Avertigos – How I Got Conned Into Another Kickstarter Campaign

Kickstarter has been the lifeline for many board game designers in the past few years. In the past, it required a publisher. But now, self publishing is an achievable dream with the help of crowdfunding.

With the help of Masquerada’s creative director Ian Gregory, Avertigos, an ambitious miniature board game is looking to get off the ground with an ask of US$100K.

By the looks of it the game is really close to its goal and we got Ian to say, in his own words, what possessed him to give Kickstarter another go –

Ian: I will never run another Kickstarter campaign. They’re highly stressful, completely draining and the mistakes I made in the last campaign are still fresh in my mind. A fourteen-day campaign!? YOU FOOL! I will never run another Kickstarter campaign again.

Enter Siddharth Jain, that silver-tongued devil, of Playware fame. He comes to me offering an opportunity to help design a new board game. One that has flying ships, lovely art and great gameplay. Avertigos: South China Sea. I’m interested. Couple of hours a week making something fun? Sure, why not. Then he has to go spoil it all by saying he wants to produce it using a Kickstarter.

I will never run a Kickstarter campaign again. The agony of pre-planning a campaign takes months. Research needs to be done in advance. Research on what are the production costs of the sets. Finding partners who can deliver on the campaign. What kind of marketing budget is needed. Don’t even get me started on the legal jargon we’d have to chew through. No thank you.

He starts talking about how the ships are on these special stands that allow you to change their height, added an interesting layer of strategy that I haven’t seen in a board game. It sounds enticing. I ask if we could have modular add-ons to the ships so players can customise their load outs. A resounding yes, that’s absolutely possible. But..

I will never run a Kickstarter campaign again. Putting together the manpower required is a huge hurdle on its own. We’d need someone to write content, someone to do all the incidental art, a logistics person, a community manager. Worst still, if you can’t find the right people, it’s all you. Nope, I don’t have the constitution.

Sid starts showing me 3D prints of the ships. They’re gorgeous. Curved lines, steampunk influences and customisable sails. From the patrol boats to the dreadnoughts, it’s a feast for the eyes. All the game pieces follow suit – native meeples, trade houses and surface rockets. Still..

I will never run a Kickstarter campaign again. There’s a boatload (pun intended) of scheduling to be done. From Kickstarter updates to social media posts. Tuning them to a moving target that is a global audience is tough, as you can only react to how the backers respond. Speaking of backers! How about figuring out what the funding goals are? Too low and it’ll be impossible to ship the game, too high and people won’t back it. I don’t need that anxiety again.

Sid carries on to tell me the story about the world these amazing ships exist in. One where the Western powers never came to prominence. Instead, Asia and its various nations take control. China’s dynastic rule never ended, while the Singasari became the giant of the south. This was an alternate universe telling a unique story of “what if?” One where the players are leaders of trading clans, vying for the spice routes in South East Asia, each tapping on their connections with the two empires nearby. Now this sounds juicy. Then again..

I will never run a Kickstarter campaign again. When the Masquerada campaign went live, I barely slept, trying to respond to everyone from this side of the globe to the other. What little time in between, I’m writing updates and development insights, while soliciting other campaigns live at the time to cross-promote our stuff. I’m certain this was the point I started getting white hairs. My body can’t take another beating like that. Sorry, no.

The man looks me in the eye and goes, “I’ll be the one running the Kickstarter campaign. You just need to point me in the right direction.”

When do we start?

While this was written for a laugh, the amount of work involved is actually far, far more! How about helping Sid sleep easy by taking a look at the campaign (We’re nearly funded!) and maybe back it if you like it!

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