Board Gaming, Randomly Awesome

Kick(start)ing the Habit

Surround this guy with cool board games and you get the idea.
Surround this guy with cool board games and you get the idea.

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” –  Carl Jung

Every now and again, I go and check out the Hotness list over on BoardGameGeek. Sometimes I see a game title there that intrigues me, or if a game stays there long enough, I can be more or less guaranteed that it is a solid game. That’s how I discovered Agricola after all.

So, I hadn’t done this in a while (I’ve obviously been busy with a lot of other things) but in a moment borne of stubborn refusal to be responsible I spent 3-4 minutes looking at it the other day when this little gem  wanders past my vision.

I read the premise, did a little research about the game and got excited about it. I was pretty close to putting down on it, but changed my mind at the last second. (I still have a few weeks to jump on board with this one – and let’s be honest, I most likely will.)

I changed my mind not because this doesn’t look awesome, but because I HAVE A PROBLEM.

I’m going to make the assumption that the three of you who read PSS know what Kickstarter is, and how it relates to board games.

The whole idea here is that you’re helping the would-be publishers generate the capital needed to mass-produce their game.

The problem comes in where people like me think that “OMG If I don’t buy this RIGHT NOW I will never again have the opportunity!” Which, uh, kinda goes against the whole idea.

This impulse buy’s allure is increased tenfold with the addition of stretch goals, little upgrades or promos and extras here and there that will only be available to backers of the project.

Being the completely responsible and mindful adult that I am, there have been a handful of times that I backed a project, forgot I did so, and then was caught off-guard later when the money came out of my account, of course at the worst possible time. 

I forced myself to stop looking when I reached 10 projects backed that had not yet delivered their product. There must be an end to the madness! Part of me wonders how many absolutely awesome things I’ve missed in the interim.

I got an email this morning that announced that one of those games would be shipping this week. I won’t lie, I’m not sure which excited me more, the prospect of a new game coming soon or the idea that I could go throw Compounded to the back of the line.

My name is Joe, and I’m addicted to backing Kickstarter projects.
Looking around the internets for other such people, I’ve found that I’ve gotten off relatively easy. Some other people have backed a LOT more projects than I have and have admitted that they were not in a great position to do so.

Are any of you out there Kickstarter addicts? Tell me about what you’ve done to get your fix.  Or geek out about the things you have eventually coming, we know we all want to do that too. Honestly, that was the original intent of this post before it turned into something else.


12 thoughts on “Kick(start)ing the Habit

  1. I Frank Could be addicted to Kickstarter.

    personally I have taken the step of not going to Kickstarter unless prompted to by someone else. I let others activate the addiction. If one of my friends backs a project then i take the time to go look at it, and decide weather or not to back. It’s not a perfect fix, but it keeps me from getting several hundred in the hole when i don’t need to be.

      1. As a matter of fact, I can. And I can blame Pixel Lincoln on Pags. I can blame The Great Heartland Trucking Co. on Twitter. I can blame Sentinels of the Universe on it being awesome.

  2. Hi Joe.

    Yes, I too am one such addict. Although, I have been a little more pragmatic in the last few months with my purchases, perhaps that is because the game selection has been less than awesome for the last few weeks.

    I have received a number of the games I have backed, Road to Enlightenment, The New Science, Chicken Caesar, Agents of SMERSH, and, honestly, am pleased with all of them. I have twice as many more still hanging out there, and am not really sure what I am going to do with all of them once they arrive. Didn’t think that through so much when I was on a spending spree.

    The other dangerous thing about Kicksterter is the obvious, “pay with a credit card” syndrome we all have, which makes the purchase painless now, and we don’t even think about it. Credit cards be damned! Even worse, Pay Pal! Its like one step removed from thinking about it because its not like it even was YOUR credit card you used…

    I am still intrigued by the platform, and have to admit, I am pleased with the exclusivity of the product you can get, with stretch goals and exclusive “Kickstarter only” offers. I will likely continue to support the site.

    Once thing I do want to comment on is the number of “big time” game companies that have somewhat, in my opinion, subverted the whole purpose of the site. I really see the site as a vehicle for a guy like me who wants to publish his game, but cannot get the funding together in any other way, or who does not necessarily have the connections and contacts. I would rather see more of those users than a bunch of ACME Huge Game Co., Inc. using it to reach marketshare.

    In that regard, it has created a lot of buzz. And THAT is why, likely, we are seeing more mainstream manufacturers there. Marketshare. Accessibility. Sales.

    So, hope to see some more cool projects come to life there. Hopefully, this year, one of them will be mine.



    1. I couldn’t agree with you more regarding established publishers getting on board. It’s a free country, and maybe it gives them the resources to get out some games that have been shelved (we all can name at least a few that were supposed to happen and never did) but on the flip side of that coin, having big game companies there feels somehow…wrong? Kickstarter is a champion for the game-designing underdog. Bringing the big boys into it feels like a David v. Goliath thing, and in real life, Goliath wins.

      This said, I also hold some publishers in high esteem who use it for what it was meant for and don’t abuse this. Rather Dashing Games not only avoided Kickstarter but printed in the USA. Greater Than Games has stated that no further Sentinels of the Multiverse games will be put through Kickstarter. They believe in their brand enough to say it doesn’t need that help any more.

      Kickstarter as a concept has not yet jumped the shark and I’m hoping that I can push through a couple of my ideas before it does. Any time you want me to try to break your game, just say the word. 🙂

  3. I’m probably in the minority when I say that having Big Brands on Kickstarter is good for Kickstarter. It feels “wrong,” but it lends a sense of legitimacy and directs a buttload of traffic to the site, which in turn causes unique, interested eyes to drift in the direction of smaller, more indie “dream” projects. My game design, VivaJava, received nearly $3,000 in extra pledges on the day “Double Fine Adventure” launched their project and shattered previous Kickstarter records. I’m sure other games felt the increase as well.

    But, in all honesty, I can’t see a real reason why a major, established game company would use Kickstarter for funding on random games in their catalogue. Specialty titles or weird, artsy, fringe experiments? I can see that. Otherwise, why?

    Take, for example, Queen Games’ “Escape.” I had heard that the reason why Queen Games was jumping into Kickstarter, was to test the market and see what kind of demand their smaller titles would command. “Escape” barely funded. In fact, if I owned Queen Games, I would have assumed that the market demand for the game was super-low. Suddenly, it releases at Essen and becomes the hottest game at the show, selling like crazy! How did Kickstarter help Queen gauge the consumer’s interest?

    On the subject of Compounded though; I feel like some Kickstarter games are made, intentionally or not, FOR Kickstarter, and some games are made BY Kickstarter. What I mean is, if once the campaign ends and all the glitter is washed away the final product is average or worse, it was made FOR Kickstarter. Compounded, years in development, is made BY Kickstarter. The funds are the boost needed to get the game produced and the expectation is that it will then sell on it’s own merits. Those are the types of games worth funding, I think.

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