Friday Tabletop Kickstarter Update – Who is in charge?

Hello! Welcome to Friday Tabletop Kickstarter Update! For info on what is going on here, check out this introduction. I think this is a good round up this week, just be cautious of Xenoshyft.

Remember that I am in no way endorsing these games, I have not played them, I have not talked to the publishers. Back at your own risk.

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Apparent Weight: Medium
Genre: Deck building Tower Defense Card Game

If you have read some of my reviews, you may know that I really like Cool Mini or Not. I am a sucker for their stretch goals and unnecessary minis. I was told to look out for XenoShyft back in April at PAX East by Spencer from CMON. Unfortunately in this campaign you have to pay for your own shipping. Don’t miss that fine print. This means that it will cost USA backers $61 and everyone else even more for a game that is going to have a MSRP of $59.99. Unless some major stretch goals are reached, just wait to buy this for $40 from an online retailer with free shipping.


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Apparent Weight: Medium – Light
Genre: Card Drafting, Movie Production, Set collection

Card drafting is all the rage these days, as it should be. If you have not played a drafting game like 7 Wonders or Seasons, you are missing out a great mechanism. Hollywood infuses drafting with the timeless drama of Hollywood. This game has already been around the reviewing world and has received high marks. This is one that I have already put my mouth is and have backed it.


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Maha Yodha
Apparent Weight: Medium-Heavy
Genre: Mythological Combat, Two Player Strategic Card Game

Maha Yodha rose above the noise based solely on its theme and art work. I have no idea if the game is any good, but man! Look at that art work. Leprechaun Games has leaned heavily in to Hindu mythology to create the world and story for this game. Plenty of things to check out and decide if it is right for you.


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Apparent Weight: Medium-Heavy
Genre: Boardgame Meta Game, Economic, Action Selection

A boardgame where you sell boardgames at a boardgame convention? What!? In Essen players are trying to make it big at the Essen Game Fair by selling games, creating buzz and messing with their opponents. LudiCreations is getting Meta. I have not decided yet if I like the pixel art or not… but you can decide for yourself, go check out the page.


Pondering: “Whose project is it?”
Thoughts on the world of Tabletop Kickstarter.

I scour Kickstarter looking for games right as they are posted. This is the most efficient way for me to make sure that I see every project and to stay on top of campaign ending dates. This means that I pick out prospective projects within a few days of them being launched and wait until they are closer to being finished to share them with you. I was going to include ‘Asking for Trobils’ in this week’s update, but when I went to check on the project’s status I was surprised to see that it was canceled. While skimming through the comments I saw someone say this in support of the project creator: “No matter what, you’re in charge!” This made me pause and think: does the project creator have absolute control? No, not really.

The stated design goal for Asking for Trobils was to make a game with just one color. Christian Strain, the designer, put it upon himself to focus in on this design challenge. He settled on the color orange. Christian was getting bored with space games having the same color palette with stale, dark starscape backgrounds. He wanted to push the design limits and do something different, thus Asking for Trobils’ monochromatic design came about. Now the color choice is not the only design oddity in AfT, the player pieces are all the same color (orange), the board is round and the art is an oddly refined cartoony style.

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Right off the bat, the comments were filled with people requesting that more color be added to the game. The stark white and orange game board looked rather harsh. People were worried that the color was just a gimmick masking a poorly designed game. It was obvious that the creators were getting bombarded with complaints about the color even in the first few hours of the project being live. They responded kindly, but firmly: “[Orange] isn’t changing. The art and look is final.”

With the power of retrospection, we can now inspect what happened next. The campaign failed to gain momentum, more people filled up the comment section with complaints and the designer went to more effort to defend the color choice. There was also an added issue of very expensive international shipping, but that is a whole can of worms deserving its own post. Regardless, ten days after Christian made his staunch ‘Only Orange’ pledge, it was announced that the project was being canceled with a new art direction being taken for the relaunch. With this announcement, preliminary art for the new campaign was revealed that looked remarkably similar to every other space game.

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So was Christian and Kraken Games in charge? Are any project creators fully in command of their projects? No. The very nature of Kickstarter is to imply a shared control between the creator and the backers. The people funding a project are in just as much control as the creator. If a backer does not like the direction of a campaign, they can leave, taking their funds with them. If there is not enough people to support an all orange colored game, then it will not be commercially made. Sure if Christian wants to make Asking for Trobils the way he envisioned it he can, but (apparently) it will not be marketable.

Some project creators respect this balance, and some do not. Some backers respect this balance and some do not. I have been in plenty of kickstarters where a backer or two demand a particular feature added or removed from a game, or else! Sure, the loudest minority does not, and should not always get their way. But I have also seen the flip side, where project creators betray the feelings of the backers. When this happens before the campaign ends, the backers can jump ship; no harm, no foul. But if a creator decides to take the game in a different direction after the funds have been drawn, this is just an upsetting letdown.

Christian and Kraken games: I wish you all the best with your campaign re-launch. You can expect a mention here when the time comes. It is a bummer that Asking for Torbils was not more successful on the first go, but I must commend you for listening to your backers.

If you have KS topics that interest you, let me know @Scooter_TTTD

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From Trading in the Mediterranean to FPS, I love games. While I grew up in a house without consoles, PC gaming and board gaming were a large part of my formative years, and continue to influence my life. In this golden age of board gaming, I have jumped in headfirst in to anything table top. As a ludilogical student, I love thinking about how games work, their mechanics, their elegance and most importantly, enjoying how fun they are.

Favorite Board Game (at the moment): Twilight Struggle
Favorite PC Game (base solely on play time): Tie between WoW and DII

Fell free to email me: comments, concerns, questions, feedback, rants, and/or suggestions.

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