This post about why you should consider backing Kickstarter Board Games is number 2 of a 3 post series about Kickstarter. If you missed the first post about how Kickstarter Games have changed the hobby, you can check it out HERE.
Since I have only backed 2 projects in my entire life, I thought that I wouldn’t be the best person to write a post about “Why I back Kickstarter Board Games.” So… I’m putting the Art of Boardgaming reigns in the very capable (and qualified) hands of Mark Burke, or more popularly known as The Chubby Meeple.
So – without further introduction, here are Mark’s top 5 Reasons to Back Kickstarter Board Games!
139. One hundred and thirty-nine.
That is the number of projects (as of this writing, anyway) I have backed on Kickstarter. Of those 139 projects, 14 are active (meaning their campaigns have not yet come to an end). There’s a good chance that, by the time you read this, the number of projects I’ve backed has gone up. Heck, I’ve backed three projects since I talked to Joe two days ago about writing this post for his blog.
Full disclosure: not all 139 backed projects are board games or board game-related. Two of them were albums by bands seeking to be heard, and one was for a clever little gadget called a Fidget Cube.
So I guess you could say I have a lot of experience backing board game Kickstarter projects (or at least ones that are board game related – storage/travel solutions, a table, etc.). So … why back so many? My girlfriend would say I back so many projects because I “have a problem.” However, there are actual reasons why I support so many endeavors.
Let’s take a dive (at least a shallow one) into my reasons.
1. Support “the little guys”
There are a lot of projects on Kickstarter that are created from people who are simply trying to achieve a dream. They have an idea – something they think our community would enjoy – but they lack the financial means to make that dream a reality. That’s where Kickstarter comes in, and where it can really shine.
There are so many projects that I back that allow smaller companies – mom and pop shops, if you will – the chance to present their product to the world. Supporting these smaller companies is, to me, a fantastic way to spend some of my hard-earned dollars.
Many of these projects introduce new and innovative ideas into the hobby, as well as add more and more talented people to the pool of designers, artists, and companies involved in the hobby. More talented people and more ideas/innovations are always good things for our community.
2. Support “the big guys”
Now, this might seem a bit counter-intuitive to my last point, but I encourage you to hear me out for a second. There are a lot of people in our community that feel that companies such as Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG), Cool Mini Or Not (CMON), and Cryptozoic should not be using Kickstarter to fund their games.
While these larger companies certainly don’t need the financial backing that Kickstarter provides, their presence on the platform is – in my mind – a great thing. Why? Because having these large companies and their massively popular projects on Kickstarter drives more traffic to the platform and, coincidentally, leads to more eyes on the smaller companies.
More eyes on the lesser known companies and projects means more dollars used to back them.
So when I see a large CMON or TMG project on Kickstarter, I smile; not only because the games themselves look incredible (how good are those Rising Sun minis?!?), but because I know there are “little guys” who can see their own projects benefit from their proximity to these heavy hitters (no pun intended … ok, so maybe it was somewhat intended).
3. Kickstarter Board Games Can Give You More Bang for your buck
In a lot of cases, Kickstarter provides an opportunity for your money to go a long way. Companies will pack an immense amount of content into their games through stretch goals and add-ons. I think of games like Conan, Arcadia Quest: Inferno, and (most recently) Gloomhaven as examples of games packed with an immense amount of content for their base price.
Once these games hit retail, trying to acquire all of the additional content unlocked via stretch goals can cost twice (some times three times) as much as the Kickstarter price of the game.
(Just some of the Gloomhaven Loot) –>
While I admit that some of this is due to markups by backers reselling their Kickstarter copies to make a quick buck, a lot of it is due to content that is printed exclusively for the Kickstarter edition of the game. This leads to content that is not included in the retail version of game when it is released. This also leads to my next point …
For those who do not know, FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out.
I don’t want to miss out on anything.
I think that fear is a big reason that I have so many different hobbies, and my backing of Kickstarter projects is certainly not immune to my FOMO. Like I said in number 3, Kickstarter exclusives are a big reason that I back projects. When I look at a campaign page and see a long list of items (miniatures, scenarios, and other bonus content) that will only be made available to backers of the project, I am almost immediately sucked into it.
That being said, I will not back a project solely because it has some exclusives. The game itself has to at least grab my attention and be something that I will actually play. However, if a game with a theme and mechanisms that I generally enjoy also includes exclusives, it is much easier for me to pull the trigger.
I know that a good number of people are opposed to the idea of items that are restricted to a “Kickstarter edition” of a game. I tend to fall on the other side of the argument. If you are taking the time to research someone’s project and work, and you make the decision to spend some of your own hard-earned cash to help someone’s dream come to life, I have absolutely no problem with you getting a little bonus (or quite a few bonuses) for doing so.
5. Content for my social media accounts
I have been putting together video reviews for The Dice Tower, as well as previews for Kickstarter projects for my own YouTube channel. I am also a regular contributor to The InstaGamers Network. These videos also help drive content for my Twitter and Instagram pages.
As you can imagine, producing all of this content requires games. While I receive a fair amount of review copies and Kickstarter prototypes, I look to Kickstarter a lot to find games to review for these channels.
Most Kickstarter games are shipped to backers prior to retail release. This allows me to receive a game, play it, form an opinion, and then film and post my opinion for the world to see prior to the game being available for retail purchase.
In most cases, I try to time my review releases to coincide with the retail release dates for these games (though that does not always happen). In this way, Kickstarter becomes an invaluable tool for providing a steady stream of material to use for reviews.
Now, to find a way to turn my Kickstarter backing dollars into a tax write-off …….
So that – in a nutshell – is why I back Kickstarter board games (and other projects). I guess I could throw a sixth reason on the list (some things on Kickstarter just look amazing!), but I’ll refrain from expressing too much of my opinion here. What I can do is encourage you to take a look at Kickstarter.
Even if you “start small” and back a game for $20 (or even less), dip your toe in the water. Eventually, you’ll find yourself enjoying a swim in the vast ocean of new, innovative designs that come from the Kickstarter platform.
One word of caution: it can be pretty easy to get swept up in the current and end up drowning in a tidal wave of games. So, as with other things in our lifetime, please use your “backer finger” responsibly. And – most importantly – keep gaming, friends!
And, for those wondering …. my total number of backed projects now stands at 146 (13 of which are active).
Mark attended his first Gen Con – for one day – in 2015, and attended all four days in 2016. He began The Chubby Meeple blog the week after Gen Con 2016, followed in October of 2016 by The Chubby Meeple YouTube channel . He brings a unique view on game reviews, being fairly new to modern tabletop games, as well as living just north of Indianapolis with a non-gaming significant other and two children (who are new to gaming themselves) – which leads to a lot of lighter, family games and solo gaming. His two basset hounds don’t play games due to the lack of thumbs.
Outside of games, Mark is a rabid ice hockey fan, and has been a New Jersey Devils fan since he was a kid. In addition to the Dice Tower and his YouTube channel, you can also find Mark in the following places:
Like this post? Check out the next one in the series!