Gen Con, Cults, a Playmat, and More!
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.
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!