Monday, 3 March 2014

Vapourware: A CRYPTS Kickstarter

Greetings friends!

Don't worry, I am not starting a Kickstarter. For those unfamiliar with the term; Vapourware is often used to refer to something that doesn't exist, it's a figment of your imagination or just all hot air, ergo vapour.

So over the past year I've had quite a few (actually a surprisingly large number) of people who have looked at my game CRYPTS: A Weird West Dungeon Crawler and the versions before it and said:
Dr Loxley, you should put this game on Kickstarter! If you were able to get some money behind it and able to get it created professionally it would be really good.

I'd buy it!

(More or less)

Of course in this instance, I am often being myself (a man who knows nothing about actually getting a game published) talking to someone else who also doesn't know anything about getting a game published. So really the first statement is wrong.

Here's how the statement should read:
If you could get some financial backing including a team of designers, artists, proof readers, marketers, play testers and all the other stuff involved and then have it published professionally this could be a really good game.

I'd buy it!

Do you see the difference? For starters it's removing Kickstarter out of the equation as without any of the other stuff, even a Kickstarter campaign would fail.

Ok, perhaps at first glimpse it sounds like I'm being a little harsh, so let's break it down a little.

Designers: These would undoubtably be needed. Yes I am heavily involved in designing the game at the moment, but I wouldn't have gotten this far without other people with great ideas. They at least deserve a share of the money.

Artists: Even if the KS Campaign is partially designed around hiring an awesome artist to create awesome book and card art, no one will look at the campaign with words alone, and stock images gives the wrong impression of a finished product. At the very least concept art is a must.

Proof Readers: come on, you've all seen it on this blog. My spelling and gramma sucks!

Marketers: How many great idea Kickstarters have failed because of poor marketing?

And Play Testers: Come on, do I really need to explain this?

Convinced? Ok so I am sure I have missed a tonne off, but it all goes to show that I am in no way ready to push out an ill-conceived Kickstarter for this game.


But what if, just if, I was going to do one? What would I offer? How would the CRYPTS KS go?

Honestly, I have no idea.

Yeah I know... But after doing a quick (ongoing) poll over twitter I've noticed some things are interestingly common.

For starters people are interested in originality and imagination, something that I would hope those who've played my game would say it contains (however I can see that it is influenced by a large number of other things, and so it would be quite easy for someone to say it was a rip off of 'X' [hell, it's a weird west dungeon crawler, id be super surprised if no one said it was a rip off of Shadows of Brimstone]).

Next people are interested in getting a good quality product, something they can actually get their hands on.

This is something I agree with, so many KS campaigns have put me off by offering only e-documents and downloads below the $60-$100 mark, the only problem, I don't know how possible this would be.

What I do know is that with the aim of the Compendium to feature in paper form almost everything you need to play (excluding terrain and models) with a deck of Beasty cards and a deck of loot cards, then this would with hope feature as a lower end pledge, with higher ones including terrain (cardboard tiles? Maybe).

Of course there would be the .pdf option, but that wouldn't be for very much, as the owner then needs to spend even more on ink, paper and time.

Of course, there does also appear to be a lot of people who enjoy getting a tonne of stuff.

This is something I don't really agree with and something I would not want to promote myself.

You see I've seen plenty of KSs where they offer (for example) $300 worth of stuff, for the cost of only $100. This is great if you want that stuff, but more often than not you do not want this stuff and it ends up going on eBay.

This is my problem with the system. Now I know I can not control what other people do with purchases, but it is my hope that people buy what they want because they want to play with it, not because they are hoping for resell value.


I've also heard a lot about early release of rules systems, maybe printer friendly version of the QuickStart rules, this would be done before the end of the KS Campaign so that people can see the rules before they pay for anything.

Maybe this is screwing yourself over as it gives people the opportunity to say "this is not for me" which they may not if they had yet to actually read the rules, but the way I see it, in these situations the backers need to know that the game they are getting is for them.

Perhaps I'm completely wrong, and this is wholly based on an assumption, but I would expect people who have seen/played the rules would be much more inclined to invest (and invest more) if they know that they like it, where as they may be less inclined if info is withheld.


It's a difficult place to be in, and I need to remind you all, this is just musings here.

But before I leave you I would like to ask, what would you like to see from a CRYPTS Kickstarter?

On that note I will bid you all good day with wishes to stay safe and that I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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