Tobold's Blog
Friday, September 01, 2023
An innovation in crowdfunded board games

Awaken Realms is a Polish board game company with an unusually deep understanding of the crowdfunding market. As Kickstarter isn't really a feature-complete platform for crowdfunding board games, as it is missing the pledge manager part, Awaken Realms founded an alternative crowdfunding platform called Gamefound. And besides that, and creating a lot of rather good board games like Tainted Grail and ISS Vanguard, they continue to innovate in that area.

So I would like to give a shout-out for their latest update on the upcoming crowdfunding campaign of Dragon Eclipse. Because it goes further than other crowdfunding campaigns by offering the same game in two very different core versions with very different prices: A standard edition for $55 with only essential components in cardboard quality, and a $119 special edition with all the miniatures and foil cards and acrylic markers. Other games either offer only one version, or offer a core version plus expansion boxes for the miniatures and luxury components.

I think this is a great idea, and hope that other companies will more often go in the same direction. I have seen games, for example Descent: Legends of the Dark, which have only one version with a $175 MSRP. You can get it for cheaper now, but there is still just one version, which is full of miniatures and 3D terrain. I would have bought a version for half the price with much cheaper components, but wasn't interested enough to go for the big box version, which unfortunately was the only option. A lot of Kickstarter projects for board games have become rather expensive due to increases in shipping cost, stricter VAT rules, and general inflation. Lots of miniatures and great components attract people to crowdfunding projects, but when you end up with board games where the cheapest option is already $200+, this becomes a very expensive hobby.

Having different versions is great. If I am not totally sure about how much I will like a game, I'll go for the cheaper version that gives me all the gameplay without all the luxury stuff. But I understand the other part of the market that wants all the great miniatures, and certainly have gone for miniature expansions in the past myself in some cases. Choice is good, and having two different core pledges makes this choice a lot clearer than calling the box with the luxury components an "expansion".

Dragon Eclipse by itself looks interesting, but somewhat confused about what it fundamentally is. I am not sure that the same game can be a great 1-2 player adventure game, a great PvP game, and a great roguelike solo game. So in this case I'll go for the cheaper version, and if I am absolutely enchanted by it, I can still get the special edition for my collection later.


Thanks for sharing! You know, I am looking at Lorcana and wondering if the price of entry there gives anything more than a few solid kickstarter games like this….
@Baelnor Trading card games have a very strong network effect: If there are a lot of people around you that heavily buy into the same Disney Lorcana TCG, it can lead to a lot of opportunity for fun. Board games are easier to persuade others to play with you, as only you need to spend money on the game. And the more successful Kickstarter games are now often also available in retail, so you don't need to wait that long. If you and your friends like board games that are a bit deeper, Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion would be one recommendation; it is a slimmed down version of one of the most successful Kickstarter games of all times, at a much more reasonable price point, and with sufficient content to play many hours and see whether the bigger games of the series would even be interesting to you.

If you prefer a much lighter game, which also can be played with family, the current "Spiel des Jahres" (game of the year) is Dorfromantik: The Board Game. I played it with friends, and it is really very good, much fun, and a good introduction of "soft legacy" board game elements to a broader audience.
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