There’s been something of a buzz about Kickstarter the past 6 months or so. It’s gone from relatively unknown “oh that weird crowd funding thing?” to a staple topic of conversation among geeks. So much so, that it feels like Kickstarter has become the de-facto means to launch & publish a tabletop game. I’m now struggling to imagine how games ever got released to market before Kickstarter, it probably involved magic.
Zombicide became something of a poster child of the “big” board game Kickstarters raising $780k back in 2012. However since then even bigger projects have come along. Reaper miniatures raised an astronomical $3.4million for their 2012 project which was a range of fantasy miniatures, for $100 you got a frankly ludicrous batch of 240 minis, which raised the Kickstarter bar in terms of value for money. Suddenly it seemed like everyone was looking at Kickstarter – publishers and designers wanting to get their games made, and also consumers wanting new games bag, freebie stretch goals and Kickstarter exclusive add-ons.
A week hardly goes by without another cool looking game surfacing on Kickstarter. I’ll admit I have recently got a bit swept along by it all. Since backing the original Zombicide I’ve stumped up for Boss Monster, Dungeon Roll, MYTH, Zombicide: Season 2, Fox & Chicken, Heroes of Normandie, Deadzone and Dungeon Dice. Phew, that’s quite a haul! How many of those games do I have in my possession? None. Not one.
And here’s the major problem with Kickstarter, you’re backing a project to have a game made and published, you’re not “buying” or pre-ordering (even though 99% of the time you are backing it to get a copy of the game in some form). This means it might be many months or possibly over a year before you get your hands on the game. In the meantime you’re waiting, during this time another Kickstarter catches your eye, you make a pledge, the cycle goes on, and you end up with a shameful backlog like I have done. On top of this you’re often facing extra charges to ship to the UK (Kickstarter is still horribly US centric) and the strong possibility of customs charges/VAT on top of that
Despite these downsides, the temptation to back a new game can be hard resist especially with all those tantalizing tasty stretch goals. These are extras on top of the base game you’ve pledged for, that the project creators will add on as the Kickstarter progresses and passes various funding targets. Often these are freebies given to all backers of a certain level (more minis, extra game contents, more tiles, extra shiny things, etc). MYTH in particular had an impressive series of stretch goals, with well over 100 free minis being added on over the course of it’s funding. Everyone likes free stuff, especially if they are arriving in your inbox almost daily. This is why backing a Kickstarter and watching its progress can be enormously compulsive.
So here I am eyeing yet more nice looking games on Kickstarter. Berserk: War of the Realms – Summoner Wars meets Magic The Gathering. The bizarrely named, Xia: Legends of a Drift System – which has hexagons and spaceships. And there’s the utterly bonkers Cthulhu Wars – With huge minis of Lovecraftian elder gods battling to destroy the world. Oh and also ….
OK right, that’s enough! I think I’ve got a problem, it’s time to kick the KickStarter habit. Stop, and take stock of what I’ve got coming, wait for some of them to arrive – take a virtual breather. God that feels good to get off my chest. Anyone else got a Kickstarter problem they feel like admitting?