I am a huge fan of openness in Kickstarter projects. Rules, print-and-plays, component counts – lay everything out there so that people can make the most informed decision possible about whether they want to back the project.
Sure, you don’t need a transcript of your rules on the page itself, but a well-organized link to a rules file is essential, so that those who are interested in reading the rules can go take the time to do so while others move on to the game play videos or whatever.
Anyway, the point is that openness is something good to strive for. There’s no reason not to tell your backers everything about the game you possibly can, so when projects don’t, it comes off as a little suspicious.
Except maybe there could be a reason to not reveal everything…
Now, admittedly the situation is rare and may never have actually been encountered before, but I end up feeling like I’m in uncharted territory a lot working on Gloomhaven, so let’s go ahead and talk about it.
Well, first let’s talk about Risk Legacy. Let’s envision Risk Legacy as a Kickstarter project. The idea of a Risk game that changes as it is played is pitched and well received, but Kickstarter backers are pernicious folk. They want to know specifics on how the game changes. They want detailed stretch goals that add more ways to change the game.
In the end, Kickstarter backers would get the game, but a lot of the fun of the game would be spoiled because the fun comes from the discovery of how the game changes, and they already know all that. The overly visible nature of Kickstarter has lessened the experience of the game because a big part of the game is the unknown.
So maybe you can see my problem. There are also hidden things in Gloomhaven. Things that are awesome and exciting. But I want to give people the excitement of discovering those things while they play the game, not while they’re browsing through a Kickstarter page.
I don’t know. It’s a conundrum. I want people to have all the information, but I also…don’t want them to have the information?
There could, of course, be a “spoilers” page, just like a page for the rule book, where people could read to their heart’s content, but then others could skip over it if they wish. But then that information is still out there. It may still creep into the comments section or other places in unwanted ways.
And on the other hand is this desire to sell the game as hard as possible. Just show everything to get people as excited as possible. If you’ve got cool stuff that people have to click through to see, then a large percentage of people are not going to see it, which may negatively affect whether those people end up backing the project.
I don’t know which way to go. I mean, it already looks like I’m leaning towards a show everything philosophy if you look at the BoardGameGeek page. I’ve posted images and small descriptions of 4 of the unlockable classes in the game. I’ve shown a lot more than that in blog posts and newsletters. The original plan was to keep all classes past the initial 4 secret to maximize the excitement of unlocking them, but I seem to have thrown that out the window in favor of exciting people about the project upfront.
Most of the other less visual stuff I can play it by ear. Sort of answer specific questions with enough vagueness to where nothing is given away. But I guess the character classes are the main thing I am struggling with at the moment. Should all that artwork and the miniature sculpts be displayed for all to see? Or should it be behind a spoilers warning? I am interested in hearing people’s opinions on the matter.