The board game crowdfunding industry is falling apart, and it's obvious why. - cutlassboardgame.com

The board game crowdfunding industry is falling apart, and it’s obvious why.

The King of Average
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156 Comments

  1. Truth about questionable companies continuing on based on new backers/IPs and the comments of those of us longer in the hobby not mattering. Cryptozoic is a trash company. The way they burned backers of GBII and the Walking Dead should have been the end, but somehow they keep going.

  2. 17:18 this is a really important topic, and probably deserves its own video. The psychology of tribalism is fascinating, and this sense of "being part of the team" is so easily weaponized. With the result typically being a group of normally discerning, critically thinking individuals now making choices to their own detriment. And in many ways, websites like kickstarter are built on (or at least promote) a tribal mentality, since they're predicated on backers feeling like they're "getting in at the ground floor".

    Thanks for bringing this up, I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on this point in future content.

  3. The biggest issue is YouTubers feeding FOMO. It's all just LIMITED TIME promotional content now. I can't understand how people can look a camera in the lens, say how much fun the prototype is, then. Get the full game and suddenly it's "just ok" and leaving their collection. How tf is a finished product blah when the prototype was amazing?

    When it comes to the choice, additional money for shipping, if reasonable is ok. Better if there's promos to throw you a bone. What mythic is doing…not even producing until you pay again…they can rot in hell. They lied about 6 siege being done and deliverable in 6 months. They're continually vague in their numbers to justify needing more money. Take whatever money you have left, split it up depending on the pledge amounts, and close up shop. You'll never sell a new campaign again anyway. Good riddance from the hobby

  4. Just remember that stretch pay is only good during the campaign, once the campaign ends there is no more stretch pay. Any Addon you add in the pledge manager and the shipping all has to be paid normally.

  5. First time I hear someone talking about stretch pay in a negative connotation, stretch pay is not a good thing for consumers…… Part time payments are considered bad in sweden but I don't hear this from other countries.

  6. I feel the good kickstarter times are over and the board game industry should focus on retail again like it used to be. We all have enough multi-box miniature games anyway.

  7. Lol. Now that I know what to expect, I have to say I enjoy the new approach. Keep up the good work.

  8. You're right that it is totally unnecessary and even counter-productive to make a board game and in the first launch add 5-6 expansion boxes, each of them with 30-40 miniatures and additional scenarios. Even if I put aside the storage issue, why not develop a game and polish it over time? One core game and let's say one more expansion with additional minis and a short campaign should be enough on the first launch. But most of them today is a quick money grab, otherwise they would do like Starling games with Everdell. One step at a time and having a faith in the game.

  9. No excuse for either of them. They're both incompetently run and the individuals involved should be barred from running companies. Also, at best it's a novel argument to suggest that consumer demand is what's causing the problem for these companies. Also, a stupid argument.

  10. 09:44 With Village Attacks: Grim Dynasty it might look like an insane amount of content, but you're just looking at the number of boxes. And, unlike games where each extra box is another scenario, mini-campaign, module, etc, for VA:GD it was very well constrained to variety. Think of a Zombicide, but with small boxes of 2 Heroes and 2 Abominations per small box, rather than a huge stretch Goal box containing the same content as those 8-10 small boxes.

    Was it a bad idea to put each little expansion into an over-the-top-deluxe box of its own? I think so. But it wasn't pile of content that nobody would ever get to play, as man Kickstarter campaigns have. It was more breadth and variety of Monsters to play, and enemies to play against, and I don't accept that it was an excessive amount of content. Compare it to something like Imperial Assault, only where instead of buying expansions and characters piece-meal, you buy a huge bundle that will give you all the variety you need for ages.

    Objectively speaking, if you take Oathsworn and remove the boxes for the 2 Mystery Chests, you have a core game with 20-odd mini-expansions. Only rather than being a mix-and-match situation, it's a play-in-order situation.

    20:15 I totally refute that it was a bad back. They had delivered Endure the Stars, Village Attacks, Endure the Stars 1.5 (showing their support for ongoing support and development of their games/IPs), and while The Everrain clearly needed further development, Grim Dynasty was simply more content for a game with a (then) good track record, for which most of the development, artwork, sculpts, moulds, box designs, production pipelines – everything, basically – was already largely developed. It should have been profitable and successful.

    The expansion content had ~1,000 backers, so that's 1k happy customers coming back for more, with a modest retail market for future sales. Development and playtesting, being a co-operative game, could be done easily in-house (and if balance is a bit off, not so big a deal). I don't accept that, at the time, it was at all a bad or risky back from a backer's perspective. The only thing that may have made it risky is the highly questionable motives of Adam Smith's business partner who, as somebody in the comments pointed out, is a self-proclaimed 'serial entrepreneur'.

    I know some people might just think I'm too proud to admit my mistake, but I absolutely do not accept that, based on the knowledge available and economic situations at the time, Village Attacks: Grim Dynasty was in any way a risky game to back. Hell, I'm pretty sure it was about that time that CMON looked to be having more financial troubles than the competition, so it was probably as safe as backing CMON back then!

    Obviously there's no malice in your assessment, but it seems to me like it's informed by the 20-20-hindsight knowledge that they failed, rather than an objective assessment of the project as it presented at the time, or any the indications at the time that it would fail. It's a shitty situation, and somebody (Mike Brown, I suspect) screwed their finances, and screwed us backers by being gutless pricks and not trying to find any remedy to the situation. Adam Smith was either complicit, or duped. I hope he was duped, because I'd rather share the planet with fools than pricks.

  11. It’s amazing how the gamers are so easily caught by kickstarter exclusives. As a retailer I’m getting almost every box of the new Witcher game probably before backers. The cost is so much cheaper!

    Players then don’t even play the kickstarter games it feels like, they just collect boxes

  12. Great video. Love the insight and analysis you put into these videos.

  13. Now i know why anastyr was yellow , orange, and fatnasy! 😀

  14. "Hey, you were asking for it by showing them the dollars you'd spend on their big packages. If you let them know you'll give it all up for a bigger product, of course they'll lie to you about their bigger products and make promises they have no intention of delivering. When you put that much data out on display, of course they'll think about nothing else other than how great it'd be to take your bags of funds. It is your fault as much as theirs because you're showing them what you have to offer and what you'll do if they make promises…"

    No. When companies take unreasonable risks (or outright lie to their KS backers), they're in the wrong. They're creating the environments where we can't afford to trust KS, Backerkit, or Gamefound campaigns. Those platforms are also complicit as they're encouraging the behavior to optimize their profits. Backers do not have access to enough information to make truly informed decsisions because these companies lie and we have no way to hold them accountable as most investors do outside these insane realms. This is an environment that says, "Trust me" and incentivizes "Lie to them". That is the problem – not that we in fact do trust them when they make claims about what they can perform.

    Mythic had to know they could not deliver Monsterpocalypse for what they were offering. Given where costs were and the experiences they were facing, there was no reasonable fact story that would allow them to deliver in a one year period – and they absolutely had to know it. Yet, the collected huge sums from people and made promises that in retrospect make absolutely no sense given what has been revealed to us. If they want to make the case otherwise, I'd love to hear it – but I have looked at what has been revealed and I can't come close to a story that makes sense. They went to a large group of people and told them to give them money with no reasonable intent to deliver on the promises they were making at the time. That is incredibly different than starting a KS with every good intent and realizing you didn't know what you were doing. Anyone that worked at Mythic and knew what they were doing should be very nervous right now – taking $1.3 million from people through intentional deceit is the type of activity that puts people behind bars for a long time – and given that they destroyed the value of the MOnsterpocalypse IP name owned by Privateer Press, they should expect something will be pursued as a leveraging maneuver.

    If you want to help fix these problems, take the role of a journalist and hold these game companies accountable for their actions. Identify the ones that lie in their campaigns and backer updates and make sure everyone that hears you hears of their malfeasance. Ask these companies to prove that they are on track to deliver. We should have tools out there that identify which companies deliver late, which charge higher shipping costs, which make false statements in their backer posts, which fail to provide backer posts that address the core questions (do you have funds to deliver and what is the best estimate for delivery). We should ask these companies to give us the tools (information) that allows us to trust reasonably.

  15. You really can't spend years complaining about companies using FOMO to entrap buyers then blame the buyers when the FOMO explodes to undeliverable games! However, I do think that we forgot that crowd funding was an emergent industry and let our enthusiasm override our normal caution. Anyone who pledged for another game in a long pipeline of undelivered games from any company fed the fraud, (yes it was criminal fraud). I bailed out a few years back but know others that are still in for many undelivered games that they wont see. As unsecured creditors they won't get a penny back from any bankrupt. We need better crowd funding platforms with escrow for companies with multiple games, some sort of reasonability study for new launches, business insurance for backers and some true financial/project disclosures from the game company – with money spent/committed/remaining public budgets.

  16. Consumerism has its responsibilities. at the same time these companies are operating in bad faith. the outcome will be the pledge masters and super backers will just stop giving these companies money based on how many projects are out, what their history is, etc. ive quit backing games from companies that are consistently 6+ months late.

    with no industry accountability its up to the backers. with so many white knight simps the situation has gotten out of control. i dont see anything happening any time soon though. even Mythic has a few simps around despite what is happening there. a lot of backers feel like they are on the team, that they are friends, and its incredibly naive. almost every campaign will have fans attempting to dismiss, silence, and even attack anyone pointing out red flags or saying anything that isnt glowingly positive.

  17. I won't say anything 100 % because who knows if my favorite IP drops into a board game tomorrow, but as of right now I'm never backing another game until state farm starts offering Kickstarter insurance.

  18. I think, like most people, I'm just kind of running out of money. My salary hasn't increased alongside prices. I'm selling more and buying less.

    Selling games feels really good, though. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it.

  19. I think the biggest problem now is that companies are trying to add miniatures, deluxified components, and gimmicks to games to justify charging higher prices. It's a niche industry and competition is fierce in the space, so the drive is to get the consumer at higher price points to maximize profit off a single large sale. It's squeezing out people who can't afford that, and creating a feedback loop to push prices even higher to get more from those who can afford it with more ridiculous content. The other problem is inflation in overseas manufacturing and shipping costs are unpredictable. It's simply not as cheap as anymore to manufacture things in China, and shipping costs are constantly fluctuating significantly. So selling games at higher price points is necessary. But at some point consumers are going to realize, that while we love them, these are just board games and they are feeling squeezed by inflation in so many more important areas of their life.

  20. While it's good advice about not backing a campaign with tons of expansions if the company has not delivered anything like that before, but if people had followed that advice it would also meant A:TO and Oathsworn would never have been made as both are massive games made by 1st time game studios.

  21. Yeah company simps are really a net negative on any game. You can't even have one constructive criticism about a game without someone chiming in "welll ackchually I LIKE that the miniatures are really poor quality, i think it adds to the medieval theme in that they're using old technology to craft them bla bla bla"

  22. Excellent points- consumers have so much more power than we know or use.

  23. Maybe its due to the kind of games i play, but I miss stand alone board games. Specifically games that have no expansions, ir maybe a single expansion. It feels kike every game is made to have several expansions rigjt off the bat. Just give me what I need in one purchase.

  24. people keep backing these big games, people keep buying way more games then they can play, people still defend clearly SUS KS campaigns, questionable borderline payola type videos where influencer and game company have conflicts of interest are still popular….so why would anything change.

  25. I’ve long since left the hobby and sold my collection except for some of my fav solo games. I’m on to other things.

  26. Will MG deliver the game when you give the extra money? Maybe they will use that money to pay their costs?

  27. KOA, a lot of what's happening in the industry is to do with the shrinking economy and inflation. If things were different, there would be room for the inefficient and slightly incompetent companies out there. Sadly, the tighter money gets, the more unforgiving the industry becomes. None of us, nor you are to blame for that. That's on government policy raising the cost of living, energy and ultimately, trading.

  28. I think Grimlord is the better way to handle bancruptcy. Squeezing more money out of people for another chance (that can fail for reasons out of MG's control!) just feels wrong.

  29. Awaken Realms, Garphill Games, and a few others are really the only companies that can be trusted to deliver their projects.

  30. And he talks about how content creators use yellow and red in their titles so to leverage the algorithm…. well, at least you're true to what you point out!
    Seriously, another very solid and valuable video!

  31. I blame The Dice Tower for backing Grimlord Games .. and myself.

  32. Seeing the thumbnail I was already worried this would be another crowdfunding doomsday video. Thank you for the pleasantly nuanced and constructive discussion! Also, overall crowdfunding is still a very safe space with failure rates around 2% of boardgame pledges.

  33. I like how you touched on the "when the suits show up" issue. You see this in so many industries: the music industry, the video game industry, and now the board game industry. All they care about is the money and everything gets watered down to appeal to the widest audience, but also causes the product quality (artistic quality, not production quality) to be sacrificed. They don't care about making a great widget, it's only about selling the most widgets which causes inferior widgets and a bloated market. See Hasbro/WoTC.

  34. I disagree that it’s the consumer’s fault for poor and sometimes criminal mis-management of a company. I felt like you were trying to make an argument that if a company offers to sell items that end up pushing a title over the edge that they can’t fulfill, it’s the consumers fault, which doesn’t make sense. Ultimately it is the company’s responsibility to make sound business choices and manage their company soundly, not the consumer.

  35. Danger is that mythic asks more and more money then shut down anyway

  36. Greetings KoA, as usual, thanks for your work it is appreciated, just dropped by to let you know another company going under Farside Games. The Epic Seven Arise is dead and well seems like Kickstarter continues sadly to implode. Bad decisions on inexperienced companies that sadly do not know the hard work it takes to create and ship a product will continue to sour the experience of the board game community with crowdfunding. These failures slowly drain the goodwill of the community 4,393 backers are left hanging with nothing to show for it and no word from the company in months. As always best of luck and best wishes.

  37. You mean people like you are ruining the industry "Queen of Avg".

  38. The issue with grimlord games was the lack of communication.
    If they had been honest and told us about the finance issues then people would have been supportive. The last update we got was "were ready to print but can't ship due to the 100x cost for shipping due to covid".
    Claiming they were ready and then disappeared is just an insult to everyone that trusted them.

    I backed the first village attacks and enjoyed it, however when companies don't respond there's a feel that they take the money and show no change for years before asking for more.

  39. This sucks a lot. I'm still bitter about the fact that I never received and will never receive my copy of Windward. I tried a last ditch effort to contact the shipping company and they looped in the publisher and he sent me a message saying it was their fault but didn't provide them the info requested.

  40. I'm a fan of larger games, but in my opinion one major downside to the crowd funding model has been market bloat with games that are larger than necessary and way too expensive. Crowdfunding was initially a way for individuals and small producers to get their product to market with limited risk because they had a gauge to assess the interest and other market factors. Now every publisher just uses it as a crutch for every game they produce and they just keep making them more experience along the way somehow. I love board/tabletop games, but frankly this new sort of culture that has manifested has honestly started to turn me off. As a family man I'd love to get my family more involved with gaming but most modern games are so complex and bloated that it's hard to justify the crazy expense for games that will likely never make it to the table. I understand the positives that crowd funding has had on the gaming industry, but for me personally the scale has tipped the other way and there's more negative in it, especially for the average consumer to have any hope of staying invested in the fun of gaming. There's part of my two cents on the matter, cuz obviously everybody values what I have to say.

  41. 10:45 – I'm cracking up looking at all the yellow text thumbnails now.

  42. I stopped years ago, except for exceptional project like foundations of Rome. They are ridiculous and the YouTube channel trying to push them are just propaganda

  43. I had to basically harshly limit my crowdfunding altogether – I limit myself to small projects and books nowadays. Or certain publishers that have a track record. I don't have the space or the time anymore to keep getting these huge, multi-box behemoths. I mean, it's my own fault, due to FOMO – but still.

  44. I'm not investing n painting a core box unless there r expansions that's why I have 8 games but some of them like Conan have 6 boxes…I'm investing in a world not a one shot game that the company ignores after the corebox

  45. Honestly, I feel that Mythic's decision showed they were incompetent, not malicious. Mythic WANTS to fulfill their promises, but they could have walked away.

  46. I don't buy anything that doesn't already exist.

  47. I saw the writing on the wall during when Endure the Stars 1.5 was having delays and they were waiting for Everrain campaign to end.

  48. @ 3:23 What um you mean "we" kemosabe? xD i NEVER give money for something i don't actually get! Where i come from, we call that stupid! xD

    Did you invest in Crypto as well? xD

  49. Although I agree that stretch pay can be a dangerous vehicle that can suck people into debt, to say that Gamefound is doing nothing to protect backers is a tad disingenuous as they also are offering Stable Pledge. Yes, yes, I understand that that that warm safety blanket is a goal to comfort new backers into the fold, but that is a means to staunch the bleeding of money.

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