Monte Says: Why Kickstart?

Monte Says is a regular feature here on the Monte Cook Games website, in which Monte talks about topics related to the Cypher System—or anything else on his mind!

Kickstarter has changed the way many of us—gamers and creators—look at games. It’s opened up a whole new venue to present new ideas, and thus a whole new way for gamers to find and support products they find interesting.

Of course, the original means of getting new games haven’t gone away, and supporting your local game store is always a good idea. Most games on Kickstarter are eventually available through normal venues. So why back a game Kickstarter? Well, I’ve backed well over a hundred, and I can share why I’ve done so.

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Kickstarting shows support for good ideas. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but it really is one of the best ways to show the ideas that we like. That is, ultimately, what Kickstarter is for. I know Kickstarter is a great way to get stuff, and that’s certainly a big reason why we back projects. But the reason creators use Kickstarter is to see if people are interested in what they want to create. The more support the Kickstarter gets, the clearer picture that the creator gets regarding the popularity of their idea. It’s the most straightforward way to show support of a product that sounds like it would be awesome. If you want to tell the game industry the kinds of games they should be producing, backing Kickstarters you like is one of the best ways to accomplish it.

But let’s put that aside and think more about what we get as backers. For starters, lots of Kickstarters offer exclusive rewards. For example, our current Kickstarter offers exclusive poster maps with each of the setting books we’re Kickstarting. These exclusives aren’t available if you buy the books in a store. Lots of Kickstarters offer very cool exclusives like that. I know, for example, that I love my exclusive Kingdom Death boxed set.

Further, lots of game Kickstarters offer ways to playtest, get early access, or provide feedback on the rules. Through the comments and in other ways, you can communicate with the creators and give your input, to help shape the game. Some campaigns even have backer levels that give you exclusive ways to interact directly with the creators, such as playing in a game they run or even have dinner with them.

Lastly, when you back a Kickstarter you are in a great position to help. When you share the Kickstarter with friends it helps the campaign reach its goal (and possibly, its stretch goals). The more people you bring to the campaign, the more goals it can reach, and the more you’ll get for your money. A well run campaign will ensure that additional funds raised go to make the game better, by commissioning more art, adding more content, or even by creating entirely new supplements. I’ve been fortunate to back a lot of great Kickstarters with escalating value like that, including Kingdom Death: Monster, Call of Cthulhu, Reaper Bones, and Dracula Dossier.

I love Kickstarter both as a creator and as a backer. It offers us all so many opportunities and benefits.

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