Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Final days of Scoville kickstarter

We're down to the final 48 hours of the Scoville kickstarter, and we're up to $65,500 in funding. The final stretch goal is at $80k, so if you've been on the fence then now's the time to jump in - we're going to make it!

TMG big box games on Kickstarter have come to an odd place. They're very likely to hit their funding goal, but since we don't like exclusive content, and we like to provide a full game in the first place, there isn't much to get excited about as far as stretch goals...

It's one thing to come up with a mini-expansion for a 10 minute microgame from scratch, there's much less going on in those games, and there's time to test it and make sure it's good... however the same is not true for a larger-scale game. Big games are a lot of work, and unless the designer has been sitting on the game for some time and has already designed an expansion, there's not a lot of game content that can be "tossed in" as a stretch goal. Bigger, longer games by definition take more time to test new content, and so big box games don't have the luxury of coming up with mini expansions or new content on the spot (without risking that content being out of balance or, in general, bad for the game).

What we've got on deck for this last stretch goal for Scoville is something that many people have expressed an interest in... pepper shaped bits rather than cubes. Due to board legibility concerns, we've combined the pepper bits with a fancy board with depressions into which the "cubes" will fit, which will serve to ensure uniform placement on the board. This is more important than many people realize, because it will significantly reduce the load of simply reading the board, allowing you to concentrate on your game decisions.

This upgrade is not exclusive to Kickstarter backers, it will be an upgrade for the entire print run. We tried a similar format for Kings of Air and Steam, and frankly I'm a little surprised at the overall reaction to that format.

To me, it's an extension of the original funding goal - and it should work the same way. When a game meets the original funding goal, it becomes available for everyone - not just Kickstarter backers. So when an upgraded version of the game becomes available at some higher funding level, why is it people hesitate to back, citing that the upgrade will also be available to everyone, not just the backers? By that logic, why were those people backing in the first place?

Best I can figure is that if the original funding goal isn't met, then there's no game at all. If it IS met, then the game will be available - even if not in an upgraded version. The risk of the game not being upgraded isn't as big a deal as the risk of not being able to play the game at all, and maybe that's why people make that choice to wait for retail - even if they say they really want the upgraded version.

My advice to anyone considering backing is this: If you want the game, and you're planning on getting it anyway, then you might as well pledge now rather than waiting for retail - to help ensure the threshold is met for the upgraded components (assuming you in fact do want the upgraded components). Of course, if you do not want the game, or cannot afford the game, then don't pledge - that goes without saying.

At this point I'm confident we will make the $80k funding goal, but that's only true if the people who want the pepper bits go ahead and pledge!