Over the years, I have played a wide variety of board games and have a lot in my collection. I have pure Euro games and bit dice chucking Amerithrash games. This got me thinking about the different types of gamers that people are and which …
We’re getting down there for the Kickstarters that I’m still waiting on. In fact, I got one that was delivered a few days ago with Calico, a game about quilting and cats. I’m sure I’ll be talking about that more coming up. But today’s games …
I’ve been toying around with a series on Kickstarter for a while, and I think with some fairly contentious Kickstarter things happening or perceived that way, it’s time to do a series on Kickstarter, including starting off with Kickstarter 101, what you need to know about Kickstarter, and how a Kickstarter works. In particular, I’m going to be talking about it for Board Games and RPG’s.
What is Kickstarter?
Starting out with the basics here, but Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website. What’s a crowdfunding website, it’s a site where someone asks for money to help fund a project, that could be something like Go Fund Me with helping someone with medical expenses or whatever need they might have, but on Kickstarter, you’re almost always Kickstarting a project that is going to create some sort of end product. It might be a play, it might be a comic, a chair, a video game, or, as I’m going to be talking about board game or an RPG. Normally, when you help fund something, the company or creator gives you something in return for helping them.
How Does a Project Work?
I’m going to be tackling this from the consumer side, I’ve never run my own kickstarter, and I doubt I ever would or will. But, the creator makes their project, so they create a video (ideally), and write up information on the game, showing images of prototypes or of what they are planning on the components looking like. They explain how the game works, what sort of game it is, and why you should help them fund it. They also talk about what shipping costs might be and what they could see as risks for their campaign so the people who fund them know what they are getting into.
The final big thing they create though is the reward levels and funding level. These are how much they are asking people and how much money they need for it to actually happen. For example, if they think they can make the game that the whole cost of production is $20 but they need to 2,000 people to back them to get that production cost, they can make their funding goal $40,000. And there would be a reward level of $20 where people can back them and get a copy of the game as a reward. But what is more likely to happen is that production costs $20, so they offer a reward level of $30 for the game, because they need to pay themselves and kickstarter takes some of it, and they set their funding goal at $30,000. The reason for that is that while they want to hit 2,000 people, they can go over their funding goal, and if they do, more people are apt to back it, because they know the project is happening, and that’ll help them get to 2,000 people.
Then, with the Kickstarter up and running at kickstarter.com, they wait through their campaign, however many days it is, and that’s where we step in as the consumer. I look at the page, decide if it’s a game that I find interesting, and then if I do, I can back it. Now, maybe I just like the idea, but I don’t want the game myself or I know the creator of the game or like their company, whatever it might be. I can back it for however much I want without a reward, or I can select the option to back for $30, in our example, and get the game. So I back it, but I don’t get the game right away, this isn’t a store, they don’t have the games yet (most of the time, future Kickstarter lesson), they are getting the funding to then make the games. So they’ll send out updates to everyone who has backed them thanking them for backing and letting us know what their plans are and most often, letting us know about stretch goals. Stretch goals are extra things added to the game if it reaches a certain funding level. So in our cast, they really need the level to hit $40,000, but let’s say it’s doing well, and the game hits $50,000 or $60,000, they might add in some extra cards, a cool first player maker, an extra scenario, an extra character class (for an RPG), whatever it might be at certain points in the campaign based on how much they’ve made, because now they can afford to do that. This helps encourage people to back it because some of these things might be exclusive to Kickstarter (future lesson).
So, they’ve funded their campaign, now they get the money, but not all the money, Kickstarter is going to take some as well, because Kickstarter is a business and they need to make money as well. So even though they Kickstarter made, let’s say $80,000, the creator maybe sees around $72, 000 to $76,000. Now that it’s funded, they’ll send you the game, right? Not quite yet, they need to still get it made, so they get the money from Kickstarter, now they need to schedule with factories to get the game made, and most of the time, they also will be sending out a backer survey, this might be done through Kickstarter, but most often through another company, because $30 pledge for the game didn’t cover shipping. So you’ll have to pay a bit more to cover shipping, but the good thing is that this should basically just be the shipping cost because Kickstarter isn’t taking money from them for it. Though, the other site might be. Now you’ve paid shipping, let’s say $10, and for the game $30, it’ll get shipped soon. Almost, first, it gets into a production queue for some factory somewhere that is probably making a lot more and different board games throughout the year as well. So it might be 6-12 months before production begins, if not more. So production has happened, now it gets shipped, literally shipped on a boat, around the world, this can take a few weeks and up to a couple of months if there are delays at customs. From the ships it goes to a fulfillment company or to the creator to fulfill. They’ll be the ones sending you the actual game. So probably around a year after you Kickstarted it, you’ll get the game.
And that’s the general life cycle of a Kickstarer, it can take longer than a year, and it can be shorter than a year. But the cool part is that you can help small companies (or buy more of a sure thing from a big company) get their games out to the market.
I’m going to be talking about various things, such as what happens when a Kickstarter fails, what happens if it doesn’t deliver, what makes a good Kickstarter, what to watch out for, what stretch goals are, and how to avoid Kickstarter FOMO (if it’s even possible).
What are some of your best experiences with Kickstarter? Have you had any that have failed or not ever come? Are there any other topics I should cover around Kickstarter? Let me know in the comments below.
(All the images are of games that were brought to life on Kickstarter)
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So I just picked up the Eberron source book for fifth edition. And I’ve been waiting for it for a while. With the games that @evilsanscarne and @Mundangerous have run or played in that they talk about on the @TPTCast (Total Party Thrill) podcast, I …
Alright, it’s getting close, let’s talk about some other important things to think about as you get ready for a con. What is good con etiquette. Especially at a big con, having good etiquette is quite important and just being courteous to others.
We’ve talked a little bit about it already when we went through packing, but let’s quickly hit those points again.
GenCon is a HUGE con. That means that a lot of areas are going to be packed and it’s probably going to be tough to move around. Be considerate with what bag you bring. The board game bag that you brought might be cool looking and work well for taking games to play with your friends, but it’s probably too bulky for something like GenCon. Keep it simple with a backpack or something else small that isn’t going to be swinging and hitting other people. Even though it might be obvious you’re wearing something large, it is still your responsibility to make sure you don’t hit someone, not theirs to give you a large birth to avoid being hit.
The other thing that I mentioned before is that you should please follow a 1/2/6 rule. That’s one shower per day. Two meals per day minimum. And six hours of sleep, which is actually the trickiest or should be. But when you eat and sleep you are going to be in a better mood and better to be around at the con. And the shower is really important for everyone else to be in a better mood to be around you. So please, do these things all days at GenCon or whatever Con you are going to be going to.
There are a few other things you can think about as well.
One of them will be in a con as huge as GenCon, don’t spend a ton of time on your phone in the bahtroom. If you need to get away from people for a little bit, GenCon has a quiet room or get out of the convention center for a little bit, you can probably go not too far and be out of the throngs of people. Clearly, something like GenCon is going to know their bathroom needs, but I’m sure once in a while a random bathroom will have a line at it, so don’t spend extra time.
When on the dealer floor and getting ready to make a purchse, if you know your cash or credit card is at the bottom of your bag, work on getting to that prior to being at the front of the line. This is especially important for hot games because there’s probably going to be a line, so don’t be the person holding up the line. You also never know when you’ll be the person in line buying that set of dice you forgot or decided you needed for a game that starts in five minutes and someone is taking a while. So be responsible yourself when you are in line. And if there’s no line, that’s fine to take your time, but if people are starting to queue, be courteous.
And this last one is going to seem pretty general. But pay attention to your surroundings. I know it might seem super obvious, but there are a lot of things to look at, and you might not notice everything and everyone around you. I’m 6’4″ so this is something that I have to pay attention to, and I always have to pay attention to, so I doubly do so at Cons. But when you’re always on the lookout for people shorter than you whom might not be in your eye-line, it helps. But there will be kids there, there will be people with accessibility needs who might not be in your eye-line, keep an eye out for them and be courteous about it.
Finally, I just want to say, all of these “rules” seem like they might be a lot of work. And sometimes these rules are going to be broken by me and by you and that’s fine. The simple rule you should ask yourself is if you’re stepping on someone else’s fun. The goal of a con is for everyone to have fun, so make sure that you are having fun, and that those around you are having fun. I think with that simple mindset, you’re going to have a good time and be courteous to those around you.
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