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Subject: Why the surge in kickstarter projects now? rss

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J A
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Can anyone account for what feels like an incredible surge in the number of kickstarter projects at this point in time?

There have been some success stories, such as Alien Frontiers, but what makes you want to back one of these projects?

I'm sure that at one point or another most board gamers have thought about designing a game, but it seems that some kickstarter projects feel like rehashes of old/popular games.

- Jon
 
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Brad Miller
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Because it worked once. That's enough hope for some people...
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Chris Cieslik
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It's worked lots of times.

Kickstarter is a very low-risk way to see if you can get your game published. At some point, saturation will start to turn against it, but that hasn't really happened yet in the board game sector (it has to some degree for video games).
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J A
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Is the board game sector not saturated as it is?

There are more board game releases in any given week than there are video game releases for a single platform.

Choosing a kickstarter project to back seems risky to me, for the most part (there are of course exceptions) if a game is good enough a publisher will pick it up before it can be kickstarted.

Of course, a few games have been picked up following kickstarter, innovation and alien frontiers being two notable examples.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Eminent Domain may or may not be a success as well. I've heard a lot about it.
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Chris Cieslik
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Innovation did not kickstart

Alien Frontiers, Eminent Domain, and Startup Fever have been three of the most notable and successful, but this list: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/59640/boardgame-kickstarte...

is littered with successful kickstarts. That being said, putting just any old nonsense up there isn't going to get you funded -- a solid concept and a good video are both necessary.
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Brian McCormick
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I think it's a fad, and that's no disrespect meant to the intelligent designers who have found success on Kickstarter (but I think their product would have probably sold with or without kickstarter).
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J A
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angelkurisu wrote:
Innovation did not kickstart :P


My apologies, at first I thought it didn't then, seeing you appear, it thought it did.
 
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Chris Cieslik
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Jangus wrote:
angelkurisu wrote:
Innovation did not kickstart


My apologies, at first I thought it didn't then, seeing you appear, it thought it did.


No worries!

I do think Kickstarter will subside at some point, but I'm definitely happy to see independent developers able to get their products to market in a way that 5 years ago was more or less impossible (without taking a five-figure risk that often resulted in a huge loss).

GameSalute's Springboard might provide a more long-term solution for board game developers specifically, especially as they're integrating directly with local game shops.
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Jay Lacson
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Aurendrosl wrote:
I think it's a fad, and that's no disrespect meant to the intelligent designers who have found success on Kickstarter (but I think their product would have probably sold with or without kickstarter).


I wouldn't say it's a fad. I believe it goes along the lines of Google, Amazon, or Facebook.

It got a little spotlight, it's easily accessible and it had some success. Any program or product, given those three criteria, will see an increase of usage.
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Guido Van Horn
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I think the "surge" is seeing successes come out of it. but more enticing is a low risk way of publishing a top notch product, without having to give up creative control or rely on someone else to pick it up.

It's expensive to launch a product like a boardgame, so getting people to pony money upfront and sell an initial lot is a great way to get the ball rolling, even for smaller yet established publishers having a guaranteed number of sales before you even run the presses is great for business.
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Ralph T
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I think certain types of projects succeed: ones involving the fantasy or space themes. Startup Fever is the exception but that pushes a lot of buttons for people in the tech industry and like the Catan comparison. Also western and Feudal Japan themes have succeeded--these are high conflict titles.

We see games about fighting (where they're similar to Yomi), games suitable for families or kids, and non-space/fantasy themed Euros not get their kickstarter funding. Even that mythology based Euro didn't succeed.
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CW Karstens
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For me, I selected Kickstarter for my latest project as the next logical step in growing my publishing business. I began with hand-made games, moved on to print and plays, moved to Print on Demand and now mass printing.

Most business backers I know would not touch the board game industry due to low margins. Why would they invest $30,000 to make at best $40,000 over 4 to 5 years when other industries are making that in 1 to 3 years with less risk?

You have to love board games to do this.

I have another game design that has been in the hands of a big publisher for exactly a year now (non-exclusive so I can POD sell it and submit it to other publishers) and I continue to get a "I am still looking at it". The same game is in and out with a smaller publisher who keeps suggesting changes that reduce strategy in order to make the game more politically correct.

I truly feel that the game is better as I designed it and I have feedback from 3rd Party blind testers that have said the same in surveys. In fact, 1 in 3 people I demo it to buy a copy.

I was thinking about running that game through Kickstarter because I have a market for it but I don't have the funds for it. Excitedly, my latest game began getting the same (if not more buzz from playtesters). At Origins, I was offered $80 and $100 for my only prototype (for example).

Summary:
Kickstarter type funding is the bridge from fun print and play games to higher quality component games that bigger publishers won't touch.

Please don't judge Kickstarter games prematurely. Read their rules, talk to people who have played it and play it yourself to see if it is a game you would enjoy.













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Jim F.
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Jangus wrote:

Choosing a kickstarter project to back seems risky to me, for the most part (there are of course exceptions) if a game is good enough a publisher will pick it up before it can be kickstarted.


Risky in what way?
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Chris Cieslik
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Risky in that the game might be terrible, I think he's saying
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J A
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angelkurisu wrote:
Risky in that the game might be terrible, I think he's saying :)


Chris nailed it.

Some of the kickstarters I've had a look at have next to nothing going for them - whether that be theme, art, rules etc.
 
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Chris Cieslik
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Right, and I'd like to think those are the ones not getting funded.

What's key, I think, is having a good amount of information out there. CW's game Dragon Valley, for example, he was playtesting with folks off and on all throughout Origins (with good success! It's a solid game). Not only do those folks have a higher chance of ordering a copy, but the fact that the game has positive buzz creates a bit more trust that there's a good game behind the shiny video.
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Brian Schroth
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Aurendrosl wrote:
I think it's a fad, and that's no disrespect meant to the intelligent designers who have found success on Kickstarter (but I think their product would have probably sold with or without kickstarter).


Yeah! And get these damn kids off my lawn!
 
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I myself got into kickstarting by backing RoboArena, which is a video game inspired by Robo Rally. The "allure" of it called to me, but so far, the game sounds interesting enough that I don't believe I'll have any major regrets.

Jangus wrote:
Is the board game sector not saturated as it is?

There are more board game releases in any given week than there are video game releases for a single platform.

Choosing a kickstarter project to back seems risky to me, for the most part (there are of course exceptions) if a game is good enough a publisher will pick it up before it can be kickstarted.

Of course, a few games have been picked up following kickstarter, innovation and alien frontiers being two notable examples.
I think it's "relativley saturated", but AFAIK, one video gets advertised by word of mouth and public channels to alot more people than your typical board game would. Plus, video games are more mainstream, so the market should make the saturation more manageable.

PS, I am sooo freakin' glad BGG doens't allow sounds to go with people's avatars
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J A
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ackmondual wrote:
PS, I am sooo freakin' glad BGG doens't allow sounds to go with people's avatars :p


Nah, you know you love it.
 
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