Friday, March 15, 2013

A Kickstarter Experiment Part I: Managing Expectations

I've made it a conscious effort this year to take a closer look at Kickstarter, a popular crowd-funding site that has emboldened many new game designers to find support with the very customers they are trying to reach.

It should be mentioned that this emerging channel of distribution has left many with mixed results. From seemingly perpetual delays to underwhelming final production the risks are plenty but I've decided to dive in and back a few games just to test the waters. I'll provide my expectations for the final product relative to how thoroughly cooked I am expecting a game to be when I finally get to dig in for a bite.

Estimated Delivery: August 2013
Expectations: Medium Well - 8/10
As I covered in January, Compounded is a Kickstarter title from first time designer Darrell Louder and publisher Dice Hate Me Games. Compounded displayed attractive components, an interesting theme and from what I could see, numerous strategies for players to try.

I'll label this as my most anticipated title as it already has a great deal of positive momentum, a growing fan base and has a promising concept that may introduce some innovative concepts into gaming.

I don't think this game has the potential downside of the two games listed below as Dice Hate Me Games has placed a large emphasis on maintaining a quality brand and delivering on the expectations of the current following it has on Kickstarter.

Estimated Delivery: August 2013
Expectations: Medium

Speculation from Queen Games immediately grabbed my attention as speculative investment games are one of my favorite genres. I have been a Dirk Henn fan for years but I was completely unaware of this rare title published almost twenty years ago.

I'm a bit concerned as in the game play overview the mechanics seemed exceptionally simple and that can often channel the game into a moment of truth dichotomy in which it is either brilliant or bland. I've got lofty expectations but I am sure I'll reconsider the decision several times between now and when the game arrives.

Estimated Delivery: August 2013
Expectations: Medium Rare
At a price point of $15, I feel that I am risking very little to try the latest offering from Tasty Minstrel Games. Dungeon Roll offers a push your luck dice game in a quick play time. The enthusiasm surrounding this campaign is infectious as the motivation of this KickStarter campaign seems to be to provide an incredible value.

They have craftily hit a low end price point that will appeal to their core dice games audience and the "it might be worth a try" audience.

All three games are expected out in August and I'd be thrilled to see just one of them this year even after seeing how aggressively they are all pushing intended publishing schedules. I'll check back in later in the year with an update as they arrive.