Yesterday, I followed press release link on Consimworld for a classic game, Streets of Stalingrad, that announced it was going to be getting a makeover and rebooted as a 4th edition on Kickstarter. Reading the full announcement, it quickly became apparent that the company was going to run a Kickstarter campaign in May for a playtest kit followed by the full version of the game in September. What the hell is that about?
This is the first time I have seen this little stunt tried. Despite very little information being available as to campaign, costs, or any implied benefits to those that back the playtest kit, this is a very slippery slope. As one who playtest games, I know the costs involved in building a playtest kit. I can only assume this one way to both offset some of the costs of producing these kits and to attract only those playtesters that will be committed to providing timely and substantial feedback to the developers.
There is no way in hell I would pay for the ability to playtest a game! There is a certain cost associated with the development of a game; if a company lacks the internal resources to successfully playtest their own games, they need to seek volunteers and cover some of the costs of playtest materials. This just feels like a cheap trick.
I think I will wait for the full version of the game to launch on Kickstarter, but I suspect it will be only half-baked at the time of launch seeing how they are launching the playtest campaign four months earlier. I suspect it will likely not deliver for a year following the campaign. Purely speculation on my part, but that is what my gut is telling me. Not to mention, I have theorized that the buy-in price in September will exceed $150 and could be closer to $200.
Weigh in with your thoughts on these shenanigans!
EDIT – I do have a follow-up post –> Follow Up – Streets of Stalingrad 4 – Kickstarting a Playtest Kit, WTF?