Well, that’s certainly not true for Arcadia Quest.
It’s in the BGG Top 100, and Tom Vasel never stopped raving about it. I’ve so far had mixed experiences with it, but I can see how with the right group it could be a lot of fun.
As for the campaign style, I agree that’s the biggest problem with CMON.
There’s a big disconnect between the core game which feels not quite complete, and the fully stretched Kickstarter version which offers an abundance of redundant and often unbalanced extras.
Well, that’s certainly not true for Arcadia Quest.
Monolith’s comments about the subject post Batman seemed pretty insightful to me. Essentially, tabletop Kickstarter has developed into it’s own separate ecosystem that has largely stagnated. It is not literally without growth, but it is at the points where the majority of their backers have backed other projects before and they felt like the added boost of the Batman license did less to bring Batman fans to their doorstep than it did to saturate their doorstep with Kickstarter fans who wouldn’t have come over if not for Batman.
My guess is that to some extent this is just that, plus more time. These games are all playing to the same market, and that market is buying more games than it is playing which isn’t sustainable.
Boardgaming in general is growing, however, so if they can break that cycle and start to either get retail action or get more people to come to them from off-Kickstarter, there’s plenty of untapped market. The catch there is that said market isn’t looking for all of the things that everyone knows make a successful Kickstarter–because those are generally just the things that the Kickstarter echo-chamber thinks it wants.
So much of the explosion of board games has relied on word of mouth–through review sites, through BGG, through social media. And Kickstarter can leverage some of that and improve immediate discovery, but it can also clash with the pace of those systems which has led to things like the infinite pledge manager to try and give people time to realize a project exists and is interesting to them. Fundamentally, though, it’s hard to fake the hype that comes from people actually playing the game and enjoying it. Playing games, watching them played, and talking to people who have played them is what has been fueling the tabletop boom and Kickstarter just isn’t easily compatible with that and it can only ride so much of the wave.
Finally, I think for the people who are invested in Kickstarter as an ecosystem and marketplace unto itself have more than just sheer purchasing fatigue to grapple with. Projects themselves are not rewarding. Board game development is slow and there’s only so much you can talk about it during the process to make it seem otherwise. After the fact, retrospectives can be fascinating and also serve double-duty as advertisements of great games and designers … but spreading those out over the development or worse production cycle of a game just isn’t going to be compelling. Shipping is shipping. People who have backed a lot of Kickstarters are still going to experience the anxiety of missing something, but they’re not being conditioned to find that process highly rewarding. There’s too much lag-time between backing for the hype, getting exciting information, getting a product in hand, and finally getting to play it. This isn’t something Kickstarters are doing wrong. But it does mean that keeping these massive Kickstarters going for another 5 to 10 years will mean attracting a fresh audience of people who really want this specific game because they trust what it is selling, not because they want to avoid missing the latest Kickstarter equivalent of a random booster pack–Kickstarter does not let you open those cards fast enough to sustain that attitude and I’m genuinely surprised that attitude has been sustained this well for this long.
For what it’s worth, the creator claims that someone spent a summer trying to destroy one of his playmats and didn’t succeed, so I think they are going to be durable.
Frankly, sounds like they didn’t try very hard.
If not I want to see the footage of it coming out of the fire unscathed.
I’d believe that they’re durable relative to what’s available, but there’s an upper limit at work here. Neoprene is tough stuff you’re not going to damage playing board games and it can last a fair amount of time, too. The issue is more that neoprene can crease and hold a shape (not an issue in a wetsuit, but an issue in a dexterity game), and you’re dependent on the quality of the fabric and it’s adhesive to maintain the integrity of the actual play surface.
In terms of longevity, it’s this adhesive that’s really the big question mark and that varies the most between mats. Creasing becomes a storage problem–depending on how you store them and for how long, the material could remember more or less unfortunate shapes and can be permanently damaged; if you play a game infrequently, it’s easier to store it in a way that seems fine but leads to warping over time than it is with a solid board that you can simply keep flat. The two problems combine in that storing the mat rolled up even in a way that doesn’t cause problems with the neoprene itself might still exacerbate problems with the fabric and adhesive leading to bubbling and creasing of the surface. Storing the mat rolled will inevitably deform one side of the fabric differently to another–how much of an effect this has depends a lot on the quality of the adhesive.
I have every confidence that the product backers receive in the mail will be of excellent quality barring potential issues during warehousing and shipping. I have every confidence it will be capable of withstanding more plays than anyone would ever put it through in principle, too. The issue is more … well, shipping and warehousing for one but more than that: 3 to 5 years from now, how many times will the game have come out of the box and will anything have happened to the mat that isn’t from physical abuse during play? And I’m not sure Elzra knows that for certain either, whereas we all have a pretty good sense of what’s going to happen to those boards. Which, to be fair, if you live in a really humid climate isn’t always a great prognosis so maybe then it’s worth it even if they do develop issues.
In other news, Spire has a sourcebook on Kickstarter that’s coming to a close soon.
For those not familiar, The Spire is a really wonderful game written really wonderfully by Grant Howitt and Chris Taylor who SU&SD fans otherwise unfamiliar will recognize as responsible for Goblin Quest (and Sean Bean Quest).
Spire caries the same wildness of imagination to a “fantasy punk” setting of a very tall, very old building* in which reside the Aelfir reside having wrested it from the Drow as they advance southward from their homelands in conquest. You play as said Drow, specifically a member of the secret resistance against the injustices of the Aelfir, seeking to subvert that which you cannot hope to destroy. To empower those who you cannot hope to liberate (and who would most certainly turn you in if they knew what you were up to).
The game is fascinated by power, oppression, religion, revolution, haunted interdimensional subway networks, and goats with human hands.
Strata is a really cool sourcebook for it! But for the uninitiated this is also a way to get the core book and some of the things from the first Kickstarter including absolutely fabulous newspaper clippings prepared by hand to appear torn straight from newspapers of The Spire.
The Spire is absolutely packed with incredible ideas, but in particular, if people can’t get excited about a class list that includes options like:
An order of drunken bar knights who go on pub crawls for legendary artifacts
Carrion-priests with faithful hyena attendants (for eating your soul and delivering it to the proper afterlife)
Sages who access an extradimensional subway/library with a mind of its own
Roguish vigilantes who carry small gods with them in all of their tools
Well. They are dead to me.
I’ve been considering Spire for a while as I enjoy Grant’s work. You two have convinced me and I’ve pledged for both books.
Anyone have any thoughts on Underworld: the Card Game. The art seems problematic, but I’m curious on the gameplay itself. It seems interesting.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice is live now. I’m not totally sold on the game, but I’ll be following the campaign (and backed $1 for the early bird just in case, lol).
I know Matt said during a podcast that he had a lot of fun playing V-Commandos, and I think this is essentially the same system, but with a much more appealing theme imo (straight WW1/2 themes aren’t my thing). There are some aspects that are pulled from the video game that I’m curious how well they will work, like Synchronizing on the towers to unlock parts of the map/items, etc.
It will be interesting to see how this fares with Reichbusters launching next week, which is another coop stealth-based “dungeon crawler”.
Just got my copy of Dicetopia. Looks to be what was promised, a fun little filler game.
I like the production value except: It’s very hard to fit it all in the tiny box, and when I sleeve the cards, it’ll be impossible. This isn’t that hard; the new edition of Arboretum had an insert that was able to handle sleeved cards.
Now I’m just waiting on my copy of Martin Wallace’s Lincoln.
I didn’t notice until today, there’s a new playmat version of Catacombs which has only a week left.
It’s well funded, so I don’t feel bad about not supporting it. Even though the exclusives are pretty good, and the new bits are quite dandy, I’ve already given Elzra way too much money as it is, I need to take a break.
Yes, I missed that.
I’m considering the low tier as it’s a low risk way to see if I prefer the mats and there’s a lot of nice looking bonus stuff. I know at least one Catacombs buddy who will be very excited when I hand them:
I’m tempted, but it seems rather expensive.
I definitely wouldn’t go for the full upgrade tier, but I could see 10-20 for the mat (the main risk, imo) at which point it’s a question of would I get $20 worth out of having extra obstacles to play with and all the other goodies. I have enough Catacombs that I may well not, but it’s at least plausible.
The new Rallyman is up:
The time-trial mode is being relegated to an expansion, but I think you can probably fake it with solitaire-mode scoring pads. Since I don’t have a collection bulging with racing games already, I think I’m in.
Interesting - I’ll have to check up on what it offers over the original game. I got the original in a math trade, and still havent played it.
I’m hovering on Reavers of Midgard. It looks like a niceish level WP type game but doesn’t have fake players like Tidal blades did. Also the actions feel more grokkable and less prone to requiring co-op attitude compared to tidal blades.