Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
 
The 7th Continent

I am not a big fan of Kickstarter. If you consider it as an "investment", the safety mechanisms are worse than for collateralized subprime mortgages. If you consider it as a "prepurchase", it is simply a bad deal because you have to pay far too early, and wait far too long, if not forever. Having said that, the three Kickstarter projects I did back all did eventually deliver, albeit on average a year late. Where I least regret my purchases are the Kickstarter projects I backed for physical objects, because the objects I got that way now can't be bought anywhere; the Kickstarter project was a one-time deal.

So yesterday I backed another Kickstarter project to the tune of a hundred bucks. It is for a physical object again, a board game called The 7th Continent. The main reason I backed it is that I saw a prototype played at the Brussels Games Festival 2015, and it looked a lot of fun. It solves one of the problems of board games (who do I play with?) by being soloable. And it is of an exploration / adventure type where I played games of that type with my wife in the past and we had a lot of fun. Being huge it gets over the problem of you running into the same handful of events over and over. So it is everything that I am looking for in a board game today.

The Kickstarter project for the 7th continent was funded after 2 minutes and 38 seconds. The project still is less than a day old, and has collected over 5 times the required funding, having over 3,000 backers. It passed stretch goal #18 with #19 already rather close. With 2 to 10 additional cards per stretch goal, the initial 1000 cards of the larger explorer version (very few people went for the smaller, 700 card version) has already grown by 10%.

Now The 7th Continent probably will be available in specialized games stores at some point in time, so the one-time deal advantage presumably doesn't apply. But with all those Kickstarter-exclusive stretch goal cards I still feel I'll get something more than if I had waited for the game to come to shops.

On the other hand the planned delivery date is only in one year, and based on past experience might well only be in 2 years. Getting far more money than needed curiously has never helped any Kickstarter project to advance faster. Usually the project creators get dizzy from all the extra money and start expanding the scope, going for a much bigger and more complicated version of the project. And that then ends up being much slower, without necessarily being any better. Nevertheless, having seen the playable prototype, I'm rather confident that again I will eventually get this game delivered.

Comments:
The "Temple of Elemental Evil" is also playable solo, and a lot of fun both solo and in a group. I believe there are older versions of it that work in a similar way, and these sets can be combined to have even more fun adventures.
 
The big mistake in assumptions is it is neither a investment or pre-purchase. It is a donation and your money is recorded by the investor as raw income, which they are then taxed on. You donate an amount and reward incentivize larger donations but ideally with expenses far less than the donation.
 
Thanks for linking that Kickstarter. It looks like a great game.
 
The best option for a Kickstarter is to reach its goal.
The next best option for a Kickstarter is to miss the target. Bad ideas are killed off, over-ambitious projects are scaled down and designers rethink their ideas and make improvements.
The worst outcome for a Kickstarter is to overachieve and hit its stetch goals. That takes a popular project and adds bloated features that no one really wants. Add in all the extra work that is now required and you don't have to be Fred Brooks to see that all your overfunded project will now be very late.
 
Looks fun - though one could argue that the solo campaign might work better as a computer game - a sort of roguelike!

The stretch goals might not be too much of a hindrance here - it looks like they can slot them in later without delaying the main project.
 
English/French only, right? I'd bake it NOW if there was an Italian localization, dammit. My kids would go crazy for this game.
 
dobablo said... The worst outcome for a Kickstarter is to overachieve and hit its stetch goals. That takes a popular project and adds bloated features that no one really wants. Add in all the extra work that is now required and you don't have to be Fred Brooks to see that all your overfunded project will now be very late.

I don't follow what happens at kickstarter so don't know how common your scenario is, but I can give you one example of the opposite: Shadowrun Hong Kong. SRHK is the third Shadowrun game, first two already financed via kickstarter. SRHK base game was paid for and they put up stretch goals to make it bigger. They hired a writer to flesh out stories told in the game, it's awesomesauce. Another stretch goal was overhauled cyberspace part of the game, looks gorgeous I love it. And other stretch goals making the whole game better.

Something like 1.2m $US collected to make a game greater than it would have been with the 170k $US they had in the beginning to make the base game.
 
Then there are some obvious absurd/failing projects where people still believe they will become a real thing. This one is amazing: the laser razor:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skarp/the-skarp-laser-razor-21st-century-shaving

Have a look at it and check the youtube "live test". And still people are throwing money at the project...
 
I wonder when we will see more "soloable" games. X-Com takes an Asymmetrical approach where the aliens are played by a phone-app. I wonder if that could be the next big solution to helping people find an adversary.
 
I actually (finally) got my copy of Kingdom of Death: Monster. Its a co-op game that can be played solo against a deck, though it certainly got very ambitious with its fund goals smashed. Though I didn't mind the wait, it does follow the pattern you mentioned.
 
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