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Subject: The frustration with Kickstarter.... rss

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Rich Lush
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Ok, first let me say I don't hate Kickstarter, I think it's a brilliant idea, and love people have got. Funding through it. There's just one really huge issue for me: international shipping.

You see being. I the UK we often pay more then our American friends on some games, and I've grown to accept that. But with Kickstarter, because of international shipping,the cost can sky rocket for some of these games! And that's without owing whether we are going to have to pay import tax! This can be particularly frustrating on a card game, which can nearly double the price in some circumstances. Now, I understand that it costs, and that the companies have to pay for it, completely get that. all I'm saying, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, is it can be incredibly frustrating , particularly as we often dont pay in, but feel frustrated about missing exclusives.

I recognise that sadly, this problem isn't going to go away, but I just plea with game makers, throw in some stuff for us, the not quite so stiff upper lip Brits, please?

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Greg
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I know how you feel. I found one kickstarter recently that said they'd have their stuff available from a European based wing shortly, I asked if I could back and wait until that opened to get my stuff but they said that I could either back and pay $100 of shipping or I could wait a few months and not pay shipping but not get any of the extras.

Shipping is murderous though, I'm working with a UK based publisher on a game and the costs involved can get pretty steep. Traditionally we've had a fair bit of custom from America on our other projects but for games charging the customer for shipping costs might mean that few people would be willing to pay the price and paying them ourselves would mean losing money on each game sold.
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James Austin
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It is a pain, even the huge campaigns like Zombicide, where they appear to be getting shipped over in one huge bulk, and then distributed within the UK... is coming in at £30-40 dollars for shipping.
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Louise McCully
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I wish some Kickstarters would have an international only pledge level in which we pay to get the exclusives but do pay an additional fee above cost to help fund the game. New Zealand shipping is a killer for both the backers and the senders, it would help reduce the shipping pain and suffering to have such an option sometimes.
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Ron
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This is not only a UK based problem. Let me join your chorus ... meeple

I backed a lot of KS projects, but given the recent increase in shipping costs, it becomes more and more expensive. The postal service and the tax man demand more money than the game's worth. soblue
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Wim van Gruisen
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Shipping is one of the main reasons that I don't check out Kickstarter games.

I would want to gamble, say, 40 dollar on a game, hoping that it will be fun. But shipping fees make that bet cost me twice as much. Now the question is not what fun the game provides for $40, but fot $80.

If the game really is good, then it will be available when the kickstarter campaign is over. And more solid (and cheaper!) shipping arrangements will be established then. I'm usually prepared to wait for that moment. I'll have to wait longer, but the price will be lower and I know more about the game by then. A more informed buying decision for a lower price - at the cost of waiting a few months. I can live with that.
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digter
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And the few games which are send from within the EU are almost insta-backed, just because you avoid the customs and steep shipping costs
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Brian P Lewis
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I have been looking at the figures for running a kickstarter for a game I have been working on.

Being in the UK I realised early on if I don't offer free shipping to the US backers, the game wouldn't attract as many backers, the US backers have escaped high or any shipping charges for most games, so now when one appears it appears to be less successful.

Anyway I worked out that I could get the manufacture to split the consignment into two, one sent direct to me, one to a fulfilment centre in the US. This of course costs more, but as long as I don't mind making less money on all US games sold through KS, I can offer free shipping to UK and US. I would still make money on all games sold, just not as much on US ones.

So what it comes down to at the end of the day is companies taking the easy route, not caring about the customer and just slapping a high shipping charge on.

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Paul Brillantes
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When I say what I am about to say, I do not mean to minimize your issue, just noting that it is occasionally a two way street.

I would like to pledge for Heroes of Normandie, but the shipping from EU to US is killer also.

I am aware that the vast majority of the crazy shipping prices are in the other direction, just saying that we here the US are not immune to such things.


Edit: added the word vast
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Greg
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Brian: Can I ask who you're using for the fulfillment? Someone in the office got some quotes to see if it'd be worth doing that way and concluded that it wouldn't be, but I've always been a bit skeptical of that conclusion. It seems obvious to me that we should be able to ship to the US in bulk more cheaply than mailing individual packadges.
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Ron
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pmbrill77 wrote:
Edit: added the word vast

A good choice of a word regarding this whole KS issue - you can add it also before "shipping cost", "game cost" "tax cost".

Although sometimes also before "rewards" and "stretch goals". And that's why I'm still consider backing KS projects, despite its sometimes insane costs. meeple
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Rich Lush
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pmbrill77 wrote:


I am aware that the vast majority of the crazy shipping prices are in the other direction, just saying that we here the US are not immune to such things.


Edit: added the word vast


thanks for this! I think that actually I recognise it probably goes both ways, which if anything makes it even more important to see if companies can make a way around it!

tqboz wrote:


So what it comes down to at the end of the day is companies taking the easy route, not caring about the customer and just slapping a high shipping charge on.


Brian, thanks for this. It does make me wonder with some companies. I get some just really don't have the means, but recently Days Of Wonder were charging $15 for shipping for their Small World 2 Kickstarter. I know they were able to drop the shipping for the Deluxe, but it just seems a bit harsh when they have a European group. I still love their games, and will be buying some of this stuff when it's for sale, but the Kickstarter has no value as others have said because of the hugh cost!
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Brian P Lewis
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x_equals_speed wrote:
Brian: Can I ask who you're using for the fulfillment? Someone in the office got some quotes to see if it'd be worth doing that way and concluded that it wouldn't be, but I've always been a bit skeptical of that conclusion. It seems obvious to me that we should be able to ship to the US in bulk more cheaply than mailing individual packadges.


Will PM you later
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Magic Pink
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A lot of this could be partially solved if project owners would stop doing Kickstarter exclusives. I back things on KS to get them to market, not to get special things and be lauded above other geeks. I want the stretch goals we unlock for backing to be available for EVERYONE, not just the backers.

Granted, that's not what most people think; they are very much wanting to be treated specially and complain extensively if they don't get limited items. Plus, the backing money would drop quite a bit if that happened.
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Trystan
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I'm surprised publishers haven't worked more with distributers in this.

With a normal game, you pay £40 and some of that money goes to the distributer who's job it is to ship a container to Europe and get the games distributed in bulk so we the buyer don't have to pay individual shipping from the US or any extra VAT.

With a kickstarter game you pay £40 but the extra money goes to Amazon, Kickstarter and the publisher and you have to pay shipping/tax on top. That doesn't seem quite right and to me seems to be counter to a global industry.

Distributers do offer a service (which we enjoy whenever we buy a game through traditional channels) so perhaps some kickstarter publishers should talk to them and see what can be done. It's almost a shame the Glory to Rome kickstarter was such a mess because the idea of sending a container to each continent and shipping from there was a good one. It's a real pity their failure might put others off doing the same thing.
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Ian Taylor
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Under the current climate it seems to make little sense for Europeans to back any US-based Kickstarter projects. You're risking your money for a game that might not be any good, could end up not being made at all and will actually cost you more than you will ultimately pay once it goes on general release. Sure, you might get some exclusive goodies but, for me anyway, they would have to be simply amazing for me to put up with all of that.
 
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Aloha!
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Magic Pink wrote:
A lot of this could be partially solved if project owners would stop doing Kickstarter exclusives. I back things on KS to get them to market, not to get special things and be lauded above other geeks. I want the stretch goals we unlock for backing to be available for EVERYONE, not just the backers.

Granted, that's not what most people think; they are very much wanting to be treated specially and complain extensively if they don't get limited items. Plus, the backing money would drop quite a bit if that happened.
It really bothers me when people get up in arms when a promo gets reprinted. "But I was promised I would be a special person with this magic card nobody else would ever get! It's not fair!!!" What follows would then a temper tantrum about publisher lies and after-market value that would make Violet Beauregarde ashamed.
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George Nebesnik
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Magic Pink wrote:
A lot of this could be partially solved if project owners would stop doing Kickstarter exclusives. I back things on KS to get them to market, not to get special things and be lauded above other geeks. I want the stretch goals we unlock for backing to be available for EVERYONE, not just the backers.

Granted, that's not what most people think; they are very much wanting to be treated specially and complain extensively if they don't get limited items. Plus, the backing money would drop quite a bit if that happened.


I couldn't agree with this more. When I back a KS project I want the stretch goals that become available to everyone. I backed Speculation to get a bunch of other Dirk Henn games and I really rooted to get the game to the market for 8 players.
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Michael Callahan
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Myth (which is being produced by MERCS Miniatures) is relly being handled well,.... maybe a model for how to handle EU issues for US based project.

Without getting into the game itself,... the creators worked to secure distribution from within the EU (Germany) and their shipping is a very reasonable $15. (Shipping in the US is free) Now this should also avoid VAT and other fees for EU residents.

On top of that, they have full German and French translations as well as rulebook translations for Italian and Spanish.

This is how it should be done!
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Chris Smith
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A lot of the bigger projects like Zombicide S2, Myth, Teramyyd sort this out to some extent by sending it all over on 1 pallet & then sending it out from there. $25 is within reason in my opinion when a game is $80 or so anyway, where it's ridiculous is where some projects are asking $50+.

It makes me wonder if they actually bother to spend more than 5 minutes researching the costs involved or just slap a massive number on and figure they can make some extra profit.

Shame about the heroes of normandie cost for whomever it was that mentioned it stops him/her wanting it, most of the UK kickstarters I've seen were free or very cheap for shipping to the US.
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Barry Hood
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cold_fuzion wrote:
It really bothers me when people get up in arms when a promo gets reprinted. "But I was promised I would be a special person with this magic card nobody else would ever get! It's not fair!!!" What follows would then a temper tantrum about publisher lies and after-market value that would make Violet Beauregarde ashamed.


Well, wait, I see two very different issues here. If a promo is reprinted or even made available retail after the fact, that's fine. If people throw a tantrum because they assumed it would be exclusive then that's their fault for making a false assumption.

On the other hand, if a company gives their promise that a promo will be exclusive and never reprinted and then turns around after they've taken your money and reprints the promo, not only is that a breach of the trust you placed in them, it's arguably a breach of contract. You paid them consideration in the form of money in receipt of an item and a guarantee of its unique or rare nature. They are in essence devaluing your product after the fact.

I have no problem with companies selling or otherwise providing promos however they see fit, but I have a big problem with companies lying to their customers, let's keep those issues separate.
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Bernd Caspers
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And don´t forget customs...
Here in Germany you have to pay 19% Einfuhr-Umsatzsteuer (tax) for items outside of the EU over 22 Euros worth.
You might get lucky and it might slip through, but don´t count on it, especially with larger items.
 
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Smoothsmith wrote:
A lot of the bigger projects like Zombicide S2, Myth, Teramyyd sort this out to some extent by sending it all over on 1 pallet & then sending it out from there. $25 is within reason in my opinion when a game is $80 or so anyway, where it's ridiculous is where some projects are asking $50+.


The biggest problem is that most Kickstarters just have two bands, US and non-US (sometimes you will get Canada as a third, or US, Europe and Worldwide, but more often it's US or non-US). I would absolutely never pay anywhere near even $25 for shipping within the UK for a retail order, but that's what I'm paying for Zombicide which is being distributed from within the UK. The reason I'm being asked to pay so much is that someone on the other end of the continent may also have ordered a copy, and their actual shipping costs might be closer to $50 and the company is trying to average out the prices. Now as it happens the Zombicide deal is probably a pretty sweet one since they're having to do two separate lots of shipping and I'm avoiding tax/import duties, but even so if this was retail I'd look elsewhere.

You also have to factor in that, despite the fact that nobody in the US ever has to pay for KS shipping (well, aside from a few rare cases), it's still a real cost. It's paid for by bumping up the price of the product. We outside the US still pay that US shipping cost component plus our own shipping on top - let's say they add $10 on to the product price to cover US shipping, that means your $25 non-US shipping is actually $35, they're just hiding the difference.

Just to be clear, I have no issue paying what my shipping should cost, I don't want any company to lose money due to international shipping, but I would prefer total transparency and a much more granular approach to shipping prices so everyone pays the actual shipping costs to their country. What I don't want is this weird system where shipping costs are normalised into two or three bands that are meant to cover the entire world, but then within those bands some people are always getting an incredible deal while others are always being royally screwed (or alternatively the prices are kept artificially low so everyone gets a good deal but then the company makes no money).
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Jay Noble
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This problem is the single reason I'll probably end up cancelling my pledge for Galaxy Defenders.

The 'best' pledge level to get all the goodies started at $105, but the shipping adds another $49. That's just crazy - especially for a game that is mostly speculation (no rules yet released, game play videos due soon).

Then on top of that there's a chance of also getting hit for import duty.

There's probably money to be made for some enterprising company to set up a KS specific distribution channel. Most of the board game stuff (and other physical projects) are produced in China, so with a bit of planning someone could drive down costs by organising shipping for multiple projects at the same time.
 
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Chris Smith
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chubber911 wrote:
My opinion is that shipping shouldn't factor into the pledge totals and only get paid out shortly before delivery. Why does someone in the UK have to front $35 extra 6 months in advance when that money is for shipping and has nothing to do with creating the game. Artificially inflates pledge total

I also get frustrated with shipping costs because international backers are subsidizing the 'free' US shipping in a lot of instances. I've even seen some projects from Canada that were free shipping to US but extra for Canada.


I wouldn't be comfortable with that at all..

'Hi, we want to ship your game now, so we need $50 from you, ta'

It would be lovely to be able to just have the shipping averages and put into the base pledge levels, but there's no way to know how many US/International backers you'll get for a particular project =(
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