It’s really been a while since I looked into the future at the beginning of the year, saw a giant fog of uncertainty, and threw up my arms in a shrug. Who knows what 2017 will bring? Well, I do now, and it’s another Kickstarter.
I guess I knew that was coming, but I didn’t really expect it to come like this. Back at the beginning of the year, before Gloomhaven boarded a hype train and barreled to number #11 on BGG’s all-time rankings, I wasn’t expecting the demand for the game to be so ridiculously high. I thought I could release the copies I had into retail, enjoy some good press, and then casually start up another printing when I was good and ready.
But then there was the great retail shortage of 2017. Everyone was clamoring for copies that didn’t exist, and I began to feel the pressure on all sides to print more copies as soon as possible. So that became the focus of the last month, and now here we are, on the precipice of what is shaping up to be a vastly successful Kickstarter. I don’t necessarily mean to be counting chickens or anything, but, well, it certainly does seem like a lot of people want the game, which makes me happy on all levels.
Except on that one level where I anticipate having to send out all those inevitable replacement parts. That’s not a very happy level.
And, well, the rest of it isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows and giant sacks of money either. My main problem was how to run a Kickstarter for a product I don’t want to add anything to. As we all know, Kickstarter is for launching new products, not products that already exist. You’ve gotta add something to an existing product to make it new, but I had very little desire to add anything to the 21-pound monster.
Coincidentally, though, we were upgrading things. Because the trackers for the health and experience on the character mats were working so poorly, we decided to switch to cool-looking dials, so that was an added component. Plus we were updating the rule book and scenario book after experiencing floods of questions from players for the last two months. It turns out there were some typos and a lot of rules that were not as clear as they could have been, so those are being fixed and updated as well.
Plus we’ve got the sweet, sweet solo scenarios. Let me tell you a secret about creating extra content for Gloomhaven: I really don’t want to physically print any of it. I’m just happy to create new scenarios and give them to people as PDFs, but when I have to print them out and ship them, it just creates so much extra work that I am not very keen on doing.
So I made a bunch of solo scenarios that I was super proud of, and I released them for the community, and then there was all this pressure to print them out and sell them because people didn’t want to print them out themselves. So I said I’d look into putting up the files on the Game Crafter or something so that people could print on demand, but then the BGG store contacted me and offered to print them off to sell in their own marketplace, and that seemed like a good idea, as they would handle all fulfillment.
But then I am looking for new, exciting stuff to add to this reprint Kickstarter, and the plans are already in place to print off these solo scenarios, so I just say, “Aw, hell,” and throw those in there too as an add-on. I swear, I should be teaching business classes or something.
All of these additions and improvements are already set in stone, though, which leads to the pressing question, “What am I going to do for stretch goals?” Every Kickstarter campaign needs stretch goals, right?
Umm, well, I’m not sure. They certainly have a benefit. If you can do stretch goals, then you should certainly go for it. They keep people engaged and excited in a project and encourage them to share the project with their friends. If you really don’t have a viable way to do stretch goals in your project, though, is that going to kill it right out? Well, I’m hoping not, because I’m not doing any.
Instead, in order to keep people engaged and talking about the project, I’m doing something crazy. I’m going to run a community-driven mini-campaign during the Kickstarter where people will have a new scenario to play every three days and are then able to vote on where the story goes next. It’s going to be a mad exercise in improvisational scenario writing that will basically amount to me running a massive world-wide role-playing game. I’m excited to see what happens with it, but I am convinced it is going to be awesome.
It should be noted that I was originally planning on making a scenario every single day, but the community talked me down from that, and I think we’re all grateful. That would have been a little much and may have killed me.
So, yeah, anyway, that’s the story up until now. It is 5 am and I am still awake, drinking way too much caffeine to try and stay awake because there is still so much to do. It’s going to be a crazy day, but I think it will be crazy in a good way.
I think I’ll end this with some proverb a friend of mine from Sweden just told me: “Death checks out all of the sleeping debts.”
Is that pertinent? I don’t know, it’s late. I guess I’m hoping it isn’t pertinent. Who knew Swedes were so dark?