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All that Glitters Is not Gold, a Kickstarter Story

If, for whatever reason, you are unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a crowdfunding website where creators have developed their product but do not have the funding to produce that product. A designer can start a campaign to give customers an opportunity to pre-order the product and fund the endeavor. It is a curious partnership that defied lots of norms when it first started back in 2009.

Kickstarter is now a thriving marketplace that brings both good and bad to all. With very little effort you can find horror stories of backers who have funded projects and then never ended up getting what they paid for or a poorer quality of item than they were expecting. This normally is not some scam artist who is trying to con 3,000 people into backing something and then promptly running off to the Caribbean to sit on a beach with a drink in one hand and a wad of money in the other. They are more likely idealistic people who did not fully understand the real cost of what it would take to mass-produce a product and then ship it to all of their customers.

Sometimes creators create a wonderful game and take it to Kickstarter and have funding goals. If, for instance, they get to 110% of their funding goal they will add something extra, often only available for those that back the game on Kickstarter. These projects may have several funding goals, and by the end they have a collection of extras that are now available. At times these projects can offer these funding goal extras providing backers with Kickstarter exclusives. If you passed funding the game while it was on Kickstarter you miss out on the opportunity to get those exclusives and add-ons. Or, maybe there was another project that you wanted to back that was live at that time. If you do not check the site regularly or you do not add all of the extras, that game or product you just backed now feels incomplete.

Overall, I like more things than I dislike about Kickstarter. They allow for fun and interesting products and provide solutions to problems I did not realize plagued so many of us in our daily lives. It reminds me of the reasons I like going to the farmers market during the summer and fall. In my mind, I can pay a little more and help the little guy and get a product that I might not get out otherwise. Being part of their story is a small way to help a dream come to life is a cool thing to be able to do with the Kickstarter platform.

The main issue I have is with major companies that take a game to Kickstarter. For me, it is like going to the farmer's market and finding a booth with fresh produce from Costco. Costco could have apples that cost the same or a little less than Grammy’s Produce. But buying produce from local producers makes the apples taste sweeter to me. Now, this could be all in my head, and likely is, but Grammy’s needs my business more than Costco does, and that helps me feel better about my purchase. The same can be said for Kickstarters, they can be, and most are, wonderful products that should be created.

Our friend Douglas posted on his Facebook group about a Kickstarter he just got and played. I was curious and asked him, “What makes you back a particular Kickstarter.” His reasons have changed over the years, starting with minis, arts, themes, and F.O.M.O. (Fear of missing out.) Now he focuses more on what is unique to the Kickstarter that we can’t get later with Kickstarter exclusives while keeping in mind minis, art, themes, and of course his F.O.M.O.

I ask you the same thing. What makes you back something on Kickstarter? If you are looking for games with miniatures look no farther than Kickstarter. I have backed several projects now, some still get me excited to play every time I see the box. Some have wonderful extras that make me happy. I got the Kickstarter version when I backed The Reckoners. The upgraded steel pieces added a wonderful touch.

Money is a huge motivator for me, as I am sure it is for all of us, but when I have lots of overtime at work I find myself on Kickstarter more and more anxious to find something new and amazing. I find it a much harder choice to shell out money for the extras in a game like Nemesis: Lockdown if I do not know I have the extra overtime money coming in. For the most part, I love being wrapped up in a story. If you can paint a word picture that gets me excited chances are good I will want to back your product. Certain themes capture my attention more; horror, fantasy, and sci-fi are soft spots in my heart (in that order). When they combine my favorite themes I get even more excited!

If a Kickstarter can add some unique features, chances are good I will like that as well. Chronicles of Crime is a wonderful mystery game where players use a phone and an app to scan cards in play to enhance the game. I loved the game so much that when Lucky Duck Games launched Destinies on Kickstarter I was already halfway prepared to back it. Then, after reading about how the game is a competitive fantasy game that mixes the board game and app to give you a unique experience I was sold.

What makes you back something on Kickstarter? Have you had wonderful or horrible experiences with a Kickstarter? What are some things you wish they did more of or did better?

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Douglas Stewart
Douglas Stewart
Jul 07, 2021

I have noticed that quite a bit of the extra kickstarter "fluff" (expansions, stretch-goals, promos, etc.) never make it to the table or don't seem to be as well balanced and/or produced as the core game. I have grown really gun-shy when it comes to kickstarter projects that contain too much "fluff."

Jul 13, 2021
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Right!? They make it tempting for sure. My choices are definitely more difficult when I have extra overtime money laying around.

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