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The wicked 1-4 player game of summoning supernatural evil in 60-90 minutes. From Richard Launius, Darrell Louder, and Chris Kirkman.
The wicked 1-4 player game of summoning supernatural evil in 60-90 minutes. From Richard Launius, Darrell Louder, and Chris Kirkman.
2,876 backers pledged $211,447 to help bring this project to life.

Gen Con, Cults, a Playmat, and More!

Posted by GreaterThanGames (Creator)
26 likes

Greetings Lovecraft lovers!

We are officially back from Gen Con, and it was an awesome time! We even unlocked the Shoggoth monster for all backers today! You all can take a look at the new stretch goal image and let your imagination go wild as to the next Monster in the lineup.

At the show the demo tables were always packed full of enthusiastic gamers, and quite a few of you who are already backing stopped by to check things out and to share the love. We really appreciate it. Here are a couple of shots of Richard Launius being awesome in our demo room. He loved every minute of every demo!

 

Something Special for Your Table

The demo table in our main booth garnered quite the attention, both at the show and here on Kickstarter when we shared a picture of it. Because so many of you thought it was cool, we thought we’d create an add-on for anyone who’d like to bring some of that experience to their own game table!

This 3 foot x 3 foot vinyl playmat can be added to any pledge for $39, and shipping is included. All you have to do is up any pledge by $39 and we’ll clarify your order after the campaign has concluded. Please note that anyone pledging at the ELDER GOD level will receive this playmat automatically as part of their pledge! So now you can get all the things for $199!

Something Special for Your Cults

We are going to save this one for tomorrow’s update, but while at Gen Con, we all finalized an idea we’ve been discussing and working on for the campaign and the game for a few months. This will be a set of special Cult cards that will provide even more variable player powers and flavor for your nefarious plans in and around Arkham! And the best part - they’ll be Kickstarter promotionals, not available in the retail version of the game! More on that tomorrow, so stay tuned.

International Shipping

There have been a few comments on the campaign page about the cost of international shipping, and possible ways to reduce that. We have worked very hard to provide a fair cost for shipping both for backers and for us as a company. This is not the first campaign where we’ve had to discuss this issue; the Dice Hate Me Games campaign for Bottom of the 9th: Clubhouse Edition was the first one where we outlined exactly why our costs are what they are, and why you might find lower costs from other Kickstarter campaigns. The text below is from that post by me (Chris); it’s a bit long, but it will shed some light on why things are the way they are.

“We all know that international shipping for these games is not ideal. I truly wish it was a different case! But, in reality, it's not.

First, we do not make a profit from the shipping costs; in fact, we are actually subsidizing some of the costs. In more clear terms, we are eating those costs in shipping, packaging, and labor. What you need to understand is that many other companies are eating those costs, too - at a much more significant rate, and, sometimes, to the detriment of their bottom line.

We are a company. We have employees, we have overhead, and we have real costs that we need to address, just like other board game publishing entities. There are two separate things happening when you see lower shipping rates, and they differ depending on if it's a Kickstarter campaign or an online retailer.

1) Kickstarter campaigns. When you encounter lower international rates on a campaign - particularly if they are US-based - you are seeing a project owner willing to subsidize a large portion of the real costs associated with shipping. I've mentioned several times on BGG, and on our podcast, that shipping is the silent killer for many Kickstarter projects. Most underestimate how much it truly costs to ship items overseas and it can come back to bite them on the backend. Many of those project owners are being truly earnest in their willingness to help out international backers, and that's great. But that does not necessarily equal a solid, long-term business strategy. What I'd like to stress here is the word business. We have to be ever-vigilant in maintaining our bottom line, which is what keeps us in business and keeps us working as a company to make great games. All of our Kickstarter backers are helping to make that a reality, and it's truly awesome, but if we were to ignore our bottom line then we would be disingenuous to those backers - in other words, we could be introducing a situation where we could not truly fulfill those pledges. You've all seen it happen in horror stories on the BGG forums. Thankfully, those are few and far between, but it's a reality that exists for more than a few campaigns.

Now, many of you will no doubt throw out lower shipping rates from successful and experienced Kickstarter project owners, but many of them are operating with a business model that does not take into consideration the long-term effects of subsidizing shipping costs. In other words, they are Kickstarter-centric, operating only to produce the number of games for which are pledged, plus a few more for the distribution channels. Also, quite a few of those project owners do not deal with the overhead or logistics of a company our size. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just not necessarily a business model that will work to sustain a publishing entity in the long run.

2) Online Retailers. Most online retailers ship in HUGE quantities. This means that they can get a bulk discount from their shipping representatives, and much more easily subsidize shipping costs; I use the term subsidize here because they are all still eating some of those costs. Amazon is able to subsidize two-day shipping because of their Prime member subscriptions. But they are also able to subsidize shipping because they are shipping items in the millions each day, so the overall profit margins for discounts and the shipping subsidies don’t eat into their bottom line as much. This is the same for many online retailers, outside of Amazon. Since they are shipping hundreds, or even thousands, of items a day, the subsidies of shipping are minimized by the bulk. At Greater Than Games, we have a warehouse and a warehouse manager - and we need to pay for both of those - but we cannot operate at the same bulk efficiency as some online sources.

All of this is to say that we know international shipping is a hassle for our backers, and it’s expensive. But at least we’re honestly telling all of you that it’s expensive, and to treat the subject otherwise is both dishonest and harmful to our company. We all want to continue to make awesome games! And if we cut corners for shipping then we simply won’t be able to do what we love to do - and what all of you love to see from us - in the future.

I hope this makes everything more clear. We love all of our supporters, domestic and international alike, so please take all of this to heart.”

That’s it for today’s update, but we’ll be back tomorrow with even more awesomeness!

Keith Rexing, Larry Liang, and 24 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. BoardGameRevolution
      Superbacker
      on

      The play mat looks ok but could use more color in some spots. It's a little drab

    2. kevin freksen
      Superbacker
      on

      About shipping.
      im kinda cool with the european shipping cost, what makes me wonder is this. How are you able to provide free shipping for US and canada? this must cost u something?
      It cant be free for the company too i guess. And if the company are paying for the us and canada shipping, then all talk about not wanting to lose money on shipping cost kinda falls short.
      Because then it really do seem, like we (europe) are paying for american and canadian shipping . . .

    3. Missing avatar

      Craig O'Connor on

      I too would like to thank you for the detailed outline behind shipping costs. I've only recently started backing projects on Kickstarter, and so I'm new to the process. As a typically cynical Brit, I've bypassed a lot of projects that many of my friends would instantly jump on just because of all the stretch goal content, as I prefer to be a little more informed about the overall creative process.

      I think it is frequently overlooked about the amount of time and effort that goes into the whole process, from design, to artwork, production, all that jazz, and how it costs money. Yeah, it kinda sucks that overseas shipping is so high, especially here in the UK where the exchange rate isn't great right now, but it is refreshing to hear an actual breakdown of why this is.

      I recently backed another game where the creators were refreshingly honest about the overall production costs, and I appreciate that level of transparency. I commented the other day that I like the look of Fate of the Elder Gods, and if it weren't for the shipping costs, I'd back it without hesitation. I do however have a budget, so I'll have to wait until the 48 hour crunch to see if I can afford to go all in.

      Here's hoping I can, because this game looks awesome!

    4. Darrell Louder on

      @Justin - It's a new thing, never before seen, inspired from the table top design we used at GenCon.

    5. Missing avatar

      Justin Savioli
      Superbacker
      on

      @Darrell Thanks but I don't think I understand still. Was this playmat used for the demo table at GenCon? Is it in the pictures? Or is this a new thing never before seen?

    6. Darrell Louder on

      @Will - There are currently no plans to produce the play mat for retail, only for this KickStarter campaign.

    7. Darrell Louder on

      @Justin - The playmate is the whole square image above. So it has the game board printed on it and denoted spaces for all the cards/tokens in the game.

    8. Will Foy
      Superbacker
      on

      Follow up question on the playmats? Will we have an option post-campaign to add a mat (obv. at our dime), or is it required to add to the campaign? Planning ahead since GenCon ate my budget. I did walk by the GTG booth in the Exhibition Hall and that layout is mighty pretty, in an evil sort of way, and I do think it would add to the game experience for those who like such things.

    9. Will Foy
      Superbacker
      on

      Disclaimer: not an international backer (I'm in DHMG's backyard in NC, though not in Durham). This update and post from GTG, in my view, is fair and outlines the struggle of what to balance (just like a game) in how to operate the company, the campaign, and understand the needs and wants of backers. To that, I say, bravo. If the goal is to run a campaign and be done, it's one thing. It's another to operate with the goal of crafting, then making the game, all the while wanting to be able to continue to pay staff, designers, and others, so that the next game can be made, or the game can be improved (or other product, service, etc that's the "fruit" of the KS campaign). I want GTG to be able to continue to make stuff, and operate the company, expand the games, etc. So if that means a game developed in the EU, or NZ, or Australia, etc, requires higher costs to get to me, I can make an informed decision on just how much shipping gets eaten. I backed a different game studio's campaign, and the creator did exactly what GTG warned about: they didn't factor the costs of shipping well, and it created delays of months while the creator and his family ATE the costs of shipping. I'm sure he lost his shirt on the first campaign - and it gave me significant pause when the next campaign (an expansion to his game) came around before I backed it. He learned from the experience regarding shipping costs, and had it closer to what's required. So, ultimately, this sort of transparency around shipping pricing is exactly what we need to have that informed decision. Does it stink? Yes. Could shipping costs be reduced? Who knows, perhaps work on legislation in your locale that helps with this, but it's hard to get it done effectively in the short run. I think this post, while "inside baseball", is also helpful to show what GTG is doing, trying to do, and addresses us as backers with respect and information, so thanks!

    10. Missing avatar

      Justin Savioli
      Superbacker
      on

      I'm confused. I was at GenCon and I saw the table and I even played some but ... I have no idea what playmat this is discussing. In the picture above, is it the central board with the abyss and everything? I thought that was the standard game board.

    11. Paul Lenkic
      Superbacker
      on

      Sweet!

    12. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Elzra - Thanks! We just want people to be aware of the real costs associated with shipping things around the world. Congrats on Catacombs, by the way! Such a great game, and I, personally, approve of anyone who gives Kwanchai more work. He's the best. - Chris

    13. Elzra Games on

      This is a well written, honest post about the challenges of international shipping for Kickstarter campaigns. Shipping individual boxes to people located across the planet is not a cheap process. We confront the same issues with our campaigns.

    14. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Paul - Just checked; those who have pledged at the $1 level can, indeed, pledge an additional $39 for the vinyl mat add-on! :)

    15. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Paul - That's a great question, thanks for bringing it up. I will check with Paul to see if that's something that's feasible; the intent was for backers at $59 and up to add on the playmat. But if a $1 backer wanted to add it on for some reason, I suppose it could be an option. More on that later.

    16. Paul Lenkic
      Superbacker
      on

      Adding $39 to a $1 Pledge will secure the Playmat?

    17. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Daniel - Awesome, and that's all that matters. :)

    18. Daniel Orsary on

      That helps me visualize the situation better.

      Either way can't wait to play.

    19. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Daniel - No worries. It might not be for you, and that's ok. The demo table in the room was situated just as in the pictures, and players were spread out over a long table, with two players on either side. Many gaming tables are shorter, and the players will be situated close to the Lodges.

    20. Daniel Orsary on

      Ok thanks for trying. I will have to debate about the mat. I having trouble getting through my thick head how it would work.

      If you can explain how did it work at the demo table that would along with this mat layout. Is it like the pictures a long rectangle so two people were on each side of the table? Still everyone moved the lodge card directly infront of them in the pics.

      I do appreciate the effort. Thanks.

    21. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Daniel - Darrell played around with about six variant layouts (after your comments on the main page) and none of them were as practical as the one you see here. We did try, though - we just have to choose the best possible graphical layout for the game with the given 3x3 space. We assume that many players will be playing the game the same way around a table as we had in our demo room, and not necessarily at a square or round table.

    22. Daniel Orsary on

      Is this the final artwork for the player mat? Those lodge card slots still bug me facing away from the players sitting on the side.

    23. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Joshua - I think the explanation speaks for itself; other Kickstarter campaigns are subsidizing shipping. Even if a company sends part of their shipment to Europe for fulfillment, they still have to eat some of those costs in order to split the shipment. It's a tight rope to walk; if a company chooses to lower their perceived costs on KS campaigns they might make up some of the difference in raised pledges, but it's not a guarantee. It's a risk, and not all of those costs are going to be recouped after the campaign ends. As I mentioned in my explanation, shipping is a silent killer, and not everyone is willing to discuss the logistics and risks involved. We choose to be honest about our costs upfront. It might deter some international backers from getting involved, but it is much healthier for the campaign, the overall life of the game both on Kickstarter and afterwards, and for the company involved. And we do encourage and enable group pledges by not raising shipping costs for multiple games which many backers have taken advantage of in previous campaigns.

    24. Joshua Taube
      Superbacker
      on

      None of you explanation actually shows why your costs are more than "other" kickstarters. Are you shipping internationally from your warehouse in the U.S.? That is a decision that other kickstarters choose to bypass by shipping directly to regions near their international companies.
      I am not an international backer but that explanation only had one point, other people subsidize more because they don't have as much overhead. I really can't imagine that is the only difference in shipping.

    25. Larry Liang on

      Love the playmat design! Love even more that it's already included in the Elder God tier :)