Monday, January 12

Why Aren't I KickStarting?

Since announcing my intention to get back into board publishing as part of my 2015 goals post last week, the question I've been asked the most is:
So, why aren't you KickStarting the (yet to be decided!) game?
It was the first question the guys at Newcastle Playtest asked and the first question that came up on twitter too. I've spoken at length before about my concerns with KickStarter for board game publishing, but to be honest that wasn't really the deciding factor.

When I started Reiver Games back in 2006 my family consisted of myself and The Wife. The Wife was in the middle of a PhD and fairly busy so I had some time to kill in the evenings. I was quite happy to commit to 300 hours of Border Reivers assembly plus the numerous hours I spent posting copies and on promotion and half-arsed marketing.

These days things have changed. I'm now a dad and I want to spend my free time with The Wife and The Daughter doing family things and enjoying these fleeting moments of The Daughter's childhood. When The Daughter goes to bed, I want to spend time with The Wife. My priorities are totally different. So I can't commit to a massive expenditure of time. Which makes making the games by hand sound even more ridiculous, but it's not. There's method to my madness (I hope).

With a small run there's less monetary investment and much less worrying about stock clearance. I don't need to market to shops and distributors (which took a lot of effort) to get widespread availability and I don't have to worry about ongoing warehousing costs. Plus, I've done this all before, so I've got experience and knowledge, plus (I hope) some potential customers from my Reiver Games days.

But probably the biggest benefit is a known budget in terms of both time and cost. With KickStarter, people expect you to offer stretch goals and different pledge levels. Until the KickStarter is complete and you know exactly how much money you've raised and how many people you've got at each level you've no idea what you're letting yourself in for. I've got a full time job and a family, the last thing I need on top of that is an unspecified amount of work I have to do in my spare time that I'm contractually (and morally) obliged to.

With a run of 50 or a hundred copies, where each copy takes about an hour to construct, I know exactly what I'm letting myself in for. Plus, I don't expect to have sold out of the print run before I start it, so initially there will be less that than amount of work and then just a trickling amount from then on as the last of the stock slowly sells through.

This is something I can prepare for and plan for, and something I can do in my evenings after The Daughter goes to sleep. It's achievable around my job and my family, both of which I consider higher priorities.

This time round I'm not in it to make a fortune, or to try and go full time, I'm just in it to make games and hopefully bring some gaming joy to some of my customers.

Oh, and I've already got two pre-orders, despite the fact that they don't know which game it is yet!

In other news, this week I managed to make it to Newcastle Gamers for the first time since October! It was a great evening and I managed to get in three games, two of which contribute towards my goal of having played every game I own at least ten times. Both the games I played on Games Night helped as well! Off to a good start...


Steven Davis said...

I am also looking at producing games in smaller lots or on demand.

One part of this is that you are also freed from a lot of the design and component constraints of traditional board games

Konrad said...

Alban Viard pretty much summed it up "200 games... that's 3 months of free time (including weekends)".

So it is a harsh undertaking.

I admit, I own his hand made games, as well as a copy of the original "Border Reivers" run... I never found a copy of the first run of "It's Alive"... but I am a fan of true hand made quality.

Steve said...

Make that 3 pre-orders!
Despite the best attempts of a leaky tent a couple of years ago, I still have a complete set of Reiver Games. Can't stop now :0)
Just let me know how much you want and when you want it!

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Steven,

Very true. It's a labour of love though! Best of luck with your endeavours.

Hiya Konrad,

Yeah, the amount of work can be huge. Border Reivers took 3 hours a copy, I'm looking to do something simpler this time!

Hiiya Steve,

You're number 4! Thanks very much for your support then and now.