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Monolith drops the nuts and bolts of Kickstarter campaigns

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27 Nov 2019 22:07 #304636 by Jackwraith
www.facebook.com/monolithedition/posts/2...691504268?__tn__=K-R

This is awesome. Obviously, I knew some of the numbers (and practices) were shadier than others, but I've never seen this level of detail (and honesty) about the process.
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27 Nov 2019 22:24 #304637 by Michael Barnes
That bit about using current KS funds to backfill debt and costs on the previous campaign...I guess I always knew that’s how the KS mills operate, but seeing it plainly explained there...who in their right fucking mind thinks that is a sustainable way to do business? Who in their right fucking mind thinks that this is a healthy, thriving industry when that is how many games are being brought to market.

It’s all gonna crash as soon as there is a notable economic downturn and people stop spending so much on games in general...and all the “backers” are going to be left in the lurch.
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27 Nov 2019 23:38 #304639 by jason10mm
Hah, I learned my lesson about kickstarter way back in 2012 with the double whammy of Up Front and Robotech Tactics. I had a chance to see one of the KS founders shill his new bento box self-help book but he ducked out before I could ask for my money back :P

Seeing really established companies continue to use KS bugs me. KS takes 10% off the top, right? So why are the Tiny Epic games always launched there? Or that new BattleTech campaign box? Maybe it is a way to keep the game company perpetually in the black at no risk to themselves, but it seems like an expensive storefront compared to the GMT p500 model (which admittedly is a bland, lengthy process).

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27 Nov 2019 23:50 #304641 by Sagrilarus
A whole lotta writing without much content.

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28 Nov 2019 00:12 #304642 by n815e
It’s actually nice to see this.

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28 Nov 2019 13:00 #304648 by Jackwraith

Michael Barnes wrote: That bit about using current KS funds to backfill debt and costs on the previous campaign...I guess I always knew that’s how the KS mills operate, but seeing it plainly explained there...who in their right fucking mind thinks that is a sustainable way to do business?


That's one of the more interesting aspects to Monolith's statement. Clearly, they don't think it's the right way to do things and they're explaining how they're trying to extract themselves from it, without everyone thinking that their high goal is just a "money grab." It's basically a demonstration of economic bubbles in microcosm.

I've avoided KS for a long time unless it was for expansions to an already established product, like Cthulhu Wars, or an already established line, like Tiny Epic. Jason's question is pertinent, though: Why does an established line with an established audience that will flock to any new release decide to do everything through KS, where the third party will be skimming off the top? And it's clear that, like Monolith states, "stretch goals" are not defined by funding. If you buy directly from Gamelyn, you can get all of the "KS exclusives" that come with signing on as a backer. I didn't get into the KS for Tiny Epic Tactics, but I bought directly from Gamelyn's site and got everything for not a broadly significant increase in cost ($4, I think) but which is a significant percentage of the overall price ($25.)
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28 Nov 2019 17:31 #304649 by Sagrilarus
Because that's where the eyeballs are. Kickstarter is a self-advertising storefront, so the 10% fee is reasonable. I've had two publishers tell me their choice to use it has nothing to do with the crowdfunding aspect. It's about exposure.
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29 Nov 2019 06:13 #304651 by jur
I share the sceptic stance towards KS for boardgames, but I think it is excellent for small producers making wargames miniatures. The delivery is mostly within 6-12 months, there's a clear product to be seen before he campaign. It covers the investment for molds, so removing the risk for producers.

There rarely are the madcap stretch goals etc that you saw at the height of KS madness (although in the most famous debacle, there were loads of them).

Some excellent examples:
www.kickstarter.com/projects/statuesque/...bottom-of-the-garden
www.kickstarter.com/projects/skullandcro...-miniatures-for-game
www.kickstarter.com/projects/skullandcro...ript-art-made-into-m
www.kickstarter.com/projects/63158181/allies-on-the-frontier
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29 Nov 2019 12:19 #304652 by ubarose

Sagrilarus wrote: Because that's where the eyeballs are. Kickstarter is a self-advertising storefront, so the 10% fee is reasonable. I've had two publishers tell me their choice to use it has nothing to do with the crowdfunding aspect. It's about exposure.


They are also getting full MSRP. So even with the added expense of Kickstarter fees, fulfillment fees, and KS exclusives, they often still earn more profit per game than what they make selling to distributors.
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29 Nov 2019 19:33 #304661 by cdennett
I've said this before, but it bears repeating: publishers use Kickstarter because they can make more money with it then without it. Otherwise there's no way publishers that have been anti-Kickstarter are now using it for a significant amount of their business (for example: Stronghold Games and Portal Games). As Uba said above, losing 10% to Kickstarter and the increased load on customer support is still less than losing 50-60% going direct to retail. Plus you don't fuck up your forecast and get stuck with a ton of product. Now Stonemaier is eating it up with doing a lot of direct sales at a modest discount, but then he also has a cult following to draw from. I am surprised some of these big companies aren't just doing the pre-order gig, as you would think the brand awareness is large enough for someone like Monolith or Awaken Realms. I presume they have the capital to produce the games, but maybe I'm wrong. Companies like CMON are intertwined with the whole "crowdfunding game" and I doubt you'll see them ever stray too far.

Now regarding Monolith here, I'm curious if this will backfire on them. This could really go "JC Penny" on them, but I guess we'll have to see what the perceived value is once they launch. But I appreciate that more and more these creators are acknowledging the "Kickstarter game" and are actively being more transparent. I much prefer that style of campaign, myself.
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29 Nov 2019 21:04 #304663 by n815e
Stronghold has moved to ks because their partner company prefers it.

Direct sales do seem to provide greater money, but that has its own costs in storage, staff and taxes.
FLGS provide enough in sales that companies like FFG and Stonemaier are looking to help them be competitive with online shops.

Dealing with customers is certainly trying and hiring professionals to handle your distribution and customer service cuts into any direct sales profits, you are still answerable when they mess up and you spend your time overseeing their work at least part of the time. Look at Petersen’s lousy choices in contractors and how that impacts their customer satisfaction.

I mean, if I get bad service from a retailer, that doesn’t make me feel dissatisfied with the publisher. Now how many people are truly unhappy with Petersen for the problems their contractors created?

Or that guy who designed Unbroken and signed on with predatory contractor Golden Bell to handle production and distribution? He has given up ever making another game again.

I was a Robotech backer and man, lesson learned. Idiot publisher strung us along for years before being forced to admit they blew the money gambling on excess product for retail sales before fulfilling their obligation. They tried to generate more money with a second ks run by a shell company to pay for the first. What would have happened to backers of the second?

At some point the magic disappears and publishers would be better off just fronting the money to traditionally publish a game and see if it makes enough for further investment, rather than cross their fingers and offer many years’ worth of products up front, hope to get enough to cover costs and then run successive strings of campaigns — always trying to finally come up black.

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29 Nov 2019 23:36 #304666 by boothwah
Kickstarter is something that O'Henry would have dreamed up if he wrote sc-fi back in the day.

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30 Nov 2019 08:04 #304671 by Gary Sax
The ways in which people now pay for a million things up front would have horrified someone from 60+ years ago.

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30 Nov 2019 16:45 #304677 by gversace
Futures contracts have been around for hundreds of years. There are quite a few similarities with FOMO Kickstarters.
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01 Dec 2019 11:38 #304689 by jason10mm

Sagrilarus wrote: Because that's where the eyeballs are. Kickstarter is a self-advertising storefront, so the 10% fee is reasonable. I've had two publishers tell me their choice to use it has nothing to do with the crowdfunding aspect. It's about exposure.


But if you are already established then do you really need it? Take the Car Wars KS for example. Why does Steve Jackson need KS? He has, presumably, the email list from the original Ogre KS so he can auto-advertise to them no problem. He has his own advertising network. He can easily buy coverage at the top places. What does KS bring to him? He can run the exact same KS-style "Stretch goal" laden campaign. I don't think he needs the revenue collection software since he has his own storefront as well. So WHY pay KS 10% when it seems like he could do it all on his own?

Do people somehow 'trust' KS more than the developer? My personal experience shows this to be BS, KS cares not one bit about you. Is it the 'insider' feel of the campaign updates and forum? Again, easily replicated.

I get KS for that start-up wacky idea, or even the big ticket pie in the sky stuff like the Orge DE (which SJ admits cost him money in the end). But once you have a ball rolling, it seems unnecessary to me and just leads to stretch goal overreaching that sinks you in the back end.

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