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D&D General When did Kickstarters become a bad deal

I started thinking about this today when my package for Dr. Dhrolin’s arrived empty with a note from the post office apologizing. It wasn’t really the post office’s fault. It was a thin cardboard wrap that was never going to survive international shipping. Shipping I paid between $20 and $30 for. When did Kickstarter become such a bad deal. I know, I know Kickstarter is not a store we are supporting a creative endeavor. But there used to be a lot more value to being a backer. My favorite KS of all time was the KP Demon Cults and Secret Societies. $29 for a softcover but if a certain number of backers was reached it became a hardback. Ended up paying $29 for a hardback and really one of my favorite books. Great deal for sure. Now most KS are more expensive when you back then when they end up in retail. That does not even include the shipping costs which are often very significant. Shipping costs that are not nearly as expensive when the books bought for a retailer. And I think most people have experienced seeing a book they back discounted 30-50% within a year. Just seems creators used to do a much better job incentivizing support in the past. After this latest fiasco ( pictures below) I think my days as a KS backer are over. I have backed dozens of projects but I don’t really think I should pay extra to support the project and assume all the risk.
 

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mamba

Legend
I am mostly backing PDFs, cheaper, faster, and do not take up precious room on a shelf. If you do it to get a better price but can also wait a year or two for a sale, then the latter is usually the better option. Back it for the playtest material (if any) or to support the creator, or simply not at all.
 

Clint_L

Hero
You're really overgeneralizing, here. What happened there wasn't Kickstarter's fault; blame the company that packed their materials so poorly. That is definitely shoddy and you're right to be mad at them. Kickstarter also isn't responsible for the post-pandemic surge in shipping prices.

As for Kickstarters themselves, I have backed several in the past year, and I consider them very safe bets. Two are from Reaper (technically, the Bones 6 KS was 18 months ago but it just closed today), two from Dwarven Forge, and one from CMON. That I can remember. Those are all offering excellent value.

But, you know, Kickstarter. It's basically a gamble. I don't back companies I don't trust to deliver, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, so you pays your money, you takes your chances.
 


Kurotowa

Legend
I don’t really think I should pay extra to support the project and assume all the risk.
That is literally the point of Kickstarter. It's not supposed to be a super early bird pre-order with sweetheart prices. It's democratizing the process of venture capital and crowdsourcing the risk. Those books you got at amazing rates? The creators probably lost money on those, because they didn't know how to properly budget and price their Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarters cost more now because more creators have figured out what the necessary price points are for these things.

If you don't want a risky Kickstarter, only back ones from established creators with a record of success. And even then it isn't a 100% guarantee; for that, wait to just buy it normally after release.
 

jgsugden

Legend
In the board game and RPG space we saw a number of factors cause everything to go south.

Freight and shipping costs have skyrocketed - so a lot of creators think they need to go with the cheapest shipping option available to not scare away / anger backers. This results in more problems with shipping.

We've also seen an increase in the number of true scams in these areas. Some products on KS have a much higher scam percentage than board games and RPGs - but we're seeing more and more in our space now. We're seeing names that people thought were safe come back and ask for the entire cost of the KS over again as additional costs. If you don't pay, you lose your initial investment and get nothing.

Even when they are not really scams, many are effectively scams due to mismanagement. There are a lot of KS where people underestimate how hard it is to produce and ship something - and despite their best intentions and despite their 'reasonable' cost estimates prior to beginning, they realize they need 50% more money than they raised in the KS if they are going to deliver - and they won't be able to deliver for a year longer than they thought.

I spent a lot on board games over the past few years, and a decent amount on RPG stuff as well. However, over the last year, my spending has gone waaaaaay down. It isn't because I don't want the products - it is because I don't trust the companies to deliver what they promise anymore. In the board game and RPG space, I feel like we're going to start to see crowdfunding see a reduction in use for a while.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I've had 3 KS that were bad experiences, because of issues with creator (Robotech Tactics, Eggshell Suits and now Monsterpocalypse). I don't go wild with Kickstarters, and have tried to stick to those that are well-established. I'm not a risk-taker despite what Kickstarter tries to say what it is, and all I'm in for is the product. There's also been several I've passed on because I know eventually I can get it at a retail store (with a discount), if I'm just patient. I'll gladly let someone else take the risk so I can be sure that the product I'll eventually get actually exists.

Have you checked to see if the item was shipped with postal insurance, or at least contacted the creator? I'd imagine the creator would at the least to want make things right for its customers.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
This will sound snarky, but I promise it's not: Be more picky on the campaigns you back.

I just got the Shadowark Kickstarter fulfilled and it is a ludicrously good deal. I haven't gotten burned in years (in the sense that I backed a bad product).

If you get even a whiff that a campaign is promising too much or the money doesn't make sense or the people don't know they're doing don't back it. You can pick it up later on, one way or another. (Very few campaigns don't have books that end up at Noble Knight and the like eventually.)
 

You're really overgeneralizing, here. What happened there wasn't Kickstarter's fault; blame the company that packed their materials so poorly. That is definitely shoddy and you're right to be mad at them. Kickstarter also isn't responsible for the post-pandemic surge in shipping prices.

As for Kickstarters themselves, I have backed several in the past year, and I consider them very safe bets. Two are from Reaper (technically, the Bones 6 KS was 18 months ago but it just closed today), two from Dwarven Forge, and one from CMON. That I can remember. Those are all offering excellent value.

But, you know, Kickstarter. It's basically a gamble. I don't back companies I don't trust to deliver, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, so you pays your money, you takes your chances.
I think you are missing the broader point. It is not about KS as a company. There was a time a lot of KS projects found a way to offer value for backers in exchange for backers assuming some of the risk. Now most projects are as expensive or more expensive on KS then they will be in retail. It has not always been that way.
 


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