Back in 2019 I rediscovered Kickstarter with Bloodborne: The Board Game. I had just purchased Gloomhaven and was amazed by what had been achieved by a crowd funded game. I was hungry for more and wanted to get in early on the next big thing. After dropping about $500 on the actual game components (I went all in, the FOMO was real) I was introduced to the concept of the Pledge Manager and the actual cost of delivering a huge package of plastic from China to my front door. From memory it was expensive but not unrealistic. At the end of the day it was still cheaper to get the product this way than to wait and buy it from the local games store (which, living in Australia, may not even stock the final product).
Fast forward to today. I have just finished watching this video from Board Game Co (check it out, Alex is awesome at diving into these things):
Personally for me, I am only slightly impacted by this. There are a few projects that I am waiting for and here are my thoughts on them:
- Primal: The Awakening – Reggie games smartly delayed collecting shipping on this one. I don’t know how much it will costs to get this delivered now but at least the cost has been split so I wont complain too much (probably)
- Aeon Tresspass – Into the Unknown collected shipping expecting delivery to be completed at the start of 2021. They have been delaying the shipment in the hopes that prices will go down but this does not seem to be happening. Instead they have reopened the pledge manager and offered additional content in order to help cover the cost of shipping. This was optional, but again a smaller hit when no other projects are collecting so I jumped on this. There is a second wave of content that I am interested in however, if prices are too great then I may have to bow out of this one.
- Frosthaven – Although nothing has been said so far, I am concerned that this project will end up asking for more to ship. It’s possible that it won’t – it is the highest funded boardgame on Kickstarter at 12 million dollars raised, but I’m always a bit pessimistic about these things.
- Middara – This one has already been delivered but I am debating getting in on the second wave of content to round out the trilogy. I still haven’t gotten the first act to the table so I’m not convinced I need it but we’ll see what’s on offer when the pledge manager reopens on May 17th
Overall, the shipping cost increases make Kickstarter less attractive as a way to get games at a relatively cheap price. Alex discusses the options available to backers in his video and I have to agree with the attitude of just backing something at the minimum amount, when the final price is going to be unclear its a good idea to get that information at first and then make a decision. Unfortunately this has a knock on effect of reducing overall funding to crowd funded games if everyone adopts this attitude. Some projects may struggle to meet their goals even though there is a demonstrated interest in the game. This again leads to stagnation in the industry as more publishers play it “safe” and stick to projects that cannot fail.
I’ve enjoyed my time in the Kickstarter space but it is definately becoming a less attractive option with the increases in prices and my interests moving more towards wargames. The last project I backed was early 2021 and nothing I have seen since has really compelled me to invest. Perhaps I have filled each of the gaming niches that I was looking for a just see slight iterations on mechanics I can already play with? Or maybe I’m just enjoying Warhammer more at this point and find it easier to justify spendingmy money on something I can use immediately instead of some indetermined time in the future? Perhaps FOMO culture has just jaded me to a point where I’m just not interested?