I recently received a delivery – Boss Monster 2: The Next Level, a Kickstarter project I backed a couple of months ago.
So I thought I’d talk a little more about what I’ve learned from Kickstarter thanks to this project and others like it – some good, some bad, but hopefully all useful.
Along with Boss Monster 2, I’ve recently backed Ninja Dice: Kage Masters, primarily because it’s quite tough to get hold of the original game in the UK and the new Kickstarter project allows backers to purchase the original as well as the expansion.
As I’m not such a noob to Kickstarter anymore, I’ll be expecting a few things from these and other projects:
- Even some of the most successful games companies are not large companies in and of themselves. They’re not multi-billion-dollar businesses with dedicated marketing teams and offices around the world. Quite often it’s a few friends with a love of the gaming industry trying to do the best they can. It’s important to keep this in mind.
- The game won’t be delivered exactly on time, particularly where international shipping is involved. This is common to Kickstarter, and an often-quoted issue. But hey, look on the brightside. Where UK / European projects are concerned, it’s US backers that will face the problems. In your face!
- Game design and publishing is a big, complicated business that isn’t a smooth process. There will be bumps in the road. As backers, we need to accept this. I guess as backers, we become more of a silent shareholder than a customer, whether we like it or not.
- Once the game is funded, you won’t get as many updates from the backers as you would ideally like to see. To be honest, I’d rather they focus on producing the game than emailing updates every day, but when a game is late and you’ve invested your hard-earned money into it, you feel a sense of entitlement that you should be kept up-to-date. In my experience, whenever there is something major to say, it’ll get said. If not, get in touch by email or leave a comment on the Kickstarter page. If you’ve chosen your project well in the first place, you’ll get a reply.
- Eventually, you’ll back a game that simply isn’t delivered. I haven’t had this happen to me yet, but as a subscriber to Board Game Brawl’s YouTube channel, I know it happens more than it should. This is a risk you take when you back a Kickstarter project. There doesn’t seem to be the necessary protection in place to support consumers. Once a project is funded, it’s nothing to do with Kickstarter anymore. Something to be aware of.
- Despite all this, make sure you enjoy the experience. I’ve learnt a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed, the experience of finding out what goes on behind the scenes of publishing a tabletop game. The amount of time and effort that goes into even the simplest of card games is pretty incredible.