Money And Sense

Normally, I think I have more sense than money, but every now and again I feel the urge to buy something. I’ve mentioned before that I’m getting increasingly picky about what I buy, partly because I already have so much and my time is limited, but also because the quality of what we have on offer seems to just keep going up. In fact, there are so many enticing goodies on offer that I have to be picky…

These days, that urge often leads to a trawl through the games section of Kickstarter. It’s something I can do while I have a break from writing stuff. Probably not quite what the Display Screen Health & Safety lot recommend, but at least it’s looking differently.

Luckily for my wallet, and less so for theirs, a great many of the interesting projects add so much for shipping from the US that they become impractical. Several that I costed out doubled the pledge cost when I added shipping and import taxes. Almost invariably this means that I cross them off my list as a KS, and put them in the mental “when they come out” pile. Of course, by then I’ll probably have forgotten all about them, so it’s a sale lost to the project owners. Need to sort your European distribution, guys.

Anyway, I thought I’d write a post of two to share a small selection of things I found interesting. Today, one project that I’m not pledging for and one that I am.

 

Leviathan 3000

Leviathan 3000 is an old school hex and counter space game. Warp over and have a look – you’ll need to be quick as it ends in a few hours!

I suspect that this is mostly interesting to me for the same reason I’m not pledging, namely that I designed something very similar an equally long time ago. In fact, mine was even more pernickety about the physics. I retained momentum indefinitely (he only tracks for a turn – much simpler), mine was in 3D (points for nerding, but largely unnecessary), and also logged rotational momentum as well as vector (told you it was pernickety). The last was actually quite interesting in play. I will admit that as I never intended mine as something other folk would see beyond my own play group, it’s not an entirely practical game.

Leviathan 3000As I already had much this game gathering dust on my shelf already I didn’t feel the need for another verison. It did make me have a rummage though, and when I find all the counters I’ll give it another go. I used to play it quite a lot and had several whole fleets of multi-hex counters in different colours. Somewhere.

Of course, you probably don’t have a stack of old game designs cluttering up your shelves, so you might find Leviathan 3000 of interest. It’s a classic design problem and he looks to have a simple way round the bulk of a tricky problem.

 

Custom Game Dice

Gamers like dice. Game designers often want very specific components, like dice. Most of the time the cunning scheme you have come up with will use either normal spot dice, or something that nobody makes (yet). Custom Game Dice might prove useful.

Rather than show you a picture of a dice (I’m guessing you’ve seen those), here are the reward levels.

Dice pledge levels

What is especially useful for any budding designers out there is that:

  1. You can design all six sides of your dice (if you want to).
  2. All the dice in your pledge can be completely different (sounds like a headache for the producer).
  3.  You don’t have to decide on all of your dice immediately.

I’ve pledged for a hundred dice. I don’t know what they’ll be yet, but then I don’t need to decide for a month or two. It’s nicely timed as I’m working on a new game that might be able to use some custom dice, at least as a “would be nice” option. I know I can get custom dice made anyway, but this seems like a reasonable price and insanely flexible. The flexibility is particularly tempting as I can make up several speculative designs and have them all made, or simply save some of my pledge for later. If you’re in the US the postage makes it an even better deal. However, even outside the You Nice States it doesn’t add a lot as dice are conveniently light.

Whether it’s custom dice for a shiny prototype game you’ve designed, or simply bespoke dice for your favourite game, club or faction, this seems like a project that might be worth a look.

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12 Responses to Money And Sense

  1. scarletsquig says:

    Yeah, the US shipping has killed non-UK projects dead for me. Skipped both Bones 2 and SDE. The only US one I did go in for was Secret Weapon who use Mantic for EU distro.. free shipping and no import tax, despite massive and heavy items… can’t wait to get my hands on the amazing looking DZ board.

  2. davekay says:

    Bones 2 had over 3,000 fewer backers than the first Bones. I expect that was 3,000+ international bidders saying ‘no thanks’ to subsidising postage for the US backers and then paying over the odds for our own. Dungeon Tiles was another one with shipping prices set to “we don’t want to deal with people outside the US”

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I expect those are the real shipping costs rather than any attempt to cash in on foreign gamers. Shipping is not cheap. However, the increasing number of options for arranging third parties to manage fulfilment of orders in other regions makes it seem like a missed trick when the larger KS projects don’t bother. It’s a lose/lose situation.

      • davekay says:

        In the case of Bones 2, US shipping was free (ie subsidised by the order amount, whereas OS shipping was weirdly expensive. Vampire level or whatever they called it would have cost me $150 rather than $125 last time. That material is not heavy – plus as I used the calculator to add more to my pledge the postage amount did not budge, so it was just an amount they made up.
        As I say, with over 3,000 fewer buyers I don’t think I was alone in this reasoning, not trying to say postage is free, just don’t care to pay for someone else’s and then a large flat rate for myself on top of that.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I agree with you that it can seem unfair. However, it may not always be so. It’s hard to know without the back end numbers to hand. Most KS I’ve seen use averaged costs and don’t add little bits of postage for add-ons as it’s fiddly and confusing (and off-putting) for customers. That applies to every region.

          Of course, you may not be subsidising someone else’s postage at all. The additional flat rate could well be the difference in shipping cost between sending to the US and sending elsewhere, rather than the whole shipping cost added on top of something that already accounts for local postage. I’m not saying it is or isn’t in this specific case as I don’t know the details. Just saying that both options are possible. Personally, I’d expect foreign customers to add the difference rather than the total cost on top. That would be reasonable (in principle – it may still be too much money).

      • davekay says:

        To add, like the other commenter I am in the Secret Weapon KS at the $475 level, and shipping coming from Australia was a huge part of my deciding to pledge.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Absolutely. Of the projects I seriously consider but then don’t back, 8 or 9 out of 10 are simply because of a lack of local shipping.

  3. James Aubury says:

    Yes there have been a few projects i would have backed on KS recently is it wasnt for the fact that ‘shipping outside the US’ would have doubled what i was looking to pledge. Ah well, i did chip in for Across the Dead Earth and im sure there will be a couple more Mantic projects coming up i’ll need to invest in!

    More to the point! Whats the new game Jake? Any hints? Or do i have to wait till the 17th to bribe you? 🙂

  4. Pingback: Loot Crate | Scent of a Gamer

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