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Subject: KS - is it just me? rss

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Wolfgang Kunz
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Recently, when I look at the KS I wonder about 2 things:

1) January seems to be a good month for KS.We see so many new interesting KS (Batman (upcoming), Hate, Rambo, Isles of Terror, U-Boot, Nemesis ...).

But I ask - honestly - can't you guys just spread those over a longer timespan? I might afford 1 in January but not the whole bunch. Anyone else having the same problem ?

2) Second, and, and this is with a lesser sense of humor: I have read so often (as you might have too) that KS means supporting a game and not a pre-order system yadda yadda.

But since f. ex. 7th continent or Conan - and looking at some of the mentioned KS above - KS became one of the largest pre-order-systems - and nothing more. The only difference to a GMT / MMP Px - model is, that you pay months / year / years in advance and can only hope, that everything (including various legal properties / copyrights) were planned ahead.

So no more supporting an idealistic but poor genius with crayons (ok this is a bit humorous / satirical) but given money way in advance for a game that will be in the worst case developed / tested after the money is in.

I can understand it from an economical point - and as a company when you receive your 2 mill you don't have to worry about sitting on a bunch of games forever and as soon as the project is out it is "out of your books" too and you can sometimes hope that a vibrant community does a support / developing of new scenarios and keeps a system alive.

Yeah, I know: If you don't like the system, don't support it. But this is not the point. The point is, that I might not get a game that I played at my buddies home since it will never see retail.

When I read the discussions about "going all in" and seeing that games muster prices around 300 / 400 bucks I wonder what kind of paychecks some people have. No envy here, just wondering.

Maybe I would muster the money for (say Batman) in over a year, trading / selling games and going to my FLGS buying the expansions. But we all know (and those who don't may just look at games with this "sale-system") where 2nd-hand-prices will be then.

I fear(maybe a bit to much: using the word "fear")that a KS-system (profitable for KS and some companies) becomes a venture / speculation business where some companies (the bigger ones) produce games with lot of plastic, using words like "only on KS, limited, mature audience..." crush those who develop games as their first step into the business.

Maybe it's my age: But I loved having games available thru my FLGS, walking in with my little son, looking thru games and then buying one...

vs. a future where you - if you are lucky - can buy a most wanted game at a convention if the KS-company is selling their "overstock" there.

Even today I experience a lesser effort by certain companies to replace damaged / missing goods. I am just waiting for missing replacements (confirmed by the - how is it called over at KS: creator / founder) of a huge and popular game delivered last year (but still no replacements) or another game (game plus expansions) where the card size of the expansion isn't the same size as the base. But hey, money sacked, so off of my lawn...

I truly don't like what I see. Either take all the risk (and maybe finance a trip to Australia ) or don't play a game that I might have truly liked.

Alas, these are my thoughts / concerns.

What do you think?
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Pete
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I don't like the system, so I just avoid it.

Pete (misses out on some stuff and just doesn't worry about it)
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Nicholas Palmer
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I am curious why January would be so popular. It seems like instead you would want to hit around March/April, as most people who get money back on tax returns in the US submit as early as possible and that is about when they get their money.
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JPotter
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Touchfuzzy wrote:
I am curious why January would be so popular.


It's all timing. Pledge in January to fund pre-production in spring, production over the summer, and have games on the China boats by fall, before the Pacific freezes solid again in December.

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Phil
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Touchfuzzy wrote:
I am curious why January would be so popular. It seems like instead you would want to hit around March/April, as most people who get money back on tax returns in the US submit as early as possible and that is about when they get their money.


I suspect it may have more to do with schedules, printing capacity, lead times, and wanting to deliver in the same calendar year.
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Bradley Martin
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There are still exceptions, Kingdom Death: Monster and Gloomhaven for example. Without Kickstarter there would be neither of these as they are both self-published. Gloomhaven only got into stores with a second printing because of the success of the first kickstarter. So, there is still value, but maybe more for niche style games.
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Tony C
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Can't comment too much on the timing, except to say that I did back two things within the last month after a few months of not backing anything...My KS interest ebbs and flows.

I do agree that in the gaming category, it is more and more a preorder system and is disingenuous to claim otherwise. There's still the 'genius with a crayon', but because of the professionals or near-professionals who use KS, the bar has been raised in this category.

The good news is that as this progression continues, publishers (small and large) are getting more and more experienced, so timelines should be more accurate, and the final product should be a better one. But not in all cases.

There are currently 411 Games projects, and historically almost 13000 funded. But there are still plenty of publishers and games that don't come out on KS, or who do support and sell games after KS, whether it be through distribution channels or direct to consumer.

The industry is definitely changing and evolving. KS is a big part of that, but not the only part. I'm not sure where we'll be in 2, 5, or 10 years. The industry and market is also getting bigger and more popular, so perhaps KS is supplanting the 'classic' markets, not replacing them.
If one doesn't support KS, there's still lots of places to buy great games (and lots of people who do buy KS, so you can play, borrow, or buy theirs later on.)

Companies in general are focusing more and more on the bottom line, on cutting costs, on maximizing profit and minimizing expenditure, so I can totally understand the appeal of banking the bucks before even needing to go to print.

The all-in prices are a little scary, and in some cases the KS is cheaper than eventual retail, in others it's more; but if someone went all-in on a new game that was sold via normal channels, it might be a similar scenario and cost.
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Stuart Dunn
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I don't think it's just January is that full, I think it's a sign of things to come for the foreseeable future. I don't expect it to really slow down in February, but hopefully I am wrong.
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Franz Kafka
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aesthetocyst wrote:
Touchfuzzy wrote:
I am curious why January would be so popular.


It's all timing. Pledge in January to fund pre-production in spring, production over the summer, and have games on the China boats by fall, before the Pacific freezes solid again in December.


I think there are some kind of negative tax consequences for a KS to collect money in one year and not spend it by the end of the year. January would give the most opportunity to pay the printers and shippers in the same year.
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Christopher Seguin
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JosefK wrote:
aesthetocyst wrote:
Touchfuzzy wrote:
I am curious why January would be so popular.


It's all timing. Pledge in January to fund pre-production in spring, production over the summer, and have games on the China boats by fall, before the Pacific freezes solid again in December.


I think there are some kind of negative tax consequences for a KS to collect money in one year and not spend it by the end of the year. January would give the most opportunity to pay the printers and shippers in the same year.


Not if you do it correctly by working with your accountant/tax adviser beforehand.

Tax avoidance = good
Tax evasion = bad

Good accountants and tax advisers know the difference, and use it to their client's advantage.
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chearns
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plezercruz wrote:
I don't like the system, so I just avoid it.

Every year there are more fun games released than I could possibly play while also continuing to play the ones I already own and love. If I miss some because they were KS exclusive, that's alright, there will be another fun game right around the corner.
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mortego
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I don't believe I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) so the frequency of KS projects doesn't bother me at all.
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Dave J
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Touchfuzzy wrote:
I am curious why January would be so popular. It seems like instead you would want to hit around March/April, as most people who get money back on tax returns in the US submit as early as possible and that is about when they get their money.


If your getting a big refund you're doing it wrong!

The way I view KS, it doesn't matter if you think of it as a pre-order or as "funding a game" etc. It's not really worth getting upset over, which some folks get really furious.

Regarding the big $$$. People don't like hearing my opinion, but if you don't have the cash flow to KS, you shouldn't be using that platform. I KS under the impression that I'm basically burning that money at the end of the campaign and that money shouldn't impact my financial health. If something happens and the game collapses before I get it, oh well, that's the chance I took. Besides, months to a year later, that money is gone and there's nothing I do, it's not worth it to be upset over.

I'll get off my soapbox.
We need to collectively get over the Fear Of Missing Out! There's plenty of games in all price ranges to play and have fun with. Some of my most favorite game experiences are PnP or less than $10.
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Mike zebrowski
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Alphawolf wrote:
The point is, that I might not get a game that I played at my buddies home since it will never see retail.


Kickstarter really sucks for retailers.

Most retail is built upon Net 30, Net 60, Net 90, and even Net 120 day terms.

In another words, if a retailer buys stock with Net 60 terms, they have 60 days to pay for the product. This allows them to control their cash flow.

Even when product is purchased with payment in advance, the retailer will receive the product within a week.

Kickstarter requires payment upfront for product that might take years to deliver, if at all. That is money that can not be turned-over.

Backing a paltry 10 kickstarters a month will tie-up around $25,000+ per year for a retailer (retailer tiers tend to be around $200 to $300 with shipping depending upon the game and the number of add-ons that the retailer wishes to stock). That is around 350 boxes of Magic the Gathering that will definitely sell in the same time period.

Retailers also have to hope that a product is popular enough to sell to non-backers. It is easy to clog up a store's shelves with dead product as the market is very fickle.

The flipside of not backing is the chance of not having a popular product for sale, which drives customers to Kickstarter for future products.
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Harry Jacobs
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I back what I want when I want. However I do restrict myself from ridiculously silly over priced games. My price point is generally 50 - 60$ plus shipping. I made one exception in 2017 and that was Gloomhaven and I don't regret spending that money one bit.

What I have seen is a trend towards bigger games, one of the current KS projects would cost me well over 200$ with shipping, it looks great, but I have to look at the play value of getting it to the table. Since our board gamming community is small as I live in isolated northern city, getting a heavier game to the meets ups are hard enough.

At home my wife will play but with lighter weight games. But she will play some of the heavier games depending on the type of game.
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Momo Momo
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Lemme know when Motley Crüe plan to Kickstart a re-pressing of Dr. Feelgood.
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Nicholas Palmer
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typo360 wrote:
Touchfuzzy wrote:
I am curious why January would be so popular. It seems like instead you would want to hit around March/April, as most people who get money back on tax returns in the US submit as early as possible and that is about when they get their money.


If your getting a big refund you're doing it wrong!



Technically it is possible to get a big "refund" even without paying anything in. For instance, I was working self-employed as a building contractor at the time the economy tanked. Also was injured and out of work for 3 months. I made a frankly pitiful amount of money that year, and my wife wasn't working. We have two kids. (The only reason we survived was going into debt)

And even though I paid nothing in I still got a significant amount of money "back" due to things like the child tax credit. Granted, if you are in that situation, you have a lot more to be spending money on than board games (most of ours went to paying back some of the debt accrued).

Still, not everyone does their taxes in the right way, and lots of people do get tax returns of significant amounts, so it seems like it would be a better time to run a Kickstarter than January, where most people are coming off their Christmas shopping.
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Ryan Keane
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I never look at KS anymore. I don’t like it and won’t support it. But it doesn’t really impact me, so I don’t care. If other people want to throw money at it and get games they love, great. If publishers of retail games start taking a hit, then I guess I’ll care, but honestly I have enough games and backlog of old games to try, I wouldn’t care that much which way the industry went.

In terms of price, one KS advantage is in being able to sell expensive games to those who want to pay without stores bearing the overhead cost, so naturally KS-only games will tend towards being higher on average compared to retail games. So I understand why a top rated design like Gloomhaven May have had a harder time being picked up by a retail publisher compared to a similar top rated design with a lower production cost.

But apart from those expensive games that may just not be a good fit for a retail publisher, with so many so-so games coming out to retail I just wonder “if you couldn’t get a publisher and had to go to KS, what’s wrong with your game enough that a publisher said no but consumers say yes”? I value publishers to screen out the bad. Why do I want to support designers who go through that screen?
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Ian Williams
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I assumed it wasn't because January was a good starting point for Kickstarter projects, but rather that November/December were bad starting points. I definitely saw the number of tabeltop games projects plummet in the build up to Christmas. I figure all of these games have been revving their engines all holiday season, and now a bunch of them are jumping on our wallets at once.

Cutting back on Kickstarter this year (no January project tickle my fancy yet) but I still love the process of it.
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Ashley Kennedy
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Where the whole retail vs. KS preorder system becomes fuzzy to me is as a means of avoiding sales tax and possibly regulations on IP infringement. If KS is really just an aggrandized pre-order system, is it really fair that they are able to avoid sales taxes with which local retailers have to comply? Are other countries starting to come down on KS for taxes and imports? In the U.S., I know that things are fuzzy with online retailers and sales taxes, but KS muddies the water too.

I have also seen it argued that some KS products are brought out as promotional materials and so may not be subject to some of the same Cease & Desist issues of IP infringement. While we might enjoy this creative license, is it fair to companies that comply with this type of regulation?
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Robin Banks
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I've only ever bought one game from Kickstarter. Gloomhaven second printing. It confirmed all my fears and I'll never mess with KS again. Makes me feel filthy.
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Mike zebrowski
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Ryan Keane wrote:
But apart from those expensive games that may just not be a good fit for a retail publisher, with so many so-so games coming out to retail I just wonder “if you couldn’t get a publisher and had to go to KS, what’s wrong with your game enough that a publisher said no but consumers say yes”?


A large factor is production cost.

Traditional publishers set the MSRP somewhere between x5 to x10 their per game production cost.

For example, if a game will retail for $80 and a publisher expects to sell 2,000 copies, their budget to publish the game is between $16,000 and $32,000.

Obviously, companies want to be closer to x10 than x5.

By going via Kickstarter, if a publisher doesn't plan on selling the game via retail channels, they can go to much lower multiples, such as x2.

So, a game sold via kickstarter for $80 could have a per game production cost of $40 and still make the creator money. If that same game was produced by a traditional publisher, the MSRP would be at least $200 and as high as $400.
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David Christopher
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Ronib wrote:
I've only ever bought one game from Kickstarter. Gloomhaven second printing. It confirmed all my fears and I'll never mess with KS again. Makes me feel filthy.


Yea only Gloomhaven wasn't nearly as bad as some other ones I've backed such as Heart of Crown, etc which arrive a year or more after they are supposed to.

Honestly now for me, unless it's loaded with KSE's (CMON) or just an insane value (Gloomhaven), I stay pretty far away from Kickstarters.

I'll gladly wait for retail on everything else and buy X amount of other games that I can play right now.
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JosefK wrote:
I think there are some kind of negative tax consequences for a KS to collect money in one year and not spend it by the end of the year. January would give the most opportunity to pay the printers and shippers in the same year.


That's pretty much it. You *can* get around expensing costs in the same year as you collect the revenue, but, many KS creators, they don't use a "same year" accounting system. Another tax is inventory tax, where you're taxed on the inventory you have at the end of the year. Also, of course, December is the holiday sale season. Plenty of competition.

As for "second printings", this has happened only recently with the more popular titles. And there is a *very* good explanation. While KS will tell you how many backers want your product, it will *not* tell you how well your product will sell at retail. Print any more than your funding allows, and you start adding more risk to the project. That's not good for the game, and I'd like to keep games like Gloomhaven, 7th Continent, and KDM in print.

The retailer's 90-day advance payment puts the risk on the publisher. So, either the publisher makes too many copies and risks going out of business, or makes not enough, and customers complain about scarcity. Manufacturers, I'm sure, would prefer a one- or two-year advance payment, so they can print to demand. But, of course, this only transfers risk to the retailers. IMO, Customers should bear the risk because, in the end, it's the *customer* who benefits the most from their purchase. And, of course, *that's* what KS is doing.
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Quote:
only difference to a GMT / MMP Px - model is, that you pay months / year / years in advance and can only hope, that everything (including various legal properties / copyrights) were planned ahead


Incorrect. GMT and MMP will only charge you when the game is shipped (or very close to shipping). I've placed orders with both of them that were never billed and ended up cancelling over a year later as they still hadn't finalized production of the game.

KS on the other hand will bill you upon close of the KS and then you may wait up to a year or more for your game to arrive. Other than that, KS preys on FOMO and I think it is a pre-order system if you want to be sure to get everything available in an offering all at once and from one source.

As for everything hitting this month, I have to agree it's been a hit to my wallet and I for those only being able to afford one pledge, it creates an intense competition among the publishers for pledges.
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