Friday Tabletop Kickstarter Update – What is up with ‘Backer?’

Welcome to the first Friday Tabletop Kickstarter Update where I actually talk about games! Below are a handful of games that look interesting enough to check out. If you want to know more about what this 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.

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Apparent Weight: Medium
Genre: Tabletop Miniature Combat

As I was watching the first part of the video, I thought I was watching a trailer for a late 80s sci-fi movie. But, no, this is a mini-filled tabletop combat game. The game is set in a virtual “matrix-esque” world where players duke it out for control. The box comes with a hefty price tag, but is filled with quality looking miniatures. Those willing to invest even more can keep piling the plastic into their order with addons and spendy backer levels.

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Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challange 3000 (CDMC 3K)

Apparent Weight: Light
Genre: Dexterity Game

Who does not love dexterity games? Mayday has brought us yet another silly, yet fun, looking game where player’s skill is more important than their strategy. Players wield chopsticks, fighting for the perfect piece of food. First player to get the piece on to their plate scores! If you don’t win, at least you won’t drop your sushi next time.

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Allegiance: A Realm Divided

Apparent Weight: Medium
Genre: Fantasy Combat

Underground Games is rebooting Allegiance: A Realm Divided, the only game they have tried to kickstart. A funding attempt was made last October, and are doing better this time. With twelve unique characters to play as (two being ‘KS exclusive’) it looks as though there is quite a bit of game behind this campaign. Allegiance is full of professional eye popping art that feeds into the theme of the game. If this sounds interesting, game play videos can be found on their Kickstarter page.

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Clash! Dawn of Steam

Apparent Weight: Medium
Genre: Asymmetric Card game

Double Feature! Clash is also a reboot of a new company’s previously failed campaign. This time, Mad Ape Games is looking for support for their card game Clash, which failed a funding campaign last July. Their KS page is full of flashy art and completed card samples. Be sure to check out the print and play if you are interested in Clash. Looks like this game is ready to be printed, they just need some support to get it out to the world.


Musings on the inadequacies of ‘Backer’
Weekly thoughts on the world of Tabletop Kickstarter

I have never really been comfortable with the use of the word ‘backer.’ When Kickstarter was first forming around the idea of crowdfunding, the idea was that users could rally behind a person and financially ‘back’ a project. This paradigm works really well for start up businesses, artists and musicians. If a mom and pop store is going to get their feet off the ground, they need upfront capital. If you want to support local art, local artists must be financially supported (I support local art, I married an artist). This idea of support lends very well from the idea of financial backing. The idea that a Kickstarter user would be pitching in a buck, with no real expectation of a tangible return, to help make someone’s dream a reality is fitting for the word ‘backer.’ In the early days of KS, 2009-ish, backer rewards were things like a hand written letter of thanks, photographs of art installations, and/or getting your name on a wall. Kickstarter users did not back these creative people to get something in return, they just wanted to be supportive.

In the Tabletop section things are distinctly different. I have not yet backed a project on Kickstarter where I did not expect to get a tangible, actual, real product. When I ‘back’ a game, my motivation is not in providing support for the publisher, my motivation is getting a playable game. I kickstart games so that I can get exclusives and possibly get a cheaper deal than buying the game later at a local store. There is an added benefit for the publisher, that they cut out the middle man (the retailer) and are able to make 100% profit off of my order. Did I say order? Oh yeah, this looks an awfully lot like a pre order system. I pay for a product upfront, the thing is made with relatively few changes, and then I get the product that I paid for. This has been going on in the gaming industry since before I was born.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy Kickstarer (or else why would I be writing this segment). Just be careful that you don’t fall into the fallacy that you are ‘donating’ to a cause or that you are collectively part of a greater project. At the end of the day we are consumers; you are not backing anything, You are simply buying games.

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