I’ve been a huge fan and supporter of crowdfunding campaigns in the tabletop space for a long time. I’m a Superbacker on Kickstarter and have previewed and backed my fair share of both great and terrible games. I’ve supported friends, small publishers, and startups, helping in my little way to get their games created. While I’m still a fan of crowdfunding, to a point, I’m completely burnt out on it.
There are many reasons for this: some financial, some mental, and some ethical. On the one hand, I still champion indie designers, small publishers, and innovated creators who create unusual items that otherwise couldn’t survive in the “standard” retail world. On the other, I’m sick of large, established companies using Kickstarter as more of a preorder engine or advertising platform to pump out piles of plastic and cardboard in quantities that are obscene, even before they finish fulfilling rewards from previous campaigns.
For those of you who listen to the Chaotic Good Cast, I’ve made my opinions pretty clear on this. I know there’s a lot of people out there who disagree with me. Honestly, you can do what you want with your money, but I can’t anymore. There are too many projects out there with so much “exclusive” backer content that feels like it’s part of the full game, just slapped behind a pay gate of more money. Companies that bank on people’s FOMO to get that little bit of extra money.
It seems every day new projects are launching, and the prices expected for even a base game are getting higher and higher. We see more games aimed at the $80+ price range than quality games in the $20-$50 field. That’s not to say there aren’t fantastic projects out there. It’s just that most of the time, these vast companies overshadow the smaller ones, even if the quality of the smaller game is better.
Every day I receive more opportunities to “preview” a Kickstarter prototype than I do finished games. It’s one of the reasons why I initially charged for crowdfunding previews and then eventually just stopped doing them altogether. The overwhelming amount of requests became too much to keep up handling. The demands of creators become more and unrealistic.
Crowdfunding is the new hotness and has been for some time. Everyone and their mother is crowdfunding games, and it feels like there are not enough dollars to go around. I used to back many projects at the $1 level to show my support, but even that was adding up to more than I could realistically spend per month. Now I rarely toss a dollar in unless a good friend is running a campaign.
So where do we go from here? When will the masses burnout on crowdfunding? Will they ever burn out? Maybe I’m just one cranky old man screaming from my lonely mountaintop. It certainly feels that way sometimes. There may be a day when I feel like I can back a substantial project in good faith. I don’t see that coming any time soon.
I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this subject. Leave a comment below with your relationship with crowdfunding. Love it? Hate it? Why? I’d love to know!
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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