A new site is launching with the purpose of providing a platform specifically for funding games. Think of it as Kickstarter with a narrow niche. It's called GameLaunched. You can visit the site now, but there's not much to see. Supposedly they will start offering projects and taking pledges on January 1, 2013. Something to watch.
Preparing for a Kickstarter involves tons of things that most people would never think of in advance. One question that has arisen recently is to what extent to reveal a game for free.
Some games are completely proprietary- they show components and game play, but the exact rules, cards, and pieces are not given until a person buys it. My instinct is to follow this model. However, there is another way.
Other games provide a free PDF download of the rules, and some even give a Print and Play (PNP) version. At first blush it seems like this is giving away the keys to the kingdom. Why would someone buy a game they can play for free? And what's to stop someone from taking all your hard work and coopting it as their own?
Aside from these reservations, there are clear advantages to the free and open model. When considering whether to back a game, people are more likely to do so if they have more information. If I have little way of knowing whether I'll like a game, it's less likely I'll be willing to put money down on it.
With these considerations in mind, I think I've found a middle road for Archon Arena. The game consists of 42 combat cards divided into 3 decks at play time. In addition, there are 5 posture cards and 6 leaders. My idea is to provide a PNP version with enough cards to play one battle. So rather than all the cards, I'd have a version with just 14 combat cards, the postures, and 2 of the leaders. This would be enough to give people a taste of the rules and game play without giving everything away. I'd also include just the info on the cards, not the artwork, so there is added incentive for people to buy the full game.
While it seems that free and open and proprietary are mutually exclusive alternatives, I'm hoping that this middle approach can give the best of both worlds. Maybe it will work for you too.
Thanks to Artrimis on TGC for inspiring this post.
This video is guys shipping a game backed on KickStarter.
This aspect of game creation seems like a whole lot of no fun. Not to mention how expensive it is. A third of the wholesale cost for Archon Arena will be shipping.
I stumbled upon a great artist doing top-down fantasy artwork for maps, battles, etc in RPGs. Could be a good alternative to spending hours and fortunes on figures. The Kickstarter is already well funded, but the more he gets the more art he'll make.
Check it out.
Dusty (CrassPip) has been playing geek games for 30 years(!) and making his own for nearly as long. Recently, he's actually gotten games beyond the imagination stage.