OPINION: Promising the world via Kickstarter… (2): Richard Garfield’s Carnival of Monsters

Frank Mentzer’s Worlds of Empyrea and Richard Garfield’s Carnival of Monsters: I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here!

This is the second of two posts about ambitious Kickstarter campaigns. Part 1 focused on Frank Mentzer’s Worlds of Empyrea, and can be found here: Promising the world via Kickstarter… (1)

Richard Garfield's Carnival of Monsters

Richard Garfield’s Carnival of Monsters

At first sight, the Kickstarter campaign for Carnival of Monsters doesn’t quite fall into the same trap as Worlds of Empyrea — the game model looks complete, even if the artwork clearly isn’t, but it does fail (for me) on many other levels…

(1)  The cost — with a target of €250k+ (approx £200k), it’s clear this is another project where the backers are being asked to pay for the project almost in its entirety.

(2)  The poor attention to detail — with no sample rulebook as yet, no definitive idea of how the game plays, and the feeling there really isn’t that much game here anyway: it reads like a beginner’s version of Magic: the Gathering without the player conflict and very limited set collection.
[UPDATE: There is a sample rulebook available now, but it does nothing to sway my opinion that there’s a not very impressive game in here…]

(3)  The constant reminder that this game is incomplete — claiming the game is still a work in progress suggests there are still aspects of play testing yet to be ironed out, even though I think they’re referring mainly to the artwork (which backers will have to pay for, basically).

(4)  The impression that the product itself will be incomplete without the stretch goals — in order for them to deliver the full project as envisioned by the designer(s), with an additional 86 individual full-card illustrations, the campaign needs to reach double it’s original target. Anything less effectively means you’re not getting the intended article.

(5)  The paid-for Preview from Tom Vasel — this feels somehow disingenuous, and brings with it the feeling that it has paid its way onto the Dice Tower Essentials list. This is no reflection on Tom, himself, because he has a business to run, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with the practice.

Also, the number of cards in the Standard Edition adds up to 239 and not 240 (add them up if you don’t believe me) — a minor niggle, perhaps, but a nonetheless annoying oversight. The crux of my point is that while both Richard Garfield’s Carnival of Monsters and Frank Mentzer’s Worlds of Empyrea have the luxury of using big ‘names’ in their projects, that doesn’t mean they can afford to be complacent with a lacklustre and half-baked effort for the rest of the campaign…

[Update: This project has since been cancelled, on 30th October 2017]

Part one of this post, focused on Frank Mentzer’s Worlds of Empyrea, can be found here: Promising the World via Kickstarter… (1)

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