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Judging a Kickstarter by its cover?

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jonathanflike
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So I've started this nightly ritual of psychoanalyzing Kickstarters at the very superficial level as to why they don't get funded and wanted some outside thoughts on this. There are some gorgeous Kickstarters that just don't make their goal whether it being too high of a goal or the game play itself looks murky, and then there are some hideous looking Kickstarters that do well. Though there are a ton of factors that go into a successful Kickstarter versus an unsuccessful one, what to you think the percentages are of people drawn into and funding something that looks polished and completed versus someone who just has a solid tribe. Are people filtering out the looks of a game in general or is it still an important part of the design? I've followed a few re-releases with almost nothing reworked in the re-release and then it succeeds. Is a failed initial Kickstarter a good way of building a tribe? That's a second question I suppose.

mongoosedog
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Exactly. I am guilty of

Exactly. I am guilty of liking the shiny one though. Planetarium was one of those games that I saw the art and made a decision.

adversitygames
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If a game looks bad I wont

If a game looks bad I wont like it
If a game plays bad I wont like it
Both factors need to be right for me to be interested

But it's *much* easier to tell if a game looks bad with a superficial scan, so a lot of games fail that hurdle and I rule them out right away

If the art passes, I take a closer look and examine the rules (gameplay video/description), this takes longer and more thought so it's a lot of time wasted if I do this first (since I might quickly dismiss it for looking bad, so end up wasting the time I spent analysing the game)

Then if it passes both, I back.

I can't add much answering your specific question (ie percentages) but thought this might be informative of possible reasons people make the decisions they do

jonathanflike
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Thanks for the insight.

@Mongoosedog, yeah I am pretty guilty of being a little hard on the not so pretty games, ignoring any possibility that it may provide some good game mechanics. It almost seems like the ugly games that make it are the ones by pseudo-internet celebrities that have a decent following, so I guess the art is still pretty important on the surface level.

@Iamseph, your process makes sense. I think others on the forums have talked about whether people even watch the videos on Kickstarters, and your response kind of answers that. If videos aren't being watch it could be because the game isn't passing the visual or presentation tests people are putting on the game. Yeah I don't think there are quantifiable percentages, I was thinking more gut reaction, but it seems like visual takes a huge percentage if it keeps people from watching videos or looking at game play elements.

The Professor
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Fortunately, many fail!

Now, I don't write that to be mean or insulting to those who have attempted running a Kickstarter (KS), but for someone who has run several successful ones and been involved with a board game KS that did very well, I'm pleased to see that only 25% or so actually make their Goal and of the ones that do, a very high percentage of those reach the 101%-150% of Goal range.

When you're launching your KS there are three things I want to see:

1.) Appealing, thematic art across all components, cards, board, etc.

2.) Rules...well-written and edited!

3.) An indication that the designers and developers have play-tested the game many times.

For the one running KS, it's imperative that they arrive on Launch Day with the Backers whom they've cultivated over weeks and months on Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media outlets.

Cheers,
Joe

Casamyr
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I'm much like Iamseph. My

I'm much like Iamseph. My initial parse of kickstarter is looking for games that have a title that catches my eye, or a thumbnail and blurb that looks interesting.

After that I'll go in and watch the video, check out game play vids, read the rulebook if it's up and so on. I may back then, or I may just star the game if I'm not a 100% sure and see what happens til mid way - check out updates, see how the comments are going and by that stage I get a good feel for what the game is about and will back or unstar.

I'd probably say I only do this to a very small number of games.

questccg
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Hmm... I am guilty of...

Seeing videos with awesome artwork and just as amazing production. Even amateur productions such a Dan Kriss:

$35k [Cancelled]: Amazing Video

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dannkrissgames/cthulhu-the-great-ol...

$8,500 [Unsuccessful]: Pretty awesome video also

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dannkrissgames/arkham-nights-lovecr...

$18k [Successful $27k]: A strange video

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dannkrissgames/cthulhu-the-great-ol...

$12k [Succesful $57k]: An awesome video too

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dannkrissgames/new-cthulhu-bicycle-...

I am amazed by the quality of these videos. And he keeps trying showing that a failure is not the end all. And a success can mean later another even more favorable success...

I think it has to be a blend of Video/Artwork/Presentation and Game Design/Expansion/Future Development of the game. Sort of buying into a franchise as opposed to a single one (1) game. People seem to want to help designers that produce quality work... What quality is based on, I am not 100% certain.

The Professor
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Some set-backs

Kris,

I know Dann, and we've corresponded on a number of occasions about the issue surrounding a KS which he has yet to fulfill. It's sad, but it speaks to the issue of planning everything exceptionally well before launching.

Cheers,
Joe

questccg
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Small world

That's unfortunate to hear that he is having "difficulties". I thought with his successes (KS), he would be better positioned in terms of being able to produce more quality games.

Now H.P. Lovecraft is not my thing. But still I like the Videos he produces.

PM the info - if it's not "confidential"! Would love to be better prepared for a KS than be "ignorant" (unforeseeable challenges are - well unknown!)

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