When to avoid a Kickstarter

I wrote an article a while back on “How to avoid a Kickstarter scam” and thought maybe I would revisit some of the concepts and why I wouldn’t back a Kickstarter. This article focusses not necessarily on ‘scams’ per se, but moreso looks at the issues which may turn me personally off a boardgame Kickstarter as the makers may not have considered some issues.

No listing on Boardgamegeek

Boardgamegeek is essentially the standard of any game out there. If a boardgame Kickstarter does not have any presence on BGG then it is a good sign that the publishers haven’t thought the project through or that they are not up to date with the industry. There doesn’t have to be a massive amount of content on a page, but the presence of a page for the game and designer is a bare minimum with hopefully some content such as a rule book or designer’s diary is always a bonus.

Ignorant to risks

“We’ve done this before” or “we have been working on this game for years..” are hardly comforting words when it comes to big projects. Recently we have seen CMON (one of the biggest Kickstarter creators) run into issues with shipping and postage and they are a huuge company with incredible expertise. Sure, you may have worked on it, or done it before, but what is the plan should the project fail for some reason or another?

‘Only’ Tabletopia or online availability to reviewers

This isn’t to say that you need to have an incredible prototype, but that you probably need something physical to take to conventions, game nights and provide to reviewers. If a creator is only providing online copies there is a far greater chance that they are able to control the consensus of what people think about the game.

Only Previews

There are some content creators who will provide a preview for a game for payment – these previews will (usually) not have an opinion but rather highlight gameplay, theme or components, essentially an advertisement for the game. It’s my opinion that you should avoid campaigns that rely only onn these previews as their pre/during Kickstarter content. Look for campaigns that have p/reviews from several outlets.

Weird funding goals/Backer Numbers

I’m pretty sure is was the case for Overturn that the funding goal was met initially by a few backers who all backed for several thousand dollars each. People want to see something fund quickly, it allows us to easily gauge the popularity and potential success of a product, but beware when something funds too quickly. A good gauge is often divide the funding goal by backer numbers and if this equates to around about the pledge for a single game then you are safe. For example a $20 000 funding goal with 200 backers for a $100 game is reasonable whereas $20 000 goal with 16 backers is not.

Solo add-ons

Somewhere during the campaign there is all of a sudden a Solo Add On announced, this is usually in response to interest from the solo community and potentially a way to drag more backers in. y general feeling is that if a game starts to add player counts during the campaign then it probably won’t play great at those new player counts.

Those are some of my reasons to avoid a Kickstarter, what are some of yours?


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