July 4, 2016

Cool Mini or Not Trying to Help FLGSs Move Massive Darkness

Interesting news from Cool Mini or Not regarding their current Kickstarter "Massive Darkness".

One of the complaints I hear about CMoN is that they shouldn't be using Kickstarter for their releases. Basically some people say that they use Kickstarter as an over-glorified pre-order system that then cuts out the local gaming stores fro potential sales. Anecdotal remarks of CMoN games just sitting on the shelves or the stores refusing to stock them because they don't move. Another complaint I frequently hear is that they have too many Kickstarter exclusives and that the base game you get upon regular release is incomplete.

I am sure they have seen and heard these complaints. With their current Kickstarter, it looks like they are looking to do something about it. They have announced a retail level pledge that is exclusive only to brick and mortar stores. The gist is: they get 40% off the cost of the base pledge (which is $120) and they get 6, 9, or 12 games including all the exclusives and the unlocked extras. The kicker is that they aren't allowed to sell the exclusives separate. They have to sell them with the base game and for the normal amount of $120.

This will allow retail shops to sell it with all the goodies and hopefully be able to move the product.

I think this is a good move for CMoN. While they are certainly not hurting for support on Kickstarter for their games -- I am one of those people, I generally love their games. -- there definitely seems to be growing discontent among gamers about their use of Kickstarter and potential harm it is allegedly causing retailers.

I say allegedly because while people have offered up anecdotal evidence, that doesn't mean it's affecting all retailers the same way. I know of two retailers who have moved CMoN games on a regular basis. To be fair, CMoN has not used Kickstarter for every game they sell. They have used it more for games that are miniature heavy (Zombicide, Wrath of Kings, B-Sieged, Rum and Bones) but have used it for some card games (Xenoshyft).

Personally I have no issue with it. It makes some sense for the games with miniatures involved as they aren't cheap to have manufactured. Offering exclusive ones helps get people interested int he campaign to help make enough to fund the base game and get the mechanisms in play to manufacture it and get it ont he shelves. In regards to exclusives, each stretch goal is enough to get the molds made and have them manufactured. Since their goal is get the base game manufactured, each of the stretch goals is basically enough to get the mini made and send it to the backers if it's exclusive.

The other thing I disagree with is the ides that the base game is somehow neutered or incomplete without the exclusives. Having been through multiple campaigns (Zombicide 3, Z:Black Plague, B-Sieged, Arcadia Quest) and having bought one off the shelf (Zombicide 1) I have their games from "both ends". I don't feel neutered with Zombicide 1 only having the characters that came with it. Ultimately, had I not been involved in the ZC:3 campaign, I could have purchased it off the shelf and had those characters to use along with the ones from season 1. Same if I buy season 2. After all, if CMoN decided to no longer use Kickstarter at all, all their games would be released without those exclusives and no one would know about them to complain about them. The extras are just that, extras.

Of course on top of that, there are those who refuse to back a Kickstarter if it doesn't offer exclusive items.

Regardless, this is a smart move by them. It helps to address some of the complaints against them without having to abandon Kickstarter and helps them to make their product a little more attractive to retailers for an initial sales run of their games. There will still be those who complain. Gamers are good at that if nothing else.

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