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The Kickstarter thread

I love eric lang and I’ve been beyond excited for Rising Sun. Games about diplomacy and negotiation are my absolute jam, and the mechanics have taken inspiration from the alliance system from Rex, which is one of the best ideas that I’ve never seen repeated. The minis look awesome, the art is amazing … but the whole game seems like it suffers from Orientalism.

I’m not an expert at all on japanese mythology, but I’ve done some research and they’re taking a lot of liberties.

  • The Panda and Monkey King are from China. Like people have said, it’s kind of fucked up to include them. Sure, Eric Lang likes pandas, but he didn’t throw a panda into Blood Rage, right? Because those are two different cultures and it would have obviously stuck out as a dumb idea?
  • The Phoenix is from Greek and Arabian Mythology. The Japanese phoenix - the Hō-ō - doesn’t have the ability to return from death. It’s an interesting creature. It has "the front of a swan, the hinder parts of a unicorn, the throat of a swallow, the bill of a chicken, the neck of a snake, the stripes of a dragon, and the arched back of a tortoise. " “It has many miraculous attributes, but not self-rejuvenation, and does not possess the Arabian phoenix’s propensity for self-immolation.”
  • The Koneko seems to be made up completely. It means Kitten in Japanese, but I can’t find any myth or legend surrounding it. I think it’s been made up wholecloth.

I want to love it so much! Does anyone know if they engaged with any historians, experts, anything like that?

EDIT: I was wrong about the Monkey - it’s a Kotahi, a legendary monkey-creature from japanese folklore, not the monkey king from Chinese folklore. Obviously I just don’t know enough about the subject to make a call here. I wish I could get more information from someone who knows about the subject.


Biggest thing I was off-put by Rising Sun so far is the price–I was expecting something like Blood Rage, which was $70-$75 (…but back up to $100 if you added in the 5 player expansion).

As good as the differences in Rising Sun from Blood Rage seem, I’m not sure I need it with Blood Rage still in my collection. …however, I do know that if I do want RS, I’ll also want all the exclusives without paying through the nose for them later.

As beautiful as they are–I kinda wish they had a pledge without minis. I know, it’s CMON, and the universe would probably implode if they cut minis out of one of the games–but really, extra sculpts? That’s just gratuitous (as it was in Blood Rage–and it actually detracts from the game, as it’s harder to tell which bits are which).

It’s one thing to have minis in a tactical battler type game, where there’s extra atmosphere from imagining the little figures gripped in battle–but for a wider scope area control game, where each figure represents maybe hundreds or thousands of troops–I dunno, it kinda breaks the theater of the board for me.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll break down, but what would have been an instant pledge at $70 or even $80 is now a wait and see situation.

Too bad–I’ve been a bit let down by all my big anticipated KS games so far–RS, Empires of the Void, and Thunderstone Quest all underwhelming.

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The alternative way of doing stretch goals is far worse so I’m surprised you bring up the planing. If they include stretch goals at all (an argument unto itself), including unplanned, untested goals wastes money and time. It eats into profits substantially, introduces far more unexpected problems, and leads to less time for testing and prototyping and other necessary steps before antsy backers start requesting (often reasonably) refunds. It’s a bad, bad practice. If you’re going to do stretch goals, plan ahead. Period.

To me this is the same silly logic behind opposing Day 1 DLC. Providing we’re using a DLC model in the first place (again, a separate and interesting argument), it’s usually prudent to divide the labor such that finishing touches on the final game free up portions of the team to work on other things–including other games. Some of these team members can be put onto the DLC pipeline instead of onto other projects. Some of these DLC pipeline projects can be completed fast enough–especially if there are delays in the main game release cycle–that they’re ready to go very close to launch or even before launch. Releasing this content close to launch while people are interested in the product often improves the chances people will buy it. We can debate the “ethics” of DLC and such tactics or debate other problems with the DLC (or stretch goal, or what-have-you) models but one principle is pretty difficult to argue with: if you’re going to produce extra content or produce multiple versions of a game with different content, you owe it to your own business and to your customers to approach that in the most efficient and effective way possible. That means planning ahead and using resources–including staff–efficiently.


Huh, I stand corrected. I also assumed that the monkey was inspired by the Monkey King (mainly due to it being depicted using a staff).

For me, I skipped Blood Rage and love the idea of alliances, so it was a no brainer. I was a bit concerned they’d scrimp on the extras this time, but so far there’s 6 or 7 exclusive figures plus upgraded exclusive components (and people think the included non-exclusive onis will become an additional expansion at retail) so that eases my mind. It is expensive, but when you factor it per miniature it’s pretty cheap (~65 minis for ~$115).

That said the miniatures are completely gratuitous for what the game needs, but I have no dudes on a map games so it would be nice to have one game that stands out in my collection - it is 100% theatre. It looks like they’ve left enough space for all the minis this time at least.

Oh, and the most interesting thing is, the pictures of Japanese monkey legends are all pictures of MACAQUES!!! They’ve taken the imagery of the Tao monkey god - fiery hair on a monkey with long tail and a staff.

Did you find the story of kotahi? I can’t find anything on Google.

PS here’s a picture of a macaque riding a koi

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I love Blood Rage and pretty much everything that Eric Lang does. Buuuuut I’m super not into body horror and grotesquery. Also, $120 when you take shipping into account and it won’t turn up for almost a year.

Really conflicted on this one :confused:

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I could only find it on this list in wikipedia.

"Kōtahi (コタヒ) -A Manawa Bradford, a spirit monkey that is very hairy and gets engulfed in rage. The “Kotahi” is also commonly referred to as “カノト”

There’s no actual article on it, though. It’s hard to find information on any of these creatures on google.

For me, this is one where I can wait for retail without feeling I’m missing out.
Might be due to the fact that I already received gratuitious mini madness from Lang’s last two CMON games, but, as mentioned above, what is basically an area control game with diplomacy doesn’t really need minis. So I will be good with the ones in the retail box, and only paying half (and eventually getting the game in German).

The price is what’s putting me off of this one too. I’m interested in the game and would love to support Eric Lang, but the price is just exhorbitant. With shipping it’s about $155 Canadian. By comparison, Blood Rage retails for just $70 Canadian at my flgs. There’s very little chance I will back this given that I could buy 3 other very good games for that price, and I’m more interested in the game than the miniatures.

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It’s kind of ironic that a game that might be Lang’s best with CMON so far and looks far more interesting mechanically than most others he has done isn’t going to be backed for that exact reasons.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not arguing that Rising Sun should have a fully built out base game and then have stretch goals filled with undeveloped, untested content. I’m just saying if you already know the game will ship for $100 with 30 bonus figures/sculpts, plastic tokens, metal coins, cardboard and card finish upgrades, why bother with the charade of calling these upgrades that are “unlocked”?

I am 100% down for a real stretch goal that has been calculated to require economies of scale… maybe a custom insert or a few additional figures that might have been part of an expansion in the works… something you have thought through, priced out and know you can’t include in the game unless you hit $1.5M. Those to me are actual stretch goals for a game like Rising Sun… but instead we get one SG at a time and only once we met the threshold, so it feels like they are just revealing 100% planned content on a schedule that has little or nothing to do with the actual funding level.

I’d be curious to know how a game like Rising Sun would do if they just were up front from day 1. Meaning they filled the campaign page with all the “included” stretch goals… basically saying: “If we hit $300k, the game comes with all of this!” Make that first impression amazing so everyone can see the value for their $100. Then, if you reach some really high target ($1.5M or $2M or whatever), maybe have a few things in mind that require those economies of scale and announce those as you get close.

I doubt we’ll ever find out since KS campaigns are sort of stuck in this rut of SGs and exclusives, but I for one would welcome a straightforward experience where you aren’t having incremental upgrades dangled in front of you under the guise of stretch goals.


i do think the SG model can really work for the 2-guys-with-a-great-idea level kickstarter, though — saying we’d be happy to get a functional version of our game out there even if it’s with crap cardstock and generic pieces but we’d make it nicer with enough starting capital —arguably that’s who KS is really for


I hate those KS exclusive things which I find dumb. If you produced those extras make them available to people. I find it especially stupid for minis since they already paid for the molds so I see no reason not to use them again.

Also, does CMON really need KS nowadays? They could just do a nice preorder campaign at that point no?

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Unfortunately, CMON usually goes the plactic route to the end. If they actually included metal coins and better card finish as stretch goals, I would reconsider pleding.

I mean… KS is a pre-order campaign for CMON. I think you are meaning that they could run it on their own site, but they would have to invest in software/hardware to host the campaign, communicate to their backers, collect payments, deal with refunds, etc. The whole point of KS is that they take care of all that stuff and give you a built-in base of eyes that will see your campaign.

You are probably right though… Stonemaier will no longer be using KS, so at some point you stop seeing the benefit and have built up enough reputation that you just do it yourself.


[quote=“Rocketsauce, post:801, topic:222”]I’m just saying if you already know the game will ship for $100 with 30 bonus figures/sculpts, plastic tokens, metal coins, cardboard and card finish upgrades, why bother with the charade of calling these upgrades that are “unlocked”?

I am 100% down for a real stretch goal that has been calculated to require economies of scale… maybe a custom insert or a few additional figures that might have been part of an expansion in the works… something you have thought through, priced out and know you can’t include in the game unless you hit $1.5M.[/quote]
That is what’s going on, though. The molds for plastic are exorbitantly expensive. So each new model (or alternate sculpt, for that matter, not that Blood Rage is necessarily doing that, but other minis Kickstarters often do) adds an appreciable amount of initial cost overhead to the project, without a lot of per-unit cost. That’s exactly the kind of thing that stretch goals should be – if you get enough volume, you can spread out those overhead costs without raising the price of the per-unit product.

It’s all about engaging your audience and keeping enthusiasm high and making excuses to communicate dribbles of information to them that prompt repeated buzz and word of mouth. That’s how crowdfunding campaigns function, for better or worse.

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Ah, everyone knows the process, I don’t see the point in getting annoyed by it. It’s not as if everyone is naive to capitalism. Some companies do have some genuine stretch goals though. Dinosaur Island seem pretty eager to investigate prices of making weird things (to the point where some backers are clearly losing faith in the play testing procedures), and I doubt Champions of Midgard expects more than $475k as after the box art upgrade there are a bunch of promos.

But they already paid for the mold! They are showing off a finished sculpt and art work… this is a sunk cost, so they are making assumptions about the economies of scale before the KS campaign even launches.

If they want to show me some concept art for a SG sculpt once they hit a certain number, that feels like an actual stretch.

And yeah, I get it… the idea is to engage your fans, but if they have already backed at $100, why do they need to engage me further. I already made a value judgement that it’s worth my money.

Because SGs act as a free viral advertising device. It keeps people talking, particularly when add ons come in at the end. A good proportion of customers might be sold immediately on these big projects, but if SGs are enough to sell that extra 10% of units then that’s the KS fees sorted in itself.

I imagine psychologically adding in the exclusives one by one is a greater incentive than all at once too. If you’re on the edge of pledging, then one exclusive turned up, then another, etc that could push you over the edge. Having everything shown at the start wouldn’t have the same effect.
Likewise, the Endowment effect (as Pippa described in the podcast) kicks in for people who have already pledged - an item’s perceived value increases purely through owning it due to fear of loss. Each new exclusive is reaffirming the value of the project, making them less likely to drop out.