I have been heavily into the hobby for four years now, and with each passing year a voice echoing around my ear hole is growing louder and louder until I now wonder if I can continue to ignore it.
What voice? You may ask.
The booming, heavyweight, voice of Kickstarter.
You may have heard of it?
With games like Gloomhaven, Scythe, Everdell, Viticulture, Rising Sun (the list could go on and on, and on, and on) starting life on Kickstarter, it seems clear that much of the best games you can buy are ones you need to “back” and then relax as the stretch goals are reached and reached and reached again, until you have the very best components, added promos and other ‘Kickstarter/Collector’s Edition’ guff heading your way at some vague time in the future.
But I am yet to entertain Kickstarter’s calls and there are a number of reasons why. And here they are;
Uncertain length of time between making your pledge and receiving the game
So, one thing I find hard to understand about those who back Kickstarter games is the inevitably long and agonising wait for the game to finally arrive at your door. I know some who completely forget that they even made the purchase - after the game has been put back and put back - until the postman knocks on their door some sunny day and places it in their hands.
Though I can see how this might be a nice surprise, I am too impatient and unwilling to wait months or even years to finally get a game I paid a lot of money for.
For me, I like to read and watch reviews/playthroughs of a game to make sure its theme and mechanics match my taste, give it time to see if a game turns out to be nothing but buzz, falling flat after all the hype has died down, before then making the commitment to add it to my collection.
I then find it for the best price, hit that ‘buy’ button which a huge grin on my face and crack into it a day or two later. No long wait for it to get to me or to find out if it actually works for me and my gaming groups.
They Often Have Retailer Editions that Work Just the Same
So, after a person has spent a small fortune on a game with the promise of getting all of the best components and extras, many of those games that do exceptionally well and turn out to be fantastic games get released as retail editions anyway. And to top it off, they often seem to be much more reasonably priced than their Kickstarter/Collector’s Edition counterparts.
Now, I’m not someone who feels the need for special components. Sure, metal coins and miniatures look pretty cool and I’m sure they really take the game a little closer to the next level, but I am quite happy to put the money I save from not buying them towards my next board game.
This may change at some point as I go deeper into the hobby or when there are no games that really take my fancy for some time, but it seems unlikely to me.
I Often See Unopened or ‘Played Once’ Kickstarter Edition of Games on Trading Forums
Something I have spotted on selling and trading forums are Kickstarter Editions that have only been played once or twice or have even been unopened . . .
So, after pledging a lot of money and waiting a long time to receive the game, some gamers either grow tired of it after a game or don’t even want it to play it at all. I can only assume that something else on Kickstarter has stolen their attention, or they find that they don’t actually enjoy the game they were so passionate about before they played it.
I know this one seems like I'm moaning at other gamers, but I just find it a little crazy.
There is a Constant Stream of Games Being Launched
I said ‘stream’ but in reality it is more of a raging river crashing forward towards a deadly waterfall.
From my perspective, it seems there is game after game, after game being launched and it is so easy to get carried away by that raging river and end up with a lot of games that don’t actually work for you.
It can also become quite addictive to back games, but end up feeling the Kickstarter crash as they sit on the “Shelf of Shame” waiting and waiting to be played.
Final Thoughts on Kickstarter
Having said all of this, I am starting to feel like I might one day enter the world of pledging as I am realising that I am missing out on some special games that have limited printing runs. Once they’re gone, they are very hard to get your hands on. Tim Fowers’ games, for instance, keep passing me by because I am unable to take that step and I don’t know how much longer I will be OK with missing some games that I would love to own and play the heck out of.
Kickstarter is proving to be good for the hobby and allowing developers to release some truly incredible games, but I also fear that it may be changing the playing ground of board games too much for me. I don’t want to be pushed away from the hobby because I can’t or won’t enter the ring. I realise this is an extreme view of the future, but I want to be able to continue to choose how I buy my games.
I do know for sure that if/when I do finally back a game, I will have thought very carefully about it and watched and read as much content about it so that it will stay in my collections for many years to come.
Obviously, everyone can make their own decisions and that’s great. These are just some reasons why I decide to stick to online stores for now.