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What's important to you when looking at a board game on Kickstarter?

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Frank West
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Hey all,

I'm collecting feedback on "What's important to you when looking at a board game on Kickstarter?" and hoped a few people here might be willing to contribute and perhaps share it around.

Take the survey

I really want to get a good set of responses from both creators and backers to see how the thoughts vary between the 2 groups and of course will make the results public next week.

I realise some of the answers to these may seem obvious, but with the 50 responses this morning things have been interesting!

Hopefully the results of this will help either validate or refine current thinking on how to setup a Kickstarter page.

I Will Never Gr...
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Done, though your rankings

Done, though your rankings are odd (Make them Go Away, Not Important, Doesn't Matter .. wouldn't not important and doesn't matter be the same thing?)

A similar survey was done recently and the results were quite telling. I'll see if I can find it, but it was a few months ago so I'm not sure I will.

Frank West
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Thanks for taking the

Thanks for taking the time!

Is the survey you are thinking of this one?

http://www.ranker.com/list/tabletop-kickstarter-campaign-checklist/daniel-zayas

I think the info there is valuable but it's fairly different and the way the poll works (ranking stuff and showing other peoples answers) can introduce bias to popular answers.

Either way both resources should be good once this is complete and it's getting a big response so far!

I Will Never Gr...
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Frank West wrote:Thanks for

Frank West wrote:
Thanks for taking the time!

Is the survey you are thinking of this one?

http://www.ranker.com/list/tabletop-kickstarter-campaign-checklist/daniel-zayas

Not the one I was thinking of initially, but I do remember that one as well.

Frank West
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:
Frank West wrote:
Thanks for taking the time!

Is the survey you are thinking of this one?

http://www.ranker.com/list/tabletop-kickstarter-campaign-checklist/daniel-zayas

Not the one I was thinking of initially, but I do remember that one as well.

Interesting, I don't think I've seen another one.

questccg
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Forgot to add this...

What will turn me off RIGHT-AWAY, like 1 second and it's over: the KS GOAL!!!

If it's over $30,000 dollars - I'm saying the creator is a flipping idiot!

We all know that some KS are wildly successful - but the problem is the 0 Backed, 1 Created designers that set a goal like $45,000 (as an example). There is no way anyone will back such a project.

Like I said people back in the MILLIONS sometimes... But there is no way those $30k+ KS campaigns ever get any traction!

NUMBER 1: asking TOO MUCH money from the start = bad idea!

radioactivemouse
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What turns me off...

I know this may sound asinine, but if I see a KS, I'd like to see the creator prove or at least sound like they know what they're doing.

If they start off by saying "this is my first ever game" I'm already clicking the back button. I mean, if no one knows you, tell me why I should care.

Also, I hate HATE when like half (or more) of the video just talks about the story. When people don't even talk about the mechanics like they think someone is going to steal their idea, that's a big red flag.

Oh yeah, I hate it when PEOPLE CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON THIS FORUM ONLY TO POST ONE PROMO POST ABOUT THEIR GAME AND THEN BOUNCE! I'm not, in any way, referring to the OP, but people on this forum know what I'm talking about. I almost want to take the time to go out of my way to tell people HEY, DON'T BACK THAT DAMN RACCOON GAME!

Other things:

-The video has to have some enthusiasm...I see videos all the time where it looks like the creator appeared like they were on death row or were just so un-enthusiastic that it turned me off.
-I know I said it in the survey, but freakin' be original. I don't want to see your re-skin of Dominion in the Cthulhu mythos that features zombies. Give me another game mechanic...something different. Yea, it requires a lot of thought and work...welcome to the game industry.
-Be realistic. If you're a new designer, do a short run...don't ask for like $500,000 for a micro game.

Well like I said before, this post isn't a jab to the OP, more like this has been a way for me to air out my issues haha.

questccg
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So frustrating

radioactivemouse wrote:
...Oh yeah, I hate it when PEOPLE CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON THIS FORUM ONLY TO POST ONE PROMO POST ABOUT THEIR GAME AND THEN BOUNCE! I'm not, in any way, referring to the OP, but people on this forum know what I'm talking about. I almost want to take the time to go out of my way to tell people HEY, DON'T BACK THAT DAMN RACCOON GAME!

This too^!

I Will Never Gr...
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questccg wrote:What will turn

questccg wrote:
What will turn me off RIGHT-AWAY, like 1 second and it's over: the KS GOAL!!!

If it's over $30,000 dollars - I'm saying the creator is a flipping idiot!

We all know that some KS are wildly successful - but the problem is the 0 Backed, 1 Created designers that set a goal like $45,000 (as an example). There is no way anyone will back such a project.

Like I said people back in the MILLIONS sometimes... But there is no way those $30k+ KS campaigns ever get any traction!

NUMBER 1: asking TOO MUCH money from the start = bad idea!

This is pretty situational isn't it?

There are plenty of reasons a campaign could be looking for $30,000 and up and plenty of campaigns that, in fact, do look for $30K+ and do quite well.

Basing a decision strictly on a set $ amount is short sighted. You need to look at WHY they are looking for the amount they are, and if it's justified.

A simple card game? Absolutely no need for a goal that high.

A game with minis? Quite probably unless the creators are putting in a bunch of their own money if it barely makes it

A massive historical/fantasy/sci-fi strategy game with 100's (or 1000's) of pieces, a huge board and more? Definitely.

So many things go into the goal that there is no one size fits all here.

Frank West
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questccg wrote:What will turn

questccg wrote:
What will turn me off RIGHT-AWAY, like 1 second and it's over: the KS GOAL!!!

If it's over $30,000 dollars - I'm saying the creator is a flipping idiot!

We all know that some KS are wildly successful - but the problem is the 0 Backed, 1 Created designers that set a goal like $45,000 (as an example). There is no way anyone will back such a project.

Like I said people back in the MILLIONS sometimes... But there is no way those $30k+ KS campaigns ever get any traction!

NUMBER 1: asking TOO MUCH money from the start = bad idea!

This is interesting, does the content of the game/concept not play any part in this?

As someone who will shortly be launching his first campaign with a goal over $30,000 I'm intrigued.

There's certainly no realistic way for me to bring my goal down to that figure and whilst I know it's going to be a huge challenge, I feel that it is achievable if all the right boxes are ticked.

Frank West
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radioactivemouse wrote:I know

radioactivemouse wrote:
I know this may sound asinine, but if I see a KS, I'd like to see the creator prove or at least sound like they know what they're doing.

If they start off by saying "this is my first ever game" I'm already clicking the back button. I mean, if no one knows you, tell me why I should care.

Completely agree, certainly the biggest challenge for me has been to work out how I can give people that confidence from the start. I've put a huge amount of effort in trying to present the right information with the right tone but I guess I'll never know if I got it right until I launch.

radioactivemouse wrote:

Also, I hate HATE when like half (or more) of the video just talks about the story. When people don't even talk about the mechanics like they think someone is going to steal their idea, that's a big red flag.

I've found this to be a tough balance, I'm creating a story driven game which I hope to sell on both the mechanics and the immersive nature of what it offers.

When I first started planning my video I decided to keep the story part to 20 seconds and rest of the video to 1 minute 40. I still go back and fourth wondering whether the story part should be longer/shorter. It feels by having it so short I'm doing the huge world behind the game an injustice, but I also believe it just needs to set the scene and get to the "game" as quickly as possible.

radioactivemouse wrote:

Oh yeah, I hate it when PEOPLE CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON THIS FORUM ONLY TO POST ONE PROMO POST ABOUT THEIR GAME AND THEN BOUNCE! I'm not, in any way, referring to the OP, but people on this forum know what I'm talking about. I almost want to take the time to go out of my way to tell people HEY, DON'T BACK THAT DAMN RACCOON GAME!

I see this a lot as well, I understand why people do it but I'd rather not be that guy. I appreciate I obviously have a campaign coming up soon and have "just appeared" but I'm certainly hoping to at least contribute some stuff and be a bit more involved before I start screaming and shouting about my game.

radioactivemouse wrote:

Other things:

-The video has to have some enthusiasm...I see videos all the time where it looks like the creator appeared like they were on death row or were just so un-enthusiastic that it turned me off.
-I know I said it in the survey, but freakin' be original. I don't want to see your re-skin of Dominion in the Cthulhu mythos that features zombies. Give me another game mechanic...something different. Yea, it requires a lot of thought and work...welcome to the game industry.
-Be realistic. If you're a new designer, do a short run...don't ask for like $500,000 for a micro game.

Well like I said before, this post isn't a jab to the OP, more like this has been a way for me to air out my issues haha.

You raised some great points, no offence taken!

Thanks for taking the time

ElKobold
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Frank West wrote:There's

Frank West wrote:

There's certainly no realistic way for me to bring my goal down to that figure and whilst I know it's going to be a huge challenge,

For example you seem to have borderless cards. Do you really need that from the start?
The price difference between cards with bleed and without is huge for small print runs.

Frank West wrote:

I feel that it is achievable if all the right boxes are ticked.

Of course it is achievable.

Depends on the game, presentation, components, existing following, advertisement etc. etc.

Frank West
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As a general update to my

As a general update to my original post.

The survey has had well over 500 people respond now and there are about 16,000 answers/votes.

I'll leave it open for a few more days and start posting results next week for anyone interested.

Frank West
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ElKobold wrote:Frank West

ElKobold wrote:
Frank West wrote:

There's certainly no realistic way for me to bring my goal down to that figure and whilst I know it's going to be a huge challenge,

For example you seem to have borderless cards. Do you really need that from the start?
The price difference between cards with bleed and without is huge for small print runs.

Apologies, I missed this earlier.

I've been told by my manufacturer the price for printing is the same with or without borders as long as there is enough margin/bleed on the card. So as far as I'm aware having no border wont impact our costs.

But it's certainly something I can re-raise with them to be sure.

I Will Never Gr...
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misreading ftl!

Misread .. oops .. please ignore this response.

questccg
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Take a look at these figures!

Frank West wrote:
...As someone who will shortly be launching his first campaign with a goal over $30,000 I'm intrigued.

Then IMHO you need to re-assess your project.

Just on figures alone, this is a very HIGH objective. And it will turn away a lot of people. And I'm talking about the BASIC FUNDING GOAL. Not stretch goals that can go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the goal you set to be successful AT THE MINIMUM.

In my opinion if you are setting your GOAL that high... Your projections are incorrect or you have something that's blocking you.

Let me make some assumptions:

  • This is your FIRST created KS.
  • You've backed at least some OTHER KS in the past.

The odds are you'll probably get 200 backers or less. So let's assume your game's reward is $50 USD. That means your goal = $10,000 USD. See how simple the math is???

Now IF you are basing everything because you MUST order 1,000 units of your game... That's where the problem lies. You won't get 1,000 backers. At least basing myself on the odds of a FIRST KS.

Using the amount of units, your goal = $50,000 USD. And here is the problem... Your projections are incorrect. You're basing it on 1,000 units that you need to have made.

Another problem, minimum manufacturing cost. Say your retail is $50 USD and you used a 5x multiplier. This means your game costs $10 USD to make. Make the computation of $10 USD x 1,000 units = $10,000 USD!!! So to cover yourself the total price to MAKE the game is $10k. This is realistic and feasible. Because we just computed 200 backers = $10k in KS backing.

Maybe you give FREE shipping or you charge extra. Your decision.

Getting back to the GOAL: if your game costs $20 USD to make. That means to cover the game, it would cost $20k... Also still REASONABLE... It's UNDER the $30k mark. And realize that $20 USD to MAKE is HIGH. It means you need to retail your game for 5x or $100 USD...

I think ALL games should be LESS that $100 USD to buy... Otherwise my guess is that nobody will buy the game because the Reward price is TOO HIGH.

Frank West wrote:
There's certainly no realistic way for me to bring my goal down to that figure and whilst I know it's going to be a huge challenge, I feel that it is achievable if all the right boxes are ticked.

I've shown you HOW a KS can be no more than $30k... Even that is BORDERLINE. maybe $20k-25k is more reasonable. Giving you CONCRETE figures, my guess is that the game's goal should be $20k maximum.

Don't say that nobody warned you...

questccg
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How do you make any money???

So the KS GOAL is the minimum, to cover costs of making the game, and let's say with a minimum of 1,000 units.

Let's say you goal is $10k (because your cost to make is $10 USD and therefore your 5x multiple Retail price point = $50 USD). That's still reasonable. Would you spend upwards of $50 USD on a KS game?!

Getting back to HOW do you make money.

Say you get 200 backers at $50. So you make $10k. GREAT you made it... Now is where you can make the money: by getting backers over the 200 all the way until you reach 1,000.

Your minimum marker = 200 and your ceiling (for the sake of explanation) = 1,000.

If you get 600 backers, you make $30,000! Remember I explained how this was TOO HIGH of a goal?! Well it is... but it doesn't mean that you won't get there...

This means that you make $20k pure profit... And that's how you make money on KS...! All expenses for making the game are covered in the FIRST $10k... leaving the rest for you to make money on.

After the KS, you can still try to sell via Amazon online (for example) and see if you can liquidate those 400 or so units. Maybe check out distribution too.

Anyways I hope this explains a bit on how to KS "properly"...

questccg
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More on the logical side

Why is it done like this???

Well assume you make $29,750 in money and your goal was $30,000 USD. You'd lose all that you gained, just because you didn't make your goal.

Now it $10k is your base minimum, if you get LESS money, you're in a HOLE and in the RED... So at that level, you WANT KS to say: "Not Funded!" But ABOVE the $10k GOAL, you're golden...

That's a little bit about how to KS the right way.

And just in case you think this is pure BS, read Jamey Stegmeir's thoughts on KS goals... You'll see they're not far from what I have been explaining to you:

http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-7-the-funding-goal/

And he has funded games into the over $1M dollars!

Oh and BTW I would charge EXTRA for shipping... Just because this is your FIRST KS and you don't want to get screwed by shipping costs - which are a rather substantial chunk of money...

Frank West
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Hey questccg, thanks for

Hey questccg, thanks for taking the time to write this up.

I completely agree, running a campaign with a $10,000 goal as a first game is the right thing to do. It is the safest thing to do with the highest chance of success, and it even offers the chance to make a profit if things go well.

You are also correct in assuming this is my first personal campaign, although I have been involved in a other peoples campaigns. And yes, I have backed games on Kickstarter before (over 150 in fact).

I have also spent the last 2 years studying Kickstarter trends, analysing options and getting a firm understanding of what it takes to be successful. In fact, one of the reasons for the survey listed in this post is to further that understanding and to validate general opinions within the community with real statistics.

And do you know what most of that research has said? Exactly what you said, make a small game with a small goal and build up from there.

I agree with all your points except one, which is the “I hope this explains how to do KS ‘properly’”. I agree it’s certainly the safest way to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way.

A long time ago I set myself a path, I wanted to try something different, go against the data and take a risk. I’m tired of seeing so many first time creators following the rules and I imagine a world of innovation where Kickstarter is about backing great new ideas, rather than simple safe concepts.

Now don’t get me wrong, some of those games are great, and Kickstarter (for board games) will never be as I just described. But I still intend to take that risk.

I am confident once my Kickstarter has launched that people who choose to look will see the value in the offering, that they will understand the higher goal and I hope that they will be willing to back it.

You’re probably right, I’ll probably fall short and fail.

But I’m certainly going to try my hardest to succeed and I look forward to further discussions on this with you and others, hoping to learn as much as possible to increase my chances.

questccg
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Try, try, again!

Frank West wrote:
...You’re probably right, I’ll probably fall short and fail.

Don't worry, you can always try again, with a more reasonable goal!

I'm just telling you, as per your survey, IF I see anything over $25,000 USD - there is no way I'm going to back it...!

I don't care what the game has, it could have miniatures made of solid gold. And I'm sure there are others like me... that feel the same.

Cheers and best of luck with your game!

ElKobold
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questccg wrote: I'm just

questccg wrote:

I'm just telling you, as per your survey, IF I see anything over $25,000 USD - there is no way I'm going to back it...!

I'm pretty sure you are a minority in this.

The Professor
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Difficult road

Frank,

I certainly admire your commitment, but as you've already noted through your own analysis, it's difficult to fund on KS. Less than 40% of TableTop games succeed, and a very small percentage of those that do succeed, do so in a significant fashion. As someone who has helped others, including a company for which I'm now a designer, I strongly urge you to strip away as much chrome as possible...don't change the game, just the shiny bits, to bring your funding goal down to a more reasonable level. No one will wish you ill on this site, but many will be surprised if a first time creator meets such an audacious goal.

Cheers,
Joe

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ElKobold wrote:questccg

ElKobold wrote:
questccg wrote:

I'm just telling you, as per your survey, IF I see anything over $25,000 USD - there is no way I'm going to back it...!

I'm pretty sure you are a minority in this.

I'd say you're correct ElKobold. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people don't consider the funding goal as a make or break item (merely part of a whole).

I've just followed at least a dozen first time creators with a $30K (or higher) goal that succeeded because they have a viable product, for a decent price, excellent marketing, excellent reviews and they networked the heck out of the game for the previous year (or more) at conventions, game stores, protospiels, designer nights and more.

I've also followed first time creators with $5000 goals who failed because they failed to do the above.

Quest : All I can say about your synopsis of "how to run a KS" is that you're really reallllly missing a lot of the details that are used to determine a goal.

Kickstarter goal is not all about "Game costs $X to manufacture (minimum quantity) so goal = $X".

Some things that need to be considered (and this is not an exhaustive list);

Manufacturing Quote
Add-ons
Sculpts (if you have minis)
Box art
Card art
Board art
Graphic Design (manual, cards, box, advertising, etc)
Marketing
Prototypes
Local sales tax
Bar codes
Freight shipping (all games)
Fulfillment
Kickstarter fees (5%)
Stripe fees (4-5%)
Margin of error (5-10%)

Yes .. all those things can (and should) be included in a Kickstarter goal unless you're willing to eat those costs yourself (which most people cannot).

questccg
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Viticulture was priced at $25k, Scythe at $33k

Don't you find it ODD that the "Master" of KS, Jamey Stegmeir AND I QUOTE:

Now, does this mean you should set your funding goal at $39k? Definitely not. A goal that high will ward away some backers. So this is where you need to start considering how much you’re personally willing to invest, and you can hope that you’ll be able to sell some of the mass-market versions of the game.

We may be in a minority - but it's EASY for us to recognize inexperienced KS campaigns. Anything over $30k is out for me. Unless you are Jamey... He went JUST A LITTLE over $30k (to be exact $33k) for Scythe.

And he made millions. So if a guy that's made MILLIONS on KS says a GOAL of $39k is TOO HIGH - I would heed his advice. I'm not making up this goal stigma. It's real...

And why many games with $5k goal don't succeed - is pretty basic: unknowns. Like I said first time KS-ers should expect about 200 backers. And that may have gone down since I have seen SUCCESSFUL games at LESS than 200 backers.

So I'm not making it up. Maybe you don't agree with me... That's your choice. But I'm telling you, a certain percentage of people look at the funding goal and say: "Hmmm..."

But you are entitled to your own opinion.

Frank West
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The Professor wrote:Frank,

The Professor wrote:
Frank,

I certainly admire your commitment, but as you've already noted through your own analysis, it's difficult to fund on KS. Less than 40% of TableTop games succeed, and a very small percentage of those that do succeed, do so in a significant fashion. As someone who has helped others, including a company for which I'm now a designer, I strongly urge you to strip away as much chrome as possible...don't change the game, just the shiny bits, to bring your funding goal down to a more reasonable level. No one will wish you ill on this site, but many will be surprised if a first time creator meets such an audacious goal.

Cheers,
Joe

Hey Joe, thanks for contributing. Reading back over my last post I should probably clarify something.

I'm not against reducing the price, stripping out the shiny bits (putting them into stretch goals) and cutting things where it makes sense. My intention was to state I'm comfortable making a big, more expensive game at the start rather than a small one.

In fact, I was going to launch the game in January as everything was ready, but have delayed by 2 months~ in order to work with manufacturers to reduce the cost. We've stripped back a lot of stuff, reduced quality where it's appropriate and actually now saved $7/game (just in manufacturing costs) which is a huge amount. I've also worked with 13 freighting and fulfilment companies to work out the best, cheapest options for shipping and reducing our average shipping cost by 50% too.

The goal has always been to offer the same game in the best way at the most affordable cost.

radioactivemouse
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Response

Frank West wrote:

Completely agree, certainly the biggest challenge for me has been to work out how I can give people that confidence from the start. I've put a huge amount of effort in trying to present the right information with the right tone but I guess I'll never know if I got it right until I launch.

It's rough trying to convince people that you're legitimate enough for them to part with their money. Even with the credits I have in both the video and analog game industries, I am hesitant to create a Kickstarter because I need to approach it KNOWING I'm going to successfully fund, which means having ALL my ducks in a row...and I don't think most people that launch campaigns realize that.

Frank West wrote:

I've found this to be a tough balance, I'm creating a story driven game which I hope to sell on both the mechanics and the immersive nature of what it offers.

When I first started planning my video I decided to keep the story part to 20 seconds and rest of the video to 1 minute 40. I still go back and fourth wondering whether the story part should be longer/shorter. It feels by having it so short I'm doing the huge world behind the game an injustice, but I also believe it just needs to set the scene and get to the "game" as quickly as possible.

To be honest, I'd shorten it to like 10 seconds. If you're launching a KS about funding a movie, by all means, talk about the story. But people buy games because of the gameplay, with the story being secondary...even tertiary. The only time I'd back a project based mainly on story is if it's something I know is already successful (i.e. based on a successful book or IP). Very rarely will I fund on a story...and that story has to be so unique that I've never seen anything like it.

Frank West wrote:

I see this a lot as well, I understand why people do it but I'd rather not be that guy. I appreciate I obviously have a campaign coming up soon and have "just appeared" but I'm certainly hoping to at least contribute some stuff and be a bit more involved before I start screaming and shouting about my game.

By responding to your thread, you've demonstrated that you care about the project over its advertisement. I can tell you care, and that means a lot.

lewpuls
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In shops, stories sell games.

In shops, stories sell games. That's why so many abstract Eurostyle games have atmospheres (stories that don't actually affect how the game is designed or played) tacked on.

On KS I think "oh shiny" sells games. (Mind you, I've never backed a game on KS, though I've backed other things.) I'm particularly minded of Michael Tresca saying he backs games for the minis, not for the game itself.

My take on the whole of KS is (free) at:
https://youtu.be/18sThKQgXjI

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