Susan Waldbiesser of Six Feet Under Games in New Holland, Pennsylvania comments on Charles Ryan's response (see "Charles Ryan of Monte Cook Games on Kickstarter") to Scott Thorne's column regarding why he doesn't bite on Kickstarters for retailers (see "Rolling for Initiative--Five Reasons I Skip Kickstarter Retailer Levels").
In response to Charles Ryan of Monte Cook Games on Kickstarter:
As COO of a manufacturer, I believe that you think you are well informed Mr. Ryan.  I would like to tell you that you may be right in some areas, but in my area, Mr. Thorne is the one who is right.  I have spoken with my customers that have Kickstarted projects.  I have been told that there are multiple reasons they Kickstart a project rather than wait to purchase it from me.
The players have very little enticement to purchase from retailers, even those that Kickstart at Retailer levels.  If the players Kickstart a project, they are going to pay less than MSRP in some cases.  Many cases they will pay MSRP or higher if they choose a higher level.  Either way, the choice to pay more nets them more goodies.
Players that sponsor a project receive delivery earlier.  Players don't come into the store every weekday.  UPS, FedEx and USPS deliver to homes every weekday, and in the case of USPS on Saturday, as well.  Even if I get the product on the same day as the player, they will still feel like they receive it earlier because they don't have to go to my store to get the game.
Players that fund a product also get extras.  Even at Retailer levels, most projects aren't going to supply the store with the same items that players will get at the consumer levels.  I have yet to see a Kickstarter that offers the Retailer the same items, in quantities equivalent to the game.  In addition, the consumer can choose to sponsor at a higher level and receive more special items.  The other benefit that consumers get is from the stretch goals.  If stretch goals are reached, they are not given necessarily to retailers in the quantities necessary to benefit them.
These are all reasons direct from the players.  The other reason that Mr. Thorne brought up is market saturation.  Mr. Ryan, you believe that Mr. Thorne is wrong, but I can tell you that in my location, he is absolutely correct.  I have purchased a few games that were Kickstarter projects once they came to distribution.  I can tell you that I still have each of those games on my shelves.  Even if a game is great and getting lots of play, it is being played because the players that Kickstarted it have their copies.
Some companies are even going so far as to offer for sale the extras that were given away to sponsors.  This is another slap in the face of the retailer.  Why should players purchase from a retailer that offers play space, knowledge and guidance, but doesn't have the freebies to go along with the game?  Worse yet, to get those same items from the retailer either the retailer has to lose money or the consumer has to pay for them!
I accept that Kickstarter has its place.  It is a great starting point for someone with a game idea that can't sell it to a manufacturer.  It is a tool for a company to get started with, but I feel that entirely too many manufacturers are using Kickstarter repeatedly (Reaper, Fred/Eagle, etc.).  I am one store owner that is unwilling to wrap up my cash and shelf space for an item that has been or is on Kickstarter.  Call me old fashioned, but I'm risking my money, why shouldn't the manufacturer?  Have they so little faith in their product and the quality that they aren't willing to risk anything on their new product?  If that is true, why are they trying to bring it to market?
I want new games, but I believe in quality not quantity.  Manufacturers need to focus on that.
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of