I’ve been watching Kickstarter.com for a long time. I like to think of myself as having taken part in Kickstarters “before Kickstarters were cool.” It’s a great way for small start-ups who wouldn’t normally get a chance to break into the market to bring their ideas to fruition, which I believe is good for the industry as a whole. More games means more healthy competition, and an influx in creative ideas breeds even more and better ideas going forward.
In the past couple years I have backed a number of projects on Kickstarter and it’s normally the same shtick. There are a couple lower levels that get you very little, usually not even the game. Then there are mid levels where you get the game plus an increasing number of bonus items. Then often times you will see packages intended for store owners to get multiple copies of the game at a discount. Finally you have the stupid expensive levels that frequently pimp out the designers and artists in some capacity. And all along the way as different milestones are reached new Add-ons are unlocked. This normally means that they’ll “let” you buy additional “exclusive” items if you’re willing to give them more cash.
This is all fine. I like feeling like I’m helping a project. I even like getting access to “exclusive” stuff. I’m a sucker like that. But what I would love to see some Kickstarter campaigns try is to start out with a humble goal and as different financial milestones are met increase the quality of the project itself. For example, start out with a black and white paperback game book on pulp stock. Then you move up to a brighter, glossy stock. Then you move up to targeted spot color throughout the book. Then you move up to a hardcover book. Finally you move up to full color. I think this would give backers even more of a sense of helping to build the project because backer dollars are directly affecting the quality of the end product.
Now maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people are more interested in the freebies they can get, but it seems to me that people back projects because they want that project to be made. (At least I do.) And I feel like, given the opportunity, backers would prefer more focus on the core project than on add-on trinkets.