Boardroomers Writeup – Kickstarter

Last night’s Boardroomers show was about Kickstarter, and there were a lot of interesting points brought up, but there are some points that I feel need to be covered more than they were during the show. I’ll leave those questions below, but I’m going to do an overview as to what I feel Kickstarter is.

First and foremost, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website. If you aren’t familiar, Kickstarter runs a marketplace where users can submit their ideas, Books, movies, plays, documentaries, and boardgames are just some examples of common projects. The designer posts how much money they’ll need to fund their project, and users can go on and pledge money to a project. In return, the project designer will usually give them something in return. In the case of boardgames, the system is usually designed so that if you pledge a certain amount of money, you’ll get a copy of the game once it’s produced.

Kickstarter is advertising. With the project of the day, links all over Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and BoardGameGeek, and the emails that Kickstarter sends out, if you’re on the internet, you’ve probably been made aware of their website. This isn’t a bad thing, but there is such a thing as bad advertising. If your game doesn’t seem to be as good as people hope, or if there are a lot of issues with your project, everyone will know. If it goes well and the game is a hit, you’ll benefit, but it’s certainly a double-edged sword.

Kickstarter offers Direct-to-Consumer sales, instead of the usual business model where a publishers sells games to a distributor who sells games to stores who sell games to consumers. The advantage of this is that the publisher and the consumer are now in direct contact with each other, and demand is known as an exact number. This is great for the publisher and consumer, as there’s no middle-man. However, this (at least up front) hurts the distributor and the game stores, as they usually don’t play a role in the Kickstarter process. Once the game is a hit, the distributor and stores play the important roles they usually play for non-Kickstarter games.

Kickstarter is not a preorder system. It’s a way to pledge money to help a company get something made. The results of one Kickstarter and another may differ greatly. The important thing to realize is that when you pledge money towards a project, be it a game, book, documentary, or anything else, it may take some time for the product you’re pledging your money towards to arrive. For me, it’s usually a surprise when the game shows up, as I’ve likely forgotten about backing it, so it’s like I got myself a present.

So check out Kickstarter if you haven’t yet. There are a lot of great games on the site, along with many other interesting projects. Research the games, check out BoardGameGeek for reviews, look at what others are saying, and help get those projects backed. Who knows, maybe someday there will be a game on there from me and you can help me get a game published!

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