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Dark Souls: The Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: What I hope SFG have learned rss

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Alex Russo
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I’m not here to bash SFG for their mistakes or praise them for their game, especially because I haven’t got my copy yet. But after such a convoluted high profile campaign that a small company endured, I believe there are things they should take on the chin and learn with experience, in order to not repeat the same mistake, including:

- Communication: SFG decided to have the same level of communication as CMON has after their campaign is funded; nothing but one update per month (except during a very short period when Alex, one of the developers, sent a sequence of updates about game changes during play testing). The problem is that CMON has always delivered (20+ games) with good or extreme quality and they have a fan base that will accept this level / lack of communication naturally. SFG has no fan base (maybe except in UK) and in spite the huge IP that DS brings they should not act as a big company. They should have been humble from the beginning, they should have sent weekly or fortnightly updates, as Monolith did with Conan and is doing with P:MB.
- Gameplay video: the lack of gameplay video during development was a rookie mistake, and prone to judgment. Backers should be treated as collaborators during development. There are many backers with so much knowledge in boardgames that not using their knowhow to further improve game mechanics and point out what works and what does not, what is boring, what is an old and outdated mechanic is paramount for small developers / publishers; ultimately is a free consultancy that has to be explored as soon and as much as possible.
- Clear and Honest decision making: splitting the fulfillment in two waves is totally reasonable for many reasons, storage being one of them. But coming with the “free delivery of the second wave” at the same time almost doubling up the cost for delivering the first wave was BS. Getting fulfillment cost wrong during the campaign is normal and increasing the final cost is acceptable by vast majority of backers, but being lied to is not ok. Most backers are adults, fathers and mothers and we can all smell a lousy excuse / lie from miles.
- Multi-language: keeping the rulebook on other languages besides English a secret was another rookie mistake. Backers could have helped identifying the mistakes and even fix them for free months before printing hundreds if not thousands of copies that are going to waste. But to me the most important lesson here is that: small companies should provide multi-language rules as PDFs, only. Make it simple and low cost, why having different printed copies? a PDF would suite just as fine, especially if all the cards will still be in English.
- Reviewer Copies: I agree with sending reviewer copies before the game is released to retail, after all you have to advertise your product and bump the hype. But sending before any backer receives their copies even though non-backer-retail will only be able to sell the game a month and a half after, was a poor PR decision. Angry Joe playing it was atrocious, other reviewers that don’t even know what Dark Souls is was mediocre at least.

SFG I hope you’ve learned that backers are not costumers, and should not be treated as such. Backers are an invaluable source of income and knowledge that must be used during game development to improve language, rule book, game mechanics etc… it is free. And never ever again mislead or intentionally cover your mistakes, we all rather read the truth than speculate about the lie.

Personally if I don’t find DS a really good game (>8/10), I can’t see myself backing another SFG project again... well unless they come up with another insane IP like Uncharted or God of War.

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Steven Becker
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I think you have valid points, especially the communication and rulebook part (mainly that they should have communicated the translated rulebook way earlier). We never will find out, though I think for things like gameplay video or review copies we probably rather have to blame Bandai after all...
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carkara wrote:
I’m not here to bash SFG for their mistakes or praise them for their game, especially because I haven’t got my copy yet. But after such a convoluted high profile campaign that a small company endured, I believe there are things they should take on the chin and learn with experience, in order to not repeat the same mistake, including:

- Communication: SFG decided to have the same level of communication as CMON has after their campaign is funded; nothing but one update per month (except during a very short period when Alex, one of the developers, sent a sequence of updates about game changes during play testing). The problem is that CMON has always delivered (20+ games) with good or extreme quality and they have a fan base that will accept this level / lack of communication naturally. SFG has no fan base (maybe except in UK) and in spite the huge IP that DS brings they should not act as a big company. They should have been humble from the beginning, they should have sent weekly or fortnightly updates, as Monolith did with Conan and is doing with P:MB.
- Gameplay video: the lack of gameplay video during development was a rookie mistake, and prone to judgment. Backers should be treated as collaborators during development. There are many backers with so much knowledge in boardgames that not using their knowhow to further improve game mechanics and point out what works and what does not, what is boring, what is an old and outdated mechanic is paramount for small developers / publishers; ultimately is a free consultancy that has to be explored as soon and as much as possible.
- Clear and Honest decision making: splitting the fulfillment in two waves is totally reasonable for many reasons, storage being one of them. But coming with the “free delivery of the second wave” at the same time almost doubling up the cost for delivering the first wave was BS. Getting fulfillment cost wrong during the campaign is normal and increasing the final cost is acceptable by vast majority of backers, but being lied to is not ok. Most backers are adults, fathers and mothers and we can all smell a lousy excuse / lie from miles.
- Multi-language: keeping the rulebook on other languages besides English a secret was another rookie mistake. Backers could have helped identifying the mistakes and even fix them for free months before printing hundreds if not thousands of copies that are going to waste. But to me the most important lesson here is that: small companies should provide multi-language rules as PDFs, only. Make it simple and low cost, why having different printed copies? a PDF would suite just as fine, especially if all the cards will still be in English.
- Reviewer Copies: I agree with sending reviewer copies before the game is released to retail, after all you have to advertise your product and bump the hype. But sending before any backer receives their copies even though non-backer-retail will only be able to sell the game a month and a half after, was a poor PR decision. Angry Joe playing it was atrocious, other reviewers that don’t even know what Dark Souls is was mediocre at least.

SFG I hope you’ve learned that backers are not costumers, and should not be treated as such. Backers are an invaluable source of income and knowledge that must be used during game development to improve language, rule book, game mechanics etc… it is free. And never ever again mislead or intentionally cover your mistakes, we all rather read the truth than speculate about the lie.

Personally if I don’t find DS a really good game (>8/10), I can’t see myself backing another SFG project again... well unless they come up with another insane IP like Uncharted or God of War.




Some points I agree with, but:

Communication: More communication or at least better communication is always a good thing and very welcome. A regular basis is good, but weekly is just not working out in my opinion, because I really don't want to read the same update every week. So fortnightly would be the way to go for me. It really depends of the game and its status when they put the product on KS.
And claiming they have got no fanbase (or just fans in the UK) is just wrong.

Multi-part: Funny thing you say they should just release the game in English only, because if you check out other projects, a lot of backers always ask for a printed version in their own language and not only for a pdf translation. So there will be a lot of people that are happy they release the game in different languages. Problem here is that not everything was translated and btw. the text on the cards was translated, but the names stay in English. They also did not do the translation on their own, but have got partners, the German one being Ulisses Spiele. My only problem and that is why I switched to English was the not-translation of words in the fluff text. In my opinion the only fault was not communicating that the game will not be fully translated.
They did not keep the translated rules a secret, it took time to finish the English rulebook and get it translated. I e.g. got the German translation at least two weeks after the Pledge Manager was closed. Then I did proofread it and sent it back to Ulisses so that they could update it. There was not really much time between translation of the rules and printing of the rules. And this is common for KS projects, especially if you are using a well known IP that is not your own. You have got a timetable to meet and if the IP owner wants you to do something you will do it, even if you don't like it. So why did they have not released the rules earlier? I am sure because the IP owner did not want to show something unfinished that might have had a negative impact on the IP. Yes, backers would have loved to read a beta rulebook, but then again it is a well known IP.

Reviewer copies: Again, I am sure that was not their decision. The IP owener released the complete Edition of Dark Souls III at the same day the reviewers were allowed to post their reviews. Was that poor planning or a poor decision? No, it was on purpose.
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T H
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Wait Angry Joe played it? I need to see that.
 
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Alek P.
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vincentdante wrote:
Wait Angry Joe played it? I need to see that.


Don't.

The amount of rules they got wrong is bewildering. I don't mind his video game reviews, but this was not his finest hour...
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Rob Treasure
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Agreed, one of the worst streams/showcases I have ever seen. He didn't know the rules so at least 50% of it was him literally reading passages to the other players. Awful.
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Steven Becker
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vincentdante wrote:
Wait Angry Joe played it? I need to see that.


If you want to see a horrible accident kind of, go watch it. Problem is, if you are not aware of the rules - and that is my problem with that stream - you (as many of the viewers very likely) will assume that's how the game works... and it's nothing good for the game after all.
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Kalbe Troben
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vincentdante wrote:
Wait Angry Joe played it? I need to see that.


I have never seen so bad and wrong played gameplay what they did and it was so frustrating to watch!
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Wesley M
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carkara wrote:

- Communication: SFG decided to have the same level of communication as CMON has after their campaign is funded; nothing but one update per month (except during a very short period when Alex, one of the developers, sent a sequence of updates about game changes during play testing). The problem is that CMON has always delivered (20+ games) with good or extreme quality and they have a fan base that will accept this level / lack of communication naturally. SFG has no fan base (maybe except in UK) and in spite the huge IP that DS brings they should not act as a big company. They should have been humble from the beginning, they should have sent weekly or fortnightly updates, as Monolith did with Conan and is doing with P:MB.




Well, in the case of communication they still haven't learned anything. I send them a message about EU shipping and testing, this was their response:

"Everyone is working hard to get all tests and shipping finished as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately we can't give any timeframe at this point. We will make sure to update our backers throughout the process as things progress."

That's three sentences to say absolutely nothing of value. Also, how long does it take to 'test' new shipping boxes anyway?
 
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Vince De Zutter
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It's sad. I wanted to ask them the same question Wesley did, but didn't bother because I figured they'd just throw a vague marketing line at me. Seems I was right.

It's weird that a week ago, EU was ready to ship to backers. Then all of a sudden a few days later, the boxes that UK needed a while before were also needed for EU, yet there was no mention of them in the UK boxes update. And now they still have to "test" something. Out of the blue.

I understand the difficulty that comes with the logistics of a project this size, but it just feels very amateuristic.
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So weird. They are so good with Guild Ball. They do freaking video updates on Guild Ball, which has been out for a few years, once a week!

I wish they would have just stole the combat mechanics in Guild Ball for this game. Ah well.
 
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amanwing
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Yeah they simply messed up this time.
 
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Andy Stanford
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Replect wrote:
I think you have valid points, especially the communication and rulebook part (mainly that they should have communicated the translated rulebook way earlier). We never will find out, though I think for things like gameplay video or review copies we probably rather have to blame Bandai after all...

Well they were blaming Bandai for that before the campaign even ended. True or not, I doubt we'll ever know.
 
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TBH..at least they have delivered part of the KS around their estimated time.which is very rare for a KS project nowadays.they tend to be taking longer and longer.plus the actual pledge was very good value..unlike most of them now being put out..less and less quality stuff for unlocks.but more and more in addons..so costs a freakin fortune now.not the great value they used to be!.if you think this KS was bad you want to check S&S they said the same thing "splitting it into two waves so backers will receive the bulk of the game before xmas [2016] the second wave to follow Q1 2017"....still waiting for the ship to set sail with the first wave!!..plus second wave [possibly] before end of the year!!....and its running quite a few months late.so,this KS has run pretty well up to some.
BTW I did originally pledge all in on this.but pulled the plug on it.when we weren't getting any kind of info.and also when they downgraded some of the minis.i have got the core game.and its well worth getting.although I wish they had left the dancer figure as it was!
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Yeah, it is weird that they are testing boxes again now, since they already used them for UK delivery. I assume testing will take a few days because they have to wait until the packages have arrived at their destination.

Games always change during creation. Normally one would not know about those changes because games are bought when they are done and available on the market. With KS this has changed and it is a risk backers have to take. If not, one can buy a game via retail or ebay.
 
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Daniel Davis
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Backers should never be considered as collaborators. Ever. That's how you end up with a watered down game made by committee.

A backers only role is to contribute finances to a project that might be made.

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D_Davis wrote:
Backers should never be considered as collaborators. Ever. That's how you end up with a watered down game made by committee.

A backers only role is to contribute finances to a project that might be made.

True, but!,that makes backers shareholders in the project.and like shareholders in all other types of projects.they should be kept up to date with any events involving that project
 
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Daniel Davis
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The worst thing about KS is when a bunch of backers and BGGers think they know how a successful campaign should have been run. Armchair Kickstarting.
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Daniel Davis
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tootz wrote:
D_Davis wrote:
Backers should never be considered as collaborators. Ever. That's how you end up with a watered down game made by committee.

A backers only role is to contribute finances to a project that might be made.

True, but!,that makes backers shareholders in the project.and like shareholders in all other types of projects.they should be kept up to date with any events involving that project


No. KS is very clear in that backers are not shareholders. It is not an investment. It's a no strings attached donation. Nothing more.
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don't want to get too deep into this but it is more than a donation..as all funding has to be returned if the project doesn't make the target sum.but hey,we all have our own take on KS
 
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Daniel Davis
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tootz wrote:
don't want to get too deep into this but it is more than a donation..as all funding has to be returned if the project doesn't make the target sum.but hey,we all have our own take on KS


But as soon as the project is funded that's it. It's a donation. There is no investment and backers are not shareholders. It's not an opinion and there is no argument in the matter. This has been gone over a million times before.

Go back to complaining about Sword and Sorcery.
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tootz wrote:
don't want to get too deep into this but it is more than a donation..as all funding has to be returned if the project doesn't make the target sum.but hey,we all have our own take on KS


If a project is not funded no money is taken from your bank account. So how could a creator return money that he has not taken?
 
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I thought they learnt if you have connections to a successful games company then you can make heaps of $$$ by running a sub-par kickstarter?

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I think they learnt that even with subpar gamerules, if the game is niche enough, gamers will buy just for the figures (and even if blotched some of those)

I honestly think that they rode on the IP tide, and didnt bring anything new. I fear for the same treatment of other beloved franchises (like Fallout)
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Alex Russo
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tootz wrote:
D_Davis wrote:
Backers should never be considered as collaborators. Ever. That's how you end up with a watered down game made by committee.

A backers only role is to contribute finances to a project that might be made.

True, but!,that makes backers shareholders in the project.and like shareholders in all other types of projects.they should be kept up to date with any events involving that project


Can't agree with that.

GH had rules changed and even scenarios developed by backers
Infection had rule book translated to several languages by backers
MBP had rules and scenarios done by backers, and backers are helping with fixing the translation
Quodd had even heroes (cubes) concepts developed by backers

and list list goes on.

It is not a matter if they are or are not shareholders / investors / or is a donation ... it is all about a small company using all available tools for the best game possible. Of course if you think that having backers helping with the development will be detrimental to the game, you are entitled to this opinion. Based on the games I've backed, more open minded the game developer / publisher is better the outcome.
 
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