Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Belfort: The Expansion Expansion

As you may already know, TMG is finally coming out with the first full expansion to Belfort. The expansion features Assistants and Expansions, and is called Belfort: The Expansion Expansion.

The Expansion Expansion is on Kickstarter right now, and in the first 2 days it has garnered the support of 600 backers, to the tune of $18,570! I never cease to be amazed by the support of the TMG fan base. The minimum funding goal is set at $20,000 but to include all the realistic stretch goals will take $50,000 or $70,000. I am not sure if we'll make that or not, but if the project goes crazy and reaches $100,000, then there will be some surprise "bling" added for everybody! It hasn't been announced what this "bling" might be, and I'm not sure it will be even if we make that goal... but rest assured it'll be something cool. I'll be surprised if we reach $100,000 with this project anyway.

One nice thing about running a Kickstarter project for an expansion, as Michael points out in this blog post on BGG, is that it renews interest in the base game. I've seen more traffic on the Belfort forums in the last couple of days, and over 100 copies of the base game have been ordered through the expansion kickstarter (via "combo packs" - both the base game and the expansion for $65 - a decent discount!).

In the spirit of revisiting the base game, I dug up this old Under the Hood blog post about Belfort. I wrote this about a year ago, but now that people are revisiting the game, or discovering it for the first time, it seems prudent to revisit that post as well.

Belfort is a strong title, which has proven to be popular amongst the TMG fan base. It's a eurogame of the type I enjoy, and I put a lot of work into it along with designers Jay and Sen. I think it's safe to say we're all very proud of the final version of the game, and we all had a great time putting together an expansion for such a great game as well.

For those interested, Jay and Sen wrote up a designer diary for the expansion on their blog. Check it out, and if it sounds interesting to you, then visit the Kickstarter page and see if Belfort: The Expansion Expansion is something you'd like to support.

Expand Belfort!

P.S. Some notable features about this kickstarter project:

* 17 day duration: Another "quickstarter" - we won't be begging for your spare change for 6 weeks!
* No gameplay-related stretch goals - we designed a full expansion, and that's what you'll get, no matter the funding level.
* Belfort Comic!?! - there exists an online comic by artist Rob Lundy about Belfort. If we reach $35,000 in funding, each copy of the expansion will come with a physical copy of that comic!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Great Escalation overview on BGG

A fan of Eminent Domain, Kenneth VenOsdel, has posted a fabulous overview of the Escalation expansion over on BGG.

Thanks for posting that, Kenny!

Anyone on the fence or wondering about what to expect in Escalation, take a minute to read that and then I'll see you in the Kickstarter comments :)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Eminent Domain: Escalation Kickstarter going great!

I just wanted to mention how well the Kickstarter project for Eminent Domain: Escalation is going, and how excited that makes me.

Some people have wondered why the project is only up for 12 days - why such a short time? Why not extend it so more money can be made? Michael has started a podcast about his experience with publishing called Business of Play, and in today's episode he gives some of his reasoning. This is the 5th episode in his 20 episode trial run, check out all 5 episodes if you haven't already and give him some feedback. So far its been really good.

I've been pushing for shorter Kickstarter projects ever since day 1. Well, day 2 - after experiencing the project for Eminent Domain, and especially when many more game projects hit the scene. Slogging through week after week of the same project for months in a row is really not good for anybody. Kickstarter projects take a lot of energy and effort to run, you have to stay on op of it all day, every day. For the consumers it can be annoying to see the same tweets or updates about the same project, two or three times a day for what seems like an eternity. And if you look at the stats, most projects have a high traffic spike in the first couple of days, a high traffic spike in the last couple of days, and a giant lull in the middle. From the beginning I thought "wouldn't it be nice if we could just cut out the lull, and just use the beginning and end?" My theory is that while some of the backers from that middle lull would be lost, most of them would just get shoved to the late project spike, so the funding of the project probably wouldn't even be affected very much.

Well, the nature of crowdfunding being what it is, that strategy won't work for everyone. You might NEED that middle lull to make your funding goal. Depending on the project, if the majority of your day-to-day funding is coming from people browsing Kickstarter rather than from people you directed to your project via your own marketing efforts, then cutting out the lull could indeed reduce a lot of funding. But I believe for most projects (board game projects, the type I'm interested in), that category isn't going to be dominant. As all the experts say, you cannot count on to fund your project for you!

All that said, I think TMG is well poised for a short run Kickstarter (Quickstarter!) project. TMG has a sizable audience, and a large mailing list of people interested in Tasty News from TMG. The last TMG Kickstarter project (Dungeon Roll) funded with in the first day, and went on to garner $250,000 in funds before the time was up. Sure, shortening the duration of that project might have meant lower funding numbers, but as long as certain funding goals are reached, then it doesn't really matter. The game will be sold at retail anyway. Any TMG Kickstarter project will probably fund in the first couple of days, because of this audience, and because of TMG's diligence in choosing games that this audience will enjoy. This is especially true of an expansion to a game such as Eminent Domain, which has a fan base already. But it's probably true of a new, unknown title as well. This is the strength of a good brand.

So if the game will surely fund in the first couple of days, why bother stringing it out for a long period of time? There are many other benefits of a short run project. In addition to the time and effort it takes to maintain a project, a shorter project means you can move on to the next one much more quickly. Also, for day 1 backers, that's 6 weeks less they have to wait for the game to arrive!

In my opinion, if a short run Kickstarter project can be successful, it's a win-win for everyone involved. We've already seen projects in the board game space come down from 60 days to 30, and now TMG is taking the next logical step and reducing it further. I feel like this is the direction that many Kickstarter project may go, at least the ones who can support it (project owners with a decent sized audience). I don't know if we'll ever get down to the 5-day project that I see in my mind, just due to how people use the internet - but I'm excited to see that the 12 day project appears to be working well so far!

For those of you who are already in for a copy of Escalation - thanks! And thanks as well for helping to spread the word. I'd really like to hit all of our stretch goals and provide everything we can for you.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Rincon Fundraiser a big success!

Last Saturday we hosted a fundraising game day for Rincon. I was a little worried that not many people would show up, and that we wouldn't end up making much (if any) money... but I guess that's just typical me - I'm kind of a pessimist. I'm happy to report that in fact, 70 people came to our event, some from Tucson, some from Phoenix, and some from Sierra Vista. And from what I could tell, everyone had a really good time!

18 of those people played in the poker tournament, expertly run by Jeff Becker. Karl Davis came out on top after a hard fought, back and forth heads up battle with Russel Knox. Karl won a hotel room for the weekend of Rincon, while 2nd and 3rd place (Russel and Brenda Lundt) walked away with free passes to the convention.

We also had several prize drawings, sponsored by games donated by myself, Brian Poe, and Patrick Nickell of crash Games.

That day happened to be National Tabletop Day, and at least a couple of people found out about our event through the Geek and Sundry TabletopDay website. The event was bustling from 10am to 10pm, and everyone seemed to have a great time! We managed to raise significant funds for Rincon, and by any account I think it's fair to say the Game Day was a resounding success! It was so great, we're planning another similar event for June!

Thanks to everyone who came by and supported Rincon and SAGA!

EmDice: Playtester prototype pics, and an update

One of you awesome people who has printed a copy of EmDice sent me some pics...

Thanks for sending those! They included the file they used for the Fighter/Resource/VP tokens as well.

I realized that there was an error in my original prototype files - I had used the Fertile Planet icon in a few places where I should have used the colonize icon (oops!) - I have replaced the EmDice Proto file with the correct icons.

In addition I created player boards with areas for Fighters, Influence, Planets, Active dice, and Used dice. There's a turn order reminder on it as well.

And I made a clarification to the rule about "Re-roll +1 Die" - I would like to try allowing that extra die to come from the Used pile if you like. In other words, if you have dice in the used pile when you Dissent, you get 1 back in addition to re-rolling any dice of 1 chosen type. If you don't have dice in the used pile, then you're allowed to re-roll 1 extra Active die in addition to any dice of 1 type.