Sunday, May 7, 2017

Kickstarter Current Thoughts: 05-07-2017

Way back in the day, I backed many a Kickstarter projects.

Over the last say, two years, I've cut way back. Way back.

This is due to several factors.

Kickstarter is terrible at allowing a user to know what a vendor is about. There should be some type of dashboard that each vendor has where I can see customer satisfaction, how often they hit their marks, how late their product is, and other information. Things like posts before funding, posts after funding. It's always telling if you see that between the time a late project fulfilled and when it started the posts count goes way down.

Instead, we get what? Here's how many projects this company did. Wow. Thanks. That's not really useful information in telling me anything at a glance as I now have to delve into each project and see how they went.

It's 2017. Big data is a thing. This isn't some weird request to provide information that isn't instantly available with existing technology. Kickstarter, get your head into the game of providing better customer service!

Okay, so that's one.

Two, I've had trials and tribulations. Let's see, a few years ago, my formerly awesome mechanic just completely missed like $3,500 worth of repairs that my old Saturn needed. So it was new car time. New cars are expensive.

My mom's been hospitalized a few times. Life doesn't get easier when you have a chronic condition like diabetes.

I was hospitalized! Parking in an alley is awesome in most seasons but in the winter it's challenging. So challenging that I got caught on a huge snow mound and had to get underneath my car with a shovel to get out of it. The reward? A few slipped disks that prevented me from doing anything outside of laying down without being in excruciating pain. I was very lucky in that three months of physical therapy and a few shots to the spine were able to restore most of my mobility and make the pain manageable.

I was laid off! After 19 years at my last gig, they had decided, "You know, it makes more sense for us to have like, what, five job fairs and fire the people already working here" Corporate America for the win yeah?

That one worked out a bit better for me as I have a job making significantly more money and every time I talk to peeps from the old place they have some new issue to harp on.

Three, Kickstarter projects are often on sale. Anyone heard of Zombicide: Black Plague?

I didn't get the exclusives. I also didn't wait for it to be published. I also got it for 50% off. This doesn't count other board games that get deep discounts like The Others, another one I got for almost or 50% off. I ordered it and Amazon sent it to me the same day.

Anyone remember The Grand Temple of Jing? It was about this time I was starting to get leery of these games. I don't know if gamers are just terrible project managers or if they are a cursed lot of mankind because that project was massively late. two years or something late. I picked up my copy from The Miniature Market on some crazy blowout. Think I paid like $20 or $25 for it.  A Beautiful book by the way.

How about Razor Coast? Picked up the whole lot for more than 50% off.

So yeah, outside of some great exclusives or 'freebies' like giving you the PDF with the physical copy, I'm not seeing a lot of benefit for backing these Kickstarters when so many of them are just poorly managed and late.

Four, lack of accountability. Kickstarter continues to hide behind "it's not a preorder, it's funding a process" or some nonsense that if you took it to a bank and asked for a loan they'd laugh you out. As I alluded to above, way too many of the kick starters I've picked up have been the results of late or bad management. Heck, I didn't' even get started on Sedition Wars that decided for the good of the game to screw the initial backers in some obscure ways that didn't, by the way, make the good of the game viable.

On failures, I've backed? I was a backer of the Tome of Horrors, both of 'em. Should have known the warning signs on that one. Sigh. That doesn't count Drake.

That doesn't count some that are technically still going like Imbrian Art's where they're literally using new Kickstarter, sending out the goods to those people on the new Kickstarter first, and eventually will get to the original guys who sent them money. It's not that Jody isn't an awesome sculptor. It isn't that he hasn't had his own 'curses' but damn that's a shitty thing to do to people who originally believed in you.

 Another one that's long overdue is Assimilation Alien Host. It took in over $50 thousand and it's been bleeding out at a slow fraction. Thankfully the creator decided to actual start communicating with the backers again and on a regular basis and most people are happy with the communication skills and the slow but steady progress forward.

Five, there's awesome stuff out there right now! That isn't being Kickstarted! Don't get me wrong, I get that Kickstarter for many companies, like Goodman Games, is probably more of a marketing and preorder thing to engage with their potential customers than a vital necessity, but in the meantime, there are publications like Pathfinder Bestiary 6 out there.

You want it? You want it now? You simply go buy it. Done.

Sixth, I'm crazy. I have a problem just kind of backing a thing. Like there were some awesome awesome dwarf miniatures out recently, The Iron Crows!. My nature would've put me at a pretty high pledge level on that one.

Seventh, I'm not playing or painting! My new job is cool in that it's only four days a week, but it's four ten hour days, with an unpaid hour for lunch, and it's about an hour both ways so it's a thirteen hour day. Not complaining but it is a schedule that makes me pretty unavailable for anything during the week because I have to be up so early. And then on the weekend the dreaded adulting strikes! So even though I've bought the Other and Black Plague, I haven't done much more than look at them.

Why on earth would I back anything else?

Mind you there are a few I've backed just because they looked fun and were from companies that I trusted. In reality, I did not need to back Godoman Games and their new boxed set of the Duo but I like the Twain so even though I never used the Runequest stuff, I wanted to throw some support at them.

But overall? Yeah, my spending on Kickstarter, unless it gets serious about not only accountability, but customer friendliness in data sharing, is going to continue going down.

How about everyone else? How are you doing with Kickstarter? More? Less? The same? Am I way off my gourd here?