Declined: Why I Don’t Back Games on Kickstarter

It’s true… I Don’t Back Games on Kickstarter. 

I'm almost afraid to tell you this... but... I don't back games on Kickstarter. It's not because I think Kickstarter is bad, and I'm certainly glad other people back them... but... well, here's why:

Like every. single. one. of my posts, this one about Why I Rarely Back Games on Kickstarter may have affiliate links in it. These links never influence my opinions about a product or service. Why is this important? You can find the answer by reading my full disclosure policy here.

This is the third, and final post in a series about Kickstarter and it’s impact on board gaming. If you missed either of the previous posts, I highly recommend that you check them out. Especially the second in the series since it covers the other side of the Backing issue.

Post 1 – Funded: How Kickstarter Games Have Changed The Board Game Economy

Post 2 {Guest Post}Backed: Why I Support Kickstarter Games

Now on to post 3… Declined: Why I Rarely Back Games on Kickstarter

Before I go any further, I really want to tell you just how much I respect people like Mark Burke (Aka. The Chubby Meeple who wrote: Why I Support Kickstarter Board Games). I greatly appreciate how Mark, and others like him, support this hobby so strongly and help bring new games to the market through Kickstarter.

Without those backers, there would be so many great games that never would see the light of day. It’s completely possible, perhaps even probable, that my current Favorite Game of All Time, Scythe might not exist today without the support of Kickstarter backers.

So I implore you, please, if you think for one second that I am a Kickstarter hater, go back and read the first Kickstarter Games post in this series.

However, even though I am not a Kickstarter hater, I do believe I am a bit of an anomaly in the board game “media” end of this hobby. I love this hobby so much I started a blog about it. I spend time setting up and taking photos of games for my posts and for my Instagram account. I review games. I talk about them…. a lot.

But… I rarely back Kickstarter board games.

Let me define rarely for you. I’ve backed 2 projects…total. Here’s why.

1. I Don’t Back Kickstarter Games Because I Have A Small Gaming Budget

Games are getting expensive.

That’s a fact.

The expense of the hobby (along with my non-gaming friends reaction to it) even inspired me to write one of my early blog posts: How I Justify the Cost of Board Games.

Not only are games getting expensive, but new games are becoming available Every Single Week.

With the rising cost of gaming, combined with the increased output, it means that I, like many in the hobby, can’t afford to grab every game that comes down the path.

Actually, we can’t afford to grab even small percentage of the new games that come out.

Full disclosure – I purchase between 2-4 new games each year (not including ones gifted to me, or using gift cards). That means I have to be REALLLLY picky about what games I buy, and which one’s I pass on.

That pickiness, combined with my small budget, lead me directly into reason number 2:

2. I Don’t Back Kickstarters Because I’m Impatient

I like to receive the games I purchase…within a week or so of purchasing them.

Thank you Amazon Prime for 2 day shipping. No thank you to spending $60 and waiting 18 months for a game to show up at my door. (Haven’t tried Amazon Prime? You can sign up here for a FREE 30 day trial!)

That’s not to say I don’t consider it. Every time a new CMON release hits KS, or an enticing new publisher is pushing out something that looks like it’s going to be the new “hotness” you can bet I’ll be exploring their funding pages. I’ll stare at all their cool pictures, watch all the videos, and scroll through their stretch goals.

But so far… each of those games has had a 0% conversion rate with me when it comes to earning my KS support. Not ever once because of the game, but because of the wait.

Side note: If I ever get a bigger gaming budget…I may grow a touch more patient. 🙂

But I don’t begrudge my budget. I really don’t. In fact I’m grateful for something that it has provided me. My small gaming budget has given me the ability to be introspective, and possibly to gain perspective on why I love gaming in the first place.

3. I Don’t Back Kickstarters Because I Understand What I Love About Gaming

I am a podcast junkie.

I consume a lot of board game content. You want to know one of the interesting common terms I hear over an over?

Acquisition Disorder

Please understand I do not use this term to make light of anyone dealing with the struggles of an actual disorder. I’m only using “Acquisition Disorder” because it is common gaming language to refer to someone who seemingly can’t help but buy any new game or back any new Kickstarter that comes down the road, even if they know they should probably be more judicious with their hard earned dollars.

You know how I said earlier that I don’t back KS projects because I don’t have patience? Well, there is another sort of patience that I do have, that those who have self-proclaimed Acquisition Disorder don’t have. I’m able to wait for a game to come out and to get kicked around a bit before I decide whether or not it’s something that goes into my closet.

A.D. is a “plight” 🙂 that is common among many in any hobby. Always looking for that next, new, shiny thing. Over the past year, as I chaffed against my budget, and dealt with tinges of jealousy when I hear about a new game that a reviewer got, or that a podcaster backed, I took a moment to step back and realize that I was focusing on the wrong thing.

There are many things to enjoy about board games, but here are 4 of the key ones for many:

  1. Opening up and exploring the components and rules
  2. Playing that first time
  3. Exploring new strategies
  4. Enjoying fun times with friends

Someone with AD puts a big percentage of their enjoyment on that first one. But I think, through my circumstances, I’ve been able to re-order this list for myself:

  1. Enjoying fun times with friends
  2. Exploring new strategies
  3. Opening up and exploring the components and rules
  4. Playing that first time

The beauty of this re-order, is that the most expensive, shortest duration of fulfillment, points are now at the bottom of the list.

Now, of course, this doesn’t make me any better than anyone who’s list is in a different order, or who has a different list entirely. However, it does allow me the great freedom to enjoy the hobby where I am at… and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

So that wraps things up. I’ve waxed eloquent on how Kickstarter has changed the world of Board Games, the Chubby Meeple stopped in to lend his perspective on Why He Backs Kickstarter Board Games, and I rambled on here about Why I don’t (or technically… “rarely”) Back Kickstarter Projects.

How about you? Where do you fall on this scale? Are you a big backer? Is this the first you’ve ever heard of Kickstarter? Or are you somewhere in-between? Let me know in the comments!

Want To Read Some of My other Thoughts and Opinions?

You Can Own Too Many Games






Disclosure: Some of the links in this post about Why I Don’t Back Games on Kickstarter are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.


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4 thoughts on “Declined: Why I Don’t Back Games on Kickstarter

  1. I am 50/50… I used to back a lot of kickstarters, but have slowly backed off of them. Lately, I have either been not backing a project, or backing it and then canceling my pledge in the last 24-48hrs of the campaign. You are right, there are too many good games coming out NOW to worry about what’s coming out next year. I also try to take an honest assessment in those final hours of “How much will this actually make it to the table?” and “will my wife enjoy this?”

  2. I think these are all really solid reasons to avoid backing games on Kickstarter. I’m even saying this as a Kickstarter creator! Kickstarter is slow, kind of risky, and a lot of projects lack that last layer of polish. For a lot folks, there is still the excitement of seeing a creative idea realized to its full potential.

    There is something to be said for the stability of games already on the shelf, reviewed, and played. I’m really cautious about which games I buy, sticking to a few evergreen games a year. I like watching games unfold over five or ten or twenty plays. To keep current on games, though, I get my fix of the “cult of the new” at game meetups. It lets me have my cake and eat it, too.

  3. I don’t like kickstarter because it’s similar to pay to win games. They excluded things from the lower tier backers that should be in the game for everyone. There very unfair to the backers that can’t afford to shell out a ton of money for something that might not even work out. Then if they don’t they miss there chance forever and get an incomplete product if they do buy it.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m not sure what you mean by the pay to win part, but I understand your frustrations. I think there is one big thing backers need to understand before going in:

      It’s a product that you are investing in the development of. If you invest more money, you will get more return. So, I would not expect to get a deluxe copy of Scythe if I was backing the project at it’s basic level.

      However, and this is totally where I feel your frustration, I don’t like it if a publisher ever delivers half a game. I don’t think this happens too often any more as most games you could easily say the base game pledge is the retail version of the game, whereas the “high-roller” pledges get a deluxe version with upgraded bits and such, and possibly an expansion. And if that is the plan, I think publishers should be up front and say “If you back at this level, the game is not as good – not because it doesn’t have cool minis, but because the game play isn’t as engaging or __fill in the blank__. That way, backers can make an educated decision.

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