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Responsibility in Crowdsourcing

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m unsure of the exact publication direction I’d like to take the projects COG Gaming rolls out.  Crowdsourcing the projects through Kickstarter to get the necessary funds for manufacturing and distribution is my current plan, but in researching the process and all of the various angles you have to approach and manage each campaign from I’ve realized the process seems stressful at best, and at worst something that begins with the word “cluster.”  I certainly want to maintain the creative integrity of our creations, but at the same time the comparative ease publication companies offer in taking the games and handling everything after the design is somewhat appealing.

I’m fairly certain we’ll end up taking the Kickstarter route for most projects because it enables us to better connect with the gaming community and really get excited about the collaboration with all of the people involved, but in researching what is involved I’ve had to ask myself, “what does a kickstarter campaign owe to its backers?”  I think any real answer would be extraordinarily wide-reaching, but I want to focus on the simplest p123224art that any answer to this question, in my mind, should include: the responsibility to deliver.

As some readers may be aware, this has recently become much more than a question of designer responsibility or morals: it may become a legal reality as well.  The Attorney General of Washington recently filed suit against Altius Management for failing to deliver on its successfully Kickstarted card game Asylum. Read more here  If the lawsuit is successful, Kickstarter campaigns would likely be required to either deliver their product, or return backers’
money if the project still fell through after funding.  What’s more, it may open up a route to go after some notorious previous Kickstarter projects that failed to deliver or were outright scams, such as The Doom That Came to Atlantic City. 

Although I have yet to run my own campaign, all of my reading into the subject has reinforced that it is an incredibly difficult, though rewarding, process that is very fluid and can encounter setbacks at any moment.  It’s invariable that some projects hit insurmountable walls, maybe even through no fault of the developers.  Still, in my mind designers looking to crowdsource their games should approach their projects with the mindset that they are, in fact, entering into a contract with each and every person that supports their campaign, and make good on that contract in a timely manner in one way or another regardless of whether they are legally obligated to do so or not.

What do you think of a crowdsourcing campaign’s responsibility to its backers? What are your hopes for the current lawsuit in Washington?

-Ben

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Author: bduerksen30

coggaming.net I have an m.a. in history focusing on naval and maritime history in the Atlantic from the seventeenth-early nineteenth centuries. I've worked as a website consultant, and am currently employed as an analyst. I also run the COG Gaming blog for board game reviews, news, and kickstarter highlights. COG Gaming also offers playesting and editing services for new designers, and we're in the process of developing a few titles of our own. Contact me if you're interested in having your game reviewed, previewed, or in one of our other services!

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