Welcome to another Friday Tabletop Kickstarter Update! Below are a handful of games that look interesting enough to check out. If you want to know more about what this FTKU thing is, check this out.
Remember that I am in no way endorsing these games, I have not played them, I have not talked to the publisher. Back at your own risk.
Apparent Weight: Medium-Heavy
Genre: Strategic World Domination
For all of you Risk fans out there, NGO looks like an interesting reworking of the classic. The game offers players more strategic troop movements, three distinct unit types and variable win conditions. The project page is heavy on pretty images, and light on actual game play content so do your research to see if it is a game for you.
Apparent Weight: Light-Medium
Genre: Real Time Cooperative Dice Rolling
If you have not played Escape yet, I cannot recommend enough that you go out and try it as soon as possible. This amazingly stressful, yet fulfilling real time game deserves a spot in every collection. Escape was originally Kickstarted in 2012, and received widespread acclaim as a new way to play cooperatively. Queen games is re-releasing Escape as a ‘Big Box’ game with all of the expansions and promos thrown in. Fortunately for those of us who already have the game, a pledge level has been added just for the mini expansions!
Apparent Weight: Light
Genre: Fantasy, Push your Luck
Inide Boards and Cards have given us some great Kickstarters in the past, The Resistance, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Coup (more on that below), and now Dragon Slayer. Jumping on the simple-dice-rolling game train, Dragon Slayer looks like a quick and easy press your luck dice game. With such a low price, this game is worth taking a look at.
Apparent Weight: Medium
Genre: Alliance Building, Area Control
An unusual offering for CoolMiniOrNot, Dogs of War is described as a euro-style soldier placement game. Looking through the overview, I am not 100% sure I agree with their label of ‘euro-style,’ as their are many thematic style elements. Players fight over multiple battles, using their influence to team up with some, and betraying others. Fear not, there is still plenty of plastic included in the game in proper CoolMiniOrNot style.
Apparent Weight: Medium
Genre: Lovecraftian Strategy Card Game
No boardgame list would be complete without some Lovecraft love. If you cannot get enough Cthulhu, here is another opportunity to lose yourself in the mythos. Cthulhu’s Vault is a story driven strategy card game made up of two different modes of varying cooperation levels. One of the main funding goals is to be able to produce unique art for every card. I am sure that will look awesome once published.
Thoughts on Exclusives
Weekly thoughts on the world of Tabletop Kickstarter
It has become expected that backers of a particular project will get something more than just the game. It is expected that Kickstarter rewards come with something extra, a perk for being a supporter. Take for example Coup, a game that was backed and published last year. The differences between the ‘kickstarter edition’ and the regular retail are significant. The KS edition came with foil coins, alternate art cards, an entirely new character type and a super shiny box. Supposedly, there was going to be no way to get the KS edition after the campaign was over. Harkening back to the infomercials of old: “This is a limited time offer, order now!” Turns out Coup was abundantly successful, also turns out that everyone gushed over the flashy KS edition. This meant that during Indie Boards and Cards recent campaign for the expansion for Coup, people could back at a level to receive both Coup Reformation and the KS edition of Coup. What is so exclusive about that?
Now, I want to be specific. What I want to talk about today are not stretch goals that add stuff to the game. What I am talking about are ‘exclusives.’ Many games have stretch goals that upgrade the game for everyone, both initial backers and later for people who buy the game at retail. I am speaking specifically to the inclusion and enticement of ‘exclusives.’
As a backer, I love feeling special. I acknowledge that I am a sucker for ‘KS Only’ stretch goals and special edition promotional bits. As I have mentioned before, the whole reason I got in to Kickstarter: I didn’t want to miss out on CoolMini’s Zombicide promo survivors. I enjoy playing Euphoria with realistic resources. My copy of Tomorrow is the preferred one to play with because of the wooden mushroom cloud tokens. Looking over the games that I have backed, the majority of them have some sort of exclusive element.
This facade of specialness falls apart when publishers decide that “Only available through this campaign” really means “anyone who wants one, come and get it.” I see the rationale from the publishers perspective. If a campaign that included super exclusive or over produced components does well, why not keep that wave going and keep on selling that product? I am sure this is a temptation for every business person who has sold intentionally limited items. This break of informal, unwritten, contract leaves a sour taste in the mouths of previously loyal backers.
So to those publishers that have kept their word on exclusive items: thank you for being rational. Thank you for letting us be part of your dream, and for sacrificing immediate monetary gain. To those companies who have reneged on their pledge: I have simply lost respect for your company. You chose money over the trust of your backers. The sad aspect of this reality is that more and more publishers are ditching the idea of exclusives all together. It is becoming much more common for publishers to strip their campaigns of all exclusives so they don’t fall in to this trap. But if that is the case, why back at all? Join me next week as I talk about Kickstarter or Retail, which is better?
Think I am wrong? I probably am! Let me know in the comments below.