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Subject: Kickstarter - A successful fail... rss

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John Wrot!
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So our 1st Kickstarter ended tonight on August 25th 2013 without meeting its funding goal.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/johnwrot/the-kings-armor...

So, we are curious, and always crave feedback...

Those of you that DID take a look at it, and decided not to pledge or to only pledge $1...

1) What turned you away?
2) Around what point was that? (date / # of weeks ago / etc.)
3) Did you take a 2nd look later on? If so, why not again?
4) What advice would you give?, as a reboot is planned for a little over a month from now.

Thanks for your feedback! ...and do be nice. arrrh soblue

(edit: date and "1st" added in opening line to avoid confusion regarding the relaunch)
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Because "Tower Defense" is a computer game thing, and nobody cares about having a board game that does the same thing, only slower and more tediously? Boardgamers want to play board games, not translated computer games. The following quote says it all:

Quote:
"I don't think that there is any other Tower Defense game besides The King's Armory, that so closely emulates the game play of a straight up flash-based computer tower defense game."
I, myself, would prefer more original ideas and fewer copies of existing concepts. But then I've always been a weirdo. Right off the bat you've limited yourself to people who (1) play flash games and (2) also play board games. Does the intersection of these sets provide enough people to raise seventy grand?
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Tower defense videogames were fun a few years ago. Now, I don't even look at them...
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My opinion is as follows: Playing tower defense on a board game platform is inferior to the computer version. Why emulate something that's already better?

In my experience, I've played several flash defense games and also the player created ones on warcraft and starcraft, which if you have ever seen them are friggin' amazing. There's probably thousands of different versions and they can be modified and improved by anybody.

I saw your project when I was supporting another tabletop game and saw it a few times after that. My initial impression did not change. Why not play tower defense on the computer?

I mean, I watched the gameplay video. I don't want to push tokens around a board. I don't want to do needless calculations. I'm not visually stimulated. And I'm not feeling stress from the game. It's more RPG than tower defense.

Of course, my opinion is from a guy who's played a lot of tower defense games. Oddly, this is the crowd that you are not going to attract.
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Clare Cannon
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I didn't see your kickstarter before it ended however I am able to give you some initial impressions,

Firstly this is not the first tower defence game made. I own and enjoy Dragon Valley which has tower defence elements however they did not rely upon a single mechnanic (as yours has) and there is actually a game there. Games need a variety of different mechanics working in harmony to keep gamers attention.

One of the reasons tower defence games were/are so popular is the levels are quick and you can pick up and play or stop ofter 5 minutes. This is not possible with boardgames. After all the set up time and getting the game ready, the average gamer cannot practicable leave it set up ready to go, as you can with the flash games.


Quote:
"So much fun!"
~Karin S. - playtester (of the female variety - ooh la la!)
Why did you feel the need to point out the fact one of your play testers was female?
The fact you pointed out a play tester was female immediately gets my back up because you singled her out as something different and novel, which has nothing at all to do with your game! You didn't state any of your other playtesters were male, but you felt the need to with this one that she was female. This makes me assume you don't really understand the modern boardgame audiance very well. You also continue this 'look how novel females are' attitude throughout your pledge levels.

Quote:
~Intimidating & humorous enemies!
Like Munchkin was humorous when you first played. Will these humorous enemies get old and tired quickly?

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Derry Salewski
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I didn't pay it much more than cursory lookover. Mostly because I don't know what tower defense games are. I mean, I assume they involve defending something. I also assume they haven't invented anything very cool in videogames in the last ten years that my best friend hasn't told me about, so I'm not too stressed about not knowing whatever this is.

I paid less than this kickstarter for Eclipse. And Runewars. So if I'm tossing out fifty bucks, that's what I'm expecting (haha or maybe a magic card . . . ) I admire you wanting to keep the price down, though, that's very reasonable and would draw me in if I was more attracted to whatever the project is.

Your goal seems weird, though. let's say you are giving everyone a great deal and the games cost 25 bucks each plus 15 to ship and 5 to kickstarter . . . you're still making like 3-4k units? That seems like a HUGE goal for a small company. I assume you rethought that since 25k is nothing to sneer at and you did get quite a bit of support and seem excited to relaunch.

Good luck!
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I did take a quick look at it, decided not to pledge. It's hard to say exactly why, but I dont't think that the "tower defense" mechanism has nothing to do with your failure. However, I recall that I found your video very underwhelming for a project that is asking $72K.

I think you should improve the quality of your video. You need better lighting and sound quality. Your house in the background gives it a familiar but amateurish feeling, you should use a workshop or study or drawing table as background. You should show as many gorgeus finished art as possible and as less prototype stuff as possible.

If necessary, pay for a professional made video and raise your goal accordingly.
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The words "Tower defense" made me skip it. Tower defense to me signals something akin to Tetris but with theme, and I don't see how that could translate into a boardgame.
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I only saw this after it ended but I wouldn't of pledged even if I had before. The reasons are as following.

Price point: Tower defense although interesting and I can see myself enjoying is a very basic mechanic and will get old quick so with an msrp of 80$ it seemed high for what it is. Granted the pledge level was only 50$ but this then leads me to other reason.

Pledge levels: If you pledge at a level where you receive a copy of the game you should receive all the kickstarter pieces that affect gameplay. I refuse to pay a higher pledge for those sort of improvements. You want higher pledge levels for a unique box, insert, art, heck die cast miniatures, but not something that affects the actual game.
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In the time it would take to set up your modular board, I could have finished a PC tower defense level.
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Shoogoo wrote:
Tower defense videogames were fun a few years ago. Now, I don't even look at them...
Mostly this.

But theme-wise, there was nothing truly unique to make the game stand out. Typical orcs, typical goblins, typical archers, typical cleric, in a word: Typical.



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Wim van Gruisen
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There's so much in the game. You can play a psion! Or a warrior! Or a psionic warrior!

Serious now. I didn't see the game before I read your post - if I'm not the only one who missed it, that's perhaps a first reason why things didn't work out for you.
But even if I had seen the game before, there are lots of reasons why I wouldn't invest.

* Price. I live in the Netherlands, not far from the German border. Why should I pay $10 more than someone who lives an hour away from me? And that's for the Psion level.
The hero upgrade costs $10 more in the US, but $60 more overseas! You compute $50 shipping costs for four pieces of cardboard and a d20. For that money I expect a D20 the size of a small car.

* Gameplay. It looks like you simply translated the TD computer game to a boardgame. There are numerous ways to enhance this by using possibilities that boardgaming offers you. It seems that you chose not to enrich your game in this regard.

* Art. It looks uninspired and boring. If I have to pay $60 (at least) for a game, I expect better art and a better quality of materials. With which I mean that some thought could have been put into making the setting more involved than just generic PCs and stock fantasy enemies.
The player mats / hero cards / whatever you name them are less inspiring than my tax deduction form. Some thought about graphical design would have been welcome here.

* As Clare said, the juvenile reaction to the fact that you managed to convince one woman to playtest the game for you. Just sad. There are probably people who think it's funny, but to me it made clear that I'm not the target audience for your game.
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First I've heard of this Kickstarter, but I've got three words for you:

EXCLAMATION MARK ABUSE.

You've got one at the end of just about every sentence. It's the first thing I noticed, and it's the only thing I remembered after navigating off the page.

If you feel the need to make your game sound appealing by shouting at your prospective customers, you are sending the message that the game's awesomeness doesn't speak for itself.

Hope you find greater success in your re-boot.
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Meh. We already have tower defense boardgames (Stronghold and Castle Panic both quickly come to mind). Don't really need another.
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sdrewthomson wrote:
First I've heard of this Kickstarter, but I've got three words for you:

EXCLAMATION MARK ABUSE.

You've got one at the end of just about every sentence. It's the first thing I noticed, and it's the only thing I remembered after navigating off the page.

If you feel the need to make your game sound appealing by shouting at your prospective customers, you are sending the message that the game's awesomeness doesn't speak for itself.

Hope you find greater success in your re-boot.
I love exclamation points!!

I probably abuse them more than any other punctuation--except maybe dashes.
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Tom
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The game's graphics look straight out of 1982...and that is not a good thing on the geek. I saw the Lotus 123 spreadsheet design and immediately giggled out loud. I have fond memories of games that look like that but I don't play them anymore because there are better games out there.

It looks like you did your desktop publishing on a Apple IIe; and the layouts have font issues (and therefore readability issues), cards have crammed text, and the artwork is too old and retro without a reason (sometimes that kind of artwork works but not here). Lastly, the pastel colors just don't do it for me. It looked sloppy and if the presentation looks sloppy I bet people are then concerned as to whether the rules were also created without much thought. The games rules might be amazing but many people have a hard time getting past first impressions.
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You wanted $72,000? Ridiculous!
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Drew Thomson
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scifiantihero wrote:
sdrewthomson wrote:
First I've heard of this Kickstarter, but I've got three words for you:

EXCLAMATION MARK ABUSE.

You've got one at the end of just about every sentence. It's the first thing I noticed, and it's the only thing I remembered after navigating off the page.

If you feel the need to make your game sound appealing by shouting at your prospective customers, you are sending the message that the game's awesomeness doesn't speak for itself.

Hope you find greater success in your re-boot.
I love exclamation points!!

I probably abuse them more than any other punctuation--except maybe dashes.
Haha, yes, and it's clear that the designer loves them too. He's even got one at the end of his name.

But a project should be able shine on its own merits.
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I did not look at it, but if I had, I would not have pledged.

This is the reason:

I've become dazed and tired of the crownfunding method. It's an amazing system, but as a consumer, I constantly feel like I'm buying the pig in the sack, and I don't want to any more. Time between payment and delivery is so long I have forgotten what I bought and when and why, so if some problem should occur, I probably won't notice. Even if I do, I wouldn't know who to contact. I would have no customer service, no number to call to ask what happened with my game.

Simply, there are enough games in the world that 1) I can check better (look and feel the box) 2) have been out enough time for me to check a review of and 3) get ahold of the moment I pay, so I actually get the game, for me to be interested in Kickstarters anymore.

Also, stretch goals and Kickstarter specials have come to be a real turn-off. The former draws customers into some PR drive, which disgusts me, and the latter has started to feel like some bragging contest.

Shortly, I've come to prefer buying a game and get it, instead of buying a promise of gold and not seeing anything until I've forgotten all about it.
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Because you used all caps in your designs. And a terrible typeface to boot. Plus you used a computer rendering of what your box would look like which is against KS rules ... "Photorealistic renderings and simulations that could be mistaken for finished products or real events, however, are not allowed."
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exparrot wrote:

Quote:
"So much fun!"
~Karin S. - playtester (of the female variety - ooh la la!)
Why did you feel the need to point out the fact one of your play testers was female?
The fact you pointed out a play tester was female immediately gets my back up because you singled her out as something different and novel, which has nothing at all to do with your game! You didn't state any of your other playtesters were male, but you felt the need to with this one that she was female. This makes me assume you don't really understand the modern boardgame audiance very well. You also continue this 'look how novel females are' attitude throughout your pledge levels.

Quote:
~Intimidating & humorous enemies!
Like Munchkin was humorous when you first played. Will these humorous enemies get old and tired quickly?

Wow... I thought you were joking when you included the "ooh la la" part... but that is actually on their Kickstarter. That's a turn off even for me -- like a female gamer is some spectacle and you're cat calling or something.

I'll also echo what others have said and that a board game is a different entity from a computer game. I was working on a conversion of an AoS / "MOBA" game (like League of Legends) and the first thing you learn about that when designing is a direct conversion will never work. You need to take the "spirit" and translate that to a different medium.
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K Septyn
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You have people who are interested and willing to give you money. I'm thinking this isn't the right time for this game.

I didn't see the Kickstarter until this post. I wouldn't have pledged for many of the same reasons listed here:

1) Tower defense is "out of style" and better suited to computer games. It's not necessarily killing your KS, but it's probably hindering it a little. Given what I know about tower defense games, this looks like it might be fiddly with bookkeeping.
2) A $72k goal for a first-time project from what appears to be a first-time designer/publisher (based on the video) seems high.
3) The $49 pledge to get the game seems risky when combined with #2.

If you're serious about getting this to market, and you have 11 years of experience with fantasy-themed game design, isn't there something with a lower cost-to-entry that you could Kickstart first? If you can say "From the people who brought you Fantasy Game X, it's The King's Armory!", I'm more likely to look at both products and maybe fund the new one.

Finally, 5) Timing. You're in the summer months when people are going on vacation, or going to GenCon or other game conventions. Their monet is going in that direction, not yours. Also, in my case I'm a little burned out on Kickstarter in general. I rode in on the second Alien Frontiers wave and have funded games that I'll probably never get to play. I've been burned once to boot, so I'm being a little more cautious with my money. I've gotten the impression I'm not alone in this. Some of your woes might be to when you entered the field.


You've done some things right. You're clearly entheusiatic for the game and you have a good camera presence for your pitch video. (Some videos I've seen are turned off after 15 seconds, so good job there.) You have a game that seems close to production ready, and it feels like it's a real game, not some poor sap's "amazing" shut-the-box variant.

Good luck with your next project!


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DaveyJJ wrote:
Because you used all caps in your designs. And a terrible typeface to boot. Plus you used a computer rendering of what your box would look like which is against KS rules ... "Photorealistic renderings and simulations that could be mistaken for finished products or real events, however, are not allowed."
this.
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Mads Fløe
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As I'm looking it over:

1) Overacting in the video / quality of the video (sound is good though, but nothing colorful or interesting to look at).

Edit: No, now the sound is from another source. Sounds like you are at the other end of a phone on the other side of the globe.

2) Artwork looks like a weird mix of finished artwork and something drawn in MS Paint.

3) Don't say it's the "Best game ever". I'll be the judge of that.

4) Why would I be interested in OTHER games in the video below, MIXED with how you've developed the game?

5) I've scrolled and scrolled and scrolled... and NOW comes some of the nice artwork for the game? Put it up, up, up!

6) TOO MUCH TEXT!! SAVE the details for people who have pledged! When people normally buy a game, they DO NOT read 12 pages of text before making a decision to buy the game or not.

Selling points (and the order in which I believe they should be presented):

Artwork (the best looking artwork - put it first. In the video and just below!

Overview of the game with all the components - physically! What do I get?

Description (short! - think one column on the back of the box for the game).

NOW I'M FULL - NO MORE INFO PLEASE. EITHER I'M INTERESTED BY NOW, OR I'M NOT. EITHER WAY, I DON'T WANT TO SEARCH AND READ, SEARCH AND READ TO FIND OUT THE PARTS I'M INTERESTED IN.

Pledge-levels - What is the price, and again, what do I get?

Additional info - reviews etc. Display some more of the great artwork here, to remind people how cool it looks (especially if the prototype is without the final artwork).

Challanges, delivery estimates etc.

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I looked at this one when it first appeared on Kickstarter, and I think a few things hindered the campaign.

Tower Defense is a fun concept, but much like everyone stated, it can be played easily on a computer or iPad. Tower Defense games don't hold much attention, and if you've played one, you've practically played them all. Your game needs significant elements that stand out enough to make it entice people to want to play your game instead of a Flash game that can be played in 5 minutes.

I think your campaign goal reached a bit for the stars here, and it can sometimes hang you. I understand that a goal can't be ambitious in which it'll leave the designer in the hole. However, the goal needs to feel somewhat realistic as well. When I saw you wanted $72K, my first reaction was, "Whoa!" So the next thing is to see what that $72K will do. Then when I watch the video, look at the art, and components, I think, "How the hell does this warrant $72K when it all appears quite beginner/amateur-ish, low-level, low-quality?" In fact I can purchase or back games with a better price range and even get way more content, depth, and quality to a game than what you're offering, asking for that much money.

The other thing is approach... When you look at your page, it sort of appears like one of those AS SEEN ON TV! commercials. Think of it as the animal that puffs its chest out to look big, but really isn't. One example is another poster's explanation of the overused exclamation mark.
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