Tobold's Blog
Monday, November 08, 2021
Skyrim and market fragmentation

I founded another board game on Gamefound (a competitor to Kickstarter): The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim the Adventure Game. Which, you might have guessed it from the overly long title, is a board game version of the Skyrim videogame. Me being a fan of both videogames and board games, this looks like a shoo-in, right? But it actually is a bit more complicated than that.

Actually I am *not* a fan of videogames and board games. I am a fan of a small segment of video games, and I am a fan of a small segment of board games. One of the latest and greatest PC games of this year, Forza Horizon 5, is a game that I would never play. Neither would I play highly reviewed board games like Wingspan or Terraforming Mars. In videogames I prefer relatively slow games, where you have time to think. In board games I don't generally like games in which you build up slowly towards victory points at the end, but prefer games that are about the adventure of every move.

As a result, I am in the minority of PC gamers who didn't really like Skyrim. Steam tells me I last played it in December 2011, and have 21 hours played. Just enough to know what the game is about, and that the action style of RPG combat wasn't my thing. Skyrim the board game on the other hand is interesting to me because it is part of the rather small niche of board games that I like, in which there is a story being told, in this case by various quest and event cards. My recent visit at a board game convention showed that there aren't all that many games of that kind. I watched some gameplay on YouTube, and it seems to be a fun enough adventure game of moving across a map, exploring dungeons, doing quests, and leveling up your character.

Having said that, I am not a huge fan of the Gamefound campaign for the Skyrim board game. I took the base pledge for £68 (€80/$90), but with shipping still to be added, that will be over €100 already. But the campaign pushes you very much to take the two to three times as expensive higher pledges. In a move I have never seen before on Kickstarter or Gamefound, the base pledge is mostly excluded from stretch goals. Even basic gameplay additions, like the three unlocked mini-campaigns, I will only get in PDF format; only the higher tiers will get actual cards for them. But I am not interested in the €300 deluxe tier, not only because that is horribly expensive, but also because much of the extra money goes into miniatures, in a game that doesn't even have tactical miniature combat.

So basically, I am not getting much of an advantage for crowdfunding this board game. I am mostly doing it because games in the small niche of board games that I like aren't produced in all that many copies, and are frequently hard to get in retail. Even the relatively successful Skyrim Gamefound campaign has just about 4,000 backers now, they aren't going to produce tens of thousands of copies of the game.


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