With this year’s Gencon behind us you can expect to see lots of new board game projects pop up on Kickstarter, and lots of new retail releases in the coming month. There are already a number of projects I’ve added to my ever-expanding board game ‘want’ list, but the campaign I think I’m most excited about is Galaxy of Trian from Creativemaker LLC. As Undead Viking points out in his video review of the game, if this were a simple tile-laying game there wouldn’t be much here other than the gorgeous artwork. In fact, if that’s all it were I’d be tempted to compare it to the triangle tile-matching games you so often see in museum and zoo gift shops. While tile-laying does play a part in the game by allowing players to build the galaxy according to their own strategies and gaining points while doing so, the game then adds elements of area control and building that really look like they add a cool space-opera feel to the game without the seemingly inherent rules complexity and time commitment those games usually involve.
There are a number of reasons I chose to write about this campaign other than the fact that I think it looks like it will be a very cool game for both the more casual gamers in my group, as well as the more experienced ones. First, I have to say that the artwork is stunning. This will be a very pretty game, and the amount of effort and polish that has already gone into the production is what any new Kickstarter campaign creator should aspire to if pre-Kickstarter funds permit. The artwork for the various alien races in particular is very good, and each time I see them I can’t help put to think of AAA video game titles like Galactic Civilizations.
Second, I really like what the creators have done with stretch goals. As covered in some of my previous posts about what I think make for successful Kickstarter campaigns, I am a big advocate for including both funding-level and social-media stretch goals. Galaxy of Trian does both, and each of the stretch goals is actually something that adds to the game. Be it additional tiles, a new race, an additional player, or upgraded components, none of the stretch goals feel like a throw-away goal that most of the backers won’t care about. On the contrary, I’m excited about each one, and excited backers means more money.
Additionally, the designers are including the game’s first content-expansion for free in the Deluxe editions of the game. There is a great deal of debate as-to-whether having an expansion included with an unpublished game adds value or makes it seem like the designers couldn’t accomplish what they wanted with the base game. In this case I believe it does the former, as the game looks fully playable in the game modes included with the “original”, and the expansion adds some additional elements like direct confrontation. I’m glad to see the creators have thought things out as to where the game can go, and it sounds like they already have future plans for more content.
The biggest reason I want to highlight this campaign however, isthe fact that this is one of the few new campaigns that I’ve seen really care about getting feedback on their campaign page before it launched. Now, that’s not a sleight against other campaigns that don’t solicit feedback before their page launches- some people already have experience doing this sort of thing, and others just have a good idea of how they want their page laid out and what they need to include on it to maximize their potential. Most, however, ruin their campaign by posting poorly laid out pages, superfluous information, or by asking for help after the campaign has launched and it’s too late to make up for the shoddy beginning and initial impressions. Others, however, come into the Kickstarter-page creation process totally blind, and there are added difficulties for non-native-English speaking creators in trying to convey what they need in a way that inspires confidence in the game.
The guys at CreativeMaker LLC used the social media avenues available to designers to great effect for Galaxy of Trian, posting in multiple game design and Kickstarter facebook groups asking for feedback weeks before their campaign went live. When they first gave us the link to the page, there were MANY problems. Sections that should have been together were separated and placed poorly, the page was ridiculously long and filled with HUGE pictures and unnecessary text, some of the information was not very clear, and there were spelling mistakes throughout. And now? Well, not all of the changes that were suggested were made, but I think the campaign page more-or-less speaks for itself. Proportional images that click through to larger versions, sections moved around to give people more of the information they need about the game up front, rather than making them scroll through half the page to find out what they need, and much more grammatically-sound text with correct spelling. In-short, this went from a campaign that I thought was a cool concept but inspired little confidence, to one that I happily backed the day it went live.
I’m not as confident in the January delivery-date as the designers are, but huge kudos to them for taking the time to get the campaign in order BEFORE it launched, and doing their due-diligence to make sure they had a chance at funding. Not only is the game funded, but it’s well on its way to achieving the awesome stretch goals I mentioned earlier. So, if you’re looking to create your own Kickstarter campaign, make sure to join the various Kickstarter campaign advice groups on Facebook and ask for feedback if you need it! Your project will be better for it. And, if you happen to like sci-fi games, go give Galaxy of Trian’s page a look.