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Unread postPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:12 pm
  

Wanderer

Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:03 am
Posts: 95
Location: Central Illinois
I've been following the discussion on the boardgame Kickstarter and have seen some suggestions on how to improve it. I am a displeased Robotech backer, but neither pledged to the Rifts BG Kickstarter nor was an active opponent or backer of it. I did, however, pledge to the Savage Rifts Kickstarter, even with my displeasure towards how the Robotech KS was run. That shows I can be won over.

Here are mine.

1. The boardgame HAS to divorce itself from Kevin and Palladium games. Whatever the reality was, the appearance of merely being a shell company for Palladium to run this Kickstarter helped kill it (yes, it was cancelled, but in my estimation it was doomed to not fund given the decreasing rate of pledges.) Completely sever the connection to Palladium other than as the owner of the IP.

2. It had an unrealistic funding goal (far too low, IMO), and the stretch goals were ridiculous. $30,000 for color rulebook? Seriously? The rulebook better be freaking color for a $100+ boardgame. The way this was being run, everyone was betting on it being a runaway success like Robotech was (3x funding amount on first day), and when the numbers weren't planning out and it looked like it was going to barely even fund, people on the back end panicked and dropped it. So, if you're really looking for $1,000,000 but you're only asking for $100,000 in a humble move, you're doing it wrong. If you want $1,000,000 ask for that. If you only really need $100,000 and you ask for $100,000, and that's what it's on track to approximately be that amount, don't cancel it. You're getting what you asked for.

3. Add-ons were unrealistically priced. $32 for a glitter boy and pilot? What are you, Games Workshop? Hint, you're not. That should have been priced at about $20, and maybe give a Kickstarter early order discount of 10-20% ($15-$18 for backers).

4. No rules explanations,and a totally craptacular gameplay video? Puhleease. This isn't 2010. Have a fully releasable text only version of the rules out there for people to read through, try out, and poke holes in. Games Workshop and Corvus Belli (since the beginning) release their rules for free now. PEOPLE DON'T BUY MINIATURE BASED BOARDGAMES FOR THE RULES. They buy it for the miniatures. Also, have a full game play through available, and preferably a set of videos for each stage of the turn with walkthroughs, multiple camera angles, detailed boards, and even a little thought process as to why things are the way they are.

5. Cardboard boards, not paper mats. I mean, come on. Like, seriously. It's a BOARD GAME, not a paper mat game. And don't make it an add-on/stretch goal (see color rulebook, above).

6. More artwork on the cards, or simplify from a deck of cards to a larger play sheet/board for each character.

7. Get a decent team to run the Kickstarter. The public relations were ATROCIOUS. Have someone available to answer questions in a competent and polite manner. You get more flies with honey than vinegar, after all.

8. Get the news out there. Buy ads on Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. Send pre-release sets/files (print and play) for reviewers to play. This is the time that b&w rules, paper mats, and cardboard stand ups are okay.

9. Partner with a mini game company. Fantasy Flight Games? CMON? Ninja Division? Reaper? Heck, work with PEG to release it as a Savage Worlds mini's set.

Anyway, there are a list of some of the things that might help, and if you can get most of them done (with #1 being the most important, IMO), I might even be willing to back it the next time.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:52 pm
  

Dungeon Crawler

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:38 pm
Posts: 226
Agreed on nearly everything you said, especially re-stating point 1 twice.

Regarding point 7, the handing off of communication responsibilities after the first couple of hours, was a problem. I understand that most Kickstarters don't have the designers doing the heavy lifting, but the circumstances here are different given the incident a couple months ago. Either he's able to handle the pressure with grace and dignity, or people are going to question it. I know it's unfair, but it's also at least a little relevant. Of course, it didn't help that the primary communication was cheerleading of positive commentary ("Thanks for the support!") rather than answering the questions that people asked. Sure, some people were trolls, but if the question was valid, you answer it. And the trolls (and the actual backers) asked a lot of valid questions. Most of which Rogue Heroes should have had an answer for before the campaign launched.

Graham Bailey in the current last post of the Kickstarter commentary suggests Sine Tempore as a similar scale project to look at. And I agree. I don't know the company, I'm not a backer of the product. I don't even know if they'll come through (as per point 2 above, I think the original ask was way too low). It's just a good sample of a similar kind of game running at about the same time. And just as an aside, it shows that recovery IS possible. Their previous campaign (Nova Aetas) got rebooted twice.

But you look at what they're offering, and that's what backers have come to expect for that kind of price point in terms of quality, and volume. If you can't come close to matching that, you've simply priced yourself out of the market. If you're going to offer less, then you need to be pretty convincing immediately and consistently that the value is there in some other way.


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 9:12 am
  

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Wanderer

Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Denver, CO
Can't say I disagree with any of your points. Hopefully they're paying attention to this topic.

That said, it's legitimate to cancel and restart a successful kickstarter - Heroes of Land, Air & Sea had gotten about 150K more than their goal, but the project wasn't really working as well as previous kickstarters had. So they cancelled the kickstarter, combined what had been stretch goals for enhancements into the main game, combined two add-on armies into one, redid the maps, and now it's doing much better. (They also increased their funding goal from $100,000 to $250,000 - which they've passed easily.) And this is a company which has had a slew of very successful kickstarters in the past.

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Unread postPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:49 pm
  

D-Bee

Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 11:58 am
Posts: 1
I hate to rain on the parade of the RRT backers who were trying to ruin this campaign but you were not the reason it failed. It failed because it was a mess from top to bottom.

1. Carmen assumed it would fund immediately based on the Rifts name alone. He had no contingency plan for when it didn't.

2. Because of that assumption the campaign was not designed to appeal to people unfamiliar with the Rifts IP.

3. The presentation was god awful. As has been mentioned here and in the Kickstarter comments look at Sine Tempore to see what a professionally presented campaign should look like.

4. No rules and a statement saying the rules would not be released during the campaign.

5. That video. Ugh. Two and a half minutes of two overweight, middle aged dudes (one of which barely speaks) from a terrible angle that doesn't show anything beyond a single combat roll.

6. The photos were terrible. "Me and the components", "The minis on my tabletop", is this a Kickstarter campaign or a family vacation photo album?

7. Didn't showcase any of the original art Carmen claims is already done for the game.

8. The stretch goals were a dumpster fire. This goes back to the first point. If these goals had been blown past in the first day they wouldn't have looked as bad but they were just lingering there and they were atrocious.

9. While having an upgrade to a color rule book is a pretty stupid stretch goal it wouldn't have looked as bad if they blew past it in the first few hours but having it sitting there at twice the amount the campaign made before it was cancelled was a terrible look. I get that stripping stuff from the core game that was always going to be in there to use as stretch goals is a common tactic on KS these days but you shouldn't do it with a project like this. People are looking for value with smaller/unfamiliar projects and it's not there when you have an incomplete core game and locked stretch goals.

10. A paper map is a complete fail. You're already offering tiles, ditch the map and include more of them. As an aside, what the hell is a "set-on game tile"? No one knows what that is, just call them tiles. I don't know if upgrading the map to a board was an unrevealed stretch goal but you can't expect people to pay $100 for a board game with a paper map.

11. No BGG page on campaign launch (still isn't up).

vitae_drinker wrote:
1. The boardgame HAS to divorce itself from Kevin and Palladium games. Whatever the reality was, the appearance of merely being a shell company for Palladium to run this Kickstarter helped kill it (yes, it was cancelled, but in my estimation it was doomed to not fund given the decreasing rate of pledges.) Completely sever the connection to Palladium other than as the owner of the IP.


This is completely over blown. There is nothing Carmen can do to divorce himself "enough" from Palladium for people with an ax to grind. Do you want him to set up his LLC in Florida just because Palladium is in the nearest metro area to where he lives in Canada? The campaign was going to succeed or fail regardless of whether RRT backers thought Rogue Heroes was just a front for Palladium.

Quote:
2. It had an unrealistic funding goal (far too low, IMO), and the stretch goals were ridiculous. $30,000 for color rulebook? Seriously? The rulebook better be freaking color for a $100+ boardgame. The way this was being run, everyone was betting on it being a runaway success like Robotech was (3x funding amount on first day), and when the numbers weren't planning out and it looked like it was going to barely even fund, people on the back end panicked and dropped it. So, if you're really looking for $1,000,000 but you're only asking for $100,000 in a humble move, you're doing it wrong. If you want $1,000,000 ask for that. If you only really need $100,000 and you ask for $100,000, and that's what it's on track to approximately be that amount, don't cancel it. You're getting what you asked for.


While this game was never going to be successfully delivered if they only raised $100,000 I disagree they should have set their funding goal higher. Companies like CMON have put so much downward pressure on initial funding goals you simply can not ask for the amount you actually need to deliver the game. Realistically they needed to raise at least $200,000 for this project to be a success but it would be suicide to set that as their goal. How could you possibly ask for $200,000 when CMON asked that for Massive Darkness? Additionally, running a successful funding period requires you fund in the first 48 hours (and ideally hit several stretch goals) and that wouldn't happen with a goal so high. Running a Kickstarter is like looking for a missing child, if you don't succeed in the first two days it's dead.

Quote:
3. Add-ons were unrealistically priced. $32 for a glitter boy and pilot? What are you, Games Workshop? Hint, you're not. That should have been priced at about $20, and maybe give a Kickstarter early order discount of 10-20% ($15-$18 for backers).


Agreed (although there was a discount for KS backers, it was $28, $35 retail) and this is one of the biggest things they are going to need to address in a relaunch. They are not going to get enough backers purchasing add-on figures to cover the cost of producing them unless they can triple or quadruple their numbers. They need to turn whatever add-on figures they were planning on offering into stretch goals and find different things to offer as add-ons.

Quote:
7. Get a decent team to run the Kickstarter. The public relations were ATROCIOUS. Have someone available to answer questions in a competent and polite manner. You get more flies with honey than vinegar, after all.


They don't have the money to hire someone to run a professional PR campaign in the comments section but Andrew Cooke should not be in charge of it next time. All he did was promise things that never manifested, insult backers and repeat "THX FOR THE SUPPORT" over and over (also, this isn't Twitter, use real words). Also, if you're going to say that you will be active in the comments from X time to Y time then actually be there, Andrew posted TWO comments in the 24 hour period before the campaign was cancelled.

Quote:
8. Get the news out there. Buy ads on Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. Send pre-release sets/files (print and play) for reviewers to play. This is the time that b&w rules, paper mats, and cardboard stand ups are okay.


They don't have the money for actual advertising but not having a BGG entry up before the campaign launch is inexcusable. It's free advertising on the world's largest board gaming site. Regarding (p)reviewers, I honestly don't think they had a complete enough game to solicit outside opinions that weren't paid for.


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Unread postPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 8:12 am
  

User avatar
Wanderer

Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Denver, CO
EmraldArcher wrote:
vitae_drinker wrote:
2. It had an unrealistic funding goal (far too low, IMO), and the stretch goals were ridiculous. $30,000 for color rulebook? Seriously? The rulebook better be freaking color for a $100+ boardgame. The way this was being run, everyone was betting on it being a runaway success like Robotech was (3x funding amount on first day), and when the numbers weren't planning out and it looked like it was going to barely even fund, people on the back end panicked and dropped it. So, if you're really looking for $1,000,000 but you're only asking for $100,000 in a humble move, you're doing it wrong. If you want $1,000,000 ask for that. If you only really need $100,000 and you ask for $100,000, and that's what it's on track to approximately be that amount, don't cancel it. You're getting what you asked for.


While this game was never going to be successfully delivered if they only raised $100,000 I disagree they should have set their funding goal higher. Companies like CMON have put so much downward pressure on initial funding goals you simply can not ask for the amount you actually need to deliver the game. Realistically they needed to raise at least $200,000 for this project to be a success but it would be suicide to set that as their goal. How could you possibly ask for $200,000 when CMON asked that for Massive Darkness? Additionally, running a successful funding period requires you fund in the first 48 hours (and ideally hit several stretch goals) and that wouldn't happen with a goal so high. Running a Kickstarter is like looking for a missing child, if you don't succeed in the first two days it's dead.


I disagree. Heroes of Land, Air & Sea first had a kickstarter with a goal of $100,000, but then cancelled, re-grouped, and did a new kickstarter with a goal of $250,000 - the second kickstarter is doing much better. Don't put your goal at $100,000, if fulfilling at $100,000 is going to ruin you. Because it can ruin you.

I also disagree that you have to fund in the first two days or it's dead. I've backed a large number of kickstarters over the years, and there's been plenty that fun in the last 24 hours, when all the folks who hit the 'Remind me' star get their reminders in the mail to take a second look at the project. Of course, funding earlier is nicer.

But yeah, Carmen was running a kickstarter as if it was still 2012, not 2017. If you're going to go big price with your game like this, then you need to look and be professional. I suspect at the $40 level people would have been more willing to put up with the same game - paper boards and all, but with standees instead of minis - and I suspect they would have done well enough with that. (of course, without minis, the goal would have been much lower too.)

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Unread postPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 9:35 pm
  

User avatar
Wanderer

Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Denver, CO
Here's an interesting project that I've just come across: Ravage - Dungeons of Plunder

It's a dungeon crawling game, where the 'heroes' are in fact, Orcs. It has solo, co-op, and treachery modes. It's using standees instead of miniatures, and costs about $40 per copy. The kickstarter was running before, cancelled, and is now back to life with more backers. It comes with a ton of cards, some of which you use to build the dungeon with. Not only can you download a pdf of the rulebook, but you can play the game now if you have a copy of Tabletop Simulator. Also, there's several reviews you can watch.

Carmen should take a look at what this guy's doing and see what he can do similarly. I don't know if he can code up a version of the game on Tabletop Simulator, but there's a lot of good example here.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 2:10 am
  

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Adventurer

Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2001 1:01 am
Posts: 650
Not to put too fine a point on it, and before NMI of some other company stooge deletes this;

After watching it flail in its birth pangs, if it has any hope of success in the future, the cancellation is a good thing. It is an opportunity to take the lessons lashed out by both honest critics, and grieved prior Palladium customers, and turn out a product worth asking for hundreds of thousands of speculator dollars to produce;

The game was tragically underdeveloped. It sounded like it was a box of miniatures with some bar-napkin rules thrown in, and the ink was still wet. That might have actually sold if Palladium had done an in-house fund raiser like they did to publish the Northern Gun books. But in the competitive market of Kickstarter board games? That's just terrible business sense and planning.

It was deservedly the inheritor of boisterously grieved Robotech Kickstarter consumers, who have said for years if Palladium attempted another Kickstarter project before the Robotech protect was completed, they would scorched earth that attempt. Don't raise 1.4 million dollars for a project, and not deliver. Just don't. Full stop.

And it suffered from NOT being a Palladium product in name only. When you set up an LLC, but most of the developers/collaborators/people-with-hands-in-the-product, under your corporation are people from the corporation you say you're NOT, it rings a little hollow even if it is perfectly "on paper" legal. From where I sit, it appears Rogue Heroes may have leased the rights to make a Rifts board game, but it sure doesn't have any control over what it does with them.

Consequently, Rogue Heroes and the Rifts board game were, predictably, a piñata held out to be savaged for Palladium's business practices. And when they restart the fundraising campaign, that's not going to go away as long as Rogue Heroes tries to do anything with the Rifts IP. In this case, the sins of the intellectual and creative father are being paid by the son.

To wit, Disney may have bought Lucasfilm, but if they had George Lucas write, direct, and produce the sequel trilogy, it would still be a George Lucas product no matter how many Disney stickers they put on the toys.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 8:44 am
  

Dungeon Crawler

Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:14 pm
Posts: 293
I agree tpo some degree that the project was going to be the target of RTT hate (I backed RTT but did not feel obliged to comment on the Rifts BG KS itself) but making this the fundemental cause of failure is wring.

The Rifts BG project failed because it looked rushed, felt unfinished and did appear to be incorrectly pitched as regards price. It never really inspired any confidence that the actual gameplay was engaging enough or to be really honest that it would deliver on its promises, there did to be an almost naive belief that the core of Rifts/PB fans would carry it over the line without RHS putting any real effort into producing a product that was worthy of it.

The rules appeared to be still ito be in Carmen's head - or at best jotted in an exercise book, with a lot a crossing out. The description on Facebook was more detaailed but what we got in the Gameplay video was frankly meh and certainly did not sell any passing customer the game.

I can get by on paper maps (Mantic has done this on nearly all their recent mini/baoardgame hybrids) but having a colour rulebook as a stretch goal, not exactly awe inspiring, why not simply raise the goal funding to $125k? The Glitterbo is in many wany ways the poster child of Rifts, a stretch goal to get him rather tahn an add on would have paid dividends. Later gioals could have added things like a neoprene map replacement or more card tiles, extra heroes or tropps could be slotted in to boost when necessary.

This brings it all back around to pricing, a $100 for 19 minis, b&w rulebook, paper map and some cards/tokens was never gpoing to float anyone's boat. It would appear RHS really were looking at funding $200k plus to get the mini count to a reasonable 38+ when customer value kicked in, but that was always going to be tough.

Someone mentioned no money for advetising, er as a company how do you expect people to know about your product without telling them, That said there are plenty of free routes, BGG is an obvious one and not getting an entry was a bog mistake, Off trial test copies for review to known You Tube reviewers, you not only get honest feedback but idf the game is solid it encourages people to take a look Yes, they cannoy avoid using PB, but try to get the pushing done with a bit of respect to the already disgruntled thousands of RTT backers - seeing a KS from another firm getting all tyhe attention for months was, let us say frustrating.

SW Rifts showed that the IP can successfully fund and deliver on KS, but the Rifts BG will only do so if a more measured and professional approach is taken from the start


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:20 pm
  

Palladium Books® Freelance Writer

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2002 2:01 am
Posts: 4737
Location: Houstown, Lone Star
vitae_drinker wrote:
3. Add-ons were unrealistically priced. $32 for a glitter boy and pilot? What are you, Games Workshop? Hint, you're not. That should have been priced at about $20, and maybe give a Kickstarter early order discount of 10-20% ($15-$18 for backers).


I don't really have a dog in this hunt, other than wanting to see fellow author and game designer Carmen succeed, but I think this criticism is off the mark. $32 for a large miniature and a small accompanying miniature does not strike me as crazy. The KS price of $28 is definitely not.

The fact that Carmen is not Games Workshop is part of the reason it IS expensive. Economies of scale have a HUGE impact on miniatures, especially plastic ones. If the Kickstarter needs to fund with only 1000 or 2000 or even 3000 copies, it's tough to get that unit price down. A master and mold can be made for a metal or resin miniature for a couple hundred bucks, with the mold being replaced pretty often, but cheaply. The entry cost for plastic miniatures, particularly large ones, is many, many thousands of dollars. The mold for plastic lasts basically forever, but it takes thousands of cycles to get that cost to even out.

There's a GREAT analysis of it here: http://massiveawesome.com/miniature-myth-busting/

Doing a boxed game is a bit of a Catch 22. You're not 100% stuck with plastic miniatures, but it's by far your best bet. Resin miniatures break. Metal minis get warped and bend and are heavy. But you're looking at a minimum fabrication of 3000 miniatures or so for each unique piece.

As I can speak from experience, being a boutique creator is tough. I planned the absolute living hell out of my Kickstarter and STILL struggled with a lot of things, and a book is pretty easy to accomplish relative to a board game. Had Breachworld blown up initially and funded to $100,000 or something crazy, I'd have been absolutely screwed and probably lost my shirt, or had to cancel and regroup.

I guess the moral of the story is that Carmen and company did the right thing by pulling the KS and rethinking it. I expect that they'll be back with a fresh perspective. It's also important to remember that it's a Kickstarter, not a preorder. The whole purpose of crowdfunding is to get the advantage of "all or nothing." I'm sure Carmen knows how many of his games need to sell to make the thing viable, and if he doesn't get that many, then the whole thing is off. That's a great level of protection for a creator so he doesn't get stuck trying to deliver a product that puts him further in the red with every unit shipped.

To other criticisms and comments, I don't really have anything to add. I just thought the perspective of another small-time indie guy might be useful.

Game on.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:02 pm
  

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Rifts® Trivia Master

Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 3:37 pm
Posts: 13540
Location: Missouri
in regards to the advertising.. i actually attempted to spread the word to Bell of Lost Souls and Spikybitz. just as a fan, and i made it clear i was not affiliated with Carmen's business. since i know a lot of gamers follow those for news on 40K, Xwing, Infinity, etc. and both sites will make announcements about kickstarters and new games their followers might like.
BOLS never even responded, and the Spiky Bitz staffer i managed to contact's main concern was "how much budget does [carmen] have for buying advertising?" and "can you authorize the spending of any of it?"

unfortunately i suspect that many sites have the same attitude. getting advertising out through official channels is a tricky business and sometimes a rather expensive one.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:03 am
  

D-Bee

Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:33 am
Posts: 40
For those that still consider kickstarter merely a donation to a project and not a preorder system...the US legal system has weighed in again...

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/inde ... th_or.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/window-shop/i ... ation.html

*edit...this is regarding the coolest cooler kickstarter from 2014.


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