, print a run of product in a short period of time, yet the product is sold over a much longer period. KS better matches a print run "batch" with a (it's not but we'll say it is a) pre-order "batch" of orders. As KS matures, I think we are seeing this more and more often. To misquote Tom Vasal, "A KS game that is good will see KS again."
 
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I don't think we should overestimate the cost factor: it's actually a miniature game, and it costs as such. Prices are are driven by the low number of copies, but are on par with competitors.

Could it be that this is just a very good miniature game?

It's always a good story when artist's vision has financial success, but it's not something is unheard of.
 
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Regarding price points, I am primarily a videogamer, and I honestly think of KD:M as essentially a dedicated gaming console. Buying expansions is like buying games for that console. (Obviously my first foray into miniature games, I know.) I have completely bought consoles to try one game. But, like a console, I am expecting it to hold enough value that I can recoup some of the outlay if I end up hating it.

As far as the industry overall, I think KD:M is an anomaly. It is a tested product with good reviews by a developer who sank a considerable amount of his own money into making sure he delivered on his promises to his original backers even after the project went into the red. The second Kickstarter then got hit with speculation frenzy due partly to the demand that had built up for the product while it was out of print and to the scarcity associated with the original. That's not a business model anyone should really want to replicate.
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