13 Comments


  1. Hey Chris, thanks so much for your very kind mention of Euphoria on today’s podcast. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of it!

  2. Chris Norwood

    It’s my pleasure.  Not that Euphoria needs much help, but I’m still glad to call even more attention to it! 

  3. Keith

    “Keith is this old guy in my gaming group.”

    Old! … OLD! Listen sonny, you and your young whippersnappercultofthenew friends can just get off my lawn.

    On a more serious note, good episode Chris. A very comment worthy broadcast. I enjoyed very much hearing about your favorite mechanism uses and why. I will add my comments after I re-listen to the section covering your list.

  4. Chris Norwood

    Well, geezaloo, most of the games you mentioned were so obscure I hadn’t ever heard of them… and some were older than me! (I’m not exactly a spring chicken myself, you know.)  But, officially, you are the old man of the game group since Alton left to be a goat farmer, so you have no room to complain. 

  5. Tom Rose

    Chris, in the very beginning of your podcast, you mentioned that Euphoria is doing really well on Kickstarter while Canterbury is struggling. That has only become more true since the time of your recording. Do you think you could do a compare and contrast as to why you think one campaign took off, while the other one struggled?

    One obvious contrast is the difference in funding goals between the two projects. Euphoria set theirs (surprisingly) low at $15K; whereas, Canterbury’s was higher at $50K. How might this difference have affected the success of the two campaigns?

    First, I think Euphoria was perceived almost immediately as more successful. I think this lead to people being more likely to jump on board to Euphoria, despite the fact that, in absolute terms, the projects might have been similar in amounts of money pledged at one time. In other words, success begat more success. I submit that a “successful” project, in terms of funding, has more buzz than an “unsuccessful” project and that an “early success” has more buzz on top of that. There is a snowball rolling downhill effect that takes place on Kickstarter.

    Second, given the relative cost/MSRP of the two games ($49 vs $60), this would imply drastically different print run sizes or drastically different production costs. Assuming 50% of the cost of the games goes to production costs, the planned print runs would be 612 and 1,667. Andrew Parks has said that he has aspirations of using the Canterbury campaign as a springboard to being a fully fledged production house. It is quite possible that he envisioned at a print run of 2,000 in order to have inventory stock beyond what will be sold through the campaign. This would imply better economies of scale for Canterbury.

    However, it could be that the production costs are very different for these games setting up very different economics. One obvious difference is the amount of punched cardboard there is in Canterbury; whereas, Euphoria has (almost?) none. Instead, Euphoria has cards, dice and cubes. I read in one Canterbury update that they had to create custom dies to punch the cardboard, which means they likely had larger upfront costs than Euphoria. Larger initial costs upfront might have necessitated a bigger print run.

    I think other points of comparison might be in the realm of stretch goals and overall component quality. Euphoria, in no small part to its lower funding target, seemed to have more achievable stretch goals, which likely increased excitement for the game. Beyond that, some of Euphoria’s stretch goals added cards to the game that conceivably changed game play. Canterbury conscientiously did not do this with their stretch goals because of fears that it would affect game balance. It also seems that if Euphoria had funded at $15,000 it would have had lower component quality than Canterbury at $50,000. Euphoria’s stretch goals improved component quality. All trade-offs when designing a game and a KS campaign.

  6. Chris Norwood

    That’s a really good idea.  I’ll probably wait until both are done (just to be complete), but I agree that it would be really interesting to look at them sort of “side by side” and make some guesses/assessments about why there was such a disparity in how successful they were.


  7. Tom–I appreciate this analysis. I haven’t followed the Canterbury campaign closely, but I’m curious how they’ve done with social media and blogger/podcast outreach. You can see on my media page (http://www.stonemaiergames.com/media-euphoria/”>http://http://www.stonemaiergames.com/media-euphoria/) the amount of time I’ve focused on that. Also, I’ve spent the last 6 months cultivating an audience by offering something of value on the Stonemaier Games blog via my Kickstarter Lessons series. All of those factors bring more people to Euphoria and put the project in the public eye, and it contributes to backer engagement. While Euphoria has nearly 1000 comments on the front page, Canterbury only has 200.

    But I do think you have a good point about the funding level. A successful project is more appealing to backers than one that has a more daunting funding goal.

    I wanted to clear up a few small errors in your post. There are no cubes in Euphoria–all pieces are custom made. The game currently has two large punchboard sheets for the markets, multiplier cards, ownership tokens, and a few other tokens.

    Also, the MSRP of Euphoria is $70, but the Kickstarter price is $49. I don’t know the MSRP for Canterbury, but the psychological difference between $49 and $60 is big. Also, we’re offering free shipping and ample opportunities for group buys. We’re also offering a money-back guarantee.

    I wish Canterbury the best, as it looks like a cool game. I’m sure they’ll fund–they’re almost there. If you’d like to learn more about what I did to help Euphoria become a success, you might check out the Kickstarter Lessons on my blog, http://www.stonemaiergames.com. It’s about a lot more than just the numbers. 🙂

  8. Tom Rose

    Well, thanks!

    Other (potential) differences:
    – Price (How much difference does $11 make? It could be a lot when buying a game.)
    – Theme Appeal
    – Theme Uniqueness (a little Jones theory in practice, perhaps?)
    – Mechanics Appeal
    – Mechanic Uniqueness (More Jones)
    – Prior # of KS campaigns (1 vs. 0)
    – Prior # of games designed (1 vs. 10+)
    – Level of Promotion (seemingly in Canterbury’s favor).
    – Rules (completeness, simplicity, elegance, readability)
    – Overall quality of campaign (subjective to be sure, but I personally thought they were both pretty good)

  9. Tom Rose

    Jamey,

    Wow. Thanks for the reply.

    Let me say upfront that I was unaware of your media outreach, and thank you for setting the record straight on my errors (and subsequent errors in my follow-up post to Chris.) Please understand I did not mean to come off as an expert by any means. I merely was engaging in some (hopefully) harmless speculation.

    Andrew Parks has done a decent number of podcasts (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/quixoticgames/canterbury/posts), but based on your description, it appears like you have done more with blogs.

    Personally, I would discount the number comments as an indicator of engagement somewhat. As of this writing, you have 4.2X the number of backers of Canterbury and 5.0X the number of comments. Assuming that all backers like to post comments equally, you’re not completely running away with it. (Though, clearly better, so good job!) Either way, do the # of comments really measure engagement?

    I will say that I agree that the price is a big factor. $49 vs $60 is a big difference to start with, but then if you tell me that the MSRP of Euphoria will be $70 when it hits the street, you can bet that I am going to buy it now instead of waiting. I do not think Canterbury has said what their MSRP will be. I assume it will be $60.

    I will definitely check out your lessons blog, as I am definitely curious about the KS phenomenon, and I am sure you have wonderful insights.

    Thanks again!


  10. Thanks for your thoughts, Tom, and I appreciate you linking to those podcasts. I’ve done 2 podcasts; Andrew has done 3.

    Yeah, I don’t know exactly what the number of comments translates to mean…but I think it is a source of excitement and engagement for existing backers.

    Honestly, I’m honored that you’d compare Euphoria to project by a designer as esteemed by Andrew Parks. I listened to his appearance on Ludology the other day, and he definitely knows what he’s doing. I look forward to seeing Canterbury successfully fund. If he reads this and wants to submit a game for Stonemaier Games to publish in the future, I’d love to take a look at it. 🙂

  11. Matt

    Thanks for the great package! I am looking forward to playing the games! VERY VERY GENEROUS! 😀

  12. Keith

    Given that you have now recorded episode 13 I had better get on with my promised and tardy follow up post on your top 11 or so mechanism uses.

    I was going to list the items on your list that I agreed with, however, that turned out to be most of your list so I am passing on that.

    One thing that I noticed about your list is that in addition to a stand out use of a mechanism they are all very good game designs in general. How important is it, for a mechanism to stand out, for it to be in a game that is above the crowd? When I put together my stand out mechanism list I deliberately pulled in some older games. I did not have any trouble coming up with examples but I got the sense that there are more stand out uses of mechanisms in game design today there there was, uhmm…, back in the ’70’s and ’80s. What is your experience on standout mechanism frequency over time in your more, uhmm…, limited timeframe?

    I left a few things off my mechanism list as it was getting rather long. I skipped Pandemic’s acceleration because I knew you mention it and it is right there at #1 where I expected it to be. I considered Speicherstadt but skipped it. The worker placement and cost mechanisms are completely intertwined and they depend on a third aspect (tight money supply). Is it a stand out mechanism if it is dependent on other mechanisms for its effect?

  13. Chris Norwood

    I think that the reason most of the games I mentioned on the list were also very good overall designs is that I basically went down my list of top-rated games and tried to identify if that game had some stand-out mechanic that was predominantly responsible for me loving it.  While I’m sure that there are a few games with really cool, interesting, and/or innovative mechanics that aren’t all that good in general, I think that having the “whole package” will probably make the game more memorable, which will therefore make it more probable to be identified when people think about that mechanic.

    Caylus, for example, is basically the game to which the popularity of “worker placement” is attributed.  Certainly, however, there were other games before it with at least similar action-selection mechanics that could probably have the title of “first”, but the popularity and quality of Caylus makes it the one people think about as the originator of worker placement. 

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