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Is Kickstarter broken? Opinion/discussion


Chaoswolf
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Without knowing any details beyond what you've posted...

 

Where you see yellow I see red. I would not back this personally. In my opinion kickstarter projects should be laser focused to their original stated goal.

 

In addition. It doesn't look like the PC is familiar with miniatures production and we've seen that end badly before with several well publicized kickstarters here in the past. I could go into a whole list of concerns, but I think most who've followed kickstarters here are already familiar with them.

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It's only yellow flags to me because I know the company has been selling minis since at least 2007. But they don't make them, they just contract for them to be made.

Well knowing that they've been in the miniature business for a number of years is a plus. That means there's a history there that can be researched. From your OP it sounded like they were adding miniatures to their KS as an afterthought.

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It's only yellow flags to me because I know the company has been selling minis since at least 2007. But they don't make them, they just contract for them to be made.

Well knowing that they've been in the miniature business for a number of years is a plus. That means there's a history there that can be researched. From your OP it sounded like they were adding miniatures to their KS as an afterthought.

 

It's plus if you know that they have. So you misreading my post brings up an excellent point - individuals and companies running Kickstarters should not assume that everyone knows their history in the industry or with their games. In this particular KS, the PC does that by mentioning that they've done other games:

This is a project that uses techniques and components we use for the other <company name> boxed games. There is nothing in this that we have not successfully done before.

And now you just caused me to look in the PC's previous KS project comments, and that did throw some red flags. I'm out.

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On a different kickstarter related topic.

 

The "Community" tag to the right of the "Comments" tag on a projects kckstarter page... Is that something new?

Or have I just never noticed it before? :unsure:

 

I keep accidentally hitting it instead of the comments tab. I think it's been there about a week now. I like seeing the number of backers from each country in relation to complaints about where things are getting shipped from.

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It's only yellow flags to me because I know the company has been selling minis since at least 2007. But they don't make them, they just contract for them to be made.

 

If someone has been in the business since at least 2007 they should have a pretty clear idea of what any quote would look like. I have been involved in this business since 2013 and I can pretty much calculate a quote on the dime if I were to work with the people I am already working with.

 

I totally agree with DarscZacal. The way you describe it would flag only red for me, and I would be very careful to where I'd put the money.

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To me, one of the problems with KS projects is establishment of preconceived notions. We see one KS structure this way and another kind of similar and eventually we start to assume that's how it should be. For example, I saw a person flipping out because the rewards for a terrain KS were not the goal of the KS. The goal was to fund a bigger laser cutter and a new facility or something.

 

This is one specific example but dealing with this one specifically, this is inherent to the nature of KS projects based on miniatures or toys or boardgames.

People didn't pitch a fit about Megabots offering t-shirts and stickers and posters and stuff as rewards vs the funding goal of funding a giant combat bot. So... that's one thing.

 

Another is this tendency of creating low-ball projects. Mantic has been REALLY bad about this and CMoN a bit too. Reaper IMO gets a pass because they start off at a point where it's probably feasible IMO. Regardless, we see these KS pop up and they have a goal of like $30k. That includes a game and usually 1 figure or a few or whatever. Clearly not enough to play the game. Then slowly the other stuff gets added... and it's extremely obvious that the things being added were integral to the core game that was supposed to be the point in the first place. It gets worse when companies add KS exclusives that end up on sale later or the prices for the KS end up being the MSRP but during the KS they're made out to be great bargains.

 

The problem that upsets me the most though is deliveries. Projects never seem to deliver on time (with exceptions, I believe including Reaper IIRC). However, when you mention it in the comments, you get accosted immediately. "Oh, that's just how it is". "Oh you must be new to KS". "Pfff..this is nothing I waited 20 years for my last KS to arrive". People are quoting the messed up way it is now as the way it's supposed to be. That seems beyond backwards to me. What.. since it's been that way we're supposed to just accept that if they tell us 1 year they really mean 3? NOOOOOOO.. I don't think so. This is creating a really bad habit. If a business is going to go into distribution on a potentially wide scale, they need to spend time on the front end analysis and they need to invest their capital in ensuring they are able to uphold their end. Not just pocketing the profit and dragging their feet so they can save money.

 

The last thing I'm seeing is some of these small companies (not that many anymore, it was worse at first) who pop up overnight. They have some 3d models and some concept art. They get funded and POOF. They run away. People defend them saying "well, it's not a store"... or "you knew the risk when you put your money down". This is a HUGE misconception. These companies ARE held accountable (just not by KS). The BBB has gone after numerous hit and run style KS fraud cases. This doesn't seem to stop people from acting like they're in an abusive relationship with KS and defending all of these horrible behaviors though.

 

KS really is not a store. However, you're not out of options if you get screwed over by a KS project. Likewise, before pledging to ANY KS, look around. There are a LOT of manufacturers who've been in the business a long time and might be struggling. If a new resin terrain KS pops up, maybe look around at guys like Armorcast, Ainsty, Scotia Grendel, etc before dumping money in something that may or may not arrive and may or may not be what you were hoping. A lot of times you will get a better deal than you thought too. It won't include KS exclusives and free dice towers or dice bags or whatever, but it will come with helping the businesses that have brought miniatures to where they are.

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Another is this tendency of creating low-ball projects. Mantic has been REALLY bad about this and CMoN a bit too. Reaper IMO gets a pass because they start off at a point where it's probably feasible IMO. Regardless, we see these KS pop up and they have a goal of like $30k. That includes a game and usually 1 figure or a few or whatever. Clearly not enough to play the game. Then slowly the other stuff gets added... and it's extremely obvious that the things being added were integral to the core game that was supposed to be the point in the first place. It gets worse when companies add KS exclusives that end up on sale later or the prices for the KS end up being the MSRP but during the KS they're made out to be great bargains.

That doesn't really bother me. But then I don't buy in until the value proposition makes sense to me.

 

I'm much more worried by the ability of small companies to handle KS success than setting what amounts to a "reserve price" on the project.

 

The problem that upsets me the most though is deliveries. Projects never seem to deliver on time (with exceptions, I believe including Reaper IIRC).

Reaper has not, so far, been an exception. Perhaps the current project (not CAV, which is late) will be on time.

 

However, when you mention it in the comments, you get accosted immediately. "Oh, that's just how it is". "Oh you must be new to KS". "Pfff..this is nothing I waited 20 years for my last KS to arrive". People are quoting the messed up way it is now as the way it's supposed to be. That seems beyond backwards to me. What.. since it's been that way we're supposed to just accept that if they tell us 1 year they really mean 3? NOOOOOOO.. I don't think so. This is creating a really bad habit. If a business is going to go into distribution on a potentially wide scale, they need to spend time on the front end analysis and they need to invest their capital in ensuring they are able to uphold their end.

Professionalism? That would be nice. And asking for it is not unreasonable. It's one of the things whose presence I try to detect when looking at projects to back. To refer upthread, "People want miniatures, so I decided to get some quotes" is not a sign of professionalism when seen in the course of a funding period.

 

Not just pocketing the profit and dragging their feet so they can save money.

I think it unlikely that most of these late projects are "pocketing the profit", since they seem to lose money at least in the short term -- and often in the long term as well.

 

And as to "dragging their feet so they can save money"? That's backwards. Being slow costs money, it does not make money. Being slow and running out of money while working on fulfillment is one of the big causes of collapse, especially for projects that make far more money than the creators expected.

 

Oh, there are certainly crooks, but I think they're wildly outnumbered by ... optimists.

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The problem that upsets me the most though is deliveries. Projects never seem to deliver on time (with exceptions, I believe including Reaper IIRC).

Reaper has not, so far, been an exception. Perhaps the current project (not CAV, which is late) will be on time.

 

Reaper has been a lot more accurate in their predictions, however. IIRC, in Bones I, they did actually _start_ delivering in the month they predicted (like on the last couple days of it), it just took them a _LOT_ longer than anticipated to get through everyone. In Bones II, while the whole thing was delayed, the latest waves went out mere days after the first waves, when it was original anticipated there would be 2 weeks or so between waves. So in that one, while it was late for everyone, it was actually twice as late for the people in the first couple of waves than it was for the people in the last couple of waves. CAV has been an anomaly in both ways - for the people who got the early bird core sets, that portion fulfilled on time, the other parts are late (but due soon, I believe).

 

 

However, when you mention it in the comments, you get accosted immediately. "Oh, that's just how it is". "Oh you must be new to KS". "Pfff..this is nothing I waited 20 years for my last KS to arrive". People are quoting the messed up way it is now as the way it's supposed to be. That seems beyond backwards to me. What.. since it's been that way we're supposed to just accept that if they tell us 1 year they really mean 3? NOOOOOOO.. I don't think so. This is creating a really bad habit. If a business is going to go into distribution on a potentially wide scale, they need to spend time on the front end analysis and they need to invest their capital in ensuring they are able to uphold their end.

Professionalism? That would be nice. And asking for it is not unreasonable. It's one of the things whose presence I try to detect when looking at projects to back.

 

Honestly, many of the people who complain about delivery dates on some projects really should know better, or at least learn their lesson the first time around. Realistic delivery dates are a huge red flag for me on projects, not just for games, but for electronic and publishing projects as well. If a relatively professional company like Reaper can't fulfill on time even when they set their fulfillment date a year or more out, how the heck do some of these small companies expect to fulfill in just a couple of months?

 

It's one thing if someone gets burned on their first kickstarter. But it's a completely different thing to see the same people make the same mistakes over and over and over with multiple KS projects, and make the same complaints time after time after time. It's like watching the girl I know buy her third car of the same make/model even though she had nothing but problems with the first two.

 

So like Doug says, you really need to do your due diligence on a KS, and bail if it throws up red flags. Picking Kickstarters to back really isn't that much different than buying running shoes - do you go for the big name (and often expensive) shoes like Nike or Puma because you know the shoes will last a long time, and the companies will stand behind them, or do you go for the no name discount brand at Walmart? It would be nice if the discount no name shoes would have the same quality and reputation as Nike, but the truth is that you often get what you pay for.

 

A lot of people compare Kickstarter to a store, but really, when you're choosing a KS to back, it's more like browsing through a flea market. At a flea market, just because a product is in a booth for sale, it doesn't mean it's a good product from a good company or that the seller will stand behind it. But too many people treat KS like it's a Best Buy, Target or Walmart, where every product has been vetted by company buyers for you (keep in mind that even the big retailers manage to stock crap product). That's not to say that's the way KS has to be, but it's the way it is now, and like a Flea Market, it will probably never change.

 

 

Oh, there are certainly crooks, but I think they're wildly outnumbered by ... optimists.

 

^^^This^^^

 

And not just optimistic project creators. Most of the unhappiest backers start out as the biggest optimists with over abundant enthusiasm.

 

Life lesson - some of the happiest people I know are also some of the biggest pessimists I know.

Edited by kristof65
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The problem that upsets me the most though is deliveries. Projects never seem to deliver on time (with exceptions, I believe including Reaper IIRC).

Reaper has not, so far, been an exception. Perhaps the current project (not CAV, which is late) will be on time.

 

Reaper has been a lot more accurate in their predictions, however. IIRC, in Bones I, they did actually _start_ delivering in the month they predicted (like on the last couple days of it), it just took them a _LOT_ longer than anticipated to get through everyone. In Bones II, while the whole thing was delayed, the latest waves went out mere days after the first waves, when it was original anticipated there would be 2 weeks or so between waves. So in that one, while it was late for everyone, it was actually twice as late for the people in the first couple of waves than it was for the people in the last couple of waves. CAV has been an anomaly in both ways - for the people who got the early bird core sets, that portion fulfilled on time, the other parts are late (but due soon, I believe).

 

I think you backed a different Bones 1 than I did. They shipped for a few days and then suspended shipping a very long stretch while being not particularly upfront about why and when they'd start shipping again. Shipping out to few people to be technically on time, starting a planned break early, then going dark when the planned break didn't resume as planned is not an example I'd hold up as successfully on time. Just being late and admitting to it like bones 2 is much preferred in my opinion.

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