I have a feeling that, for the sake of my continued financial health, I’m going to have to avoid looking at Kickstarter. For those not in the know, Kickstarter is a crowd-funding site, where people can put up projects they intend to work on and other people can throw money at them in exchange for a piece of said project. It’s becoming the home for all sorts of creative projects like games, music, and books.
The first one (and only one so far) I kicked in for was the Schlock Mercenary board game, based on the awesome webcomic of the same name. The price was a touch steep, but the extras made it worth it and I’m eagerly awaiting delivery sometime this summer.
Now I’m having a hard time tearing my eyes away from this one for a re-release of Ogre by Steve Jackson. This one’s even more expensive, particularly for shipping to Canada, but look at the size of that thing. It’s crazy. It’s like having a tank shipped to your house, in a box. And it’s been funded so well that it’s going to come packed with extras. I’m tempted, but right now my better judgement is winning the war. I still have seven days left to do something stupid, though, so I’m very afraid.
While there are some very big names making very big money on Kickstarter, it’s also nice to see indy projects by no-names succeed. There are lots of people out there with great ideas for board games, RPGs, or anything else, which would never make it into a company because the margins on games are low and it’s tough to decide that you’re going to make and market a game when you have no idea if it will sell. With Kickstarter, you know exactly how well it’ll do before it goes into production. You don’t have to make 2,000 copies of a game and hope they sell. You can put your project up with a target of 2,000 copies, and ship those copies directly to the people who want them when the project meets it’s funding goal, without worrying that some stores will have copies languishing on shelves, or will have customers who want it but they don’t have it in stock. And if the project doesn’t fund, then nothing happens and there’s no loss. It’s perfect for projects where the middleman introduces a risk of failure, or at the very least of increased costs. It’s a dangerous place for a game addict like me to hang out, but it also gives you the impression tat anything is possible.