Monday, November 17, 2014

Kickstarting the Golden Age: An Editorial on Kickstarter

     I want to try something new, and I've been thinking about trying my hand at writing an editorial for a while now. I'm actively trying to avoid making an inflammatory remark or allowing this article to turn into rant. I'm going to try and illustrate my perspective on the Kickstarter trend as best as I can articulate. Let's give this a shot:

     I've read a lot of criticism regarding the increasingly prominent use of Kickstarter in the context of miniature wargaming. I've read claims that Kickstarter is being abused by established companies to launch games that would have already been launched regardless of their Kickstarter campaign (Mantic is frequently the target of this complaint). There's usually an argument that Kickstarter shouldn't be used as a pre-order system. Another complaint on the use of crowd funding is that it has led to too many games being funded, thus flooding the market.
     I don't particularly care about the relative success of a company utilizing Kickstarter, because I don't think it's relevant. While a company might have the means to fund a project, Kickstarter is still a highly effective marketing tool. It gets their project publicity before it releases, but more importantly it allows them to gain a strong base of early adopters. Early adopters are a key factor in miniature wargaming due to the emphasis on community in the hobby: if there's an active community for a game, others would be more likely to participate. There are few miniature wargames one can play by themselves, and those with solo play aren't nearly as much fun as playing with a large, active community. Kickstarter is an effective way to generate early adopters as it generally offers a discount of some kind, as well as Kickstarter exclusive content. It's that extra boost for consumers on the fence about a product.
     I wouldn't attribute the variety of games available today to a flooded market. I would instead say it's a happy side effect of the growing popularity of games, and the ability of smaller companies to launch games through Kickstarter. The net gain for gamers is clear: we have more miniatures and more games for us to enjoy. The success of the many games funded on Kickstarter, such as Deadzone, All Quiet on the Martian Front, and Warzone Resurrection leads me to believe that we are entering a golden age in our once obscure hobby. Can all of this growth be credited to Kickstarter? No, certainly not, but it is the conduit through which we've gained so many great games. In the coming years, I anticipate even more expansion in the miniature wargaming with better games, better figures, and more variety. That leads me to the purpose of the article. I believe we are at the all time high point of miniature wargaming, not just in quality of figures (that's sort of self-evident), but in variety of games, quality of games, and the number of gamers.

Thanks for reading, I hope you've all enjoyed it. If you have thoughts or insight, please post in the comments section. If you enjoyed this article or editorials are something you would like to see more of, let your friends know about the article or follow us on Twitter on our page, Nothing But Sixes @nothingbutsixes . Cheers!

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