Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ground Floor: Live on Kickstarter!

This morning marked the beginning of a 55 day long Kickstarter campaign for Ground Floor - a game I've mentioned before in this blog.

I think it's fair to say that Michael has learned a lot about running a Kickstarter campaign, and it shows in the superb organization he's got going on this time, and the incredible support the game has garnered in it's first hours! At the time I'm writing this, the project is at 177 backers, and $10,940 in support! That's really awesome, and I offer a hearty "thank you!" to everyone who has pledged for a copy of the game already.

If you haven't pledged, then what are you waiting for..?

I didn't know it was live!

Well, now you do! If you don't want to be left out in the cold in the future, consider signing up for Tasty Minstrel's newsletter - you'll receive all the inside info you'll require about upcoming TMG releases and deals. You'll also be offered the opportunity to join sub-lists for specific projects (such as this Kickstarter project), so the extra project-specific emails only go out to those who want them, not the entire TMG mailing list. I think Michael does email marketing right!

What is this game about?

This description is copied verbatim from my blog post (December 2009), and it remains a good description of the game:

Ground Floor is a game about being an Entrepreneur. Each player has just started a company. All they have is 7 Information, their ground floor office (representing certain basic actions they can take), $9 income per round from investors, and their time (4 marker discs representing units of time). As the game progresses, players can hire employees (which reduce your $ income but increase the number of time units you can use), upgrade their ground floor actions, and add floors to their building, gaining abilities and Prestige. To finance this, players "do business" in town by scheduling meetings, advertising, shopping at outlets and making products to sell to the public. They must do this in the face of a volatile economic atmosphere - in a Boom economy more products will sell, but noone will be looking for work. In a Depression you will be hard pressed to sell any products, but the job market will be full of potential employees who can be hire on the cheap. You can see the Economic Forecast, but can never be sure exactly how many consumers to expect in a round, so how you price your products matters a lot, as does your popularity level.

The crux of the game is balancing 2 resources - money and information. In the early game players have an income of $9, and it's difficult to get an appreciable amount of info. As you hire employees though, your income goes down (you have to pay their salaries), and the only really good way to make money is through selling products. Selling products is tricky, as it depends heavily on your popularity, the amount of products being sold by players, and the number of consumers for the round. You need to find a way to make both money and information because it costs a significant amount of each to add on to your business. Your score (Prestige) will be based on the floors and abilities of your company. A 6 story skyscraper is more impressive than a 3 story building for example, but there's something to be said about having a better operation on your ground floor as well.

I've never heard of Ground Floor - how do I know if I'll like it?

Well, if you're reading this blog, it's possible you've heard of the game here before. But even if that's not the case, there are several resources available to learn about the game:
Please check out those sources of information, and if Ground Floor looks like your kind of game, then please take a moment to check out the Kickstarter Campaign and pledge your support by pre-ordering a copy (or three!) of the game.

Why pre-order instead of waiting for the game to come out and then buying it online at a discount?

Good question! There has been a lot of discussion online about Kickstarter, who should be allowed to use it, and whether people should be charging full price for products being kickstarted. In this case however, you can get 1 copy of Ground Floor for $50, or if you go in with a couple of friends and get 3 copies, they're only $40 apiece! Retail price of this game will be about $60, so these prices are already discounted - on the order of what you'd pay online, and if you live in the US then that includes shipping!

On top of that, Kickstarter supporters will receive all of the overfunding incentives as the project raises more and more funds! Michael has a number of cool extras planned, which will come for free with your copy of the game if you are a Kickstarter. Most of these have not been announced, but he did mention that if the project raises at least $75,000, he'll be including a copy of a whole nother game! David Short has created another game called Skyline - a lighter dice game which shares the theme of constructing buildings. If the project hits $75k, that other game will be included for all of the supporters!

*Check your funding level - at the time I wrote this, it was true for all of the levels, but it's possible more have been added since, and they may not all qualify for the overfunding goals!

So as you can see, it's a really good deal. And I can tell you that it's a really good game as well. David has come up with a lot of clever mechanisms, and I've put a lot of development work into the game. We're both very proud of it, and if you follow my blog, then I think there's a good chance it'll be your kind of game too! Check it out, and tell your friends!

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