During the month of August, I’m participating in RPG a Day 2017. Each day I’ll answer a question, or my interpretation of a question, about tabletop roleplaying games. For those who have wanted your beloved UncleBear to get back into RPG blogging, this is the closest you’re going to get.
What Has Been the Best-Run RPG Kickstarter You Have Backed?
The question assumes that all gamers back a reasonable number of crowdfunding campaigns. I have backed very few, and in truth it has been at least a couple of years since the last one that I backed. Does that mean I’m not a “real” gamer any more? I purchase a great many games, things that already exist, from publishers both large and small, so no one can accuse me of not supporting the community.
While I recognize that it has been a boon to many, I just have issues with the whole crowdfunding model. On one side there are the undercapitalized professionals who genuinely need the thing. They will put out a high quality product, but they need to both gauge interest and raise money for a very expensive print run. I get it, and I heartily endorse those people. These folks fall into the category of “if I had more money and wouldn’t have to pay more on international shipping than I pledged for the product, I would back them”.
On the other side are the struggling creators who just want to make a thing, but the “community” has defined how they need to do it. They don’t want to have a dozen backer levels with unlocking rewards and all sorts of balls and whistles that they’ll need to fulfill. They just want to fund their simple thing. I would back most of these folks, if their thing looks cool. I don’t need all of the rewards and extras and clutter. But to succeed, they need to produce a crowdfunding campaign on the same level as the larger publishers, which, to me, defeats the whole purpose of Kickstarter to begin with.
My final gripes is that it often becomes difficult to tell the difference between an underfunded professional and a delusional amateur. I’m not just talking about game design, either. This includes business. There are people who will make a great product but have no clue how to realistically fulfill it no matter how much the campaign exceeds its funding goal by. There are people who will hit all of the marks to get the product out, but they aren’t especially well-versed in how to create a game. They think they can pull something off, and they only learn that they can’t after they’ve taken money from people and spent it. I have weird, old-fashioned ethical issues here.
So, to sum up, while it seems like I want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, I would back more campaign if I had more money to do so. The above rambling would be the basis for the criteria I’d use regarding what I backed. And I resent the implication that I’m not one of the cool kids because a significant portion of my life as a gamer doesn’t revolve around watching Kickstarter.