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Subject: RRT Year 8 rss

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Richard Ham
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I just posted this on patreon.com/rahdo but figured I should crosspost here so everyone's up to date with my latest craziness

------------------------------------------

Hey everybody! So, a year has come and gone, and it was a crazy crazy year. Now's the time for Jen and me to start thinking about what's next, and I'm thinking about all kinds of stuff. For instance, one of my favourite boardgame publishers offered me a job a few weeks ago as a game developer, and while I said no on the spot, it's still been swirling around in my head....

Also, tax time is upon us, and OUCH! We're getting taxed more heavily now that we're back in the US than we have been for years. We weren't quite expecting this, and it looks like we're going to be officially in a higher bracket than in the past, which means our health insurance costs are going to go up again. So we're taking all of that into account too while deciding the future of the channel.

Plus, all the plans I had a year ago to try to scale back on how many hours RRT eats up seems to have backfired, and I'm working harder than ever now, covering more games on average than before. Case in point, the new rundown thing was supposed to be a simple 20 minute video that went out once per month at the end, where I just talked about what we played over the previous 4 weeks (kind of like what Jon Gets Games and Gaming Rules do). So my plan was that an average month of Rahdo-content consisted of 10 runthroughs, a top10, a ramble, and the single rundown. But right away, i started doing the rundowns as individual videos, and then they just got longer and longer, and while I'm happy that I'm getting more stuff covered for people, it's really upped my workload significantly.

Plus, the Patreon perks I've been doing add up to a lot too. I mean, who spends over $2500 on postcards in one year? This guy! Plus we're trying to make the upcoming Regent+ rewards fun, but OMG shipping from the US is so crazy expensive!

So anyway, netting less and working more, this isn't quite right! Hence the thinking about what to do next. One thing for instance is that I'm literally a hair's breadth away from starting to charge publishers when I do Kickstarter videos. People have been telling me for *years* that I'm insane not to, and I'm pretty much the only "popular" channel not doing it, and as such, I'm leaving a lot of money on the table. This really hit home with the game mat video I did recently. My vid went up the same day as Dice Tower and Watch it Played, and I know they both charged hundreds of bucks for their vids, and I charged nothing, and yet my video has almost more views their both of theirs combined. So clearly I'm insane! (no surprise there)

So, here's what I'm thinking the new 5 step plan is going forward:

1) continue regular runthroughs like always, the # based on how high my monthly backer level is. I might have to shift the goal levels a bit, however. Currently I'm committed to 10 per month, but it might go to 8 a month to make room for some other new content (see below)

2) introduce a new additional show: Rahdo Previews. These would be regular videos like what I've always done, except a) they're paid for by publishers and b) because they're paid, I give no subjective opinion about the game (i.e. no final thoughts) - just the facts! This would be similar to the games I've covered in the past where Jen had a financial tie since her glass was included, so you could check out the vids for Monster Lands and Dragonsgate College to get an idea of what this is like.

One thing worth noting: it's unavoidable for me not to be implicitly giving some opinion, because it would be my commitment to Jen not to make her play games we wouldn't enjoy, and if I can't play it, I can't film it. So like always, I'd only be taking on projects for games that we would like, and if I were to receive a prototype that we ended up not liking, I'd simply return it to the publisher rather than film it and receive payment.

3) another new show: Rahdo Revisits! For a LONG time, folks have been asking me to go back and cover old top10s and games, and I've always thought I simply didn't have the time. But I do like the idea of it, so this would be a new monthly segment for me to make which I think would be a lot of fun. Probably most months, it would result in an extra top10, but occasionally it'd be a runthrough of something that really needs it (Trickerion springs to mind).

4) ANOTHER new show: Rahdo Roundup! This would be what the Rahdo Rundown was originally supposed to be... a quick wrap-up at the end of the month where I talk briefly about what else we've played recently (or done, like conventions and the like). It'd be a single show, where no game would get more than a few minutes, but you'd get to see what the game looks like and I'll do my best to quickly articulate the feel of the gameplay. This is how I'll be able to ensure that all the games I've got to cover get some time off the shelf, without destroying my schedule completely

5) no more physical backer rewards (almost... see below). I'm really sorry about this one, but the costs are just too high! I fully expect my backing level will drop because of this, but Jen and I agree it's something that we have to do. But, to make up for it, we'll try something a little different:

Folks at the Relative level and above won't be getting real postcards in the mail anymore, but instead, each month they'll get a special "video postcard" from me and Jen where we talk about what's going on outside the Rahdo-verse. Like, updates on the 14 new chicks Jen recently got, or what's Jen's up to when she's not playing games with me, or anecdotes about the pups, reports when we're on the road, how's life with Mom, what new shows are we watching, what did Jen recently read, etc.

For the higher Regent+ tiers, we're going to be discontinuing the Mystery Box reward. We're in the process right now of trying to get the first one together, and it's proving to be a greater challenge (and higher cost) than we ever imagined. We will get them out for everyone who's backed at this level for the full 12 months as promised, and for folks who have not quite made it to the 12 month threshold, we'll send out "partial mystery boxes" to cover what they've already invested.

To replace these rewards, we're renaming the Regent tier to Rahdo's R&R. The reward at this new level a monthly private video stream where Jen and I will simply relax and play a game, with no pressure to perform, no deadline to hit... just to have fun. And you can watch and chat and help us decide which game it will be. Note, these will likely be a bit more informal than the old live playthroughs I used to do, because I won't bother with split screens and all of that, because that's a lot of pressure, and this is just supposed to be fun and relaxing. Of course, if you can't make the live broadcast time, you'll be able to watch the video after the fact, and like Rambles, these casual games will only be viewable by Relax+ level patrons.

Royalty & Right Hand members will get to relax with us as well, AND they'll get a physical postcard in the mail every month! Yes, the postcards return, but a LOT less of them going out means it's more financially viable for us to continue with these. I have to say, we really do enjoy doing them, and we also send them out to our own family members, so I'm happy to keep the post flowing at this smaller scale.

Phew! So that's what's I'm thinking for year 8 of RRT! Let me know what you think.
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I am a fan of anything/everything that keeps you sane, keeps the channel financially viable and you two happy Also though, none of these seem like bad ideas, just changes and opportunities!
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toeknee n
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cjpeach2004 wrote:
I am a fan of anything/everything that keeps you sane, keeps the channel financially viable and you two happy Also though, none of these seem like bad ideas, just changes and opportunities!


Ditto!
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Allen Brown
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The only concern I have is that you're the #1 source for kickstarter videos simply because I know you don't get paid for them. I don't think I've watched more than 5 kickstarter previews, but I've watched nearly every one of your Final Thoughts. I do like to know what you don't like about a game, even if I know you like it overall. And there are times you slip up and a bad game gets by your rules reading, and I appreciate that you're honest about it.

Maybe you could offer a pledge level for Final Thoughts for videos you got paid to do previews for?

Either way, I will of course continue to watch your videos, and I might have to watch more runthroughs (which is what you always say to do anyway, hah). I'll consider upping my pledge, as well. Thanks for all you do! Last Jedi and Pandemic, forever!
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Richard Ham
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Yup, believe me, i don't take this paid preview thing lightly, and if I was still living in Malta, i doubt i'd be doing it at all. I'm not starting this until May, so i've got a month to think about where the line is
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Steve Boucher
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I've been following you for a while and really appreciate what you do. I don't have quite the same gaming tastes that you do, but I find your videos extremely valuable. No one else does what you do. A Rahdo video in a Kickstarter is especially important; a Kickstarter that includes a rundown or runthrough from you is probably 5 times more likely to be bought by me than one that does not. You are bringing is $$ to Kickstarters and you 100% deserve to be paid for that service. Your reputation is so well-established as a honest, good guy, I think vitually no one is going to question the integrity of your video just because you were fairly compensated for it (if you had any doubts about that).

I've been concerned for some time that you may be burning yourself out. We don't want you to go. A huge hole would be left where Rahdo was and I don't think there is anyone who could fill it. I think the most prudent thing you can do is to get a better handle on your current schedule before taking on new things. I.e., no new shows or new commitments unless it reduces your workload – e.g., Rahdo Roundup sounds okay as long as it *replaces* Rundowns and Rahdo Previews sounds great as long as your reduce the runthroughs or something else that is taking up a lot of your time. Reducing the physical rewards sounds completely sensible. Simplification is also good.

You need to do what makes sense for you and to keep a good work-life balance. Your fans are going nowhere!
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David Harding
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I feel weird giving life advice but I wonder why you don’t try the job? Just for a year and if it’s no good, quit and come back to RRT?
I don’t know the details of where the job is or how much it pays and it’s none of my business anyway :) but it might be worth a try and then you’ll know exactly what you want to do maybe?

Anyway, I’ve watched and listened to you since the beginning, love your stuff, and (of course) I’m happy for you to do whatever works best for you!
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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Not doing physical rewards makes a lot of sense.

I think you have the highest views for Kickstarter videos because it's unbiased. It's your USP compared to the other Kickstarter videos. But it does makes financial sense, it's not fair that creators don't support you. Maybe if you start each video with something like you already said above it will help keep your videos special, if you said something like: "If the game is not good I wouldn't show it, and I wouldn't accept payment."

Unlike taxes I think the norm is that the big publishers with the most money pay nothing. It would be hard to charge Days Of Wonder but maybe a 3 tiered Kickstarter pricing model would probably be nicer than the same fee for everyone. Discounts for diversity

A) Big (monolith) Kickstarter publishers
B) Relatively successful indie designers
C) Broke designers starting out

Prices:
A) $X if your last Kickstarter made over $150K
B) $Y if your last Kickstarter made between $50k to $150K
C) $Z plus ($V if 100%+ funded, OR $W if >200% funded) for first creations or if your last Kickstarter made less than $50k.

Most likely games that make $50k make 0% profit unless they are just a deck of cards. Same goes for reaching the 100% funded mark, usually no profit at 100%, or even a small loss once a project meets it's minimum of 100%. So C would include a small up-front payment and then a second payment that depends if it just funds or a higher payment if it over funds. That might be fair.

No more future Gloomhavens?
Have you thought about this: Since lots of great games are born on Kickstarter does the new format mean you will never do a full runthrough and final thoughts for such games as they will be paid previews and you don't like filming games you've already covered. If paid previews were in a few years ago would it mean you'd never have a full runthrough and final thoughts for Gloomhaven? When the game gets a retail release then you might lose picking up new viewers who search for a playthrough and ignore KS previews.

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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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You could also charge a small non-refundable $10 donation to read the rules of a game submission (after they inform you of the game, and it sounds good).

Maybe also have them fill out a google form that asks questions about the rulebook as it might reduce unsuitable rulebooks and save you time.
Questions likes:

Quote:
What amount of take-that does the game have?
High
Medium
Low
None

If it does have take-that explain how it works.

Which complexity is most similar to your game?
Sushi Go
Kingdomino
Stone Age
Concordia
Viticulture
Tzolk'in
Vinhos
Anachrony

Does your rulebook have illustrations or photos of gameplay examples?
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Kevin B. Smith
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Geroid wrote:
Maybe if you start each video with something like you already said above it will help keep your videos special, if you said something like: "If the game is not good I wouldn't show it, and I wouldn't accept payment."

I think that would be "If I didn't think Jen and I would enjoy the game, I wouldn't have accepted payment or filmed this video." Liking something is different from it being good (although there is overlap).

But I appreciated your creative thinking in the post.

Rahdo: I'll echo what others have said: Please find whatever path will make you happiest overall. Whether that means trying a development job, switching up the types or quantities of videos you make, changing rewards, or anything else. You're a human, not a machine. Enjoy this life you have been given.

I wondered if experimenting with game development on a contract basis for just one game would be an option you might try. I'm pretty you would excel at it, if you did give it a go. You might know yourself well enough to be sure you wouldn't enjoy it, but I would think it would be a different pace than the video game world, and you would have much more direct input in cardboard form.
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I like the shorter Run Down format. It cuts down on the Rahdo wordiness and gets to the point. That being said, I would have read your entire first post to this thread if it had been shorter too.
 
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Richard Ham
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stvboucher wrote:
Your reputation is so well-established as a honest, good guy, I think vitually no one is going to question the integrity of your video just because you were fairly compensated for it (if you had any doubts about that).

Oh, i have my integrity questions A LOT, even when I don't take money. So now that I do (or will... won't start until May) I expect that to get even worse...

huffa2 wrote:
I feel weird giving life advice but I wonder why you don’t try the job? Just for a year and if it’s no good, quit and come back to RRT?

2 things: if i took a year off, it woul be really tough to rebuild i think. For an example, see Jeremy Salinas, who was top of the heap in his Drakenstrike days, but now Man vs Meeple has been working hard for years to get back to where he was.

But that aside, there's also the issue of getting too close to games: working in the videogame industry for so long in part spoiled playing videogames for me. I'd hate for that to happen with boardgames as well!

Geroid wrote:
Maybe if you start each video with something like you already said above it will help keep your videos special, if you said something like: "If the game is not good I wouldn't show it, and I wouldn't accept payment."

That would be pretty wordy, on top of the klingon intro

Quote:
Unlike taxes I think the norm is that the big publishers with the most money pay nothing. It would be hard to charge Days Of Wonder but maybe a 3 tiered Kickstarter pricing model would probably be nicer than the same fee for everyone. Discounts for diversity

A) Big (monolith) Kickstarter publishers
B) Relatively successful indie designers
C) Broke designers starting out

Prices:
A) $X if your last Kickstarter made over $150K
B) $Y if your last Kickstarter made between $50k to $150K
C) $Z plus ($V if 100%+ funded, OR $W if >200% funded) for first creations or if your last Kickstarter made less than $50k.

Most likely games that make $50k make 0% profit unless they are just a deck of cards. Same goes for reaching the 100% funded mark, usually no profit at 100%, or even a small loss once a project meets it's minimum of 100%. So C would include a small up-front payment and then a second payment that depends if it just funds or a higher payment if it over funds. That might be fair.

Good observations. Basically i was thinking i'd have tiers:

$X - full runthrough
$Y - shorter rundown
$free - get a mention in the preceding Roundup

Quote:
No more future Gloomhavens?

Yeah, I'm acutely aware of how impactful my free videos are, and give a huge leg up to indi-devs. Isaac has gone on record how my vids were a huge part of his success before he became boardgame-famous, and I have no idea if he would have been willing or able to pay up front. Like I said, i don't take this lightly, and I've considered still doing free videos for games that I *really really* like a lot, but then that becomes a form of review for everything, since I charged for game X but not for game Y. It's all a sticky wicket that I was happy to avoid, before I moved to the states!
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Richard Ham
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Geroid wrote:
You could also charge a small non-refundable $10 donation to read the rules of a game submission (after they inform you of the game, and it sounds good).

Yikes, you're right, I suppose I could, and really should, because I spend probably at upwards of 10 hours every week reading rules for games I'll never cover. But I just don't think I can do it! Considering my super high 'no' rate, i think i'd feel too guilty!

peakhope wrote:
I wondered if experimenting with game development on a contract basis for just one game would be an option you might try. I'm pretty you would excel at it, if you did give it a go. You might know yourself well enough to be sure you wouldn't enjoy it, but I would think it would be a different pace than the video game world, and you would have much more direct input in cardboard form.

That's kind of happening right now... I have a friend who's working on a game design and he rings me up every week or two to talk about the current iteration for a couple of hours. I enjoy it, but it is creatively exhausting, and I'm only doing it because he's a friend

toober wrote:
I like the shorter Run Down format. It cuts down on the Rahdo wordiness and gets to the point. That being said, I would have read your entire first post to this thread if it had been shorter too.

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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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rahdo wrote:

Quote:
No more future Gloomhavens?

Yeah, I'm acutely aware of how impactful my free videos are, and give a huge leg up to indi-devs. Isaac has gone on record how my vids were a huge part of his success before he became boardgame-famous, and I have no idea if he would have been willing or able to pay up front. Like I said, i don't take this lightly, and I've considered still doing free videos for games that I *really really* like a lot, but then that becomes a form of review for everything, since I charged for game X but not for game Y. It's all a sticky wicket that I was happy to avoid, before I moved to the states!


Sounds like you need a limited scholarship program haha

I wish you best the luck.
 
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Kenneth Sweeney
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rahdo wrote:
Geroid wrote:
You could also charge a small non-refundable $10 donation to read the rules of a game submission (after they inform you of the game, and it sounds good).

Yikes, you're right, I suppose I could, and really should, because I spend probably at upwards of 10 hours every week reading rules for games I'll never cover. But I just don't think I can do it! Considering my super high 'no' rate, i think i'd feel too guilty!


You’ll have think of a more a Business choice, less emotional. Just like a wage, you would be getting compensated for your time.
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Having read your response to the rule book reading fee, I hope you’ll consider this more. You say that you’d feel guilty charging $10 based on how many people you are saying no to, but what about the time they are getting from you for the low cost of shoving a rule book in your face?

The fact that you are spending 10 hours a week on work that doesn’t benefit your gaming life, your collection, your wallet, OR your channel seems like a red flag.

Do you give any constructive feedback when you say no? Meaning isn’t there at least a tiny bit of consultant work involved here? A nominal fee values you and your time without creating a ethical issue that prevents you from expressing your opinions (should you wish to do so). And if people are put off with throwing $10 in to a pot and getting told no, maybe they’ll stop wasting your time.

Less time wasted equals more time playing the games you want to play or at least positively working through the backlog of games that you are more likely to post on your channel in the first place.

No particular comment to the rest of the changes, but I’m definitely considering bumping up $7 a month to get access to your personal life stuff about the chickens and whatnot, assuming it provides new content over your excellent podcast, which I seem to consume more than your videos these days.



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André Heines
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rahdo wrote:
Geroid wrote:
You could also charge a small non-refundable $10 donation to read the rules of a game submission (after they inform you of the game, and it sounds good).

Yikes, you're right, I suppose I could, and really should, because I spend probably at upwards of 10 hours every week reading rules for games I'll never cover. But I just don't think I can do it! Considering my super high 'no' rate, i think i'd feel too guilty!


I don't think there's a need to feel guilty. Maybe go for two levels. Reading the basic information is free (theme, type of game, overview), and then you can say if you're "interested in reading the rules". It's up to the publishers to be accurate with their description. That way you could sort out stuff the two of you are not interested in. Reading the full rules is then charged. I think (writing from a publishers point of view) it's quite important to know where/whom to send rules or physical copies. Taking shipping into accout, paying 10 bucks for the time to read the rules isn't that bad. Maybe you could give a discount for small games/short rules or charge extra for super long ones.

However, I think most people won't mind if you reorganize your program, perks etc. to be able to do it without completely exhausting yourself. I don't, and I appreciate your honesty about the situation. And as long as you propperly mark "sponsored content", there should be no problem.

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Thomas Leitner
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Geroid wrote:
You could also charge a small non-refundable $10 donation to read the rules of a game submission (after they inform you of the game, and it sounds good).

Rahdo wrote:
Yikes, you're right, I suppose I could, and really should, because I spend probably at upwards of 10 hours every week reading rules for games I'll never cover. But I just don't think I can do it! Considering my super high 'no' rate, i think i'd feel too guilty!


Actually, this could have a net positive effect. Publishers who know your tastes will be far less likely to submit rules for you to read for a game they know has very little chance of being filmed by you if they have to pay a small fee.

As it is, by providing them with no barrier at all, there is no downside to them for submitting any and all rules, but a significant one for you. If the small fee troubles your conscience, you can always apply it to the fee you charge for filmed games.
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Don Liles
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Please make the best choices for you and Jen.

I would recommend being paid for the KS previews. You are providing a great service both for the publishers and potential backers. The amount of time you put into one should be compensated.

Have you found it a better funding situation since transitioning from KS to Patreon? Or is there a way to blend the two together to cover different items?

The KS could be the podcast and providing funding for the two of you to attend conventions. Then again, that might cause your schedule to even be crazier, I imagine many are pressing on your time now that you are in the States.

Anyway, thank you for your amazing contribution to the hobby.
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James Cartwright
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Happy with everything you have suggested but would like to see the RRT Year 8 back on Kickstarter.
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Should 100% get a fee for checking the rulebook. Free labor is a no-go Rahdo, plus, I'm sure it'd weed down a whole lot of people. The fee isn't exclusive, but paying any sort of money gets a whole slew of people out of the hopper.

Regardless, just say no to free work!
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Richard Ham
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thorphin wrote:
Do you give any constructive feedback when you say no? Meaning isn’t there at least a tiny bit of consultant work involved here?

Generally not. Just a quick note why the game's not for us...

Quote:
And if people are put off with throwing $10 in to a pot and getting told no, maybe they’ll stop wasting your time.
MDJD wrote:
As it is, by providing them with no barrier at all, there is no downside to them for submitting any and all rules, but a significant one for you. If the small fee troubles your conscience, you can always apply it to the fee you charge for filmed games.

It is true, often after I say no, they reply "okay, this is what we expected, but we figured no harm in asking" soblue

daliles wrote:
Have you found it a better funding situation since transitioning from KS to Patreon? Or is there a way to blend the two together to cover different items?

I think we're going to stick with Patreon just for continuity. However, there's a lot of folks who don't like the monthly option, or who don't want to support Patreon as a platform, or who want to avoid paying taxes, so like last year, I'm going to have a limited window where folks can make a one time lump payment. Last year I used Paypal pools for this, and it worked really well, so I might do that again, but I'm investigating other options at the moment and will announce something soon
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You were single handedly responsible for many of my board game purchases when I came back to board gaming after several decades Richard, and you continue to invest me in board gaming, so although my initial knee jerk reaction was "paid previews?!" I sat back and thought about it, then found this thread

At the end of the day, you need to make a living (although living in the US doesn't sound like the cheapest option!) the only thing I would personally ask is that as you've said, you stay true to yourselves. Only take payment for games you like and would play, or else you stop being you and Jen and become the same as everyone else

Personally advertising playmats / gaming tables / dice etc wouldn't bother me, because that comes down to quality / cost and its always in the eye of the beholder

Physical rewards: You shouldn't be sending anything out that doesn't allow you to make at least a fair profit to yourselves too, so yep, bin off anything that's not worth doing. I was happy donating on Kickstarter and getting a BGG microbadge haha

Keep giving us great content, and maybe game designing IS for you?!
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