I had a busy week, and haven’t been able to follow the world of miniature wargaming as closely as I usually do.
When I did, I came across a rather curious sight when I checked in on the final days of Mantic Games’ most recent Kickstarter for a Mars Attacks board game: It seems to be going in reverse?
#1 – Four Rotten Days
Looking at the Mars Attacks Kicktraq page, Mantic’s (still) highly successful Mars Attacks Kickstarter appears to have lost backers for 4 days in a row, towards the end of the Kickstarter when many campaigns shift up gears (miraculously so for Golem Arcana recently).
#2 – What’s Happening?
Now, a few backers less won’t break this Kickstarter-campaign. With close to half a Million Dollars in pledges, it’s a great success (and outstrips Mantic’s first Kings of War Kickstarter. It will likely fall short of Deadzone Kickstarter, and possibly the DreadBall Kickstarter, despite being the most professional Mantic Kickstarter yet.
- Is Mars Attacks not that interesting?
Possibly. Prodos Games appears to have picked up the licensed IP for a sci-fi miniatures game that everyone’s talking about: Aliens vs. Predator. More tongue-in-cheek Martians probably don’t offer the same “serious” sci-fi escapism. Still, it doesn’t really explain Mars Attacks going backwards, with people who were interested enough to pledge now leaving?
- Is the Mars Attacks Kickstarter too long?
Mars Attacks is Mantic Games’ longest Kickstarter yet with 45 days. By and large, Kickstarter-campaigns tend to work better if they’re short and sweet. Kickstarter themselves even dropped the option for longer Kickstarters (up to 90 days) years ago, simply because they proved to be a recipe. Kickstarter success actually correlates (slightly) with a shorter campaign duration.
Is giving people too much time for second thoughts gnawing away at Mars Attacks at the end?
- Are People Dropping “Placeholder” Pledges
Here’s an interesting theory I heard, though it may be tinfoil theory.
Mantic’s Mars Attacks Kickstarter (like many recent professional Kickstarters) features a slightly more advanced “pledge-structure”.
- First, there’s a wide selection of “early-birds” for different levels and other limited specialty pledge-leaves, such as the one that was available only on the Comic Con weekend.
- Second, the Kickstarter doesn’t follow the more straightforward model of a single “sweet-spot” pledge that get’s better and better. Instead, it’s a modular system of “core-pledges”, “boosters”, “add-ons”, etc.. which keep the (subjectively) “ideal” pledge more opaque until the final days.
- Third, combine the first and second. Multiple “early-bird” variants at various levels whose “fit” for a given interest isn’t readily apparent. The solution? Multiple Kickstarter-clone-accounts that “reserve” different “early-birds” (and other specials) until things become clearer. Now, with the final days, it would be time for people to have those clones drop out (except for one).
#3 – Your Thoughts?
Of course, it’s mostly speculation. Still, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s going on there. Kickstarter really remains one of the most interesting windows to the peculiarities of consumer (and salesmanship) dynamics in (not only) miniature wargaming.
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